Tag: Blockchain

Building Web 3.0 Business for Clients: Opportunities for Strategy, Technology, and Consulting Providers | Blog

The next-generation exponential technology of Web 3.0 holds promising opportunities for brand, technology, marketing, and business strategy providers to partner with enterprises in five key service areas. To learn more about the opportunities in this emerging market, read on.  

Multiple consumer and business brands have taken the first steps in experimenting with Web 3.0 business by building non-fungible tokens (NFTs), purchasing virtual lands in metaverse platforms, organizing virtual events, and creating enabling platforms.

But building a Web 3.0 business goes beyond just creating NFTs for a company and requires embracing the concepts of Web 3.0 business, the creator economy, decentralization, social commerce, immersive experience, trust, and sustainability.

As enterprises like Ferrari, Starbucks, JP Morgan, McDonald’s, Samsung, NBA, Walmart, Disney, Google, Nike, Oracle, EY, and Stripe begin to see traction in this space, they will seek to partner with brand, technology, marketing, and business strategy providers who understand this ecosystem to scale initiatives and drive newer ones.

Let’s explore the following five key demand areas where providers can offer their expertise.

Business strategy services: Web 3.0 business needs to be conceptualized and aligned with the enterprise strategy. Beyond that, service partners should also be bold enough to push clients to adopt Web 3.0 business models that may not be entirely related to their existing businesses. This has already started to happen and has blurred the boundaries between industries and company classifications.

Normally enterprises start with building NFT offerings for their brand to engage consumers. NFT design and implementation can create short-term demand and may eventually become a small part of overall Web 3.0 initiatives. Many enterprises use celebrities, while others use crowd contributions, technology, and various other models to build NFTs. Professional service partners need to understand this complex landscape and advise clients accordingly. With an estimated 15,000 Web 3.0 start-ups, making the correct selection is important.

At the beginning of a Web 3.0 journey, clients will seek services tailored to their specific industry, such as an automotive company creating a virtual showroom in metaverse; an apparel company using NFTs to trade for physical goods; a bank building a Web 3.0-enabled payment system; or an energy company incentivizing customers to sustainably consume power with crypto assets. In addition, many clients may want finance, procurement, and Human Resources to leverage Web 3.0 principles. Service providers who support such enterprise functions need to be at the forefront to serve this demand or risk near-term losses.

Architecture and platform services: Recently, leading cloud vendors such as Google and AWS launched blockchain node services. In addition, start-ups are focusing on Web 3.0 infrastructure services to enable out-of-the-box offerings. Start-ups such as InfStones, ChainSafe, and Alchemy collectively raised US$300 million to enhance their blockchain infrastructure offerings.

Service providers need to work with these vendors to build enabling infrastructure for clients’ Web 3.0 journey. Even for seemingly simpler initiatives such as building NFTs, clients have multiple platform decisions to make, such as NFT marketplaces, wallets, and underlying blockchain. Not only do service providers need to understand these complex technologies and work with an extended ecosystem, but these firms also need to be thought partners to guide clients in the right direction and drive initiatives.

In addition, the core offerings for edge, network, and pervasive computing must be delivered. Unlike cloud-based workloads, the Web 3.0 ecosystem will heavily rely on edge processing. Materially high network bandwidth and resiliency will be required. Therefore, ongoing hyper-automated technology operations services will need to be amplified using next-gen observability, resiliency, and predictive maintenance. Service partners will have to focus on the right messaging infrastructure, decide between off/on-chain computing, build digital simulations, and create the underlying Web 3.0 core for their clients, much like they did for cloud services.

Brand and experience services: At the core of Web 3.0 businesses is the experience it can create for end consumers. Branding and experience service providers such as Dentsu and Publicis are already investing in the Web 3.0 ecosystem. Moreover, technology providers such as Adobe and Salesforce have also launched offerings to address this client need. Although “user centricity” has gained pace in recent years, Web 3.0 businesses need to take this even further. Brands such as Adidas have already experimented with token-gated communities and provide exclusive access to assets.

The enabling technologies, platforms, and environments now available to build such experience offerings are powerful but complex. Socially distributed networks, creator platforms, crypto payments, generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), enhanced reality, and various other solutions have the power to create previously unimagined customer experiences. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) have to become extremely tech-savvy to explore the potential Web 3.0 business has for their brand strategies.

Software and integration services: Web 3.0 business requires thousands of software to work together. Enterprises will build many of these internally to drive differentiation. However, many back-end software will be SaaS-based and bought through vendors that will need integration. In addition, numerous Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will be built and purchased that will need to work in unison.

This will not just be the software we see today but will have AI/Machine Learning (ML) and other advanced data technologies as their core. These context-aware software will need to leverage advanced auto-development, auto-tuning, and auto-management concepts to be more efficient and sustainable. Rather than being cloud-first, these software will have to be edge-first and compatible across various hardware, unlike browser-based systems. Building lightweight yet rich workloads will be a complex engineering problem to solve for.

Governance, risk, and cyber security services: The legalities of Web 3.0 businesses are unknown, and clients need significant help from service partners to navigate this complex new pioneer. Enterprises will need assistance deciphering contractual obligations, data privacy, personal identity, cyber security, and interpreting platform terms and conditions.

The recent collapse of crypto exchange FTX is a good example. Some law firms have found the terms and conditions of popular Metaverse platforms extremely one-sided. If these platforms shut down their business, the consumer would lose all their virtual assets. Service partners need to work with clients to help them understand the risks and build recovery solutions. Providers also will need to deliver cyber security, content moderation, trust, and related security and risk services so clients feel secure that customers will trust their Web 3.0 business initiatives.

In addition, given Web 3.0 enabling technologies are under scrutiny for their environmental impact, clients will look for service partners who have sustainability as a primary offering. Environmental sustainability will take near-term priority for such initiatives.

Moreover, massive opportunities will emerge to build technology workloads by adopting Web 3.0 concepts. In the same way clients adopted Web 2.0 social media and digital commerce to enhance their businesses, they will want to adopt business-contextualized Web 3.0 technologies. The key difference is that Web 3.0 will propel enterprises to engage with stakeholders in previously unknown ways, learn about newer architectures and monetization models, and embrace the creator economy – all pushing them beyond what they are now and realizing the art of the possible.

For more on Everest Group’s research in this area, see our reports on the following topics: NFTs, Decentralized Finance, Metaverse, crypto assets, Blockchain, and trust. If you are a brand management, technology, or strategy consulting provider, please reach out to [email protected] to share your experience in building Web 3.0 business for clients.

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Top 9 Blockchain Platforms to Consider in 2022 | In the News

Interest in blockchain platforms has been growing significantly as a way to streamline supply chains, improve traceability, simplify trade, and improve financial transactions. A lot of this interest started with the speculative frenzy surrounding Bitcoin, which is based on an older blockchain platform that faces challenges with energy consumption and speed.

Modern blockchain platforms have been developed to help overcome these limitations and provide practical value for other business uses and applications. “We are seeing multiple enterprises adopt blockchain platforms for some of their application needs,” said Suseel Menon, Senior Analyst at Everest Group.

Read more in TechTarget

 

Deconstructing the Digital Assets Revolution – What Financial Institutions Can Learn from the Meteoric Rise of Coinbase | Blog

Digital assets have come a long way from only being Bitcoin to a complete array of increasingly used financial assets. Coinbase’s striking rise has demonstrated a growing acceptance for cryptocurrency that could stick with traditional investors. Is the future for digital currency real, and what obstacles do banks and financial institutions face to compete in this growing crypto market? Read on to learn more of our insights on the next-generation currency movement.  

Growing digital asset options

When Coinbase became the first major cryptocurrency start-up to go public on a U.S. stock market this April, the world started giving crypto more legitimacy and the company’s astronomical valuation has garnered great attention.

Along with the skyrocketing value of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins and Ethereum, Coinbase – the preferred platform for U.S. investors to purchase these assets – has grown ninefold over the past year. The investment trend over the past five years suggests that cryptocurrency valuation will cross US$24 trillion by 2027.

This rocketing rise can be attributed to increased interest by retail and institutional investors that started investing in Bitcoins and Altcoins as another option to falling interest rates across the world. Other crypto assets such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) traded nine times in the first half of 2021.

Crypto assets have experienced great growth since their early days. Some of the new types (described below in Exhibit 1 and 2) have unique use cases and designs.

Exhibit 1

Picture1 1

Exhibit 2

Picture4

Investors paying attention

Improved technology and better financial services have fueled a remarkable demand in digital assets, especially by institutional investors, over the past 18 months.  Investor groups are getting involved in the market for various reasons, including:

  • Retail investors – improved personal finance management, easier payment and remittance services, and increased transparency offered by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) through openly verifiable and immutable transaction history databases
  • Institutional and High Net Worth (HNW) investors – lower operational costs, high reliability and security, faster transaction processing and almost real-time tracing of contracts and payments, and improved access to liquidity for fundraising

Technology firms partnering

As investor interest grows, several FinTechs and BigTechs are investing in technology and infrastructure to support digital assets. Google has partnered with exchange platforms Paxful and Coinbase to add crypto-based transactions on Google Pay. This also allows users to buy Bitcoins and pay using them. Similarly, leading banking software firms such as Temenos recently partnered with specialist digital asset and blockchain infrastructure player Taurus to help banks bridge the gap between traditional and digital assets.

Early access to data will give FinTechs and BigTechs an edge to better understand investor profiles, investment willingness, and funding goals of a large pool of clients. These larger investor groups are also nimble enough to partner with smaller FinTechs and InsurTechs to provide specialty services through a common digital platform.

Opportunities for banks

Since banks would need to cut through bureaucracy, change management challenges, and garner huge financial resources, it is not likely they will develop these technologies quickly enough for the market’s fast pace. However, we believe that increased participation from traditional financial institutions in managing digital assets will pave the way for digital assets in mainstream banking and payments systems as regulations improve.

Large financial institutions such as BNY Mellon recently invested in building a team of technology and business professionals to develop products and platforms that will allow customers to manage cryptocurrency alongside all their other assets. The custodian also received permission from regulatory bodies to offer crypto custodian services in February 2021.

Similarly, Singapore’s DBS Bank received approval earlier this year from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to launch the DBS Digital Exchange for tokenized assets. Global banks such as Deutsche Bank are also building services such as institutional-grade hot and cold storage with insured protection for custody services. Huge potential exists to tap into business segments such as wealth management, estate services, financial planning, and asset services in crypto markets since the current penetration is very low.

To stay ahead of the curve, banks should follow this three-pronged strategy to build, partner, and acquire digital assets skillsets in the market:

  • Partner and collaborate: Traditional financial institutions will face several issues in developing
    in-house solutions to adopt new financial technologies, such as updating legacy systems and regularly innovating solutions offered to remain competitive in the market and keep up with global regulations. These institutions can partner with FinTechs specializing in developing and servicing such solutions at a global scale in a plug-and-play model
  • Build and develop: Large financial services firms are developing capabilities and skillsets to stay ahead of the competition in the crypto asset services market. Large Banking and Financial Services (BFS) firms such as Wells Fargo have introduced cryptocurrency funds focused on high net-worth individuals. Similarly, JP Morgan has already tested its stablecoin, JPM Coin, which has been pegged against the U.S. Dollar, and offers a solution to cross-border trade between banks and corporates over blockchain
  • Acquire and invest: Financial institutions can nurture and acquire FinTechs start-ups that are aligned with the future of financial technology. They can also directly acquire solutions already developed in the market to enhance their platforms in serving their customers with the latest technologies

 Exhibit 3

Picture3

Regulatory and other obstacles to overcome

While its potential is promising, banks still face many challenges around regulations, disaster management, private key recovery, insurance-backed custody, and systems for fraud prevention. The biggest roadblock for BFS firms is the lack of clarity of a regulatory framework around digital assets. The process of building a regulatory framework for digital assets will take several years and be iterative. In the interim, policies that are uncertain and not applicable to digital assets should be brought to the notice of regulators and industry bodies as they continuously evaluate policies and provide clarifications.

Banks and financial institutions also will need to make enormous investments in data and technology systems to manage the Risk and Compliance (R&C) around digital assets. Financial institutions will have to adopt a compliance-by-design approach to build platforms to manage the digital assets transactions and the associated mid- and back-office operations. This will require building new data and technology systems for R&C initiatives as no commercially off-the-shelf software in the market has matured enough to manage scaled compliance workflows and operations for digital assets.

For more insights on digital assets adoption, please read our detailed perspective in the report, Deconstructing the Digital Assets Revolution – What Financial Institutions Can Learn from the Meteoric Rise of Coinbase.

If you would like to share your observations or questions on the evolving digital assets landscape, please reach out to [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].

Collaborative Value Creation Through Network Resource Planner | Blog

Despite the challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession drives many businesses to accelerate innovation in their operating model and find ways to create differentiated value. Is your company looking for new avenues to create value, grow revenue, build resilience and optimize processes? If so, you should pay attention to why leading companies now invest in blockchain technology to build powerful, secure networks that enable collaborative value creation among multiple businesses and even among industries.

Read my blog on Forbes

The Power of Blockchain in the Time of Uncertainty | Webinar

In uncertain times, businesses focus on faster recovery and adapt to new-normals. However, challenges remain among business networks where data quality, integrity, accessibility, and timeliness matter more than ever. With continuous supply chain disruptions, connecting data is becoming essential for business resilience, efficiency, and health.
Blockchain is designed to manage data and processes across organizations and help businesses emerge even stronger. Join the fireside chat with Jason Kelley, General Manager of IBM Blockchain Services and Ronak Doshi, Vice President at Everest Group to learn about the power of blockchain in the time of uncertainty.

When

Thursday, August 06, 2020 at 9 AM PDT, 12 PM EST

Where

Register here

Presenters

Ronak Doshi
Vice President
Everest Group

Jason Kelley
General Manager of IBM Blockchain Services
IBM

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