What the heck is Web3 anyway?

What the heck is Web3 anyway?

Sointu Karjalainen

There is no one and only definition to Web3 but most agree it will spark more innovation. Learn how the Internet has evolved, how did we end up here and what Web3 has to offer.
What the heck is Web3 anyway?

For me, Web3 is an evolution. Not a complete rewrite of Web2. Companies like Twitter are already looking for ways to incorporate the two. Not everything needs to be decentralized and not everyone will jump onto metaverse with monkey jpeg’s on their (digital) wallets.

Web3 is an umbrella term for blockchain, decentralized finance (DeFi), digital currency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), DAOs and the metaverse. Web3’s predecessors, Web1.0 and Web2.0, were launched in 1989 and 1999. I think it’s about time we talk about the next version. 

There is no one and only definition to Web3. Nobody yet knows where it's leading to. But most agree it will spark more innovation. It's not necessarily about doing something cool (although that helps). Web3 is about making our lifes better in a meaningful way so we benefit directly or indirectly. It’s community powered value creation, in a collaborative and open source environment using blockchain technology. It is a decentralized network that eliminates the involvement of middlemen. Let's look back in history a bit to understand the evolution of the Internet a bit better.

What is Web1 and Web2 

Web 1.0: Read-Only (1989-2004)

Basically Web1 can be described as the earliest form of the Internet used from 1989-2005. It’s also called “the read-only Web”. Think digital read only encyclopedias just to gain information from texts on static pages without user interaction. It was created to be used by companies rather than individuals. The internet was also expensive back in the day because it cost the user according to the number of pages they viewed. For this reason, devices like computers and the internet were scarce in homes because not everyone could afford them.

Web 2.0: Read-Write (2004-now)

Web 2 came after 1, it is the current day version. If Web 1 was made up of a small number of people generating content for a larger audience, then Web 2 is many people creating even more content for a growing audience. Web 2 focuses on participating and contributing. It became more widespread as it offered various information, user-to-user interaction, content creation, social media and blogging.  

Web2 and data is controlled by tech firms like Google and Facebook. While centralization has helped onboard billions of people to the World Wide Web and created the stable, robust infrastructure on which it lives, at the same time, a handful of companies are deciding what we should and should not be allowed to do. This has led to problems like lack of privacy and not owning your own data.

Web 3.0: Read-Write-Own

Web3 can solve these problems since it does not follow the protocols of regulation of the third parties. Web3 embraces decentralization and is being built, operated, and owned by its users. It's a fair internet where users control their own data, identity and destiny.

At its core, Web3 uses blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs to give power back to the users in the form of ownership. Although the big social media companies aren’t the main players in Web3, Facebook, for instance, is trying its best to form their own future internet by creating the Metaverse.

Web3 technology is already being used but in order to go mainstream lots still needs to happen with regulation, accessibility, user experience, education and centralized infrastructure. 

Fundamentals of Web3

Although various community participants have different perspectives on Web3, a few commonly known core principles apply:

  • Web3 is decentralized: instead of large swathes of the internet controlled and owned by centralized entities, ownership gets distributed amongst its builders and users.
  • Web3 is permissionless: everyone has equal access to participate in Web3, and no one gets excluded.
  • Web3 has native payments: it uses cryptocurrency for spending and sending money online instead of relying on the outdated infrastructure of banks and payment processors.
  • Web3 is trustless: it operates using incentives and economic mechanisms instead of relying on trusted third-parties.

In short, Web3 offers a new way that combines the best aspects of the previous eras and solves the current problems of the Internet. It’s very early in this movement and a great time to get involved. If you want to learn more in depth I found great resources for you from Etherium's website. Please check them out to get more perspective. I’ll cover the topic of why Web3 is so important in the next article so stay tuned. 

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