Pharrell Williams says Web3 is “unlocking something that is scaring the system”

Late-stage capitalism: Buzzword of the year or the start of a revolution?

Pharrell Williams Web3

Image: Mairo Cinquetti / Alamy

Like it or hate it, Web3 will revolutionise the world, says American rapper slash producer Pharrell Williams, who shared his thoughts on the technology at the recent VeeCon NFT conference.

Appearing at VeeCon last Saturday, Williams talked about his journey down the NFT rabbit hole and spoke glowingly about the potential blockchain technology has to empower social progress.

The artist, who describes himself as a ‘latecomer’ to the NFT space, says he is now exploring the creative potential for NFTs and Web3 technology as a whole, in particular how it can disrupt the traditional relationship between labels, artists and fans.

Hardly the first, nor the only one interested in the intersection between music and blockchain technology — artists like Snoop Dogg, 3LAU, and Nas have been using blockchain tokens to release music and provide perks such as a cut of streaming royalties to those who buy their NFTs — Williams says that NFTs foster a closer connection between artists and their fans.

Exploring the NFT route also allows artists to receive secondary market royalties through NFT sales, whereas an artist under the traditional system may not see any additional compensation after the initial sale of a work.

In the grand scheme of things though, opines Williams, Web3’s revolutionary capabilities extends far beyond the entertainment and tech space. He argues that Web3 communities and digital creators will make a significant impact on the governance system around the globe, while the adoption of decentralised technology will ultimately level the playing field in financial markets.

“You come here talking to the people about the blockchain and Web3. What you should know is, this is a moment in time where everything is changing right now,” he said. “You all are looking at these old systems—you know that they’re antiquated, you know that they don’t work. And you are standing up, and you’re saying, ‘No more.’”

“Blockchain and Web3 – it’s unlocking something that is scaring the system. They are working really hard to put laws together to try to legislate around your concept, your idea. You all are the most powerful human beings on this planet. You don’t know it yet.”

The 13-time Grammy award winner also revealed two Web3 projects he is currently working on — the Gallery of Digital Assets and The Black Ambition. The former is a “a safe space for traditional artists who’ve done really well to have a place where they can transition into the digital world” while the latter is a nonprofit that offers assistance for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.

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