At Next Decentrum, we talk to a lot of museum curators about digital collectables, the metaverse, Web3 and the potential for technological innovation. Obviously most of the museums we speak to are interested in learning more but aren't really sure where to start.
That's why we've together a complete list of all the questions we get asked.
What is Web3?
Web3 is the next generation of the internet and has a very different vision compared to the current web. It takes advantage of blockchain technology to create decentralized networks that remove the central "middleman" in transactions, which provides users with more security, privacy, and control than ever before. This makes Web3 a very exciting and dynamic new platform for innovators and entrepreneurs to explore.
While there is still much that we don't know about Web3, what's clear is that it represents a significant step forward in how we interact with technology and holds enormous potential for a variety of applications and industries. Some potential use cases include social networks, gaming platforms, and e-commerce marketplaces.
Why should a museum care about web 3?
Museums have a great opportunity to leverage the power of Web3 to provide more engaging and interactive experiences for their visitors. For example, museums could use decentralized networks to collect feedback from visitors through surveys or polls, allowing them to gain valuable insights into visitor preferences and trends. This data could then be used to make informed decisions about new exhibitions, programming, and other aspects of the museum experience.
By leveraging smart contracts or other data analytics tools, museums could create unique experiences for each visitor customized to their specific interests and needs. Beyond this, museums could also take advantage of Web3 to offer personalized tours based on visitor interests. This would help museums deepen engagement with visitors and provide a better overall experience.
What are NFTs? What's the difference between NFTs and digital collectables?
While some people might have different definitions, we believe that a digital collectable is the entire technology in a digital piece of art, while a non-fungible tokens, or NFTs for short, are the digital code on a blockchain that are just a piece of the overall project. Look at it this way: a digital collectable is like a rare car while the NFT is like the VIN number. Nobody looks at the VIN number of a car and say they want to own it. No, they look at the beauty and shape of a Ferrari Testarossa, a Ford GT, or a Jaguar XK 120 and that's why they fork out sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, not because of a number.
How can museums use Web3?
Museums may use Web3 to create unique, highly engaging, and accessible digital experiences. One prospective application is creating an "augmented museum tour" where visitors can access virtual content related to the exhibits they're viewing. This could include everything from 3D models of artifacts or artwork to video interviews with the curators and historical context about the exhibit.
Another potential use case is using NFTs to create digital collectables related to museum artifacts and exhibitions. Case in point: users buy or earn a limited edition NFT representing an original artwork from the museum's collection. This would provide visitors with a new way to explore and interact with exhibits while also helping them build interest in the museum's collection and generating revenue by selling these digital collectables.
What will the impact of Web3 be on museums?
It's not a question of if Web3 will have a significant impact on museums, but rather when and how. With the advent of Web3, we are already seeing new ways that museums will ultimately leverage digital technologies to create unique and engaging experiences for visitors.
As mentioned, early examples include virtual tours, games, or interactive storytelling apps that allow visitors to engage with museum exhibits in new and exciting ways. Additionally, Web3 will enable museums to create unique digital assets that can be sold to the public or licensed for commercial use. New revenue streams from this could help museums with their long-term sustainability goals.
Overall, it's safe to say that Web3 is poised to have a revolutionary impact on museum operations. And with new use cases, applications, and platforms being developed rapidly, it's only a matter of time before museums don't have a choice but to embrace Web3 to stay competitive.
What are the primary features of Web3?
Some of the most critical features of Web3 include:
1. Decentralization and immutability – This one's described as the absence of central authority or intermediary controlling data on the network, which is stored on a distributed ledger system known as a blockchain. No changes to the network can be made without express permission from all involved.
2. Security and privacy – Web3 affords robust security measures to protect confidential information stored on the network from hackers or other malicious actors. Examples are encrypted communication channels, private keys, and decentralized data storage solutions.
3. Transparency and accountability – Web3 offers high transparency regarding network operation and data ownership. For instance, users can view the logs of how transactions were processed on the blockchain at any time.
4. Incentives – Web3 uses incentives, usually called utility tokens or other rewards to encourage participation in the network and help it grow. These rewards may be distributed directly to users or used in other ways to promote the growth of the network.
What's the difference between Web3 and the metaverse?
Truth be told, there's a handful of overlap between Web3 and the metaverse in that both refer to platforms or ecosystems that are decentralized and fully virtual. However, while the two concepts can certainly be used interchangeably in some contexts, they also have some clear-cut differences.
One such difference is that Web3 typically refers specifically to the technology and protocols that underpin the virtual world. In contrast, the metaverse may refer to various platforms, including games, websites, and social networks.
Another key distinction is that Web3 typically focuses more on virtual commerce and financial transactions, while the metaverse tends to focus more broadly on other aspects of virtual life, i.e., social interactions, entertainment, and education.
What are the challenges of Web3?
Web3 is without challenges. The challenges with Web3 stem from the fact that the technology has yet to integrate into mainstream applications.
1. Scalability – As mentioned, Web3 is a decentralized system that relies on distributed ledger technologies such as blockchains and other emerging protocols. This, by nature, increases the load on network resources and may lead to bottlenecks when there is high demand for access.
2. Interoperability – The protocols that form the basis for Web3 is often fragmented and do not offer a seamless integration experience across different applications or platforms. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to exchange data or assets between different parts of the Web3 ecosystem.
3. Integration – Web3 may be a nascent technology, and as such, it isn't widely supported by many mainstream applications. This makes it difficult for users to interact with and intuitively explore the decentralized virtual world.
4. User experience – As Web3 is a new technology, many users are unsure about how it works and what benefits it can offer them. This may lead to lower adoption rates compared to other technologies that have been around longer.
5. Regulation – While the decentralization and transparency of Web3 may be attractive from a technical standpoint, they may also raise concerns from a regulatory perspective. For example, many users may be uncomfortable with the potential for anonymous transactions and other privacy risks that Web3 could introduce.
But mind you, all these challenges can be overcome with the help of developing better tools and technologies to support Web3. As more corporations, institutions, and individuals begin adopting the technology, more resources will be directed toward solving these challenges. And as adoption continues to grow, these issues will likely sort out over time.
Can Web3 be used for fundraising?
There is certainly potential for Web3 to be used for fundraising purposes, as it offers several benefits that traditional fundraising mechanisms may not offer. For one, decentralized networks could help facilitate transparent and secure transactions, making investors feel more confident in their funding projects.
Moreover, Web3 platforms often allow users to trade, buy, and sell digital assets that may have real-world value. This allows investors to hold an ownership stake in the projects they are funding, which could provide them with a financial return on their investment over time.
How do I convince the board members and stakeholders that we should invest in Web3 technology?
We understand that sometimes Web3 doesn't have the best reputation and so it can be hard to convince board members and stakeholders about the validity of using technology in your museum. However, if you're trying to convince others of the benefits of investing in Web3 technology, here are some key points to consider:
First, you will want to consider the potential benefits this investment could offer your organization. For example, implementing Web3-based applications and platforms could help improve efficiency and streamline operations by reducing manual processes and cutting out intermediaries.
Second, you can reach a wider audience which can help you achieve or move forward on your mandate or mission statement, especially concerning increasing education opportunities.
You may also want to highlight the fast-growing Web3 and decentralized applications markets and opportunities as this could indicate that it is a promising area to increase revenue. There really is no limit to what you can do but for example, you can create digital artifacts and collectables which can be sold worldwide to a passionate community of art, history and culture lovers.
What technologies are used in Web3?
Web3 technologies depend on three primary components: distributed ledger technology (DLT), cryptography, and peer-to-peer networking. These technologies work together to create a decentralized architecture for storing and sharing data, enabling greater security, transparency, and privacy than traditional centralized systems. Other common tools used in Web3 include smart contracts, consensus protocols, and cryptographic tokens. It's also worth noting that Web3 may be used in conjunction with other emerging technologies, i.e., machine learning and AI, to enhance its capabilities further.
What is decentralized, and why should I care about it?
There are many prospective perks of Web3 technologies, which have fuelled a growing interest in decentralized systems among businesses, institutions, and individuals. Decentralized systems are not controlled or owned by any single entity. They rely on a distributed network of nodes, or users, to store and share data across the network. This decentralized design seeks to reduce security risks and improve transparency by eliminating a single point of failure, i.e., a central server that stores all of the data.
Should museums invest in Web3 technology?
The answer to this question is not black and white, as it varies depending on personal circumstances like investment goals and risk tolerance. The market for Web3 technologies is continuing to grow at a fast pace, and there are numerous persuasive reasons for investing in decentralized applications. Case in point: Web3 platforms and applications are often more secure, transparent, and private than traditional centralized systems. We believe that eventually all museums will have a Web3 presence. What that will ultimately look like is anybody's guess.
How do digital collectables work?
Digital collectables exist as smart contracts on a blockchain. Each collectable is represented by an NFT, which contains information about its ownership and scarcity. This makes it possible to track the transfer of digital collectables in a transparent, secure way that ensures they are protected from unauthorized changes or tampering.
To add new content or features to an existing digital collectable, developers must push changes to the NFT smart contract, automatically updating each address on the network. This enables new content and features to be quickly added and updated in a decentralized way that benefits everyone who owns an NFT of that particular collectable.
What are the uses for digital collectables?
Digital collectables can have a range of uses in the real world, from increasing engagement with consumers to building brand loyalty. One example is using NFTs as gift cards or rewards points, which customers can redeem at participating retailers. Doing so allows brands to engage directly with their customers and incentivize them to return and make repeat purchases.
Aside from being a new investment trend, NFTs can also be used to generate virtual rewards that users can collect or trade in digital games and platforms. It's an opportunity for developers to implement new gameplay mechanics that increase user engagement and help them build a community of dedicated fans around the game.
Furthermore, NFTs are also a powerful tool for creating unique digital assets for businesses to generate revenue. For instance, artists and creators might use NFTs to sell their work directly to consumers or license it for commercial use in other applications. It'll give them more control over how their creations are distributed and allow them to add more value to their work using blockchain technology.
How do digital collectables fit in with Web3?
Digital collectables will fit Web3 simply because they can be created on Web3 platforms. These items are unique and non-fungible, and as such, they cannot be replicated or replaced, and each one is associated with its specific value. That said, digital collectables also have the potential to be used in other ways on Web3 platforms, i.e., serving as digital assets or collateral for virtual transactions. They can also generate revenue by selling them to other users or licensing them for commercial use.
What other resources should I use to keep up to date on Web3?
There's no shortage of resources you can use to stay informed about the latest developments in Web3 technology, including industry publications, online forums and groups, and networking events. Likewise, you may want to consider subscribing to a Web3 newsletter or following leading influencers in the space on social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Museum Next has a lot of great information to help you or you can check out Streaming Museum's newsletter which you can sign up for HERE.
And not to be overly self promotional, but our very own Hussein Hallak, founder and CEO of Next Decentrum has a couple of courses on blockchain HERE to help you understand more. While they aren't museum specific, they can help you get a base level understanding of the technology that drives Web3. If you have the resources, you might also consider investing in specialized training or educational programs to help you stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices.