Discover Web3

Wednesday 16 November 2022 06:00

Manchester United have always been innovators at heart.

And with Erik ten Hag and the team ushering in an exciting new era on the pitch, we’re also continually evolving off it. We want to find new opportunities for you to feel part of the United community and get closer to each other and the team. 

Enter, Web3.

The recent emergence of terms such as NFTs, crypto and blockchain - not to mention the metaverse - might have you scratching your head. But a new digital era is kicking off – one where fan engagement can take matchdays to a new level; where you can get closer to action on the pitch; and unlock new communities off it. 

So, whether you’re crypto-curious, or crypto-confused, the club’s journey into Web3 has begun. Let’s decode this exciting new reality together.

What is blockchain?


Want to learn more about the building blocks of Web3 and what it all means for United fans? Step this way.

Everyone’s talking about Web3, but what exactly is it?
Web3 is a vision for the next era of the internet, and it’s a concept that’s been around for a while. A merging of technological advancements over many years is taking the internet into a space that’s centered on ownership and participation – away from one where our data and our photos and our lives are controlled by big tech companies and platforms. 

Ok, this all sounds great, but I just want to watch United play every week, does Web3 really matter to me?

Yes! This ever-evolving new technology is unlocking a host of opportunities for fan engagement with Manchester United and our players, because at its core, Web3 is a place for community. In fact, innovations are being built by the Club as we speak, ones which reward you simply for being a fan – register here for more

But first, let’s recap the history of the internet so you can see how we’ve arrived at Web3.
What came before Web3?
Web1: the dawn of the internet
The internet started in the 1990s. This was effectively the analogue age of the internet. Think chunky computers, the shrill sound of the dial-up modem, static web pages, and for those born in the 80s and 90s, sharing jokes on MSN Messenger.

‘Web 1.0’ was basically read-only. After launching a web browser and waiting for your web page to load, football fans could find scores, fixtures, and news about their club. Who wouldn’t want to relive the 1999 Champions League final with a 2D, text-based match report?! At the time, this was cutting-edge stuff.

Digital collectibles explained


Learn how you can own a unique piece of United memorabilia.

Web2: You are here
The current era of the World Wide Web emerged in the mid-2000s. So-called ‘Web2’ was (and is) characterised by the growth of social media, the rise of big players like Google and Facebook, and the emergence of the creator economy. It changed life as we know it, giving us lightning-fast access to information across the globe, and connecting us in more ways than first-generation Web users ever thought possible. 

It also enhanced the experience of being a Manchester United fan. It allowed you to watch the Reds play on the other side of the globe, share your reactions to wins and losses, and gave supporters unprecedented 360 access on matchday (and beyond) via social media and the Manchester United app.

Web2 is a huge leap from the experience of being a fan in the 1990s, but it’s still a largely one-way relationship, where we broadcast to you. What if the playing field got a little more even?

Welcome to Web3

Now you have the potential to get closer than ever to Manchester United and our players, own historic pieces of the Club, collect iconic United moments, and even have a say in the Club’s future.

Day to day, you might not even notice the technologies of this new digital age, but behind the scenes, rest assured, they will be enhancing how you use the internet, creating richer, more immersive and rewarding experiences, on the pitch, in the stands and at home.
What are the benefits of Web3 for me as a fan?

1. Ownership
Fancy owning a historic piece of Manchester United? Digital collectibles have been a huge part of gaming culture for years. Now they’re starting to find a place in everyday life as Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs), giving you the chance to own your very own slice of the web. Find out more about digital collectibles here

But digital ownership doesn’t stop at just buying and selling digital assets and collectibles. In the future, your ticket to Old Trafford could be backed by blockchain technology. You could store it safely in a digital wallet, it can be verified as authentic, you can track where it came from, what you paid for it and keep a record of every game you have ever been to, forever. No more scrapbooks and lost ticket stubs. Instead, a permanent, verifiable record of your life with United. 

If you play games like eFootball or Fortnite, you might already be familiar with digital wallets. In Web3, the difference is you’re in control. You can sell your wallet contents where and when you choose, for the price you want, or keep them forever. Web3 digital wallets can also store currency, tickets and other digital products. Best of all they can store virtual keys that open new worlds and communities, like our newest fan channel on Discord – click here to learn more

Imagine you got your (virtual) hands on an official Man United number seven shirt in a game like FIFA. Thanks to Web3 tech, you can keep that shirt in your digital wallet forever. You’ll be able to show it off in-game and outside of the game. Ownership might also unlock benefits in other games, or in person at Old Trafford.

2. Connectivity
Your fantasy football league is already influenced (and sometimes ruined) by real-life players' on pitch performance. Web3 takes this melding of the digital and physical worlds to a new level, letting you easily move your digital history and items between a multitude of websites, apps and programs.

Remember that digital number seven shirt? It could also come with a very real, physical equivalent, or vice versa – a shirt you can then use to unlock exclusive benefits or experiences with the Club and partners. And only those with a genuine shirt – authenticated via the blockchain – would be able unlock rewards. 
3. Metaverse
And finally, the metaverse - the stuff of sci-fi dreams. What is it? Can we play football there? Will we all start living in a digital Stretford End? 

Don’t panic, we’re not about to swap the real world for the virtual. Not yet anyway. You can think of the metaverse as a virtual universe where you can play games, shop, meet friends and of course, watch the Reds every week. 

How? Picture an ‘I Love United’ event held in the metaverse. There, you could talk to club legends, meet and greet with your favourite players, watch matches alongside your heroes, and add signed merch to your digital wallet, all inside a virtual Theatre of Dreams. 

Sounds good. What are United’s plans for Web3?

The Club is not just standing pitch-side for Web3. We’re embracing new ideas, experiences, and new benefits for fans. And we want you to join us. 

To learn more about Web3 and the Club’s first official digital collectibles, click here.