Stop Talking About Web3

My top takeaways from NFT Paris and ETH Denver, and the startups you should know about.

Hey, it’s Marc. ✌️

In the last two weeks I’ve attended NFT Paris and ETH Denver. After a long bear market, the energy, optimism, and quality of ideas and discussions is at its highest in a long time.

Today I’ll share my most important take-aways with you. Why should you care?

Both conferences are very different:

  • NFT Paris is all about consumer Web3, culture, luxury, and fashion with a lot of brand execs and creatives attending.

  • ETH Denver is about infrastructure, crypto, and everything in between.

For Web3 mass adoption, both are complementary and equally important.

Let’s dive in.

During the Web3 LinkedIn Live Series, SMT CEO, Tyler Moebius, and Marc Baumann have explored everything from the power of sports fandom in branding to the revolutionary ways Web3 is reshaping loyalty programs. In this final session, expect discussion of exclusive SMT case studies from top global brands. There will be an interactive live Q&A - so get your questions ready!

NFT Paris: Beyond Web3

TL;DR:  I haven’t come across anything entirely “new”. NFTs, on-chain analytics, phygital platforms, digital art and fashion have all been around for 2+ years.

Most of the start-ups have been building on this for the last 2+ years too, resulting in more maturing discussions around use cases (see map below for a list of start-ups).

Although big luxury brands show interest in Web3, their engagement has been limited to small-scale activations. We've yet to see comprehensive, cross-platform campaigns that significantly drive engagement and revenue. Instead, these brands continue to experiment with:

  • Digital product passports (authenticity, ownership, resales)

  • Single NFT collections or capsule collections tied to an NFT

  • NFT-based member communities & co-creation

In 2023, brands like Nike, Starbucks, Lacoste, Fiat, and Gucci have led the pack with their initiatives.

Sephora is the latest new-joiner with “Sephora Universe”, an immersive, multi-brand beauty platform. It gives us a glimpse of how future activations could look like:

  • Connecting physical and digital

  • Community-driven

  • Gamified through ownership incentives & rewards

  • Immersive1

Oh, and by the way: Parts of it are on-chain without the users realizing it.

This reminds me of Chris Lyons’s, GP at a16z crypto, quote:

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