‘Web3 Okanagan’ offers insights into next version of the Internet | News

The first in-person tech event to be held in the Okanagan in two years will focus on the potential of Web3 to revolutionize business and the way people use the Internet.

It will also be the inaugural conference held in a new downtown Kelowna venue, the Metro Hub on Ellis Street, that can accommodate 500 people.

“But we’re going to limit attendance to 200 so we’ll be well below the current health order that sets a 50% capacity on venues,” Web3 Okanagan organizer Chris Bertulli said Thursday in an interview.

More than 150 tickets, at $104 apiece, have already been sold for the four-hour conference, set for Feb. 15.

The brisk pace of ticket sales, Bertulli says, reflects the considerable interest in the way in which technologies such as Blockchain and non-fungible tokens have seized the public imagination, despite their seeming complexity.

“Very few times in a person’s life do you get to see monumental technology shifts in the world,” Bertulli said. “And what we are seeing right now in this new technology that’s being branded as Web3 or crypto or blockchain is on that scale.

“What we’re trying to do for our community is saying, ‘If you have a business that’s based on the Internet in any way, you need to seriously look at and understand this technology,” he said. “We’re trying to show people what this stuff is under the hood and how to use it in business and to boost our local economy.”

Asked to describe how Web3 differs from earlier versions of the Internet, Bertulli said the technology will put more ownership and profit-making abilities directly in the hands of businesses and individuals with less reliance on big tech companies.

“Web 1.0 was read-only, where most people used the Internet only to consume from a relatively small number of people who were publishing on the Internet,” he said. “Web 2 would be read-and-write, posting and reading on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“Web 3 is you can read, you can write, and you actually own the stuff on the Internet. That’s the transformation that this technology enables,” he said.

Confirmed speakers for Web3 Okanagan are Lorne Sugarman, CEO of Metaverse Group, a virtual real estate company that handles transactions via cryptocurrency, blockchain, and non-fungible tokens. He will appear remotely, but all other speakers will be in person at the conference.

These include Dustin Walper, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Newton.co, Ty Ward of Bookcoincom, and Matt Bertulli, CEO of Kelowna-based Pela.Earth, makers of popular compostible cellphone cases.

All proceeds from the event will be put toward Metro Community, a faith-based Kelowna organization that holds regular Sunday services and also runs an outreach service to help Kelowna’s homeless.

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