Updated: Jun 8, 2022
“So what exactly is Web 3.0”, we ask, followed immediately by, and with a tinge of desperation as if the last two years wasn’t enough – “and how exactly will it affect me in the health and fitness industry?”
“What are the opportunities? The challenges? And, the watchouts?”
Great questions. Let’s jump in.
In short, a few developments have been in cahoots, quietly gathering momentum in the background and now they are planning their collective coming out party in full digital color.
Heralded as the “next internet” Web3 sits at the happy meeting place of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the promise of heightened connectivity, and the new market of digital assets called NFTs being paraded by digital natives who are busy securing their space in the metaverse developing AI- and data-driven solutions that are ready for the Semantic Web. All-in-all, an upgrade of infinite promise of a richer and all-encompassing experience for interacting with the world – on and offline.
Wait, what? Slow down and let’s unpack that. Let’s begin with some terminology.
The 411 of Web 3.0
Simply put, this is a term which refers to the “third generation” of internet services for websites, apps and other digital, online-based products and services.
Web 1.0 was the first stage of the internet (think static pages, slow dial-up speeds, basic foundations)
Web 2.0 is defined by user-generated content, ease of use and a participatory culture (the emergence of social media epitomises the evolution from 1.0 into 2.0)
Web 3.0 is the next step that will use machine-based understanding of data and will be able to offer more intelligent, connected and open websites (“The future is decentralized” is a key catch-cry and tenet in what happens next)
Another fancy term for Web 3.0. Pretty much.
The digital (or virtual) currencies or assets that work through a computer-based blockchain that makes them impossible to counterfeit or change. Ownership details of each “coin” is stored in a database, or ledger.
What makes “cryptos” both an opportunity and a threat is that they aren’t issued by any central authority. Therefore it is – at least theoretically – immune to government interference or manipulation. The flipside is that, as governments do not have control of it, some might look to attempt to limit its use.
A digital system of recording information which makes the data impossible to change or hack. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network computers – usually a peer-to-peer network – on the blockchain. Think of it as everyone having a copy of the proof of ownership, but no one actually having ownership of the proof. There is no spoon.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
Assets on a blockchain with unique identification codes that distinguish them from each other. Each NFT is unique and can’t be replaced with something else. Think of them as one-of-a-kind trading stamps. If you trade one for a different stamp, you’d have something completely different. NFTs can be anything digital – a piece of music, an artwork, a signature of a famous person. It could even be a social media post. As Twitter founder Jack Dorsey realised, when he sold his first ever tweet for US$2.9m to a Malaysia-based businessman last year.
A simulated digital environment that can – but doesn’t necessarily – use augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain to create a fully realized, digital world that exists beyond the one in which we live. The metaverse mixes a number of concepts using avatars, social media and gamification, to microtransactions to create shared spaces in which users can interact with their surroundings and other users, often mimicking the real world.
So, what opportunities does Web 3.0 offer?
The opportunities are literally limitless. Partly because Web 3.0 isn’t fully here yet and people smarter than us are dreaming up alternate universes of possibility.
What is clear is that, in time, the implications will be huge for health, fitness and wellness operators. The combination of the internet of things, 5G, gamification and the ever-increasing smartness of trackers and other devices will create highly personalized health and wellness journeys that motivate us to create positive healthy addictions.
Think personal fitness apps which can advise on the best times to exercise, the best genre of exercise and the best recovery strategies to meet the goal. Progress that is displayed in augmented reality, machine learning constantly updating data, virtual reality submerging you in a deeper experience, badges won, results plotted - you get the gist.
Then there are smart contracts. These act as coded agreements that set in motion (or execute) an action when a predetermined condition is met. A ‘you-do-this-and-I’ll-give-you-that” kind of arrangement. For example, a smart contract could “talk” to a health/fitness tracker and automatically offer a reward in a third party app or service – such as a micro-payment, a book, a voucher, sports tickets – when it has confirmation that a certain amount of activity or exercise has been achieved.
Smart contracts could also be used for unlocking more advanced fitness training modules and levels, essentially taking over the role of a coach or personal trainer. For example, once a smart contract receives a dataset (such as biometrics) that clearly shows that the user of a fitness mirror has mastered a certain form or exercise, it unlocks a more advanced one for the user to try out.
For health, the implications could be even more transformative. We already have wearables that can take an ECG and continually monitor and collect a plethora of other metrics and data. Combining these constantly tracked measurements with AI and Machine Learning can open up an entire new chapter on real-time preventative analytics. Web 3.0 could offer us mini personal doctors and health assistants, telling us when (and what) to eat throughout the day, when to exercise, alert us when we’re about to get stressed and create sleep schedules.
So who are the early adopters?
When talking about the early wellness industry adopters of Web 3.0, you have to start with fitness coins.
DEFIT is a project launched by 360Sports – an ambitious FitTech startup. DEFIT is a multi-chain cryptocurrency operating on the Ethereum and Polygon networks. Aiming to act as a secure, reliable, and credible alternative to traditional payment solutions for consumer health and fitness products and services, DEFIT applies gamification in order to reward its community for staying fit and healthy by completing challenges, and receiving rewards by achieving its goals.
Another, similar crypto product is SweatCoin. Users earn the currency by exercising, which they can then exchange for goods, services and experiences ranging from high-tech shoes to iPhones, from anti-gravity yoga classes to Apple Watches. LifeCoin is another crypto that uses the “exercise for rewards” model. Lifecoins are earned using GPS-confirmed steps and can be exchanged for gift cards and sporting goods.
Perhaps the most exciting recent venture into Web 3.0 has been The Sandbox, a metaverse which has already attracted a number of fitness, sport and wellness brands. The initiative is driven by tech and gamified fitness specialist OliveX, which has set a goal of building a fitness metaverse where players can work out at home, in the gym, or outdoors to earn in-game rewards. The experiences in the metaverse will be linked together by $DOSE, the native token of the OliveX ecosystem, which can be obtained as a reward in one experience and spent in another.
Brands that have already confirmed their entry into The Sandbox include boutique chain TRIB3, which became the first fitness operator to establish a presence in the metaverse. TRIB3 will work with OliveX to launch a gym in the metaverse, delivering its HIIT workouts and group fitness classes. The exciting thing is that the move will offer the brand the ability to drive real-word revenues. People will be able to swap TRIB3 Sweat Points they earn in the gym for $DOSE tokens which can then be spent in the metaverse.
Other brands to have confirmed their presence in The Sandbox include sports clothing and equipment giant Adidas, global outdoor play specialist Playinnovation, the British Olympic Team and fitness apparel brand Gym Aesthetics.
TRIB3 and the other brands are looking to set up in the metaverse later this year and OliveX is currently hosting a range of webinars on the venture. These are being hosted by Good Soul Hunting’s Chief Creative Soul, Emma Barry.
The next webinar is scheduled for 23 February and you can join in on the discussion for free by registering HERE. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/introducing-nfts-and-how-this-can-drive-revenue-into-your-business-tickets-230500502207