• Google search interest in the metaverse is down 92% from its peak, highlighting the fall from grace for the concept
• 92% of respondents globally said that they have heard of crypto, but only 8% considered themselves to be very familiar with the concept of Web3
• Web3 often has trouble defining exactly what it is, with abstract and shifting goals frequently changing with time
• Collapse of token economy and pullback in wider crypto space has curtailed enthusiasm
• Web3 is not the metaverse, but there are valuable lessons to be had for tokens with regard to lofty goals and abstract descriptions
Lockdowns, stimulus packages, social distancing – 2021 is a year that could not be more different when looking back on it today. The same holds true within crypto. Bitcoin has sailed past $68,000, El Salvador declared the orange coin as legal tender, and there have been cartoon monkey pictures sold for millions of dollars – alongside the doggy token, Dogecoin, reaching a valuation of $88 billion.
Amidst all the hype, the virtual world ‘metaverse’ was gaining traction as the future. A future world where people could work, hang out, and more, built on top of blockchain rails. However, the clamour has since become a whisper, as data for the search term “metaverse” on Google shows it is down 92% from its peak.
Web3 has also Pulled Back
Whereas the metaverse may be the low-hanging fruit, the more ubiquitous (and somewhat related) concept of Web3 has also failed to maintain its peak enthusiasm. Despite predictions that Web3 was on the verge of a parabolic rise, a YouGov and Consensys survey revealed that 92% of respondents globally have heard of crypto, but only 8% considered themselves to be very familiar with the concept of Web3.
Two things can be inferred from this. Firstly, Web3 has failed to take off as expected; the results not delivering on the lofty promises, the protocols struggling to deliver utility amid a declining crypto environment. Secondly, Web3 has trouble defining itself, as it often ventures into an overly abstract realm.
The same survey indicates enthusiasm around solving the problems which Web3 claims to fix. For instance, 79% want more control over their identity on the Internet, 83% think data privacy is important, and 67% believe they should own the things they make.
People may be interested in these things, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Web3 protocols built to tackle these “problems” will succeed. Once token prices fall, the climate shifts rapidly.
Facebook Rebranding to Meta Sums up Struggles
Mark Zuckerberg was forced to outline on an earnings call that the company’s determination to focus on the metaverse remains intact. “We remain fully committed to the Metaverse vision as well,” he said. “We’ve been working on both of these two major priorities (AI and the metaverse) for many years in parallel now, and in many ways the two areas are overlapping and complementary.”
Meta’s metaverse ventures have hurt shareholders. Last year, its Reality Labs unit, in charge of the Metaverse project, lost $13.7 billion. The year before, a further $10.2 billion was lost.
Unfortunately, the timing of Meta’s rebrand was not ideal. Its commitment to the metaverse and company name change came on October 28th 2021, only thirteen days before the Bitcoin price peak and the height of the COVID-driven crypto bonanza.
Meta represents the exact antithesis of what many Web3 believers desire. A dominant big tech company with a questionable history and public image. And Web3 is not the metaverse, but there are valuable lessons to be had for tokens with regard to lofty goals and abstract descriptions.
The entire crypto sector is hurting badly, not just metaverse and Web3 tokens. Bitcoin remains over 55% off its high. The macro environment has been problematic and risk assets have struggled across the board, with interest rates hiked above 5%. Search volume for Bitcoin is even at two-year lows.
The damage to metaverse coins has been worse, with the top currencies all down at least 84%, with an average 92% drop. It’s been a rough ride for all of crypto, but for metaverse, it has nearly decimated the still-nascent concept.
For the projects still around, examining the travails of metaverse coins could be a valuable lesson. If you use our data, we would appreciate a link back to https://coinjournal.net. Crediting our work with a link helps us to keep providing you with data analysis research.