Web3 in India, a new internet in making

Web3 is an exponential concept for India Inc. which has evolved into a catch-all term for the vision of a new and improved internet. Blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs are at its core. SME Futures spoke to a few Web3 and Defi players to understand how MSMEs can step into the Web3 world.

Ashish Singhal_Sai Srinivas Kiran G_Aniket Jindal

Web3 is an exponential concept for India Inc. which has evolved into a catch-all term for the vision of a new and improved internet. Blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs are at its core. SME Futures spoke to a few Web3 and Defi players to understand how MSMEs can step into the Web3 world. 

India has always been a prime services-providing country instead of a services-producing one, but as they say, it’s better late than never. The next generation of the internet, Web3, has started changing the landscape of the services, careers, finances and gaming sectors. SME Futures took the opportunity to talk to some big players in the space of Web3 during the India Internet Day 2022 summit, a leadership conference that looks at setting conversations around a vision for the present and the future.   

To talk extensively about Web3 and to explain the present scenario, opportunities, and challenges around it, three new-age entrepreneurs from the Web3 space shared the stage. Ashish Singhal, the Co-founder & CEO of Coin Switch, Aniket Jindal, the Co-founder of Bioconomy, and Sai Srinivasa Kiran G, the Co-founder of the Mobile Premier League, discussed the new-age internet—Web3, its scope and how MSMEs can leverage it.  

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Edited excerpts

What does Web3 mean to you? 

Ashish Singhal: In my opinion, Web3 is the new internet in the making. Web3 for me is a chance for India to dominate the world and build the new internet. Web1 was about reading content on the internet, and Web2 was about reading and writing but not owning the content. Web3 however, allows the user to read, write and own the content and earn through it. It allows ownership and enables one to become a part of the ecosystem. The entities here are decentralised, more communicative, and cooperative.  

Aniket Jindal: For me, Web3 means acceptability and ownership. It is a way of challenging the traditional ways of doing things.  

Sai Srinivas: Web3 is an amalgamation of internet and money. The plethora of opportunities to build products in this realm, especially in gaming are amazing.  

According to you, what advantages can Web3 bring for India Inc?

Aniket Jindal: The key advantage we have in India is the talent available here. The core fundamentals of the developers here are very strong whether it be regarding Web2 or Web3. And they are very motivated in terms of putting India on the map of Web3.  

Ashish Singhal: We can help the next set of entrepreneurs in Web3 and not let them start from zero and we can certainly aid them in making a success of themselves.  

What will it take to build consumer Web3 companies in India?  Can you also share the key learnings that can be derived from the journey of the Mobile Premier League?

Sai Srinivas: The reason for why India has not produced internet-consuming companies yet is that we’ve never had a large domestic internet consumer market. However, that has changed over the last four-five years and now we can see a lot more companies coming out of India. Especially regarding Web3, India has a lot more developers and along with that many consumer companies like social gaming.  

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We are just a year or two away from getting a lot of consumer-grade Web3 apps. However, SaaS is very different from consumer companies and as India has a very rich culture of exporting software, in the next couple of years we will have a lot more consumer companies coming out of India. 

Answering the second part of your question, I think that in order to build these companies, we need to be prepared to burn our fingers a couple of times and maybe our hands too. For us, it was more about understanding what it takes to get a product out and run it in other geographies.  

The go-to-market strategy in the US is quite different from the one that we have in India. It is much faster in India compared to the US even though there are a lot more consumers here because Indian consumers are much more patient.  

What major potential challenges do you see in terms of MSMEs or small businesses adopting the Web3, as most of them are unaware of it? 

Ashish Singhal: Two things are holding back the smaller companies in India. The first being regulation. In the absence of any clarity, no one wants to invest in this space as an ecosystem for building and learning about something new. Hopefully, that will happen over some time.  

Secondly, Web3 is a decentralised world, where the user is not just a user but a contributor as well. A place where profit-sharing with the user takes place. So today, for a centralised company to earn all the revenue on its own has become harder, as the users are actually earning too, and the companies’ share is reducing.  

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But over time, they too will realise the power of community. For instance, today they can probably reach a100 million users but with a community base, they can reach 1 billion users and earn more revenue, becoming more sustainable as a company.  

Aniket Jindal: For MSMEs, it is a bit early. However, Web3 can help a lot of them by easing their finances and by taking their businesses to a different landscape altogether.

How is the landscape of careers changing in India with Web3? 

Ashish Singhal: A lot of programming languages are coming up as Web3 and decentralised applications are being built through India. So, a lot of developers are coming up and many colleges are investing in helping to build these programs through which a new set of developers are building Web3 across India.  

Aniket Jindal: Web3 has taken the job spectrum to a different level, where it has assumed a more contributory role and it’s no longer just about working for a company in a normal, traditional way. So, the bigger companies have 50-60 people on their rolls, but they have tens of thousands of contributors coming and working for them.  

Here in Web3, there is no traditional hierarchy. You do what you love and become a part of the ecosystem and get some tokens. This is the biggest change in the job scenario that has been brought about by Web3. 

What should be done to encourage the adoption of Web3 among young entrepreneurs?  

Aniket Jindal: We need to get all of those who are interested in Web3 and want to learn and experiment with it, under one roof. A lot of developers out there who are curious to learn and build Web3 should be acknowledged and given opportunities.  

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Web3 is there in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities as it is something which is accepting and welcoming of everyone and is not just the exclusive preserve of the elite section of the population.  

What would be the one thing that you would want to give a shout out about regarding Web3? 

Sai Srinivasa: For me, that one thing that I would like to give a shout out for regarding Web3 would be digital ownership, because it is related to gaming.  

Aniket Jindal: For me that one thing would be that Web3 is not just about buying tokens, it is more about experiencing it yourself.  

Ashish Singhal: It is India’s opportunity to lose! I think today, we have the right talent, and the right resources to build the next internet which is happening on Web3. And if we miss out on this sport, we will regret it in the future. I strongly believe that the next Google, Microsoft, and Amazon will come from India, enabling us to dominate the world building on Web3.  

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