If you love crypto and NFTs then you’re also closely acquainted with “Web3”, the next phase of the web in which blockchain technology will play a foundational role.
But what exactly is WEB 3.0?
Sadly, you’ve also likely seen the term bastardized and ground down to little more than empty jargon–Elon Musk has even called it a marketing buzzword and Jack Dorsey dismissed it as a gimmick used by venture capital firms.
What Is Web 3.0?
Web 3 is “a decentralized, fair internet where users can control their data, identity, and destiny.“
In other more easy words it means:
Web3 is an Internet owned by users and builders, orchestrated using tokens.
Investopedia describes it as the next iteration, “built upon the core principles of decentralization and openness and greater user utility.”
Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are the foundations of understanding Web3.
Web 1.0 was created by Sir Tim Berners–Lee and is the first version of the World Wide Web we have come to love since the mid-90’s. Dixon claims it is the “killer application” that was built on top of the internet. The internet had been around for a while.
Web 1.0’s key feature is the fact that most content is read-only. Users are consuming and not creating. This is why, even though the early days of web were referred to as the “golden age of innovation”, the number of products being developed was very limited.
Web 2.0 refers to the point at which social media takes over. Twitter was founded in 2006. Now content is not only read-only, but mostly user-generated. For example, wikis websites allow users to share and edit content. Web 2.0 is often referred to as the “participative Web” because most users can both consume and create content.
Web 2.0, while still built on the same foundations of Web 1.0 is extremely centralized and dominated largely by big tech.
Dixon stated that five-plus companies “kind of control the Internet.” According to Slate’s Emily Taylor: “Omnes cives Googlani Sumus.” All of us are Google citizens now.
Web 3 is owned and controlled by users and builders. Web3 products are not designed from the top down, but from the bottom up. Web3 does not have any Facebooks or Twitters. They’re not centralized via traditional company structures.
Dixon said, “You can now create something that looks and feels just like Facebook or Twitter.” This is a glimpse of what’s coming.
What is it that Web3 does to change the way value and ownership are distributed. This is where the second part of the equation comes in: “an Internet owned by builders and orchestrated with tokens.”
Dixon stated that Web3’s key concept is “this new concept of tokens.” Web3 rewards creators directly, while Web 2.0 companies make money from user-created content. Tokens allow users to take back control.
Two levels of disagreement exist in opinions about Web3. There are those who disagree on whether Web3 is worthy of discussion. Then there are those like Dixon who look down at the Web 2.0 camp in the words of Dan Primack from Axios: “a bit like cloud computing advocates viewed stalwarts years back: dinosaurs who refuse see the visible meteors heading towards them.”
There are also those who stand firm on Web3’s side, but disagree about its future. What role does blockchain play in this? What is the best way to achieve decentralization in a world where leading blockchains are heavily centralized?