Title Entertainment Bringing Web3 Mainstream.

Despite recent challenges in the cryptocurrency market, investment in Web3 remains high as institutions and consumers look towards an emerging digital culture built upon the values of decentralization and blockchain technology. Cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts are no longer considered fringe, as vibrant communities have sprung up on social media and across internet forums, bringing non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), play-to-earn gaming, and the metaverse into mainstream discourse.

However, a recent report by Coinbase Institute shows a growing gap between the number of people who are aware of Web3 and the number of people who have actively adopted it. A survey of over 32,000 people across 16 countries revealed that while a majority of respondents were somewhat familiar with crypto or blockchain technology, many did not engage with Web3 services due to a lack of technical knowledge or not knowing where to begin.

One of the fundamental problems Web3 faces today is that supporters of blockchain technology, often referred to as “crypto-natives,” often exist in an echo chamber, yet the barriers to entry remain high, effectively shutting out curious minds. Web3 education remains a major pain point for developers and consumers, and while the number of unique addresses deploying smart contracts has generally grown, the number of active wallets has shrunk across crypto sectors, pointing to lower engagement even among those already in the exclusive crypto club.

Coinbase Institute predicts in its survey that Web3 adoption will increase by 50% over the next three years. However, the question remains, how will that happen?

While the gaming and ticketing industries have found creative ways to integrate blockchain technology and offer new use cases, it is the entertainment industry that makes the strongest case on how to naturally implement Web3 strategies and onboard the masses.

In its most basic form, good entertainment connects with its audience on a human level. And while the digital world seems to be becoming increasingly isolating and driven by artificial technology, visual media can serve as a reminder of our humanity and community.

Independent Web3 creative network Atrium, in partnership with Web3 community NounsDAO, is releasing an animated film based on the popular NFT characters. The Nouns movie origin story is one that is wholly Web3. Nouns are open source, meaning that the entire collection is in the public domain and can be used to create anything by anyone. And the NounsDAO voted in favor of a proposal to fund the project, providing its producers with a budget of $2.75 million from its treasury.

Joshua Fisher, one of the founders of NounsDAO community offshoot SharkDAO, said that the NFT project has been able to grow in popularity due to its art style and messaging. A testament to its success, the project currently has a floor price of 35 ETH (about $63,500) and has done over 17,684 ETH (about $32 million) in trading volume, according to OpenSea.

Supriyo Roy, founder and CEO of Atrium and the creative director of “Nouns: A Movie,” said that Web3 is changing the way media interacts with its audience, creating new opportunities for engagement. Fans can be given the chance to mint commemorative NFTs or enter into a raffle where they can win a cameo on a show or contribute to the writer’s room.

NounsDAO is creating a full entertainment ecosystem centered around its recognizable characters. The group has partnered with book publisher Titan Comics and NFT community ComicsDAO to develop a comic book series, and has also approved a proposal for a short film called “Welcome to Nountown.”

Adam Fortier, founder of ComicsDAO and a veteran of the comic industry, believes that integrating blockchain into his Nouns Comic series will benefit both creators and holders by providing greater provenance and tracking.

Other visual media projects have also begun utilizing Web3 technologies to create interactive experiences for their viewers. For example, actress Mila Kunis used NFTs to fundraise for an animated series called “Stoner Cats,” while “Rick and Morty” co-creator Dan Harmon is developing a major network TV series called “Krapopolis” that allows NFT holders to vote on show elements. Web3 studio Toonstar has launched an NFT-backed animated series called “Space Junk” that invites holders of the related NFTs to create stories for their characters and participate in the narrative.

According to Roy Jacquemin, founder of creative collective Atrium, the common thread uniting all the talent represented by the agency is creativity and storytelling. Global talent firm United Talent Agency (UTA) has also launched a Web3 division in 2021 to better engage fans and enhance brand loyalty through NFTs.

Web3 is also attracting new talent to join its creator-driven economy, drawing talent away from more traditional media spaces by offering greater creative freedom and access to community and tools. Web3 also allows talent to claim their ideas in an immutable and public way, providing new ways to support artists from the start.

Jacquemin explained that individuals with a background in cryptocurrency are better equipped to understand the emerging Web3 culture that is being developed on social media platforms such as Twitter. They are able to connect with their followers in innovative ways.

“They live behind a persona,” he said, referring to the use of NFTs as profile pictures (PFPs) to establish identity and community affiliation. “There is some uniqueness to this, but in a way, it’s not dissimilar to the idea of creating a character universe for a film or television show based on a graphic novel.”

“People might follow one of these personas because they really like what they stand for, what they represent, what they create, visually or audibly, or who they are in terms of thought leadership,” he added.

Celebrities have flocked to blue-chip NFT projects, such as CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club, to develop their online identities. For instance, rappers Eminem and Snoop Dogg have used their BAYC avatars in a popular music video that debuted at the MTV’s VMAs.

Going ‘stealth mode’

For many creators, Web3 tools can be used to enhance entertainment in a way that feels organic and not forced.

“I definitely think that there is an opportunity to build out fandom in a more interesting way with new Web3 tooling so the layer itself will be invisible and will be more custom made, where some of the unique user experiences can be powered right in,” Roy said. “Say you are watching something, maybe you can be rewarded for sharing it with your friends or for answering a type of trivia that you could only answer if you watched it. These are things that can be built on top of the ownership and composable stack, which is something that crypto enables you to do.”

Silverman said that as with any new technology, people may fixate on jargon instead of focusing on the user experience or end results. “I think the more the tools that facilitate necessary and unimpeachable new ways of interacting, the less people will focus on the terminology.”

This “stealthy” use of Web3 tools can help potentially skeptical talent wade gently into Web3, Jacquemin explained.

“One of the things that we recognized early on was that it felt like we were trying to teach people a new language,” he said of the initial friction with Web2 clients exploring Web3 tools. “Instead, we started to look at aspects of our clients’ businesses that exist today that you could put a spin on with a Web3 element that wouldn’t create friction in the user experience.”

Additionally, Web3-native talent can find ways to connect with more traditional Web2 brands or mainstream consumers by making their Web3 offerings more accessible.

“There’s a better quality or a deeper quality of individual data that is transparently collectible,” Jaquemin said.

The path forward

Although more individuals are familiar with the term “Web3,” the concept has struggled to maintain audience engagement. Attention, already a scarce resource in our modern age of information overload, is shifting to other shinier technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

However, the visual media entertainment industry remains a multi-billion-dollar business, and the global visual content market is expected to grow by $1.4 billion by 2026. Americans spend over 13 hours on average a day using digital media, and new platforms and gadgets are continuously being developed to create a more immersive user experience. The average U.S. household owns an average of 11 connected devices, including seven with screens.

Our need for entertainment is omnipresent, and our craving for visual stimuli remains a major economic driver. Major players, such as Warner Bros., Netflix, Sony, Paramount, and Village Roadshow, have already begun experimenting with Web3 tools to remain competitive.

“I think so much has yet to be explored successfully around film and television as it relates to Web3,” said Silverman.

From creating rich NFT ecosystems to integrating crypto payments into existing models, entertainment giants, talent agencies, and creative networks continue to find new ways to organically weave in Web3. Ultimately, consumers will be motivated to embrace an emerging digital future not through fanciful tech, but rather through engaging experiences designed to delight.

“You don’t have to say ‘Hey, this is a Web3 project.’ You don’t have to say that something is based upon an NFT or that this is a crypto thing,” said Fortier. “You could just say ‘Here’s this animation. You like it?’”

Edited by Toby Leah Bochan.

(There is no need to translate this sentence as it is already in English.)

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