CANNES — Many of the technologies lumped into standard “Web3” definitions are now at the peak of Gartner’s Hype Cycle.

But reporters’ BS detectors don’t necessarily let the PR get that high.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Ryan Barwick, Reporter, Morning Brew, gives his take on how interesting Web3 tech really is.

Early innings

“We’re still in the very buzz phase – everyone feels like they need to play in this space because they need to look like they’re paying attention to kind of the idea du jour, which is what I keep hearing,” Barwick says.

“I don’t know if there’s actually a sustainable application of using these kind of tools. We see a lot of one-offs, but not something not anyone creating something that’s kind of sustainable, something that exists on its own.

“Now that Bitcoin has lost a tonne of its value recently, I think the buzz is kind of fading and we’re going to see whether this is a legitimate, sustainable advertising vehicle, or if it’s just a fad.”

‘No killer use’

Barwick’s view actually aligns with that of Gartner, which finds “no killer use cases” for Web3 tech and only cryptocurrency trading having made it through the “tough of disillusionment” to the upward “slope of enlightenment”, or real adoption.

Gartner analyst Avivah Litan wrote: “Bad guys experiment with new technologies much faster and earlier than the good guys do. It takes time for the ‘good use cases’ to catch up and it takes even more time for fraud and security controls to be deployed.”

Nevertheless, the collection of tech we are seeing points, in theory, to a marked departure from that of the last 15 years, including:

  • Brand metaverse experiences.
  • Tangible commerce opportunities.
  • Brands cashing-in on making virtual goods scarce and tradable using NFTs.
  • Advertising inside virtual worlds.
  • Blockchain as a recording layer for digital ad transactions.
  • Decentralisation of internet experiences.

Beyond NFT

Barwick is amongst those “trying to figure out what is the next thing”. For him, the story has already moved beyond “just an NFT”.

“There is a resurgence in paying people for their online activity, which is something that was tried in the nineties and tried in the early odds but never really caught on,” he says.

“Now the idea of a data union is starting to reemerge again,  this time paying people – instead of pennies, paying them in crypto tokens.”

That idea may recall a philosophy espoused by Jaron Lanier, the digital thinker and VR pioneer who has long been advocating that users deserve recompense for pouring their data into corporate systems.

Getting attention

Barwick doesn’t yet know if that will be sustainable, but it is at least interesting to him – more so than yet another press release on a brand NFT.

So, how can Web3 companies hope to gain Barwick’s attention?

“Just introduce me to your executive – I don’t really want to talk to a comms person,” he says.

“I want to talk to people … I look at every email.”

You are watching ‘The Mediaocean Retreat’, a Beet.TV Leadership Summit at Cannes Lions 2022.

For more videos from this series, please visit this page.

Beet.TV is an official partner of Cannes Lions.