If you ask the typical audience at a business conference anywhere in the world if they’ve heard of Web3, you’ll get a decent show of hands. If you ask if they can explain it, most of the hands go down.
At last week's conference in Dubai, the challenge of explaining what Web3 is and why it matters to small businesses fell on Justin Sanger, the CEO of SMBChain, a Web3 martech business based in the United States.
Sanger is a longtime local search entrepreneur, who admits he helped build the local martech infrastructure that he is now trying to replace. He said the contrast between Web2, which is the current Google-Facebook dominated reality, and Web3, which is all about decentralized power (built on blockchain technology) is the difference between night and day.
Web3, as Sanger explains, returns power to individuals, which has implications beyond business, delving into art, politics, and more.
“Web3 is a humanistic drive to overcome personal differences, political rhetoric, and economic inequalities,” Sanger said.
Blockchain is the mechanism for decentralization, which is the source of Web3’s power. Web3, by most accounts, threatens a number of dominant Web2 features, including the dominant presence of advertising and the heavy reliance on intermediaries.
“A blockchain is a digital record of transactions that form a public ledger,” Sanger explains. “In Web3 self-sovereignty is reflected at the individual ‘ID’ level on-chain. You control when, where, and why you assert your ID.”
This gets to how Sanger believes Web3 will transform the local space. Sanger’s new company, SMBChain, uses the blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to empower small businesses with control over their own business data.
He describes the business as “A local blockchain-driven data and service network for SMEs.”
The basic principle is that businesses have the right to control their own data — from when they are open, how many locations they have, what services they offer, and what inventory they have on hand, and beyond.
“The network believes that SMEs should direct and own the public data that describes their businesses,” Sanger said. “Currently, SMEs are divorced from simple tasks that reflect the current pulse of their business to the public.”