Web 3.0 is a topic which has generated a lot of excitement over recent years, with cryptocurrency, NFTs, decentralized finance (DeFi) and other blockchain technology going mainstream. But how are businesses taking advantage of this? This article discusses the issue with reference to Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE), Pearson PLC (NYSE: PSO) and WonderFi Technologies (OTCQB: WONDF) (TSX: WNDR).
WonderFi Technologies (OTCQB: WONDF) (TSX: WNDR) operates as a DeFi software company and also an operator of licensed crypto trading platforms. It has developed a platform which integrates with the entire DeFi ecosystem, with the business serving customers around the world.
WonderFi’s most recent earnings showed that it achieved revenue of CA$2.9m for the three-month period ended 30 June 2022, which demonstrates a substantial improvement over the past 12 months.
The company’s ecosystem seeks to allow users access to a wealth of web 3.0 and centralized crypto and decentralized crypto functionality under the same roof.
After combining with Bitbuy and Coinberry through acquisitions, WonderFi Technologies has become one of the largest crypto exchange businesses in Canada by number of registered users and daily trading volume. This is far from the limit of the company’s ambitions though, as it aims to repeat the success it has achieved in its homeland by expanding the Bitbuy regulated marketplace across the globe.
Indeed, Kevin O'Leary, a strategic investor in WonderFi recently appeared on Logan Paul's Impaulsive podcast and said "I believe WonderFi will eventually become a giant holding company for all these licensed exchanges around the world".
Therefore, the main value proposition for WonderFi is operating regulated cryptocurrency platforms. This blends well with growing institutional investor interest in the space, which became particularly evident at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami earlier this year. These key players in crypto sense the world is changing and formal regulation could entice more investment to the space.
Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), which is headed by Howard Schultz, is the premier roaster, marketer and retailer of specialty coffee. The company offers packaged and single-serve coffees and teas, beverage-related ingredients and ready-to-drink beverages, as well as produces and sells bottled coffee drinks and a line of ice creams. The business serves customers worldwide.
Starbucks Corporation’s most recent earnings showed that consolidated net revenues grew by 9% in the company’s third quarter, climbing to a quarterly record of $8.9bn.
The business attracted headlines for accepting payments in cryptocurrency, though some critics branded the move a gimmick. However, it appears that Starbucks Corporation is more than committed to the idea of embracing Web 3.0.
For example, Starbucks Corporation announced in May that it plans to launch a series of branded NFT collections. Ownership of these digital artworks will have access to exclusive experiences and perks.
The company’s web 3.0 ambitions don’t even stop there, with the business hinting that it wants to create a Starbucks Digital Community Web3 platform. The company claims this platform could have the potential to pioneer the combination of an approachable, widely accessible front-end, backed by the right blockchain technologies that are fast and inexpensive.
Other web 3.0 adopters include John Donahoe’s Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE), which designs, develops and markets athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessory products for men, women and children. The company sells its products to retail stores, through its own stores, subsidiaries and distributors, serving customers worldwide.
The sportswear giant’s most recent earnings update showed a slight dip in fourth quarter revenues, which fell by 1% to $12.2bn. However, the company’s online service is expanding, seeing sales rise by 7% to $4.8bn. The impact of this was countered by difficulties in the business’ wholesale operation.
Nike Inc’s expansion of its online offering doesn’t just stop with a virtual storefront for sportswear purchases though, as the company is perhaps a surprise adopter of web 3.0 innovation.
Indeed, Nike Inc has even acquired RTFKT, an outfit specialized in leveraging game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication and augmented reality to create virtual products and experiences.
It’s an acquisition which has likely aided the company on its route to becoming America’s top earning brand when it comes to NFT sales, with the company reportedly earning $185.3m in revenue from its various NFT drops.
Nike Inc appears to have identified that a serious collector culture around its sneakers can be transferred to the virtual world, with some examples of the most expensive NFTs it has peddled including digital artworks of the business’ iconic shoes. But it isn’t the only surprising brand capitalizing on the technology.
Pearson PLC (NYSE: PSO) provides education products and services to institutions, governments, and individual learners in various countries. The company offers test development, processing and scoring services and a range of education services including teacher development, educational software and system-wide solutions, as well as owns and operates schools.
The company’s most recent earnings showed that its underlying sales grew by 6% and adjusted operating profit increased by more than 20%. These improvements came as the business reported good progress in its digital strategy, noting that Pearson+ has now attracted more than 4.5 million users.
This digital arm of Pearson PLC’s business could be key to its ability to capitalize on web 3.0 technology.
Pearson PLC has raised concerns that its textbooks are often sold on by students after their school year ends. However, the business has noted that blockchain technology and digital copies of its materials could allow it to continue to benefit from second-hand sales.
With an already strong online presence, the company already looks well suited to embrace web 3.0 functionalities.
This online footprint looks set to increase further in scale too, with Pearson PLC having released its Channels offering in early August. Aimed at college students, this platform is a free curated library featuring more than 10,000 short-form videos, produced, picked, and organized by experts into 16-course areas.