The Web3: Read, Publish and Own

We use the term Web3 to define a range of elements ranging from the blockchain to crypto currencies through NFTs and the metaverse. To understand what is meant by Web3, it is necessary to follow the evolution of the Web since the first version. Web1 focused on reading, Web2 on reading and publishing. Web3 combines reading, publishing and owning. This is a real revolution for many industries. When it comes to luxury, Web3 is impacting this sector in several ways.

First of all, it refers to the possibility of digital luxury, as it introduces the fact that possession of a digital good and its authenticity can be certified. In the past, if I had an image and sent it to 20 people, it was impossible to confirm who owned the original image or prevent it from being copied. With Web3, NFTs make it possible to certify ownership of an image or other digital asset such as a gray card: if I have an NFT and I decide to send it to another person, I no longer own this NFT and the person can copies of it. Web3 allows the creation of rare or even unique digital objects. However, the possibility of owning a rare digital good refers to the notion of digital luxury.

The Web3 also reflects a new source of status. While some consume prestigious goods solely for hedonistic purposes, the fact remains that a large proportion of customers buy luxury to signify their social status. At the time of Web2, these customers bought a watch, a bag or a car, had their picture taken with it, and then shared these photos on social networks to promote their “flex”, an American expression that refers to inflating one’s muscles. The best example of this kind of behavior is the RKOI (Rich Kids Of the Internet) Instagram account, which records the lives of affluent youth amid their private jets, sports cars, and other luxury bags.

Web3 refers to the possibility of digital luxury as it introduces the possibility of certifying the possession of a digital good and its authenticity.

David Klingbeil

A good way to understand how Web3 can be a game changer is to look at the phenomenon of PFP NFTs, where an NFT is used as a profile picture. Some NFTs, such as Bored Apes or Cool Cats, grant their holder a status comparable to owning a luxury item. This trend even affected Alexandre Arnault, CEO of Tiffany&Co, who replaced his Twitter profile picture with a CryptoPunk. And if this phenomenon is reserved for early adopters for the time being, it is reminiscent of this quote from author William Gibson: “The future is all here but it is notly distributed.”

Finally, Web3 is the reflection of an entire market to be conquered. The development of cryptocurrencies has spawned a large number of crypto millionaires called “whales”. Perhaps the most famous of these are the Winklevoss brothers who accused Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their Facebook idea and getting $30 million from him. After investing this amount in bitcoins, they are now at the head of a fortune estimated to be well over $6 billion. And they’re far from the only ones to have benefited from this digital gold rush… However, it’s legitimate to wonder whether these “whales” will decide to spend their fortunes in the same way as traditional luxury customers. Would they rather buy Hermès bags or turn to digital goods such as NFTs, such as the Bored Ape #2087 that sold for around $2.3 million? Or maybe they prefer digital clothing for their avatar, like the virtual dress sold for $9,500 by the start-up The Manufacturer?

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