The DeCommerce Stack: The Next Billion Dollar Opportunity in web3

Jonathan Shriftman
7 min readSep 10, 2022


I’ve spent more than a decade operating and building companies in DTC eCommerce and eCommerce SaaS. Now, as a growth-stage investor at Expanding Capital, I’m invested in leading commerce enablement tools like Postscript, mParticle, Bolt and Easypost.

I’ve observed some distinct waves in digital commerce. The first wave took commerce online with the dot-com boom. The second wave was all about DTC, thanks to Shopify, Alibaba, Amazon’s marketplace, inexpensive Facebook marketing, and commerce enablement tools.

Now, I’m excited about the next wave coming that will decentralize many critical pieces of the eCommerce stack.

Decentralized commerce, or DeCommerce, adds a new level of depth to every commerce interaction. DeCommerce is about growing communities, giving a greater sense of ownership back to the brand AND consumers, and driving higher profits for merchants. While at this current moment we’re in a crypto-winter, I believe in the near-future, evolving consumer preferences and behaviors will require radically different solutions, which I’ll explain in depth below.

In this post, I outline three parts of the DeCommerce stack and where there are billion-dollar opportunities for web3 commerce enablement infrastructure companies:


There are a multitude of ways brands in Web 2.0 build community, track relationships with customers, connect with customers, build advocacy & loyalty and earn reviews.

However, with an evolution to decentralized wallets, brands will need a new way to track and communicate with customers.

CRM: One massive opportunity in the DeCommerce stack is a web3 CRM. Salesforce, the giant in the Web 2.0 space has a $181B market cap. While platforms like Salesforce enable brands to build a database based on email and phone numbers, web3 consumers are moving to decentralized wallet addresses, which is the way to send and receive cryptocurrency. This is a huge opportunity for brands because a dedicated web3 CRM that builds services around a wallet (versus an email) showcases a customer’s entire transaction history. This can become critical for brands to advertise to customers with a higher propensity to convert and more accurately model prospective LTV. One company, Holder, has built a CRM that uses on-chain customer activity to provide real-time customer insights and customized outreach campaigns. (On-chain data means data comes from a public ledger system that allows anyone to look into all transactions that are recorded on it)

Messaging: Once brands build a CRM database of customers and/or NFT/token holders, they’ll need a way to connect with customers. In Web 2.0, brands utilize platforms like Twilio, which has a $12B market cap, to generate a phone number and create programmable messaging via SMS. However, with web3, there hasn’t been an efficient way for brands to communicate with customers, sans Discord or Twitter. One company that aims to solve this is Notifi, which has built an SDK that embeds notifications and messaging into decentralized applications. Another company, Dialect developed a way to make messages “smart” turning text into rich media that customers can interact and transact with. This allows customers to take action right in the message, actually leapfrogging Web 2.0 messaging capabilities.

Loyalty: One of the most successful ways brands increase lifetime value is through loyalty programs. In the DeCommerce stack, one concept I’m excited about is using branded tokens to convert customers into loyal evangelists. Hang is an NFT-powered loyalty and membership software solution where the more a customer interacts with a brand, the more perks, and benefits they accrue.

Reviews: A problem plaguing e-commerce today is fake reviews. Blockchain technology makes verifying a wallet’s web3 purchases easy. Companies like Tested Web or ProductDao scan users’ transactions to confirm a purchase, then enable customers to leave feedback.


In the second wave of digital commerce, two types of players facilitate transactions: 1) marketplaces like Amazon, Target & Walmart and 2) software players like Shopify, BigCommerce, etc. Together, they’ve played a part in helping global e-commerce rise from 15% of total retail sales in 2019 to 21% in 2021.

Marketplaces: But brands selling on marketplaces are at the mercy of the marketplace, and brands lose a direct line to their customer. One area in DeCommerce that has already driven billion-dollar valuations are decentralized marketplaces. Today, platforms like Opensea and LooksRare primarily sell NFT though these marketplaces (but even these aren’t truly decentralized; they have their order books off-chain in a database). I believe web3 marketplaces can go even further; removing transaction fees, and supporting cross-border payments while giving brands the ability to sell any kind of product. SudoSwap is a marketplace getting major traction now. It lets anyone become their own marketplace, everything is on-chain, and there are fewer fees (they only take 0.5% from each transaction).

Commerce Platforms/Payments: For DTC brands built on SaaS platforms like Shopify, the platforms take a cut of transactions, charge subscription fees, and merchants don’t have free reign to sell any kind of products. One platform aiming to be the Shopify for web3 is ThirdWeb, a full stack Web3 development kit that has templates so any brand can easily build an NFT marketplace, token-gated website, play-to-earn game and more. Another issue with Web 2.0 SaaS platforms, is having funds withheld. In DeCommerce, brands can use new payment gateways that support peer-to-peer transactions, meaning that no middleman is required to complete the payment. Platforms like DePay let brands accept cryptocurrency payments worldwide in a decentralized, censorship-free and fraud-resistant way. Moonpay lets customers pay with a credit card and covers the costs and time dealing with chargebacks. Brands can also publish directly on platforms like (where I originally published this same post, but as an NFT here)

Subscriptions/BNPL: Other areas that can be massive DeCommerce businesses include subscriptions and buy-now-pay-later. Subscriptions have become a fundamental business model for brands because they’re predictable and time-bound, but in web3, a customer would have to “sign” an outbound transaction (or verify it) 12 times a year. Companies like Loop and Diagonal aim to solve the web3 subscription opportunity. Supermojo and AtPay are web3 buy-now-pay-later financing solutions that will challenge Affirm. These companies are designed to make digital assets more accessible for potential customers. For paying on time, customers earn tokens as a reward (and can even stake them to earn interest)


The global Web 2.0 advertising market is estimated to be worth $455 billion per year. But ad buyers have identified several concerns that negatively impact them including lack of consistent measurements, lack of visibility on third parties, and dominance by Facebook, Google & Apple.

Programmatic Media: One area ripe for disruption by DeCommerce is display and programmatic advertising. Digital advertisers lost $19B due to fraudulent views in recent years. DeCommerce advertising tools can fight ad fraud by introducing real-time and verifiable reporting. One company, Adshares, has built a protocol that uses blockchain technology to directly connect advertisers and publishers, allowing both parties to settle ad transactions in real-time through smart contracts. Adshares also built the first programmatic ad platform for the metaverse, partnering with Decentraland. Companies in the display/programmatic part of the DeCommerce stack will challenge incumbents like The Trade Desk, valued at $35B or DoubleClick, which was acquired by Google for $3.1B.

Cookies: Another pillar of Web 2.0 is the third-party cookie. Third-party cookies track ad views and user’s behavior online (but are being phased out by Google in 2023 due to privacy concerns). For brands that have paid to display an ad at a particular website on a per-view basis, how can they know if their ad has been viewed? One concept in web3 is called Engage-to-Earn. Embed, using Engage-to-Earn, is a new company where consumers pick & get matched with brands that resonate with the things they’re passionate about, then users get branded NFTs that unlock rewards based on their engagement. Exstntl is a web3 plug-in directly challenging cookies that helps brands target consumers online in an ethical way.

Affiliate: A large sector of the advertising industry revolves around affiliate marketing but Web 2.0 affiliate marketing is centralized with clear tracking mechanisms. One company looking to create a web3 referral marketing solution is Attrace. They’ve developed a framework that uses a Refer-to-Earn layer for the entire blockchain ecosystem. Individuals who share referral links earn rewards for every token bought by their link.


The technologies mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg for the DeCommerce stack. There are other parts of the DeCommerce, or dCommerce, stack I alluded to in the landscape above that will have a contributing beneficial role in the creation of web3 commerce, like decentralized customer service, authentication and token-gated community building. In a future post, I may share how all these technologies fit together. I’m excited to watch the emerging DeCommerce wave transform advertising, social relationships and commerce.


Thank you to Mike Duboe from Greylock, Dan van der Merwe from Quicknode and David Carrico for your inspiration and brainstorming around this concept.



Jonathan Shriftman

Resident of NYC. Partner at Expanding Capital. Previous founder at @Humin (acq. by Tinder) & @SoleBicycles, and head of BD at Snaps.