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The Internet of today is dying. Well, kind of.
Our current Internet, called “Web 2.0,” centers around user-generated content and social-media networks that control many of the communities cultivated online. For example, photos from your most recent yoga class live on Facebook. News alerts pop up in your Twitter feed. You may even read Yoga Journal’s content through Instagram. (And no, I’m not ashamed of the self-promotion.)
But the latest iteration of the Internet proposes a new way to think about—and build—virtual community. This version of the Internet, called Web 3.0, centers around creating a democratized experience, where creators own their content across different platforms. And it’s not just for Silicon Valley tech bros. Deepak Chopra—the renowned physician, author, and founder of the Chopra Foundation—and Poonacha Machaiah, social entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and CEO of the Chopra Foundation, are bringing mindfulness and community to this space through their platform, Seva.Love.
“The Web 3.0 world is all about what I call the ‘owner economy,’ where the artist is the center of the transformation,” says Machaiah, who is also the co-founder and CEO of Seva.Love. He sees potential in this new online ecosystem, which brings talented artists, charitable organizations, and community members together to create a new way of connecting—and giving.
Connecting social consciousness to Web 3.0
Dubbed “the metaverse platform and community for good,” Seva.Love aspires to make an impact in this space through selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that benefit charitable organizations. NFTs, which are products stored on blockchains, commonly take the form of digital art collectibles. But NFTs can also be utility tokens—meaning their purchase can unlock redeemable assets, such as services, tickets, rewards, and other benefits. (For example, an NFT could grant access to a special event or include unique downloadable files, such as music or videos.) In the case of Seva.Love, the NFTs include both collectibles—digital artwork the organization commissioned—and utilities, such as a one-on-one meditation session with Chopra or access to IRL experiences, like the upcoming Seva.Love Summit.
The platform’s first drop was on Giving Tuesday, November 30, 2021, and included a collection of 17 animated NFTs created to benefit SameYou, an organization created by English actress Emilia Clarke that supports the development of new therapies and programs for brain injury and stroke recovery. According to Seva.Love, the series “illustrates the experiential journey of healing from brain injury trauma to recovery,” through moving images and meditative sounds crafted with binaural beats, which are thought to encourage healing and a deeper meditative state, among a host of other benefits. The featured NFT in the drop, “A Story of Resilience,” included a video call with Chopra, a Sebring Holotower with a holographic display of the dress Clarke wore to the 2016 Emmy Awards, and a full-resolution download of the digital work, among other benefits. From this drop, Seva.Love donated 32 ETH (Ether, the form of cryptocurrency on the Ethereum blockchain) to SameYou. That’s equivalent to $103,426 dollars at the time of publication.
Seva.Love’s second NFT collection—Natura by Dhimant Vyas—was originally launched to benefit Jara, a nonprofit that creates and distributes personal education devices to children in communities that lack access to power and the Internet, starting in Nepal. However, as the Russian war against Ukraine began, the artist and Seva.Love team shifted focus. Now, 100 percent of the sales of the 12 NFTs currently minting will benefit support efforts in Ukraine.
The Seva.Love platform mints its NFTS on Hedera, a network for transactions operating on blockchain technology. Cognizant of the concerns surrounding blockchain technology and sustainability, Hedera recently achieved carbon-negative status, which happens when a network eliminates more carbon than it emits.
Curating a community of well-being in the metaverse
Currently, Seva.Love hosts conversations about mindfulness and meditation practices on Discord, a virtual chat room platform, and in Twitter Spaces. However, Machaiah says Seva.Love plans to expand its offerings in the metaverse. “Our goal is to create a land online called ‘Sevaverse,’ where doing good and doing well is going to be highlighted,” he says. This space will offer meditation practices, yoga classes, and other guides to well-being—all accessible within the metaverse. Within the next year, he says they plan to launch some of these concepts through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences.
While Web 3.0 is a drastic shift from our current online activity, Machaiah believes it will ultimately be positive one. Currently, Web 2.0 centers around an influencer economy (hello, Instagram). But in Web 3.0, Machaiah sees an opportunity to build stronger connections with creators, such as your favorite artists, yoga teachers, or wellness influencers. So instead of just consuming their content—as you might do now on Instagram and other social platforms—you’d be able to engage with them in community-based online classes, private sessions, and other virtual spaces.
“Web 3.0 is about creating intimacy and connection and communication, and really interacting with people one-on-one, talking to your yoga teacher, talking to Deepak, having access to these people,” he says.
Machaiah acknowledges that right now, many yoga teachers aren’t interacting in the metaverse. But Seva.Love can be an entry point, a way of bringing these teachers into Web 3.0, he says. For example, Machaiah says he is currently speaking to Eddie Stern, a yoga teacher based in New York, about partnering on the platform. “We want to make it easy for them to onboard some of these brands into the metaverse,” he says. And Machaiah isn’t afraid of recruiting teachers who are more traditionally minded, either. For him, Seva.Love offers a unique opportunity for people to build more authentic communities with their students—a pitch that he believes is appealing.
So, yes, in the metaverse, Deepak Chopra could actually be your go-to meditation teacher. We’re definitely on board with that.