With non-fungible token (NFT) becoming the Collins Dictionary’s word of the year, and decentralised finance (DeFi) trending in mainstream media, 2021 has been a significant year for cryptocurrencies. To a large extent, this has been due to the economic repercussions of COVID-19, as many people sought new methods to diversify their income and a shift to work-from-home allowing them to pursue new interests. As a result, many chose to invest in cryptocurrency. While these may imply that the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies is well underway, there is one initiative in particular that has the potential to propel crypto into everyone’s daily lives: Web3.
The concept of Web3 enthralled investors and the tech industry in 2021. Web3 represents the future of the internet, where users operate in a decentralised manner rather than relying on major commercial enterprises or centralised government organisations, with a focus on community.
That brings us to the question: How soon would it take for Web3 to go mainstream? In an interview with Bloomberg, UK-based Dan Hughes, founder of Web3 startup Radix DLT and a cryptographer who spent years single-handedly designing his own version of blockchain technology, spoke about the technical challenges of Web3 and said that it could take up to a decade for it to go mainstream.
He said one of the biggest challenges that could stop Web 3 from going mainstream is that it may be too “difficult or risky to use”, which may not allow a lot of people to engage with it. “The majority of people involved in this space at the moment are quite tech-savvy and willing to take on risk. But when you are talking to Bill the plumber in the local pub, he isn’t really interested in understanding all of the technical complexity that is currently required to be able to use this stuff. He doesn’t want to have to worry about the risk of it being stolen or losing his keys,” he told Bloomberg during the interview.
He added that there were also regulations to consider. If the regulations go too far, that might be the final nail in the coffin.
On the big hope for Web 3, he said it was the fact that it offered a choice. He said that as individuals, many people didn’t have a lot of options up until lately. Citing the financial system as an example, he said that before Bitcoin, someone would be stuck if they “weren’t desirable to the financial system” and couldn’t have a bank account. They had very few options in terms of managing and investing their money or increasing the value of that money by starting a business.
Now, he said, people had a lot of choices in terms of money. Apart from Bitcoin, there are an infinite number of other cryptocurrencies. People can choose to earn a return on those cryptocurrencies, lend it to others, or start a business within the DeFi ecosystem. Stating that Web 3 was a continuation of that decision, he added that if a person were a content creator, generating videos, they wouldn’t have a lot of options apart from YouTube or Twitch, to showcase their works. “Web 3 allows you to have a lot of choice over a broader spectrum of your life,” he said.
Finally, making an estimate of when Web 3 might go mainstream, he said, “My gut feel is five to 10 years.”