Web3, Blockchain and NFT Projects are urging to Stop Calling it Crypto as it has become “Old School”
Big companies are abandoning terms like NFTs and Web3, partly due to the bad name and bear market. Words and names have had a huge importance in the commerce and economy since the inception of the crypto-market. There was a time when companies used to add the “blockchain” words to their names and would see their valuations sky-rocketed. But now these terms have turned into toxic words and people are trying to distance themselves from such terms. If you are looking for NFTs on Social media, you will have to search for “digital collectibles” instead of NFTs; else you might never find one.
Brynly Llyr, head of the blockchain and digital assets of the World Economic Forum, recently suggested that the crypto market should renounce old names. And instead, rebrand itself as “decentralized systems.” If you think about it, it’s not that bad of an idea at all, as these terms and jargon have turned into a safe haven for all the digital pirates. A big Bitcoin mining company, known as Riot Blockchain, has recently rebranded itself and is now called as Riot Platforms. Sounds funny right?
The Web3 Rebranding?
The terms "crypto," "Web3," and "NFTs" have become associated with get-rich-quick schemes and bad actors. NBA All-Star legend Baron Davis says he doesn’t want to associate himself with the term “NFT”, naming his photo and video rights management platform as SLiC Images. Even the word "metaverse," which was supposed to represent the ultimate evolution of the decentralized web, has been hijacked by Mark Zuckerberg to pivot Facebook.
The Gen Z and Fear of Nomenclature
The younger generation has been hesitant of non-traditional investments and their fear has been further strengthened by the nomenclature. Katie Barron, head of retail at trends intelligence firm Stylus, argues that in order to attract this young generation, we may have to reconsider all the industry, especially the naming system. “I do think these terms have become somewhat toxic—particularly crypto and NFTs—partly because the initial feeding frenzy was pitched as being synonymous with a brave new ultra-democratized world in which everyone could win big by investing in or making digital assets,” she added.
The crypto gold rush failed to take off with the masses because it did not address problems that everyday people could understand and relate to. Dickon Laws, global head of innovation services at advertising agency Ogilvy, blames it not just on the nomenclature but because of “terrible product-market fit” as well. “Nobody has made Web3 relevant or accessible for the masses, or really spent the time trying to understand how it solves ‘mass’ market problems or improves consumers’ lives,” he said.
To Rebrand or Not To Rebrand Crypto? That is the Question
Millions of Reddit users are snapping up their "collectible avatars" as the rebranding of the NFTs as "digital collectibles." It shows a promising result and is successful so far. Alexandre Tsydenkov, the founder of the NFT Paris conference, is having mixed thoughts on whether changing the nomenclature impacts the market or not. “Everyone says ‘digital collectible’ works. Is it better branding than NFT? I don't know,” he said.
So the important question here is that is it necessary to change the name if one wants to survive in Web3. Some big names in the games industry are ignoring the pushback and pressing ahead. We see Ubisoft doubling down on blockchain and Square Enix launching an NFT game in February 2023.
However, Katie Baron founds the common naming unattractive and thinks it’s definitely worth reconsidering. She said, “I’d advocate for either contextualizing it in [your company’s] other comms, or removing it. A lot of the most compelling metaverse-building companies don’t include it—look at Journey or AnamXR. Blockchain especially—naming a company based on a shared, immutable ledger is a little un-sexy!”
Final Word About Whitewashing Web3
In the end, the crypto space needs to focus on understanding how it can solve mass-market problems or improve consumers' lives. The industry needs to work on creating a product-market fit that is relevant and accessible for the masses. And as for the terminology, it may not matter much in the long run. What's important is that the industry focuses on the benefits of the technology, rather than the terms used to describe it.
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