It’s this time of the year again. Time for festivities, for top 10 lists, for New Year resolutions. It’s the time of the year when we look back at the outgoing year. But as we reflect on what has transpired over the past 12 months, we also look forward with renewed hopes and anticipation for the upcoming year. So in the spirit of the festive season, we present you with the major Web3 trends that we believe will dominate the Web3 space in 2023.
Top Web3 trends in 2023
One of the biggest Web3 developments of the past couple of years is the emergence and continued rise of rollups as a viable scaling solution for the Ethereum ecosystem. And while optimistic rollup networks like Arbitrum and Optimism have seemingly gained an early advantage, there is a strong belief within the Ethereum community that zk-rollups will be the way to go in the long run.
One thing that currently gives optimistic rollups an edge, is the fact that tier zero-knowledge counterparts do not have native support for the Ethereum Virtual Machine, which makes them incapable of running smart contracts. This is why zkEVM implementations have become one of the hottest fields in Web3 development and research. We fully expect that this trend will only accelerate over the next 12 months.
In 2023 we expect to see more major Web3 protocols ramping up their efforts to achieve greater client diversity. Ethereum has always been a standout example in this respect, having made sure from the outset that their mainnet (the execution layer, as per the current nomenclature) does not rely on a single software client. They also replicated this approach with Ethereum’s consensus layer – previously known as the Beacon chain – which is currently backed by seven clients.
Client diversity is crucial for having a stable and reliable network. Relying on a single client means that the whole network runs the same software and is, thus, vulnerable to any bugs that might be present in that software. Having several clients developed by different teams makes it far less likely that the same bugs and vulnerabilities would be replicated across the whole network.
In many ways, 2022 was a sobering year for non-fungible tokens. The market experienced a sharp downturn, with shrinking sales volumes signaling waning demand for NFTs. The nascent sector suffered another blow as the core gaming community largely rejected the use of NFTs in video games, forcing major gaming publishers like Ubisoft and EA to walk back any NFT-related plans and initiatives.
This year’s struggles are a clear indication that users need more utility when it comes to NFTs. Fortunately, more and more Web3 developers are already working on potential use cases for the tech. We’re seeing interesting proposals for novel uses like soulbound tokens and storytelling NFTs. Others are exploring how NFTs can bolster loyalty programs, online ticketing platforms, digital notarization and so on.
We fully expect that efforts to unlock the full potential of non-fungible tokens will continue throughout 2023.
Web3 gaming and the Metaverse
Currently, Web3 gaming and the Metaverse space are facing similar challenges to the NFT sector – namely the struggle to reach a mainstream audience. This will likely drive much experimentation in 2023, as developers explore different ways to utilize Web3 technologies for gaming. We’ll likely see devs focusing more on delivering compelling gaming experiences, with Web3 tech being used in more of a supplementary role.
The Ethereum Merge was one of the defining moments of 2023 for the Web3 industry and we cannot imagine it remaining an isolated event. Specifically, one of the key reasons for the Merge was the desire to make blockchain technology greener and more energy-efficient and we expect that this desire will continue to permeate the Web3 space in 2023. We expect to see an increased focus on PoS and other energy-efficient consensus mechanisms.