Editors Note: On Saturday, May 21, 2022, Techpoint Africa is hosting Techpoint Africa Blockchain Summit, a groundbreaking blockchain summit where industry experts will reveal more about the Web3 ecosystem and where we fit in as individuals. Register here to be a part of the discussion.
The Web3 buzz is more than just another Twitter trend. With investors betting $27 billion on what can be described as the new iteration of the Internet, it's a buzz that people should pay close attention to.
On April 1, 2022, Techpoint Africa hosted a Twitter Space with some Web3 experts to make sense of the Web3 buzz, and in the two hours it lasted, we got a semblance of what to expect in a Web3-powered future.
Erikan Obotetukudo, Founder and Managing Partner of Web3 Fund, Audacity, kicked off the conversation by explaining the concept of Web3.
According to her, the Internet has gone from Web1 to Web2, with Web3, the latest iteration. In the Web1 era, the Internet was in its most basic form in the Web1 era, with primarily text-based websites that visitors on which visitors could not give feedback.
The second era of the Internet ushered in social media and made it possible for anyone to create content and get feedback.
"The second era brought in Facebook and Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp, which is an area that Africa adopted more quickly. Before that, we didn't have the Internet infrastructure and the telecoms infrastructure to benefit from this," Obotetukudo said.
Web3 is the new Internet generation predominantly focused on blockchain technology as its foundational infrastructure. Rather than dwell on the technicalities of Web3, Obotetukudo believes that the new age of the Internet presents an opportunity for Africans to play a crucial role in the development of new technologies.
"As an investor, I want to encourage people to get excited about this and build around it because this is the beginning of the floodgates of a new technology that will change the world."
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Clement Hugbo, Co-founder of Web3 design agency, Crevatal, added that "Web3 is an open Internet powered by the blockchain, which allows everyone to be part of creating platforms as opposed to systems where a single or central entity controls online platforms."
What will Facebook look like in the Web3 era?
The Web3 buzz is a combination of other buzzwords Obototukudo said; it's a mixture of the buzzwords ‘blockchain’, ‘cryptocurrency’, ‘non-fungible tokens (NFTs)’, ‘decentralised finance (DeFi)’, and ‘decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs).’
These proponents will inform what a Web3-enabled Facebook and Internet will look like. One of Obotetukudo’s examples includes helping Africans get even more value for exported culture.
She pointed out that her travels from Barcelona to Portugal made her realise that African music and fashion were being enjoyed across European countries. In the Web3 era, African creators can release their works on Facebook, for instance, as an NFT and get even more value.
"If you were to release a piece of your music as an NFT, anyone worldwide can put some money towards the NFT instead of just liking and commenting on it."
Interestingly, an artist’s followers or fans can also make profits from appreciating their favourite works as their value increases.
For Chika Uwazie, Founder of decentralised autonomous organisation, Afropolitan DAO, the Web3 era means full access to the financial ecosystem.
Uwazie, who spends most of her time in the US, spoke about some of the issues she has faced with US banks when she is in Nigeria.
"It's either I'm being blocked or unable to use a particular service; it was always one thing after the other. I'm a US citizen, and I was having issues accessing my accounts in Nigeria."
Uwazie believes Web3 will disrupt the financial ecosystem, making it easy for people anywhere in the world to access their finances. She also thinks the rapid crypto adoption in Nigeria results from the financial constraints Nigerians experience.
According to blockchain data platform, Chainalysis, Nigeria ranked sixth in its 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index. And it's not just crypto; Nigerians and Africans are embracing more Web3 proponents, creating valuable NFTs from art and music that are being appreciated globally.
Hugbo, who corroborated Uwazie's points, said that Web3 offers access beyond finance. Given the nature of Web3 startups, The peculiarity of Web3 startups is such that people anywhere in the world can work with them, provided they can do the job.
"A DAO makes it possible for anybody to come into the community and showcase their skills. My second job was in a DAO; it was a one-time thing, but I got called back cause I did a great job. From there, people started reaching out to me for more jobs in the Web3 space."
Web3: An opportunity for Africans to be leaders in cyber security
Obotetukudo believes that such occurrences should encourage Africans to find ways to prevent similar hacks and become the go-to people for cyber security solutions in Web3.
Hacking and crypto-related crimes were on the rise in 2021. And according to Chainalysis, illicit crypto addresses received $14 billion, a significant increase from $7.9 billion in 2020.
While crypto crime has risen by 76% between 2020 and 2021, it is also important to note that illicit transactions are only 0.15% of the $15.8 trillion transacted in 2021.
From getting immediate value for exported culture to participating in one of the biggest technological changes of all time, Web3 is a chance for Africa to play a vital role in the global tech ecosystem.
However, Hugbo pointed out that while the Web3 buzz opens up many opportunities through decentralisation, we still need to be cautious.
“For every new technology, there are always phases, from ideation to a complete full technology. Web3 is very much in its early stage, and I don’t think we are fully decentralised yet.”
On Saturday, May 21, 2022, Techpoint Africa is hosting Techpoint Africa Blockchain Summit, a groundbreaking blockchain summit where industry experts will reveal more about the Web3 ecosystem and where we fit in as individuals. Register here to be a part of the discussion.