- Web 3 promises to be the next generation of the internet, but it has a long way to go.
- Livepeer, Audius, Helium, and Arweave are all interesting Web 3 projects to watch.
Put these Web 3 tokens on your watchlist today.
If NFTs and cryptocurrency were the buzzwords for 2021, then 2022 may turn out to be the year of Web 3. The concept has been around for a while, and it means different things to different people. But that hasn't stopped a steady stream of projects jumping on the Web 3 bandwagon. We've picked out four that are worth having on your radar.
What is Web 3?
The easiest way to understand Web 3 is as the next generation of the internet. It's about increased transparency, decentralization, and giving users control of their own data. Rather than big companies acting as intermediaries when we surf the web or post on social media, Web 3 puts individuals in the driving seat.
Imagine the amount of time we spend online. It might be spent surfing the net, contributing to communities on social media, playing games, or a myriad of other activities. A central theme to Web 3 projects is that you -- not a big company -- could profit from those activities. For example, instead of a company receiving advertising revenue by selling your screen time, you could receive a portion of that cash.
There's a lot of overlap between Web 3 and cryptocurrencies in general. After all, one of the exciting things about blockchain is that it takes the middleman out of a host of transactions and that same decentralization is a key feature of Web 3. The projects below all epitomize the idea of replacing big central bodies with networks of individual users and rewarding them for their efforts.
1. Livepeer (LPT)
Video is an increasingly popular way to share and consume content online. However, the process of formatting it for different devices and bandwidths -- known as transcoding -- can be very expensive. Through Livepeer, individuals can contribute their computer processing power to form a network that transcodes videos. Livepeer doesn't need lots of expensive hardware, individuals earn rewards, and companies can produce video content for a fraction of the cost.
2. Audius (AUDIO)
There's been a rush of new decentralized music platforms recently, and Audius is one of the more established and better known options. For years, musicians have complained the existing structure doesn't fairly reward artists for their contributions. This is the problem that Audius seeks to solve. This easy-to-use decentralized music streaming platform allows artists to get paid directly by their fans.
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Last summer, Audius announced a streaming partnership with TikTok. The deal means Audius users can share content on TikTok with one click. This came as a surprise to those in the music industry who expected it to partner with Apple Music or Spotify.
3. Helium (HNT)
Helium brings a decentralized approach to wireless infrastructure. It uses long range wifi hotspots to power a huge decentralized wireless network. Individuals run hotspots from their houses or offices and earn HNT tokens for contributing to the network coverage. The hotspots support the Internet of Things, which are a host of devices that talk to each other. These include pet collars, smart fridges, thermostats, and even self-driving cars.
4. Arweave (AR)
Arweave is all about data storage. Calling itself the "permaweb," it's essentially a hard drive that never forgets. Rather than paying a monthly fee for data cloud storage, Arweave offers permanent storage for a one-time fee. Individuals with spare hard drive space can contribute it to the Arweave network and earn AR tokens.
There are several decentralized data storage projects, but Arweave stands out for its technology and its content moderation feature. Individuals who contribute hard drive space can choose what type of content they are willing to host.
It's early days for Web 3 tokens
What the tokens above have in common is that they use decentralized networks to tackle real-world issues. It's about sharing bandwidth, storage space, and processing power -- or entirely changing ownership models. I'm also watching Web 3 projects in the social media space, but it's too soon to know which ones have real potential.
Since many cryptocurrency projects only solve problems inside the crypto world, having a tangible real-world use case makes these tokens stand out. However, it is still very early days for Web 3 and there are a lot of things we don't know about how this space will evolve.
For example, these projects may have gained first mover advantage, but they could still be overtaken by newer cryptos with different technologies. Plus, established tech giants are unlikely to give up market share easily. As this space evolves, we're seeing a tug of war between centralized and decentralized projects, and there's no guarantee the decentralized ones will win.
Livepeer, Audius, Helium, and Arweave are available from several top cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S. As with any cryptocurrencies, only invest money you can afford to lose. These tokens could generate high returns, but they are high risk projects that could also fail. If you're branching out into Web 3 tokens, do your research and make sure you understand the risks.
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We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
Emma Newbery owns Livepeer, Helium, Audius, and Arweave.
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