Crafting Brand Identities in Web3 at The Intersection of Innovation and Utility

Adaverse Accelerator
6 min readApr 23, 2024


In the last decade, Web3 technologies have significantly revolutionised everything from finance to communication, introducing unprecedented levels of transparency and efficiency across various industries. Yet, as the market valuation surges beyond $2.7 trillion, a critical challenge emerges: how can Web3 startups not only innovate but also craft brand identities that resonate deeply with both investors and everyday users? Amidst fierce global competition and a high rate of startup failures, the successful integration of innovation with utility becomes not just advantageous but essential.

Why Web3 Startups Are Failing Faster

Compared to their counterparts in established markets, Web3 entrepreneurs in emerging regions experience a notably higher failure rate, particularly where funding is scarce and market penetration depends heavily on tech knowledge and smartphone accessibility. Other factors also impact tokenized projects, especially given the cyclic nature of the cryptocurrency market. For instance, the 2022 collapse of FTX, then the third-largest crypto exchange, sparked a domino effect that led to the downfall of several crypto exchanges globally, including those in Africa. Beyond these fundamental challenges, a slow rate of user adoption and a significant number of setbacks are attributable to marketing missteps. Despite initial success at launch, many promising ventures have prematurely faltered. In the Web3 landscape, brand communication is often fragmented, mirroring the nascent and rapidly evolving nature of the industry.

Innovation: The Catalyst for Disruption and Interest

Innovation is a key driver in the tech ecosystem, crucial for startups aiming to disrupt existing markets and introduce new paradigms. Companies like Google, Facebook, Airbnb, and Uber demonstrate how deeply innovative firms can influence societal norms by blending groundbreaking technology with everyday utility. Web3, with its innovative potential, captivates early adopters and can redefine market boundaries. However, the longevity of startups depends not just on innovation but also on converting novel ideas into practical applications that are noticeable beyond the hype of the technology underpinning.

Marketing and Branding Pitfalls

Relying solely on trend-driven marketing and technology hype has proven to be a growth hindrance in the Web3 sector. As the Web3 industry matures, it becomes essential for brands to swiftly learn the ropes of the constantly changing preferences of consumers. Many Web3 startups tend to highlight the innovative aspects of their solutions rather than their practical utility. Marketing must be regarded as a crucial element for long-term success, with a focus on increasing consumer awareness and enhancing product visibility, especially for B2C ventures.

For instance, the NFT market experienced a dramatic surge of over 3000% at its peak, reaching a valuation of over $20 billion in 2021, with ‘NFT’ being declared the buzzword of the year. During this period, many companies rolled out NFT-focused campaigns. Including celebrities and influencers who wanted a piece of the NFT cake. However, the market cap dropped by 50% the following year, highlighting the volatility associated with such trends. Despite NFT’s continuous expansion into various sectors, interest has significantly waned, receiving less media attention, mirroring earlier trends observed with DeFi, and now AI has taken center stage. This pattern emphasizes the need for a robust, enduring market strategy that transcends momentary hypes and the cycles of the crypto market or innovation buzzwords. Brands that initially surge on the tide of trendy innovation often find their momentum waning over time.

Utility: The Key to Market Penetration and Scalability

Utility anchors technology in functionality that meets specific user needs and resolves real-world problems. From an early-stage accelerator’s perspective, the most successful Web3 startups, especially B2C models are those that effectively combine innovation with strong utility in their brand marketing, reaching beyond the Web3 ecosystem to capture the Web2 consumers. This approach not only facilitates easier market entry and user adoption, but also enhances long-term business viability.

Consider the DeFi industry in Africa, which has received increasing investor attention in recent years. Despite significant advancements, the unbanked and underbanked — a large segment according to UNICEF, with 31% of adults globally unbanked in 2021 — often remain untouched by these innovations. Web3-powered Neobanks have a vast potential market to tap into within emerging economies, especially if they prioritize product accessibility and ease of use before technological sophistication. An exemplar of this approach is Fonbnk, which lowers entry barriers by allowing access to mobile money using phone airtime and USSD technology. This user-friendly and actionable approach is particularly effective in rural communities, demonstrating how Web3 can bridge significant gaps in traditional banking services

Integrating Innovation and Utility in Brand Identity

Integrating innovation and utility in brand identity is about more than pioneering disruptive technologies; it involves creating systems that enhance user interaction and establish a meaningful connection with consumers. Leaders in the Web3 space are visionaries who not only develop new technologies but also ensure these innovations solve real-world problems and contribute positively to society. When building a Web3 brand, it’s crucial to consider what your company is known for — whether striving to be a household name or recognized among top innovators. A successful brand articulates a clear narrative that showcases how its technology is practically applied, making tangible change in the communities or sectors it serves. This approach not only positions companies as leaders in innovation but also as integral players in societal development, securing user trust and loyalty.

Companies that understand the power of branding are leading the charge in the Web3 space. For instance, Afriex utilizes stablecoin technology to facilitate rapid international fund transfers, simplifying the process significantly for users and removing the complexities typically associated with digital currency transactions. Similarly, Ejara is making waves in Francophone Africa by providing mobile money solutions that enable easy access to savings and investment opportunities, thereby democratizing financial services in regions traditionally underserved by conventional banking systems. These and many more examples illustrate how effectively amplifying utility over innovative technology will not only meet user needs but also strengthen brand identity and expand market influence.

Adaverse Fostering Startups for Sustainable Industrialization and Innovation

Fostering innovation and sustainable industrialization aligns with one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is central to Adaverse’s mission of building prosperous nations. Through our USD 100 million Cardano focused fund and accelerator programs, we are committed to guiding our portfolio companies towards developing solutions that are sustainable, inclusive, and address critical societal issues. More than just launching startups, we emphasize market penetration and community building as essentials for success. This year, we have launched a USD 10 million fund in the Middle East to support regional development and contribute towards Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to use innovation and technology for nation-building. These goals are attainable when founders embrace their roles as leaders and social changemakers, bringing their transformative solutions directly to users.


Successfully navigating the Web3 ecosystem requires a balance between adopting new technologies and integrating them in ways that meet genuine user needs. As a venture fund and accelerator specializing in the Web3 sector, we guide startups not only to explore cutting-edge technologies but also to ensure these innovations provide tangible, valuable solutions that are accessible and recognisable by the everyday consumer. This approach helps startups captivate the market and forge robust brand identities that earn the trust and loyalty of both users and investors.

About Adaverse

Adaverse is a leading Web3 accelerator and venture fund scaling both B2B and B2C ventures across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. As part of its mission, Adaverse provides extensive support to startups through funding, mentorship, and expert advisory, including tokenization support. Operating as Cardano’s venture arm in these regions, Adaverse is committed to building robust infrastructure and innovative products that propel startups into the forefront of future technologies. By equipping emerging companies with the necessary tools and insights, Adaverse ensures a clear pathway for the development and expansion of transformative Web3 solutions in diverse markets.

Web3 startups can apply for Adaverse funding here.

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Adaverse Accelerator

Adaverse is a Venture fund and Cardano accelerator fostering blockchain innovation in Asia, Middle East, and Africa.