Web3 and metaverse are garnering mixed reactions from tech experts, but innovative Indians are going for the kill…
(February 16, 2022) In just the past two weeks, the who’s who of the tech world including Alphabet, Facebook owner Meta, Microsoft and many others have committed themselves to investing and innovating in Web3 and metaverse. For starters, Web3 is a futuristic, democratic and decentralised way of using and leveraging the internet, while metaverse is a virtual world built within Web3. Global Indian decodes.
The breathless boosterism around blockchain and related technologies is setting up for a crash.
– Tim O’Reilly, founder, O’Reilly Media
Red alertBut the godfather of the internet Tim O’Reilly, who created the world’s first website and coined the term ‘Web 2.0’ is sounding loud alarm bells. He has gone on record stating things rather bluntly and believes that the Web3 movement reeks of the pre- Web 2.0 dotcom bust. In his words, “The breathless boosterism around blockchain and related technologies is setting up for a crash.” With sky-high valuations of startups, and the hullabaloo around these technologies, he believes that it is premature to celebrate. He recently told Forbes, “Just like the pre-Web 2.0 days, we are seeing an incredible valuation bubble that’s really not ready for prime time. It’s like we are in 1983 with Web3, and we have a long way to go. We will not realise its feasibility until the current bubble bursts, and for now, we are just in the middle of the Web 2.0 bubble.” His forecast about metaverse is scarier. He believes that metaverse is probably a decade or more away from being really useful. In other words, theoretically, it’s all bright and sunny, but in terms of real-world use, these technologies might be far away from seeing light of day.
… but Indian innovators are playing bold
As though operating in a parallel universe (or metaverse), Indian origin innovators are rapidly embracing the metaverse, Web3, crypto and all the auxiliary technologies that form the new-age tech bubble.
Giving wings to metaverse dreamsNikil Viswanathan is the gang leader of enthusiasts embracing these modern technologies. Having started his professional career as a programme management intern in 2008 at Microsoft, the 34-year-old is today co-founder and CEO, Alchemy, the first and biggest developer platform for Web3 applications. His career graph includes names like Google, Facebook, teaching at Stanford University, and a handful of startup founding endeavours. Recently, Alchemy announced that it raised a $200 million equity round funded by an array of existing and new investors. The company boasts of a client list that includes the biggest names in the industry. Just four months ago, Alchemy had raised $250 million funding, making it one of the fastest turnaround success stories with an Indian at the helm. Alchemy is fast realising its mission to “building a decentralised superhighway, accelerating the speed of the countless blockchain, NFT and crypto projects – ultimately sparking Web3’s wildfire growth.” Nikil envisions a future where developers across the world help realise their metaverse dreams.
Finding love in the metaverseMetaverse has found a romantic connection with IIT Kharagpur Class of 1993, the Ohio State University, and Texas Instruments. It is that of Shar Dubey (Short for Sharmistha), who was born in Jamshedpur, and was Sundar Pichai’s classmate back in the day. Today, Shar is the CEO of the $40 billion Match Group conglomerate, the owners of Tinder, OKCupid, Hinge, PlentyOfFish and other dating apps. While her social anxiety during growing years was one of the guiding reasons for her to be at the helm of a virtual dating revolution, Shar was recognised as one of the 50 most influential women of 2021 by Fortune, partly because of the strong stand she took against a rather regressive abortion law passed by the Texas administration. In her most recent earnings call, Shar announced that Match sees the metaverse as an opportunity for the company to fulfill its mission of helping people make ‘meaningful connections’ through the company’s platform. But instead of swiping right or left, digital avatars will be interacting with each other. She stated, “Now, the technology that is relevant to our world is the one that allows us to create experiences online where people can meet each other, discover each other more serendipitously in real time through shared experiences in a way that is more akin to how they would do in real life.” In simpler words, Match hopes that its entry into the metaverse will create a virtual club where singles can mingle in rooms together in cyberspace based on mutual interests.
Industry biggies joining the party
Homegrown Indian technology biggies are also questioning the alarm bells that Tim O’Reilly is sounding. And it’s not all fun and games. Recently, Tech Mahindra has been recognised for developing more than 60 blockchain-based products spanning telecom, media and entertainment, manufacturing, retail and energy. Its traceability solution for global vaccine supply, VaccineLedger was specifically impressive. The solution helps in predicting and preventing failures in supply chains, including problems related to wastage through expired vaccines, stock-outs, and counterfeiting. “As part of NXT.NOW framework, which aims to enhance ‘Human Centric Experience’, Tech Mahindra plans to focus on investing in emerging technologies and solutions that enable digital transformation and meet the evolving needs of the customer,” says Rajesh Dhuddu, VP & practice leader, blockchain & cybersecurity, Tech Mahindra,
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