- Paris Blockchain Week 2023 featured key industry speakers and major brands with big plans for Web3.
- Decentralization, user experience, and the role of culture were key themes of the conference.
- Culture is key for Web3, but not all players shared what this culture would and should be.
This year’s Paris Blockchain Week brought together major crypto players and brands just entering the space.
Among the keynote speakers were Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier, and Algorand founder Silvio Micali. These speakers and more discussed the blockchain industry’s current state and future direction.
Additionally, major brands showcased their plans for integrating Web3 technology, while startups presented new solutions for onboarding new users.
Some of the conference’s key themes included the importance of decentralization, user experience, and the role of culture in Web3.
Overall, the conference revealed the diverse perspectives and challenges facing the Web3 ecosystem as it evolves.
Paris Blockchain Week Puts Focus on Decentralization
Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin kicked off the event with a keynote on the importance of decentralized networks in traditional finance.
Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier delivered a speech on the importance of Bitcoin in the current financial landscape. The biggest cryptocurrency by market cap also has the most decentralized network. However, Gauthier also said that the Bitcoin community must learn to accept reasonable criticism of Bitcoin.
Tomer Weller, VP of Product at the Stellar Development Foundation, provided a more critical view of the current state of Web3. He discussed the “lies” we tell ourselves about smart contracts. He went hard on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), saying it was so bad that its developer abandoned it for Polkadot. He also highlighted a lack of expertise in smart contract development.
Algorand founder Silvio Micali emphasized the importance of decentralization and ownership for Web3. Blockchain networks need to enable users to move their assets easily to other networks with trustless bridge protocols.
User Experience and Web 2.5
While crypto natives focused on decentralization, major brands focused on user experience. Web3 will become a reality when average users don’t have to know they are using it.
Franck le Moal, Chief Information and Technology Officer at LVMH, explained how the brand would implement Web3. The fashion consortium aims to use Web3 to boost the value of its products. This includes tracking authenticity, building loyalty programs, and more.
“A blockchain is immutable,” le Moal said. “As such, it is something that creates a link to tradition and heritage.”
A number of startups at the event presented their own centralized solutions for onboarding new users. One is Web3 Antivirus, a browser extension that automatically blocks malicious wallet transactions.
Culture, Ideology, and Web3
The conference revealed that major brands are much more willing to compromise Web3 values, such as decentralization and custody.
Nelly Mensah, VP of Digital Transformation and Emerging Solutions at LVMH, said that “Web3 ideology” hurts user adoption. Instead, she argued for “Web2.5,” which uses Web3 tech while following the Web2 user patterns.
On the opposite end were investors like Igneus Terrenus of BitDAO. For them, Web3 is exactly about the values of the early internet, such as ownership and decentralization. He explained that compromising these values means giving control to the “rent-seeking middlemen.”
As the Web3 industry continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how debates like these shape the direction of its development.
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