As part of our deep dive into how companies are developing strategy for Web3 and the metaverse, we’ve been collecting examples of how companies have already begun using Web3 technology to enhance their business models and engage customers. Here are some of the ways that big players in media, tech, retail, and financial services have been experimenting with NFTs, cryptocurrency wallets, blockchain, and more.
The Associated Press
Objective: Sales / Community Building
Initiative: The Associated Press entered the NFT sphere with its own marketplace built on Xooa, a platform for creating NFT marketplaces. The AP sells photographs taken by its photojournalists, giving users exclusive rights to the original photography. Since launching the marketplace in late January, AP has facilitated “drops” for its NFTs, which are minted on the Polygon blockchain. The project aimed to create a community of collectors who share an interest in photography. According to the AP, profits from the NFTs go back to the organization to further its goal of fair and accurate news coverage.
More info: The Manual
Objective: Consumer Engagement / Facilitating Transactions
Initiative: Cryptocurrency company Coinbase has launched its own NFT marketplace, Coinbase Marketplace. Users can rely on a variety of cryptocurrency wallets to buy, sell, and trade on the platform. The platform includes social features, so that users can not only buy and sell but also follow, like, and comment on others’ NFTs. The social features are designed to create a more cohesive community around NFTs. All of a user’s NFTs — either owned or created — are displayed on their profile. The marketplace currently supports Ethereum blockchain. Some popular NFT creators, like Bored Ape Yacht Club, Azuki, and Doodles offer their work on the platform.
More info: MUO
Objective: Asset Management / Investing
Initiative: In 2018, Fidelity Investments launched a business called Fidelity Digital Assets, which helps investors to manage cryptocurrency. The platform allows investors to secure, trade, and support their digital assets. The unit serves as an enterprise-grade platform for cryptocurrencies. According to the parent company, the platform is intended to make these currencies more accessible to its clients. Users have access to offline cold custody storage of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Fidelity has been working on digital asset management since 2014. One of Fidelity’s most recent ventures has been allowing investors to include Bitcoin in a 401(k) account.
More info: Fidelity
Objective: Facilitating Transactions / Acceleration of Technology
Partner: Immutable X
Initiative: The videogame retailer GameStop launched its own cryptocurrency wallet that can be used seamlessly across apps. The GameStop wallet, which supports self-custody of Ethereum (ETH), gives users full control over their own assets, rather than a third-party intermediary. The wallet will also support a future GameStop NFT marketplace. The NFT marketplace project will be built in partnership with Immutable X, which facilitates minting and trading NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain.
More info: Bloomberg
Objective: Startup Support / Acceleration of Technology
Partner: Astar Network
Initiative: Microsoft has partnered with Astar Network on the Astar Incubation Program, which will support emerging entrepreneurs in Web3. Microsoft has pledged marketing, cloud computing, and mentorship assistance to companies chosen for the program. Recently, Microsoft allocated some of those resources to AstridDAO, a decentralized money market built on the Astar platform. AstridDAO also has ownership of a stablecoin that is linked to the US Dollar, called $BAI.
More info: Coincu
Objective: Transparency / Consumer Engagement
Partner: Connecting Food
Initiative: Mondelēz International, the maker of snack foods, used blockchain technology to allow its consumers to better understand the origin of their products in 2021. The global brand partnered with Connecting Food, a company that uses blockchain to trace food end-to-end to certify its authenticity. By using a smartphone, consumers could see the growing process for two of Mondelez’s brands — Triscuit, popular in the United States, and LU, popular in France. Consumers scanned a QR code on the packaging, which enabled them to view the journey of the wheat used to make the product, all the way from farm to factory.
More info: Mondelēz International
Objectives: Environmental Consciousness / Increasing Efficiency / Optimization / Acceleration Technology
Partners: VAKT Global Limited, Komgo SA, LO3 Energy
Initiative: Shell has been building its blockchain capabilities since 2017 thanks to its Blockchain Center of Excellence. Its decentralized digital passport helps track supply chain processes at all stages, so manufacturers can more efficiently source materials and understand where they come from. This allows for fewer disruptions in the supply chain, but it can also enable manufacturers to understand the environmental impact of the products they source. Another of Shell’s projects focuses on trading operations and finance. Instead of continuing to use an inefficient paper trail, Shell has partnered with VAKT Global Ltd. and Komgo SA to optimize its energy trades and gains using a digitized platform. Shell is also a founding member of the Energy Web Foundation, a nonprofit focused on decarbonizing the global economy and accelerating the energy transition through decentralized solutions.
More info: Insureblocks
Objectives: Meeting Consumer Demands / Facilitating Purchases
Partner: Crypto.com, GigiLab
Initiative: Shopify, an e-commerce provider, now allows merchants to receive payment for transactions in cryptocurrencies. Users can now buy goods from certain shops using Crypto.com Pay, and pay with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cronos, among other digital currnecies. Prior to the partnership with Crypto.com, Shopify also integrated with other cryptocurrency platforms and wallets, like BitPay, Coinbase Commerce, and Strike. Merchants on Shopify can also sell NFTs through GigiLab, a blockchain company that mints the NFTs on behalf of Shopify merchants. Shopify says it is trying to make transactions more convenient.
More info: BetaKit
Objective: Meeting Consumer Demands / Facilitating Transactions
Initiative: California-based Silvergate Bank, one of the larger financial institutions involved with cryptocurrency, has established the Silvergate Exchange Network, which allows companies and customers to send and exchange Euros to US Dollars and vice versa over the network 24/7. Silvergate recently purchased Diem, which was meant to be a Meta-funded stablecoin. The institution has noted its plans to integrate the software into the SEN for more efficient and electronic currency transfer, and plans to create its own stablecoin based on the infrastructure for Diem. The CEO of Silvergate has said that customers want a way to move money without barriers while still having some security from a regulated institution.
More info: The Motley Fool
Objective: Supply Chain Transparency / Safety
Initiative: Walmart has partnered with IBM to create better ways to track its food supply using blockchain. The partnership, which dates back to 2016, allowed Walmart to track items like produce all the way through the supply chain without requiring that each involved company keep its own records — instead, users can see and access all changes and movement directly on the blockchain. This allows Walmart to track a food source in seconds. Previously, that process could take up to a week. The company has used this process to track produce, like leafy greens, which can be prone to foodborne diseases. Because the company can identify exactly where food comes from, it can better keep customers safe. The company has said the initiative will also increase transparency and foster trust with consumers. Walmart joined other retailers and food companies in the IBM Food Trust initiative to continue working on blockchain technology for tracking products for health, safety, and efficiency.
More info: Walmart