Web3 and blockchain technologies are increasingly prevalent and have the potential to dramatically transform many parts of society, including the social impact sector. Whether conversations focus on the metaverse, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), the global Web3 market is growing rapidly and expected to reach USD 81.5 billion in 2030, up from USD 3.2 billion in 20211. The opportunity for Web3 to advance social impact is already being tested by various groups including UNICEF, the World Food Program, MercyCorps and others.
There are numerous potential use cases around using Web3 to drive impact, but it can also cause harm in the social impact space. Web3 runs the risk of exacerbating inequities and online harm and lacks regulatory protection for users, leaving them at risk. The evolving and volatile market dynamics alongside the uncertain regulatory ecosystem make it hard to determine which Web3 technologies hold the most potential for positive social impact in the near and long-term future.
As Web3 and its use cases continue to gain momentum, many in the social sector are asking how they should be thinking about if, when, and how to pilot, incorporate, and scale up Web3 technologies into their own programming. We have heard excitement from many social impact organizations and leaders who are looking to learn more about Web3 and how it may shape the future of the social impact sector. However, despite significant interest from the social impact space, there are few resources that outline how Web3 and blockchain can advance social change and avoid causing harm without becoming mired in highly technical jargon.
Dalberg Advisors has developed a Web3 primer to help build a foundational understanding of Web3 and blockchain technologies that provides specific examples of the impact of Web3 technologies in the social impact sector. The primer provides an overview of what Web3 and blockchain are and highlights how they can advance social sector goals. It also outlines impact case studies for DAOs, decentralized finance, the metaverse, cryptocurrency, and non-fungible tokens. Moreover, it attempts to limit the use of the highly technical language that frequently surrounds these topics.
We invite our partners in the social impact sector to share your thinking and experiences with Web3 in your own work, pose a question, or leave a comment on the attached primer. Your feedback will help us develop other tools to help advance our shared understanding of both the risks and opportunities of Web3 in social change.