Are Ordinals the Next Big Thing in Blockchain Technology? – with Francesca Conti from Outlier Ventures

Explore the transformative frontiers of Web3 with us as Francesca Conti of Outlier Ventures joins me, Joeri Billast, in a conversation that promises to equip you with a fresh perspective on this digital revolution. 

From Francesca's own shift from the realms of traditional media into the heart of Web3 innovation, we unravel the tapestry of challenges and triumphs startups encounter. Discover the pivotal role of Outlier Ventures in shaping the landscape and learn how they're sculpting more welcoming onboarding experiences for users everywhere, ensuring that the future of technology is not just advanced, but also accessible.

Hold on to your digital hats as we take a deep dive into the world of NFTs and uncover the unique value being crafted through platforms like Junkyard You're. The art of storytelling and community engagement takes center stage, revolutionizing loyalty programs and event access in ways previously unimagined. We also cast a glance at the surging tide of DeFi applications, with Francesca and I sharing our excitement for how ordinals and other innovations are sparking renewed enthusiasm in the sector. And if you're intrigued by the intersection of Web3 with beauty and fashion, stay tuned for our anticipation of trailblazing initiatives from giants like L'Oreal.

Our journey doesn't end there. Networking and robust infrastructure are celebrated as the lifeblood of the burgeoning Web3 ecosystem. I share insights from over 150 podcast episodes, highlighting the diverse thoughts that enrich our community and the importance of staying curious in a rapidly evolving industry. Francesca leaves us with pearls of wisdom for those navigating the Web3 waters and extends an invitation to connect with the trailblazers at Outlier Ventures. So if you're ready to embrace this era of digital innovation, this episode is your gateway to the heart of Web3's evolution.

Unlocking the Future: The Web3 Revolution

Imagine stepping into a world where the internet isn't controlled by a handful of powerful companies, but by the very users who populate it. That's the promise of Web3.

In simple terms, Web3 is the next phase of the internet, built on the principles of decentralization and blockchain technology. It's a world where apps don't take your data without permission, where you own your online identity, and where transactions are secure and transparent. From finance to gaming, social media, and beyond, Web3 is set to revolutionize how we interact online. Outlier Ventures, a key player in this space, is nurturing the growth of companies that are building this future, making it an exciting time to be online.

The impact of this shift towards a more decentralized web could be monumental, offering a level of security, transparency, and user empowerment we've never seen before.

Curious about how this all works and what it means for you? You're in the right place. We'll be diving deep into the world of Web3, exploring its potential, the role of Outlier Ventures in shaping its future, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Introduction to Web3 and Outlier Ventures

Overview of Web3 and its potential

Web3 represents the next phase of the internet, where decentralized applications and smart contracts play a central role. This evolution from the static pages of the early web (Web1) and the interactive experiences of the current internet (Web2) to a fully decentralized and blockchain-based ecosystem (Web3) promises a future where users have greater control over their data, identities, and transactions. The potential of Web3 is vast, touching on everything from finance and gaming to social media and beyond, offering a level of security, transparency, and user empowerment previously unimaginable.

Role of Outlier Ventures in the Web3 space

Within this burgeoning Web3 ecosystem, Outlier Ventures has emerged as a pivotal player. As the most active Web3 investor as of Q3 in 2023, and the largest global accelerator in the space, Outlier Ventures has been instrumental in nurturing and propelling forward the growth of over 278 portfolio companies. Their impact extends beyond simple financial investment; they provide a robust support system for startups, offering guidance in areas such as tokenomics, product and tech support, legal advice, marketing strategies, and fundraising best practices. This multifaceted approach has seen some of their portfolio companies grow into billion-dollar entities, showcasing the transformative potential of Web3 technologies when paired with the right support and resources.

The impact of Outlier Ventures on startups and investors

The influence of Outlier Ventures within the Web3 space is significant, not just for the startups they accelerate but also for the broader investor community. By identifying and nurturing high-potential projects, they not only contribute to the success of these ventures but also help shape the direction of the Web3 ecosystem. Their work in areas like infrastructure, DeFi, gaming, and AI has paved the way for innovative solutions and applications, demonstrating the practical utility and far-reaching implications of Web3 technologies. For investors, both seasoned and new to the space, Outlier Ventures serves as a beacon, highlighting the most promising opportunities and trends within this dynamic and rapidly evolving sector.

The role of Francesca Conti in Outlier Ventures

At the heart of Outlier Ventures' success is a team of dedicated professionals, among whom Francesca Conti stands out. As the program lead for the Bitcoin Base Camp, Francesca plays a critical role in steering the direction and focus of the accelerator's efforts. Her extensive experience, spanning over a decade of collaboration with startups, investors, and Fortune 500 companies, equips her with a unique perspective and skill set. Francesca's leadership in the Aptos Move accelerator, focusing on key areas such as infrastructure, DeFi, gaming, and AI, has been instrumental in driving forward the mission of Outlier Ventures. Her ability to act as a 360-degree support network for startups navigating the complex Web3 space is invaluable, ensuring that these ventures not only survive but thrive in this competitive and fast-paced environment.

Transition from Traditional Investments to Web3

The leap from traditional investments to the dynamic world of Web3 is a fascinating transition, marked by a blend of curiosity, innovation, and the desire to be at the forefront of technological advancement. This shift is not merely about changing investment portfolios but represents a deeper understanding and appreciation of how emerging technologies can reshape the future of finance, business, and society at large.

The initial spark for this transition often comes from a realization of the limitations inherent in traditional financial systems and the potential for blockchain technology to offer more transparent, efficient, and inclusive alternatives. For many, like Francesca Conti, this moment of realization came early on, when the digital currency and blockchain space was still in its infancy. The allure of a technology that could democratize access to financial services, ensure greater privacy and security, and facilitate global transactions with ease was too compelling to ignore. This curiosity and willingness to embrace new technologies set the stage for a deep and lasting engagement with Web3.

The role of emerging technologies in facilitating this transition can't be overstated. Blockchain, in particular, has shown its versatility and impact across various industries, far beyond its initial application in cryptocurrency. From enhancing supply chain transparency to revolutionizing digital identity management, the applications of blockchain are vast and varied. This broad utility underscores the transformative potential of Web3 technologies, making them an attractive area for investment and innovation. Francesca's work with IBM on projects related to food supply chain and wellness highlights the practical benefits of blockchain, further fueling interest in the broader implications of Web3.

Moreover, the role of podcasts and other digital media in spreading awareness and understanding of Web3 has been significant. For Francesca, listening to podcasts like "The Missing Crypto Queen" was not just an educational experience but also an inspirational one. These platforms offer a unique way to engage with complex topics, hear from leading experts, and stay updated on the latest trends and developments in the space. They serve as a bridge, connecting curious minds with the knowledge and insights needed to understand and eventually contribute to the Web3 ecosystem. This blend of personal curiosity, the transformative potential of emerging technologies, and the power of digital media to educate and inspire, collectively paved the way for a successful transition from traditional investments to the exciting possibilities of Web3.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Current Market

The positive outlook on emerging technologies is a beacon of hope amidst the challenges faced by startups in the Web3 space. The current market, while presenting its fair share of hurdles, is ripe with opportunities for those willing to innovate and adapt. The evolution of blockchain technology and its applications, particularly in the Bitcoin ecosystem, exemplifies this dynamic. Once perceived as merely a digital asset for investment, Bitcoin is undergoing a transformation that could redefine its role in the digital economy. This shift is largely driven by advancements in scalability and composability, alongside innovative concepts like ordinals and sats, which are attracting more users to the space.

However, the transformation of Bitcoin and its impact on the market is just one piece of the puzzle. The broader Web3 ecosystem is witnessing a paradigm shift, with emerging technologies paving the way for new business models and applications. This transition, while promising, is not without its challenges. The complexity of blockchain technology, coupled with the jargon-heavy discourse surrounding it, can be intimidating for newcomers. This barrier to entry underscores the critical role of storytelling and marketing in Web3. By simplifying complex concepts and highlighting real-world applications, startups can demystify Web3 for the average consumer, making it more accessible and appealing.

Moreover, the importance of storytelling extends beyond just attracting users; it's a vital component of brand building and community engagement in the Web3 space. Successful startups are those that manage to create compelling narratives around their projects, connecting with their audience on a deeper level. This involves not only showcasing the technological prowess of their offerings but also aligning with the values and interests of their target demographic. In a market saturated with similar projects, a strong, authentic story can be a startup's most valuable differentiator.

Addressing the challenge of user adoption, strategies to onboard new users in the Web3 space are becoming increasingly important. Education plays a pivotal role in this process, as it empowers individuals to make informed decisions about participating in the Web3 ecosystem. Initiatives aimed at simplifying the user experience, such as intuitive interfaces and seamless integration with existing digital platforms, can significantly lower the barrier to entry. Additionally, fostering a sense of inclusivity and community can encourage more people to engage with Web3 technologies. Partnerships with organizations focused on education and tooling, particularly those that aim to bring diverse voices into the space, are essential in building a more accessible and equitable Web3 ecosystem.

In conclusion, while the Web3 market is fraught with challenges, it also presents unparalleled opportunities for innovation and growth. The key to navigating this complex terrain lies in a positive outlook, a commitment to simplifying the technology for broader adoption, and the strategic use of storytelling and marketing to connect with users. As the ecosystem continues to evolve, these strategies will be instrumental in shaping the future of Web3 and ensuring its success in the mainstream market.

Future Trends and Predictions in Web3

The role of AI in the future of Web3 is undeniably significant, marking a pivotal point in how technology can enhance user experiences and operational efficiencies. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not just a buzzword but a foundational component that will drive innovation within the Web3 ecosystem. From personalized user experiences to more sophisticated data analysis and decision-making processes, AI's integration into Web3 projects is set to redefine the boundaries of what's possible. For instance, consider the development of AI-driven personal shopping assistants in the fashion industry. These tools not only recommend products but learn from user interactions, providing tailored advice and suggestions. This level of personalization and engagement is just one example of how AI can create more immersive and interactive experiences within the Web3 space.

Furthermore, the impact of inclusivity in the Web3 space is a critical factor that will shape its growth and acceptance. As Web3 technologies continue to evolve, ensuring that they are accessible and welcoming to a diverse range of participants is paramount. This includes not only gender diversity but also cultural, geographical, and socio-economic inclusivity. By fostering an environment where diverse voices and perspectives are valued, the Web3 community can unlock innovative solutions and ideas that may have otherwise been overlooked. Partnerships with organizations focused on education and providing tools for non-binary individuals, women, and other marginalized groups are essential steps towards building a more inclusive Web3 ecosystem. These efforts not only contribute to a more equitable digital future but also enrich the Web3 space with a wider range of experiences and insights.

When considering the potential shifts in Bitcoin and its impact, it's clear that the cryptocurrency's evolution will play a central role in the broader Web3 narrative. Bitcoin, often seen as the gateway to the world of cryptocurrencies, is experiencing significant developments that could influence its utility and perception. With advancements like ordinals and sats, Bitcoin is moving beyond a store of value to become a more versatile asset within the digital economy. These innovations could lead to increased adoption and a reevaluation of Bitcoin's role in the financial ecosystem. Moreover, the anticipation surrounding the Bitcoin spot ETF highlights the growing interest and legitimacy of cryptocurrencies in mainstream finance. As Bitcoin continues to mature, its trajectory will undoubtedly have ripple effects across the entire Web3 sector, influencing investment strategies, regulatory discussions, and public perception.

Lastly, the importance of marketing in the Web3 sector and unique approaches required underscores the need for startups to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. In the Web3 space, where innovation is rampant, creating a compelling brand story and engaging with the community is more critical than ever. Marketing strategies that leverage the unique aspects of Web3 technologies—such as tokenomics, NFTs, and decentralized governance—can help projects stand out. For example, leveraging gamification through loyalty programs or creating exclusive experiences for NFT holders offers new ways to connect with and reward users. Additionally, focusing on educational content that demystifies Web3 for the average consumer can help lower barriers to entry, fostering a larger and more engaged community. As Web3 continues to intersect with mainstream industries, adopting marketing strategies that resonate with both traditional and digital-native audiences will be key to driving adoption and success.

Interest in Alternative World Space and Metaverse

The fascination with alternative world spaces and the metaverse is rapidly gaining momentum, capturing the imagination of both consumers and creators alike. This burgeoning interest is not just a fleeting trend but a testament to the evolving digital ecosystem that seeks to blend reality with virtual experiences. The metaverse, a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality, augmented reality (AR), and the internet, offers a new frontier for interaction, entertainment, and commerce. Imagine stepping into a virtual world where you can attend concerts, visit art galleries, or even try on clothes without leaving your home. This is the promise of the metaverse, and it's drawing attention from all corners of the digital and physical worlds. Big brands like L'Oreal are not just observing from the sidelines; they are actively participating and shaping the metaverse. Their involvement signifies a pivotal shift in how businesses view digital spaces—not merely as marketing channels but as platforms for immersive brand experiences. L'Oreal's foray into the metaverse could involve virtual beauty salons where users can experiment with makeup looks or virtual stores where customers can shop for products. The possibilities are endless, and the presence of established brands within these spaces lends credibility and allure to the metaverse, encouraging more users to engage with this emerging technology. The potential for collaborations in the metaverse is vast and varied. From fashion houses teaming up with virtual reality developers to create exclusive digital collections to music artists performing in virtual concerts accessible from anywhere in the world, the opportunities for creative partnerships are boundless. These collaborations not only enrich the metaverse with diverse content and experiences but also pave the way for innovative business models and revenue streams. For instance, a collaboration between a gaming platform and a fashion brand could result in a limited-edition virtual clothing line for avatars, blending entertainment with e-commerce in novel ways. On a personal note, the excitement about becoming an active consumer in the metaverse is palpable. The allure of exploring virtual worlds, participating in unique experiences, and engaging with brands in unprecedented ways is compelling. As an active consumer, the opportunity to influence the development of these digital spaces, whether through feedback, content creation, or community involvement, is incredibly exciting. The metaverse offers a canvas for creativity and expression, not just for developers and brands but for every user. Whether it's customizing a virtual avatar, designing a digital home, or contributing to the storyline of a virtual world, the metaverse empowers users to be co-creators of their digital experiences.

The Emergence of Ordinals in Web3

As we venture deeper into the realms of Web3, a new concept that's beginning to capture the attention of enthusiasts and developers alike is ordinals. Ordinals represent a fascinating development in the blockchain and digital asset space, introducing a unique way to tokenize and track individual units of cryptocurrency on a blockchain. This innovation is not just a technical feat; it's a foundational shift that could redefine how we perceive and interact with digital assets. The importance of ordinals in Web3 can hardly be overstated. They bring about a granularity to digital assets that was previously difficult to achieve, allowing for the creation and tracking of distinct, indivisible tokens. This capability opens up a myriad of possibilities for digital collectibles, art, and even documents, making each piece uniquely identifiable and verifiable on the blockchain. Imagine a world where every digital artwork has its own unique identity or where important documents are tokenized, ensuring their authenticity and provenience. This is the potential that ordinals bring to the table. Looking ahead, the growth of ordinals in the coming year seems not only likely but inevitable. As more developers and creators understand the value and utility of this technology, we can expect to see an increase in projects and applications leveraging ordinals. This growth will be particularly significant in areas like digital art, collectibles, and any sector where the uniqueness and authenticity of digital items are paramount. The ability to tokenize individual units of cryptocurrency also presents new opportunities for financial instruments and products, further expanding the scope of what's possible in the Web3 space. Beyond their immediate applications, ordinals play a critical role in the broader ecosystem of asset issuance and infrastructure in Web3. They represent a key piece of the puzzle in creating a more robust, flexible, and efficient infrastructure for the issuance, tracking, and management of digital assets. By enabling the creation of unique, indivisible tokens, ordinals enhance the security, transparency, and functionality of digital asset platforms. This, in turn, lays the groundwork for more sophisticated and scalable applications, driving forward the evolution of the Web3 infrastructure. Despite their potential, there's a noticeable gap in awareness and understanding of ordinals within the broader community. This is why there's a pressing need for more people to learn and talk about ordinals. Educating developers, creators, and users about the benefits and possibilities of ordinals is essential for unlocking their full potential. As more people become aware of what ordinals are and how they can be used, we can expect to see a surge in innovative applications that push the boundaries of what's possible in the digital world. It's an exciting time to be involved in Web3, and ordinals are a key part of the conversation that deserves more attention and exploration.

The Importance of Continuous Learning and Networking in Web3

Staying hungry and curious is paramount in the ever-evolving Web3 space. This sector is known for its rapid pace of development and the multifaceted nature of its technologies and applications. From blockchain and decentralized finance (DeFi) to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and beyond, Web3 is a vast and complex domain that continuously offers new areas to be explored. The sheer speed at which Web3 evolves means that what was relevant yesterday might be outdated tomorrow. Therefore, maintaining a keen sense of curiosity and an eagerness to learn is essential for anyone looking to make their mark or stay informed in this space. This mindset not only helps in keeping up with the latest developments but also fosters an environment of innovation and creativity. Upskilling and staying updated with emerging technologies are critical practices for thriving in Web3. As new platforms, protocols, and applications emerge, dedicating time to learn and understand these advancements can significantly enhance one's ability to contribute to and benefit from Web3. This could involve diving into technical documentation, participating in community discussions, or experimenting with new tools and software. The goal is to continuously expand one's skill set and knowledge base, ensuring readiness to tackle new challenges and seize opportunities as they arise. For instance, understanding the implications of ordinals in asset tracking and management can open up new avenues for innovation in digital collectibles and authenticity verification. Networking plays a vital role in navigating the Web3 ecosystem. The role of networking and meeting diverse individuals in Web3 can't be overstated. This space is characterized by its collaborative nature and the wide array of backgrounds of those who are part of it. By engaging with others, whether through online forums, social media, conferences, or meetups, individuals can exchange ideas, form partnerships, and gain insights from different perspectives. Networking not only facilitates learning and discovery but also opens doors to opportunities that might not be accessible otherwise. It's through these interactions that one can find mentors, collaborators, and even friends who share a passion for Web3. The Web3 space is notably enriched by the diverse backgrounds of its participants. From artists and developers to financiers and academics, the variety of experiences and expertise that people bring to Web3 is a testament to its inclusivity and appeal across different domains. This diversity fuels innovation, as it allows for a cross-pollination of ideas and approaches that might not occur in more homogenous environments. For example, someone with a background in fine arts might approach NFT creation differently than a software developer, leading to unique and groundbreaking projects. Similarly, the infusion of traditional finance expertise can help in designing more robust and user-friendly DeFi platforms. It's this blend of perspectives and skills that drives the Web3 ecosystem forward, making it a vibrant and dynamic field. In conclusion, the importance of continuous learning and networking in Web3 can't be understated. Staying hungry for knowledge, actively upskilling, and engaging with a diverse community are essential for anyone looking to thrive in this space. These practices not only enhance individual growth and success but also contribute to the collective advancement of the Web3 ecosystem.

The Role of Podcasts and Books in Educating about Web3

Podcasts have emerged as a powerful tool for both educating and learning about the Web3 space. They offer an accessible and flexible way to stay informed about the latest trends, technologies, and discussions within the industry. With the ability to tune in during a commute, workout, or while performing daily tasks, podcasts make it easy for enthusiasts and professionals alike to keep up with the rapidly evolving world of Web3. Moreover, the conversational nature of podcasts allows for a deeper understanding of complex topics through discussions and interviews with experts, founders, and thought leaders in the field. This format not only demystifies the jargon-heavy language of Web3 but also provides listeners with insights and perspectives they might not encounter elsewhere. The diversity of topics covered in Web3-related podcasts is vast, ranging from blockchain basics and cryptocurrency investments to the nuances of decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the metaverse. This variety ensures that there's something for everyone, whether you're a complete novice curious about what Web3 entails or a seasoned developer looking for in-depth technical analyses. For instance, episodes might focus on the implications of blockchain for the fashion industry, the role of NFTs in digital art, or strategies for ensuring privacy and security in decentralized applications. Such a broad spectrum of content not only enriches the listener's knowledge but also sparks curiosity and inspires further exploration into specific areas of interest. Beyond podcasts, the potential of writing a book about the metaverse highlights another significant avenue for education in Web3. A book can provide a structured and detailed exploration of the metaverse, offering readers a solid foundation in its principles, technologies, and potential impacts on society. It can cover everything from the history and development of virtual worlds to the economic, social, and cultural dimensions of life within these digital spaces. Additionally, a book on this topic could guide readers through the practical aspects of engaging with the metaverse, such as navigating virtual environments, creating digital assets, and participating in online communities. By combining theoretical insights with practical advice, a book about the metaverse can serve as a valuable resource for anyone looking to understand or contribute to this emerging domain. Lastly, the importances of sharing and subscribing to educational content about Web3 can't be overstated. Sharing podcasts, books, articles, and other resources not only helps spread knowledge but also fosters a sense of community among learners and enthusiasts. Subscribing to these sources ensures that you stay updated with the latest developments and continue learning in an area characterized by rapid change. Encouraging others to engage with educational content about Web3 also contributes to demystifying the space, making it more accessible and inviting to a broader audience. In doing so, we collectively advance the understanding and adoption of Web3 technologies, paving the way for more innovative and inclusive digital futures.

Wrapping It Up

Web3 is not just a technological evolution; it's a paradigm shift in how we interact with the digital world, promising more control and empowerment for users. Outlier Ventures plays a critical role in this transformation, nurturing startups that are pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the Web3 space. The challenges are significant, from the complexity of blockchain technology to the need for more inclusive and accessible platforms, but so are the opportunities for innovation, growth, and creating a more equitable digital future.

As we look towards the future, the integration of AI, the importance of inclusivity, and the evolving role of Bitcoin in the financial ecosystem stand out as key trends that will shape the Web3 space. These developments promise to enhance user experiences, broaden participation, and redefine the value and utility of digital assets.

Yet, amidst these exciting prospects, one question looms large: How will the Web3 community address the ongoing challenge of making these complex technologies accessible and understandable to the average person? Until we tackle this, the full potential of Web3 remains just beyond our grasp. Until the next exploration.

Francesca Conti from Outlier Ventures

Francesca Conti from Outlier Ventures


[01:37] Could you please explain briefly what your role and the business focus of Outlier Ventures entail for our listeners? 

[03:11] How has your transition from traditional investments to Web3 impacted your work at Outlier Ventures? 

[05:36] How do you see the current markets, considering both the challenges and opportunities that exist within them? 

[08:09] What tips or strategies can we use to onboard more new users, especially for startups, in the Web3 space? 

[10:29] What are your thoughts on the trends shifting from Metaverse to NFTs and now to AI, and how do these trends, along with others, impact the industry and startups? 

[13:28] Do you anticipate any potential shifts similar to what occurred with Bitcoin and its impact on the industry? 

[16:00] How crucial is marketing in the Web3 sector, and what unique approaches are necessary compared to traditional marketing methods? 

[18:42] What do you predict will be the next major trend in the Web3 sector in the coming year? 

[22:07] If there's one lesson learned or advice you'd offer to listeners entering the Web3 space, what would it be? 



“At Outlier Ventures, I currently serve as the program lead for the bitcoin base camp... Outlier Ventures is the most active Web3 investor as of Q3 in 2023.” 

 “I've always had an appetite for knowledge building and curious in nature... I became more and more entrenched in learning about the Web3 space.” 

 “I look at it from a very positive outlook... we're seeing more people really lean into the space.” 

 “In terms of how we onboard the next billion users... allowing for inclusivity and for unique voices to emerge in that space.” 

 “Stay hungry, stay curious... it's everything.” 



Outlier Ventures: 





About the author, JoeriBillast

Fractional CMO
Web3 Marketing Strategist
Bestselling Author on Amazon
Host of the Web3 CMO Stories podcast