Web3 is a concept that came to life in 2014, but it only gained traction in 2021, along with the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse. It is touted as the third wave of the internet, which aims for a decentralized worldwide web-based on blockchain technology.
Why did it take 10 years to see its potential? A couple of things:
- The boom of Web3 projects such as NFT games and the Metaverse
There exists a multi-billion dollar gaming industry outside of blockchain. When NFT games came out with advantages such as owning in-game assets that are tradeable and income-earning, adoption was quite natural.
- There is a movement that aims to shift the power and control from tech giants.
The worldwide web is currently controlled by tech giants like Google and Meta (previously Facebook). They have power over user data and how the industry shifts. For several years, lawmakers and authorities have struggled to regulate this space. The companies have been under fire for issues such as the proliferation of fake news and scams that harm users. Web3 aims to solve these and other headaches we’re experiencing today.
A brief comparison of Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web3
To understand why the internet is abuzz with Web3, let’s dive into its predecessors, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, and see how they compare:
- Web 1.0
Web 1.0 is your first wave of the worldwide web, which are presented as static pages and are usually personal websites. Users can visit these sites and gain some useful information, but there’s likely no incentive to return because the site cannot be updated with new information.
- Web 2.0
Web 2.0 comprises of dynamic and interactive websites. A good example of this internet structure are blogs where users can publish, upload content, and change information as they please. Visitors can also leave comments or product reviews, which can influence other would-be customers. It is the age of tech giants, such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and YouTube.
Web3 is presented as a decentralized blockchain-based version of the world wide web. It broke through mainstream media in 2021, initially because it presented a solution to the hurdle of regulating the web, but more so to unhinge the concentration from the tech companies that currently dominate the internet.
Why is the internet abuzz with Web3?
There are proponents and naysayers when it comes to this new concept. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey shared his opinion in a tweet, saying it’s merely a move to shift the attention from the tech giants to venture capitalists involved in blockchain. However, Twitter has expressed their interest more recently with projects that support Web3.
Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk also shared the same skepticism when he said it is more of a marketing ploy than anything. Meanwhile, Alphabet Inc. (Google) CEO Sundar Pichai welcomes the idea of blockchain and even mentioned that the company is looking into being a contributor to blockchain growth.
So what’s the deal with Web3 and why is it here to stay? We’re looking at three reasons:
There are endless opportunities on an iteration of the world wide web with blockchain technology involved. Decentralization, one of the most iconic properties of blockchain, can make the internet more reliable and accessible.
When you decentralize it, you move the conversation away from Big Tech, which currently holds power over the status quo on the internet. It brings control and authority to the community of users by building an open network of computers.
It takes away the struggle of privacy issues, the problem of accumulating data or centralizing it to only a few companies.
- Profit in ownership of your assets
When you create in the Web3 space, you can partly own what you publish, tokenize your products and services, and incentivize users in helping govern the protocols.
A good example here would be NFTs. These are blockchain-based ownership of assets, which can be likened to the title of your house. As of now, NFTs in the real world can be metaverse land titles or NFT in-game collectibles such as characters and assets like skins and weapons. It can also be NFT art collectibles.
These digital goods can be shared, too! And anybody can have a share of a famous piece of art. Moreover, these “shares,” since they are tokenized, can be sold, bought, and traded over Web3.
- Trustless and self-governing
Few of the core characteristics of blockchain that can prove to be useful in building a new version of the worldwide web are being trustless and self-governing.
In Web3, it is speculated to create a network of linked computers, which can communicate to record and validate data stored there. Users are also in control of their own data and people can execute transactions freely on a peer-to-peer basis.
Similar to how it works in cryptocurrencies, a Web3 environment can also incentivize users to do good and discourage bad actors from performing malicious acts on Web3 platforms.
The concept of Web3 is still in infancy and still full of skepticism. There are Web3 apps already in existence and more arre underway, but a solid structure of what Web3 is remains abstract. Some even go as far as to speculate that it’s merely a ploy to bring the power to another set of authorities – the venture capitalists who are already in the blockchain space. We have yet to see the ecosystem around it develop, but so far the benefits are promising to many and not just a few centralized powers.