By Troy Hitch, Global Chief Innovation Officer, RAPP
Crypto wallets have gotten a bad rap. Mostly because of their connection to “crypto” which has been a PR pariah as of late. But it’s also because they’re not particularly user-friendly and the landscape of options is chaotic, to say the least. However, at the heart of crypto wallets is a marketing transformation just waiting to happen. For consumers, these wallets are a revolution in how they connect to the world and control their own data. For advertisers, the decentralized principles at play present an existential opportunity. Here’s how savvy marketers can begin to wrap their heads around a consumer-controlled-data Web 3 world.
A Quick Primer on Crypto Wallets
A crypto wallet is the access point for an individual to interact with smart contracts on the blockchain. A simple text “address” serves as the unique ID that enables users to authenticate themselves on websites and apps, securely buy and sell NFTs, and trade crypto currencies. Some wallets are “cold”, stored on hardware devices safe from the internet. Others are “hot”, managed by software solutions like Metamask and are easily integrated into the online experience.
Privacy and Pseudonymity
For all of the effort the online world has invested in getting a handle on data privacy, the blockchain throws a huge wrench into the mix. In theory, wallets are completely anonymous. Anyone can create a wallet, transact on the blockchain, and never reveal any personally sensitive information about themselves.
However, every transaction recorded on a public blockchain, like Ethereum or Solana, is made available to view by anyone. This ensures a trustless and transparent ecosystem, but it also creates a dilemma: Wallet users leave a breadcrumb trail with every transaction they make and may be triangulating other facets of their digital presence.
That triangulation may be voluntary. For instance, when a Twitter Blue user assigns an NFT as their profile picture, a connection Is drawn between the NFT owner’s wallet address and the Twitter account.
In some cases, those connections are being made without the user’s knowledge. There are a number of start-up platforms like Mnemonic that scrape Twitter profiles and other third-party sites in the interest of building valuable data profiles.
This new era of audience insights and media targeting for advertisers demands a new level of diligence from users as they become more known, moving from anonymity to pseudonymity.
Multiple Wallets, One Pocket
To add to the complexity, users are not limited to using one wallet. In fact, it’s customary to have multiple wallets for multiple use cases.
When it comes to crypto currency, one wallet may be designated for day-to-day transactions with a comfortable amount of funds for online purchases or trading, while another may be used for long-term, low-touch crypto investments.
A user may keep separate wallets for access to different platforms: one wallet for access to Metaverse platforms like Decentraland, and one for playing Web 3 games like Axie Infinity.
Like social media profiles, multiple wallets dimensionalize an individual. You on Pinterest is very different from You on Reddit, and your willingness to share information about yourself varies greatly from platform to platform.
The Opportunity for Brands
In today’s fragmented digital media landscape, first party data has never been more important. And despite the complexity of user-controlled data across multiple wallets, the power that the blockchain provides to optimize one-to-one consumer relationships will be transformative for brands.
But it will require new value propositions. Users will be willing to volunteer moree––personal preferences, contact information, finances–– when they see something valuable in it for them. Access to exclusive content, special offers, and brand prestige are only some of the ways that brands can invite users to make themselves more known.
How Your Brand Can Get Started
Though nascent and unproven, Web 3 technology makes It simple for brands to begin experimenting with crypto wallets. Allowing your users to connect to your website or app with their wallet is completely frictionless. They’ll have the benefit of connecting without using an email address or password, and you can request to view certain information like address, activity, and account balances or verify interactions using digital signatures.
Once the connection is made and permission is granted, you can easily add their wallet address as a profile record in your CDP and ensure seamless continuity to the rest of your brand experience.
There’s little risk in experimenting with this corner of the emerging Web 3 world. And it’s a great way to be prepared for the tremendous change that lies ahead.