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Is Web3 a Worse Web2? Tom Bilyeu and Nicole Behnam Dive Into ‘Wallet Aware’ at NFTLA

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In Brief

  • Impact Theory founder Tom Bilyeu says Web3 is a worse Web3.
  • Bilyeu joined Web3 advisor and founding partner of 8Commas, Nicole Behnam live at NFT LA.
  • The conversation revolved around ‘wallet-aware’ tech and Impact Theory’s latest venture - Project Kyzen.
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Impact Theory founder Tom Bilyeu joined Web3 advisor and 8Commas founding partner Nicole Behnam at NFT LA for a fireside chat on ‘wallet-aware’ technology, and the role Web3 will play in the future of entertainment and gaming. 

Bilyeu, the successful entrepreneur and storyteller best known for his digital-first studio, Impact Theory, detailed his theory to Behnam about where Web3 is headed, coining the term ‘wallet-aware’ as he explained how breaking away from our skeuomorphic views can help illuminate the true power Web3 can have for highly-interactive gaming experiences. 

The studio’s original content mirrors many of the personal growth themes found in classic films such as The Matrix, Star Wars, Karate Kid, Rocky, and more. Last year, Bilyeu and EDM DJ and NFT enthusiast, Steve Aoki collaborated with their Neon Future NFT collection. Aoki also attended NFT LA last week.

Behnam, a Hollywood journalist turned founder and Web3 advisor, is both the founding partner of 8Commas and founder of Beyond Media, where she injects storytelling and passion into her many notable conversations throughout the Web3 space. 

She is known as a prominent figure and resource, who uses her social skills to connect people to the builders and movers and shakers in the NFT space, having hosted many conversations on Twitter Spaces with public figures like Reese Witherspoon, Neil Strauss, and 3LAU.

Leveraging ‘wallet-aware’ technologies

Behnam started the discussion by asking Bilyeu to explain ‘wallet aware,’ one of many terms Bilyeu has coined throughout the Web3 space as he has continued to build out Impact Theory’s project portfolio. 

Referencing Ernest Cline’s 2011 sci-fi novel, Ready Player One, Bilyeu believes that Cline’s novel provided valuable insight into what the metaverse will eventually become. 

“It showed what it will actually be like living in the world of entertainment, and it isn’t just gaming,” he said. While there’s a part of this space that we all recognize as gaming, Bilyeu points to the majority of the characters’ experiences in the novel as reflecting what Web3 will be. 

“It’s something I call ‘wallet aware,’ game-like experiences,” he described. Based on the NFTs and other items in your wallet, Bilyeu says that he is able to know something about the individual. “From that, I can trigger an experience, based on the fact that my technology is aware of what’s in your wallet. And if you have combinations of items, such as a Bored Ape and a book like Bad Bi*** Boots, you’re my kind of person.”

“Web3 is a worse Web2”

While NFTLA attendees weren’t given much information about what consumers and investors could do with wallet-aware technology, Bilyeu did distinguish the skeuomorphism that exists amongst builders and developers:

“That’s the kind of thing people begin to discover as they create this stuff – specifically, not to be skeuomorphic in the design, not to think of Web3 as a worse Web2 – because I think Web3 is a worse Web2.”

“In what sense is Web3 worse than Web2?” asked Behnam. 

“If you want to play a traditional video game, you’re better off going to what already exists – they’re already amazing and you can play to your heart’s content,” Bilyeu answered.

He continued in his explanation by stating that when we are talking about Web3, something new needs to be brought to the party – “otherwise, it’s going to be a 3-5 year wait for something that is already awesome in Web2.”

“…but Web3 can bring something entirely new, and as we break out of our skeuomorphic attempts at gaming, then it becomes…these wallet-aware, highly-interactive, customized, game-like experiences.”

Project Kyzen and Unreal Engine

Initially dubbed ‘Project Avatar,’ Bilyeu revealed to NFTLA attendees what Impact Theory has been working on, beginning with the actual project’s name to NFT LA attendees for the very first time. 

Taking inspiration from the Japanese concept of ‘continual improvement,’ Project Kyzen, is a “one-of-a-kind 3D NFT avatar creation portal and experiential game story-world that is coded inside of Unreal Engine, that allows users to not only create an avatar, but participate in challenges, mini-games, and unique experiences cued off items in a user’s wallet” – referencing back to wallet-aware technology. 

Bilyeu, who revealed his agnostic approach to building and development, explained the value in capitalizing off the ‘metaverse archipelago’:

“I don’t care whether it’s Sandbox, Decentraland, or something that we haven’t heard of yet, I just want to make sure that we can make something that’s as big and inter-connected as possible, so they don’t become these really disparate things and it’s this battle for technology and things get lost and eaten by time,” Bilyeu emphasized.

Landing on Unreal Engine, Bilyeu says that it is “the most unreal piece of technology [we’re] going to encounter.”

“It will allow you to drag and drop your way into a video game; it’s absolutely extraordinary.”

The Impact Theory founder presented a nice visual of how Project Kyzen and Unreal Engine will help transform Web3 gaming as we have nascently come to know it:

“Video games are never going to get connected. To do that across games would be impossible, but there are these game-like experiences like Ready, Player One, where someone builds a replica of the hometown they grew up in – and you can go into the arcade inside that town, play a micro-game, open an easter egg, and based on what your wallet has, creates this incredible experience. So, they’re not traditional video games or movies – but a Web3 game; it’s something totally new.”

For users that will come into Project Kyzen, it provides the ability to hop in and out of different experiences because they will be housed on the same rendering engine. 

“Once this ecosystem gets their version of https, TCP/IP, you will literally, as long as it’s not a combat zone, be able to move from one experience to another, and that allows your identity to be as permanent as you want it to be.”

Through the company’s proprietary technology, users, while assembling their avatar, can also reconfigure it, mint, and unmint it – ultimately creating a one-of-a-kind virtual avatar that can be changed at the snap of a finger. 

This coverage was provided in real-time from NFT LA. What do you think about this subject? Write to us and tell us!

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Andrew Rossow
Andrew Rossow is a News Editor at BeInCrypto. He is a licensed attorney and journalist with over 7 years of experience from the online media and television industries, focusing on law, technology, and privacy. He covers the cross-section of law and fintech with an emphasis on NFTs, Web3, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and the Metaverse. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and Hofstra University.