the insider

Valentina Drofa, Founder of Drofa Comms, for City A.M. Web 3.0. Developers need to create solid products, not endless hype

Valentina Drofa, the Founder and CEO of Drofa Comms, recently had a conversation with the journalists from City A.M. on the latest technologies like metaverse and Web 3.0 and their future. Ms. Drofa shared her thoughts on what the virtual reality industry is like now and how quickly it will be able to replace the physical world for us.

The fintech industry is developing extremely fast, creating more and more new concepts that could improve our world. However, such a rapid growth of the market entails problems, which were described by Ms. Drofa. In her opinion, Web 3.0 currently looks more like a buzzword for crypto developers than a real movement that gives tangible results. She justified this argument by drawing a parallel to the ICO, which was popular a few years ago. It’s enough to go five years back to see a warning sign. In 2017, ICO introduced an alternative method for crypto developers to raise money for their projects.

Then, on the wave of hype, new projects appeared almost every day, pulling money out of investors who did not understand the new industry very well and its value. As a result, this bubble burst, leading the market to collapse in 2018.

If we look at where these projects are now, we will see only a few really outstanding companies that have been able to carry their ideas through these years. The rest either did not survive the crisis or simply disappeared along with the money invested in them.

All this suggests that for this period of time, the ideas about web 3.0 are still just castles in the air, ready to fall apart from the slightest breeze. Despite the fact that many large corporations want to participate in the development of Web 3.0, most often in the pursuit of profit, the technology itself continues to be ephemeral. People still don’t understand what the practical value of this technology is and how it can be used.

In addition, even blockchain technology, which is a critically important element of web 3.0, continues to remain only a mystical word for many people and businesses. It has not fully taken root on a global scale, despite a lot of talk about how it can transform almost any industry. Although there are forecasts that the blockchain market will grow from less than $1 billion in 2017 to almost $163 billion by 2027, the current adoption of the technology outside of crypto remains too slow.

However, the market is always striving for something new, even if it is new — it is only a small point on the horizon. The idea of web 3.0 still captures the minds of many people, especially those who have already mastered such technologies as blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFT, etc. For most, it is just a concept that requires a detailed description and explanation of its value.

Ms. Drofa has a similar position regarding the metaverse concept. The story of the metaverse became especially popular after Facebook rebranded to Meta, stating that now it is practically an ambassador of this new technology to the masses. Like the Web 3.0 market, investors are investing a huge amount of money in the metaverse. Just take a look at all the actions related to the purchase of virtual land in digital spheres, such as Decentraland, the Sandbox, Axie Infinity, as well as many other projects in this sector.

Houses, lands, clothes, accessories and sometimes even food is actively sold in the form of NFTs in the metaverse, bringing fabulous sums of money to their creators. Since 2021, metaverse projects have been receiving huge amounts of funding from investors. While Axie Infinity creator Skye Mavis raised $152 million in October at a valuation of almost $3 billion, the Sandbox raised $93 million in November. In March 2022, the creator of the yacht club Bored Ape Yuga Labs closed a huge round of funding in the amount of $ 450 million to create a virtual world Yugaverse.

But, again, what is the use of owning assets in the metaverse beyond purely speculative value, especially on platforms like Axie Infinity, where the functionality associated with virtual earth has not even been deployed?

The social factor is another point to think about. Some argue that the idea of the metaverse is that people will be able to transfer almost all their lives to the virtual world. It sounds fascinating like something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie or a book we read as children. 

But if we recall such stories, we will see a dystopian picture of the world, where people are forced to resort to virtual forms of communication, because they are physically limited in this. These are either state prohibitions on communication, or even the complete isolation of sovereign cities from each other. But people are social beings, they don’t want to live apart from each other. The same can be said about the concept of the metaverse. What is the point of people transferring their whole life to the virtual world if they can enjoy it in the real one? We strive for personal communication, which is unlikely to be replaced by anything else in the coming decades.

Even though the years of the covid 19 pandemic somewhat distanced people from each other, now we see how many people willingly return to their former lives. And this aspect is really valuable. At the moment, I see no reason to transfer my entire life to the metaverse” — stated Ms. Drofa.

At the end of the interview, Ms. Drofa said that now the market is replete with various projects and proposals related to the metaverse or web 3.0. However, their value for the development of these technologies is not always obvious, and sometimes not at all. Major players like Meta can really influence the development of this sphere, which cannot be said about numerous projects that are purely speculative in nature. 

Developers and people involved should take into account what value Web 3.0, virtual worlds and other new technologies can really bring to the world as a whole. Otherwise, it is likely to turn into another illusory concept from a science fiction series.

Read the full version of the article on City A.M.