As the digital world transitions into a more decentralized internet, or what many dub ‘Web3’, we’ve seen many attempts by companies to lead the race. Traditional social media platforms are increasingly incorporating blockchain technology; and even blockchain-based SocialFi platforms like Monaco Planet and BBS have popped up.
One thing’s for sure, we’re hungry for a Web3 version of social expression and connection.
Personal identity in Web3
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are a burgeoning aspect in the crypto space right now. Unlike cryptocurrencies, these tokens represent value and ownership of unique digital products and artworks. This makes it the perfect vehicle for self-expression in Web3.
In the Web3 space, you aren’t differentiated based on gender, nationality or other physical characteristics — solely your on-chain behavior. Therefore, the NFTs in your address also contribute to your Web3 identity. Although we cannot deny that certain collections are popular precisely because they are more lucrative investments, buyers often still hold different preferences when selecting NFTs.
Each series of NFTs has its own community and corresponding values tagged to them. For example, if you have World of Women (WOW) NFTs in your wallet, others may assume that you agree with WOW’s values and see women’s rights and gender equality as important.
Image credit: World of Women
Transition into Web3 practices
Plenty of traditional social media platforms are exploring NFTs. An example is Twitter, which introduced a new authentication feature for users to display an NFT as their profile pictures. Different from normal profile pictures, if people click on the NFT, they would see the contract address, Token ID, creator and other information.
Image credit: The Verge
However, traditional social media platforms do not have an in-built trading function and often hold personal information of users. Web3 players may not be comfortable with this.
On the other hand, current mainstream NFT marketplaces like OpenSea are very commerce-driven; focused mostly on their trading function and NFT sales. They lack the social elements commonly seen in traditional social media platforms.
Image credit: OpenSea
Can we envision a platform which marries the two functions: commerce and social networking? Coinbase NFT Marketplace may be an example.
Recently launched in beta, Coinbase NFT Marketplace caught some attention for not only being an NFT marketplace, but also for its Instagram-lookalike social features. Other than its trading function, the platform has NFT profiles, a platform feed and social engagement features e.g. likes, comments.
Image credit: Coinbase
Image credit: Coinbase
With social elements, Coinbase NFT marketplace could replicate virtual interactions commonly seen on traditional social media. Community is important in crypto and NFT. These social elements could help independent artists or content creators find like-minded people and monetize their ideas more effectively.
NFT profiles and the platform feed feature are also digital spaces for users to showcase their Web3 identity, follow favourite artists, or build a fanbase.
Will platforms like Coinbase NFT marketplace last in the ever-changing crypto landscape? It’s too early to tell — but we can all agree that this is a bold move in shaping the first Web3 commerce-slash-social media platform.
That said, the Web3 ideal, which seeks to create a virtual space which marries decentralization and virtual interactions, are used by companies like Twitter and Coinbase to boost monetization.
Twitter’s NFT profile pictures are currently only available to paying Twitter Blue subscribers. Coinbase NFT Marketplace is also owned by the highly centralized crypto exchange and subject to governing law and jurisdiction, and like any social media platform, would require content moderation as more users onboard. This brings a whole other host of issues which would no doubt be addressed in the coming years.
The views expressed in this article are the author's alone and do not necessarily represent the views of ApolloX.
Risk Reminder: Crypto and NFT trading carries a risk. All trading activities are done at your discretion and at your own risk. The information here should not be regarded as financial or investment advice from ApolloX. ApolloX will not be liable for any loss that might arise from your use of any financial product.
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