Venture Capitalist at Theory

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2 minute read / Jun 16, 2022 /

What's Better than a Cookie? A Wallet - How Crypto Will Revolutionize Marketing

Suppose a VC gave you, a web3 marketer, $50m to spend to acquire as many users as possible? How would you do it? Conference sponsorships? Cross-DAO messaging in Discord? Sponsored social? It would be a challenge to drive any efficiency.

The past isn’t much help, either. Web2 marketing channels don’t apply because they employ third-party cookies, a technology Google will phase out at the end of 2022. Third-party cookies enable marketers to advertise to users who they haven’t “met” online yet. Third-party cookies encrust information about which sites I’ve visited.

But history does serve as a conceptual guide. During the past three platform shifts, gaming ushered in billions of users: Yahoo Games for the internet; Facebook gaming for web2; iOS for mobile. Those ecosystems thrived because they offered large-scale, inexpensive distribution.

Marketers can’t do that today in crypto. For a thousand web3 apps to bloom, paid acquisition channels must succeed. They are digital MiracleGro.

What if a crypto wallet replaced the crumbling cookie?

Wallets resemble cookies in some ways and improve upon them in others. Like a cookie, a wallet is a unique, anonymous identifier. Applications can create wallets on a user’s behalf and append metadata, just like a cookie,. In addition, a user can exert influence and control over each.

Better than a cookie, the wallet records purchases on-chain and makes them public. Imagine being able to segment and target based on millions of users’ purchasing history in real-time.

The wallet architecture also eliminates the opaque sea of intermediaries clouding the ad marketplace. Apps could encode user metadata as an NFT governed by a smart contract that enforces royalties. Data collectors/sellers would be paid seamlessly with each use.

Obstacles exist: Blockchain transaction costs are real, but fees will fall over time. In addition, marrying a wallet with marketing data may be anathema to the prevailing crypto ethos. Questions about regulation also need to be investigated.

We are a long way from that vision today. But it’s ripe for startups to pursue. The incumbent marketing hegemons aren’t prepared for this new world with limited knowledge of blockchains and systems architected for cookies.

When the cookie does crumble, it will be replaced by a wallet. That’s good news because the fastest way to a marketer’s heart has never been through their stomach.

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