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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Web3 and its future in India

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Got an experience of the Web3 universe at the recently held Web2 India Conference held in Goa.

Let me be brutally honest. I was sceptical even though I can foresee the changing face of the world of technology. I was sceptical not about the Web3 universe in general but in the loopholes that exist in some its basic ideologies especially in cryptocurrency space that get misused by the criminally-minded for nefarious activities. In a world of decentralisation, if there is no regulation and the dependency is solely on self-regulation there is always a tendency for the criminally minded to prey on the innocent in the Web3 universe like in life.

The energy at the Web3 India Conference was infectious and the world was at first unreal to me but I slowly started to traverse into the Web3 universe piqued by the technological advancements it proposes and the sheer energy of its young aficionados.

A recent report by cryptocurrency exchange Ku Coin indicated that youth are more engaged in Web3. 59 percent of surveyed professionals who have worked in Web 3-related industries were under the age of 30. 53 percent of the youth surveyed were pleased with their Web3 careers. They recognised the benefits such as space for growth and innovation as well as work flexibility.

The report further revealed that Web3 employment is flexible, where full-time jobs seem to only take up a relatively small portion of the job market. On 24 percent of the surveyed professionals have worked full-time in the industry.

66 percent of Web3 professionals believe that Web3 leads to a decentralised new world, and 55 percent believe that it defines the future of the internet.

It is also interesting to note in the report that 33 percent of female Web3 professionals have worked as engineers or developers in the industry, the same as their male counterparts. However, women seem to be less entrepreneurial in Web3 companies compared to me – only 27 percent have started their own Web3-related projects or businesses.

Women according to the report generally recognised more benefits of Web3 jobs, especially when it comes to the flexibility and culture of the Web3 workplace. The flexibility offered by Web3-related industries is particularly attractive to female enthusiasts. 53 percent opined that flexible work location is why they are interested in working in Web3.

60 percent of the surveyed female professionals recognised their unique values in facilitating better culture in Web3 communities. However, 33 percent of them mentioned that the ‘Bro’ culture as a challenge working in Web3, and initiatives beyond recruitment are needed to encourage women to step into Web3, such as building educational resources and women-led communities, as well as supporting female leadership and investors.

The main challenge the Ku Coin report threw up in the Web3 space for India is the ability to cope with constant changes in industry know-how, market situations and regulations.

Web3 professionals moot that Web 3 will be a decentralized online ecosystem based on the blockchain, which means web platforms built on Web3 will be owned by users and not by any centralised entity. It simply is built on the concept of decentralisation of the nature of how the Internet is controlled or influenced, and to redirect equal power to the actual content creators.

Web 3 is becoming popular amongst the Indian startup space, and it has been able to secure investments to the tune of over USD 500 million in the past few months alone.

India represents great potential in the form of a growing group of startups working on web3 projects, and the same can help more Indian entrepreneurs make it big globally, opined Rajan Anandan, managing director at Sequoia Capital.

In conversation with Shailendra Katyal, managing director for Lenovo PC and smart devices, India at the Lenovo Tech World India conference, Anandan further stated that Web3 startups in India make for ones with some of the greatest potential among businesses working on software-based products.

He further expressed, “Look at Indian startups in the web3 space, some of them are doing great work – and not just in the crypto space. While there have been some question marks in terms of whether the government would consider crypto to be legal in India or not, startups working on blockchain based web3 projects in India have continued to grow.”

A NASSCOM Industry report on Cryptotech has estimated that over 8 lakh new jobs could be created by the year 2030 in the Indian Web3 industry. Industry analysts worry that this may be impaired by the lack of regulatory clarity, and in the absence of proactive policy formation around Web3. Already Indian Web3 entrepreneurs have started moving to Dubai and Singapore which offer better regulatory space to setup and scale such ventures.

Web3 is the opportunity for India to also decide if it wants to be at the head of the global table in setting how the standards, protocols, policy thinking around Web3 should be formulated for the global society to follow or follow the protocols set by other nations that take the lead in Web3 economy.

I personally believe that India can be a significant leader in the Web3 economy. As a nation we have the brain power, talent, but we also need to bring our policy capabilities to the fore. India needs to shape Web3 as our strategic economic impetus for the 21st century digital economy.

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