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Web3 is the next evolution of the internet. It builds off current Web 2.0 with added functionality. Whereas Web 2.0s is focused on read-write, Web3 is read-write-own or read-write-execute. Decentralization, privacy, security and machine learning are early principles of Web3.
Web3 has become a catch-all term for the vision of a new, better internet. At its core, Web3 uses blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs to give power back to the users in the form of ownership.
While Web 3.0 is primarily concerned with who will rule( tech giants or individuals) and govern the internet in the future, the Metaverse is concerned with how users will interact with it. A large section of people now use computers, smartphones, and tablets to navigate websites and to access apps.
In summary, Web3 brings the potential to unlock more value for everyone on the internet. Instead of platforms having control of the data, users own any content they create, any digital objects they purchased, and those assets are usually portable.
The allure of Web3. 0 is that it is decentralized, thus instead of consumers being able to access the internet through services managed by Google, Apple, or Facebook, individuals own and govern portions of the internet.
What is Web3 and how does it work?
Although Web3 is still a loosely defined term, there is a general consensus about what it is and who it’s for. Web3 is the next stage or phase in the development of the world wide web and the subsequent iteration of the current version of the internet we are all using, Web2.
While Web2 revolutionized the way we interacted online, driven by the exponential growth of mobile internet access and social networks, Web3’s potential revolves around how we conduct agreements and value exchange. The conception of Web3 was born with the idea to place the control of data back into the hands of individuals.
For this to happen, Web3 is based on transparent digital ledgers, known as blockchains. The network will verify everything before being accepted, and theoretically, before exchanges can happen without the need for a middleman. Any exchanges will then be recorded on the blockchain, establishing a trusted and verified record, making it harder to manipulate and misuse data. Today, most cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum already use blockchain technology to record transactions. For Web3, a few experts believe it will provide increased data security and privacy for users to combat the influence of larger technology companies.
What is Web3?
There are a bunch of ways to answer that question - but I’d argue that the simplest definition is to contrast it with what web 1 and 2 were:
Web 1.0: Web 1.0 was basically the first version of the internet. Most people on the web consumed content, and the creators were typically developers who built websites that contained information in text or image format (anyone remember geocities?). Web 1.0 lasted approximately from 1991 to 2004.
Web 2.0: Today’s web. We’re all content creators sharing our thoughts amid several platforms that are primarily owned by a handful of companies. Infrastructure is largely centralized through a few big companies (Amazon, Google, Social Media Companies, etc.), and privacy is, well, “meh”.
Web 3.0 is a little different. While the full definition of what web3 can be is pretty exhaustive, I’m going to boil it down to 3 things:
In web 3, applications don’t run on single servers in the cloud - rather they are powered by decentralized blockchain technology that potentially has the ability to create a much more secure and elastic framework for interactions.
- Web3 technologies and non-fungible tokens have already reshaped the art world as proponents seek to democratize access to digital assets.
- There are concerns about crypto's sustainability but the Ethereum 'merge' showed that it was possible to cut the network's energy usage by 99.5%.
- Lessons from the art world show that Web3 technology could be used to transform our consumption habits and stop excessive production.
To conclude, Web3 and NFTs can reshape our symbiosis between the physical and the digital realms to optimize our polluting consumption economy while improving end users’ ownership over their digital assets.
We should strive for conscious consumerism and endow impactful digital and NFT initiatives.
We can use Bill Gates's cynical remark earlier this year that "expensive digital images of monkeys" would "improve the world immensely" as a driver toward meaningful exploration of Web3 possibilities.
Not for the sake of short-term benefits reap, but as a powerful conduit between communities, artists and computer engineers to support ideas that can improve our physical and digital well-being.