In the depths of crypto winter, surrounded by contagion fears, it may be difficult to remain optimistic about the future. Pundits like Peter Schiff or Nouriel Roubini now imply Web3 faces not just a winter or even an ice age, but an extinction level event. Everyone involved and eager about the industry at this time last year has probably lost some money – or maybe a significant amount. The pain of these losses doesn’t help in remaining bullish.
However, working on the front lines of this new technological movement and speaking to dozens of enterprises, governments and protocol development teams, I can assure you that rumors of Web3’s death are far overblown.
This industry will not be defined by speculative booms and busts but instead by what it is built on: revolutionary technology that will eventually touch all of our corporations, governments and individual lives. During this downturn, massive leaps are being made in the quality of the technology. Real world use cases that will define it for the average person are emerging.
Despite all the current negative noise, 2023 will be defined by enterprise adoption. The idea of ownership of our digital lives is not going away because of a speculative bust. Companies, institutions and governments know they need to get on board in empowering individuals in the digital age – or they’ll be left behind.
I’m old enough to remember the “bing-bong-zzzzhhhh” of dial up Internet. I even remember pundits claiming that it was a useless fad. But, sure enough, the limited use cases of slow internet gave way to the broadband era that allowed for video streaming, smartphones and the thousands of applications that have not only improved our daily lives but have dominated them.
Like the early days of the Internet, scalability has held back blockchain technology from being able to execute on many world-changing use cases. In 2023, breakthroughs will start to unleash the true potential of this technology.
One area showing significant promise is zero-knowledge cryptography. The potential of the several zero-knowledge (zk) Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) projects – which are currently being built – will be a defining moment for Web3 as they supercharge what we can do on a blockchain.
In addition, to zero-knowledge cryptography, there are other key breakthroughs, from interesting sharding architectures to L3s and L4s that might allow for high enough TPS, finality, and latency. These developments hold the potential to open up pipe dreams and piece together new ideas we haven’t even dreamed of yet.
Corporations and governments, even before these technological leaps allow for more creative applications, are ignoring the short-term distress. They continue to push forward with use cases, despite current tech constraints. Recent conversations with executives from many Fortune 500 companies have revealed a consistent mandate to build out a Web3 strategy in 2023 and deploy capital towards it.
It is a similar story for governments, which have expressed continued interest in applying blockchain technology to improve efficiency in a myriad of processes from land registries to elections. Perhaps most exciting, we’ve had the opportunity to speak with protocol developers looking to deploy more real-world focused dApps.
There’s little doubt that continued speculative capital flows entering thousands of speculative tokens is unlikely to occur next year. However, this recent popping of the bubble will lead instead to the beginning of a much more sustainable and important boom. The next boom will be focused on the real-world, functional application of revolutionary technology.
It is an exciting time to be at the forefront of the development that is quietly and steadily happening – and there is much optimism hinting that this year will be the ‘Year of Web3 for Enterprise.’
Jordan Calinoff is VP, Strategy and Revenue at Horizen Labs. Prior to joining the Web3 industry, he worked in TradFi at some of the world’s largest investment banks and elite investment firms. He began his career as a financial journalist. He is now taking on the world one enterprise use case at a time and is looking forward to what 2023 brings.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.