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Hot topics in Blockchain and Web3

This is an updated version for Q2 2022, and takes into account the bear market and crypto downturn of 2022. Parts of a previous version of this research has been published in Blockchain Technology Report, by Vienna Business Agency.

Since the creation of Bitcoin as the first blockchain in 2009, many established industry sectors have made use of this technology to various degrees and in different forms. In the past ten years of blockchain, a lot has been discussed, revolutionized, sanctioned and regulated (remember ICOs, the first NFTs, and parachains?) – while the general sentiment is divided into either radical Bitcoiners, or more promiscuitive Blockchainers. The idea of “Blockchain, not Bitcoin”1 exists since 2014, and has met its most extreme point when former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey claimed he wants to launch Web52 based on Bitcoin in June, 2022.

While there are many use-cases imaginable, the financial services industry is the one probably most affected and transformed, with DeFi (decentralized finance) and the Open Finance movement being prominent examples. The main trend of blockchain use lies in the finance sector, with examples such as the previous attempts in developing Libra (Meta, previously Facebook has ended the Libra Saga in July 2022 finally3).

RIAT Institute for Future Cryptoeconomics has quantified trends in Blockchain.

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An initial representation of the Web 3.0 Source: Ethereum Foundation Blog, 18 August 2014

Data sovereignty

Data sovereignty refers to the greatest possible control and command of one’s own data. This concept, also known as “digital sovereignty”, involves being able to handle one’s personal data in a self-determined way. Web3 enables its developers and users to achieve data sovereignty, as well as enabling companies to process personal data in compliance with the GDPR. Topics within this trend include digital identity (self-sovereign identity) and data marketplaces. In the context of the global coronavirus pandemic, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) and the Foundation for Data Protection in Germany warn against COVID-19 tracing apps4. The debate around PEPP-PT and DP3T technologies5 has significantly increased public awareness of data sovereignty in the health sector.

IoT and Blockchain

The Internet of Things has been a trending topic for many years, but it has so far failed to achieve broad distribution. The IoT connects people, places and products and opens up new possibilities for added value. Blockchain could provide the breakthrough moment for the Internet of Things, especially when machines are considered to be their own economic agents. Topics within this trend include open source hardware, machine agency and NFT (Non-Fungible Token).

Fractional ownership

Fractional ownership refers to the option of distributing risks and separating resources from assets such as land or artworks. Although the term has been around for some time, it is only recently that this method has been used in the context of blockchain – predominately in the real estate sector, but increasingly in the areas of art and luxury goods as well. Decentralized governance also allows for possibilities such as distributed resource management. Democratic processes can be applied to these shared resources by means of e-voting. The decentralized method provides a means of managing common property (commons). Sub-topics include decentral autonomous ownership and smart commons.

  1. Levin, J. (2014). ‘I Love the Blockchain, Just Not Bitcoin’. [online] @coindesk. Available at: https://www.coindesk.com/markets/2014/11/16/i-love-the-blockchain-just-not-bitcoin/ [Accessed 2 Jul. 2022].[]
  2. POLITICO (2022). Celsius meltdown and the rise of Web … 5? [online] POLITICO. Available at: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/digital-future-daily/2022/06/13/celsius-meltdown-and-the-rise-of-web-5-00039277 [Accessed 2 Jul. 2022].[]
  3. Napolitano, E. (2022). Meta to Shutter Novi Crypto Payments Wallet in September, Ending Libra Saga. [online] @coindesk. Available at: https://www.coindesk.com/business/2022/07/01/meta-to-shutter-novi-crypto-payments-wallet-in-september-ending-libra-saga/ [Accessed 2 Jul. 2022].[]
  4. Chaos Computer Club (2020). CCC | Corona-Tracing-App: Offener Brief an Bundeskanzleramt und Gesundheitsminister. [online] Available at: https://www.ccc.de/de/updates/2020/corona-tracing-app-offener-brief-an-bundeskanzleramt-und-gesundheitsminister [Accessed 2 Jul. 2022].[]
  5. Powers, B. (2020). European Contact Tracing Consortium Faces Wave of Defections Over Centralization Concerns. [online] @coindesk. Available at: https://www.coindesk.com/policy/2020/04/20/european-contact-tracing-consortium-faces-wave-of-defections-over-centralization-concerns/ [Accessed 2 Jul. 2022].[]