Heard of the term 'web3' in your conversations but are unsure what exactly it means? In this article, we dive into the term, the evolution of the web, and the relevance of web3 - all in one!
The third generation of the world wide web with a primary emphasis on decentralization and blockchain technology.
Nowadays, one cannot imagine life without the Internet. Everything possible is present in the form of the World Wide Web (web2.0 or web2). Internet and the plethora of options provided by it are expanding every day, with new features.
But what if I say that the Internet, as we understand it today, might be undergoing a significant transformation? That’s right. Just as humans evolved from apes to homo sapiens, similarly, the web, from the nascent web1 to web2, is gradually progressing towards the new web3.0 or web3. 🥳
Since web3 is still developing, there is no fixed definition of it. The Ethereum co-founder, Gavin Woods, coined the term ‘web3’ in 2014. However, for general understanding purposes, web3 can be defined as the “read-write-own” form of the Internet. It runs primarily on blockchain technology to make the platform more engaging and user-friendly. It includes cryptocurrencies, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), etc. In other words, users can expect more control and stake in these platforms with the upcoming revolution. 💪🏼
Wouldn’t you rather be part of this revolution? 💭
The evolution of the web
Just as you were not born the way you look, speak, behave, etc., the web had also not been the way it is today. Yes, in the late 20th century, it took birth in the form of web1 from the genius of Tim Berners-Lee.
Initially, the web had no scope for interaction among user-individuals, and the newly created websites were in the hands of a few companies.
Users were only allowed to read and not own or share anything. Owing to this, web1 came to be known as the ‘read-only’ web. 📖
Web2 (2004- Present)
By 2004, the web allowed users not just to have a one-sided interaction (like those one-sided efforts you make for your crush 🙈) but also to write and share their created content with their fellow users.
What does that mean? Unlike the old version, where only the owner companies were able to provide information to people, Web2 allowed the generation of content by users, for users, through the introduction of new platforms (like your favorite platform for reels and YouTube shorts that you spend half of your days on ⌛).
The ‘read-write’ web space has come to be dominated by tech giants like Meta, Google, etc., which monetize content, generating profit for themselves. 🤑
Web3 (the ongoing revolution)
Presently, we have this desire to not just sit and watch but also to own something significant for ourselves. What do we turn towards? The answer is Web3. Sounds weird? But it's not, because the future of the internet is all set to allow its users to not just consume, create and share content, but also to have ownership. 🚀
It can be put this way that with the coming of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, etc., the new web is going to give control to their users. This is done with the aim to decentralize and create open protocols, community-operated networks. According to The New York Times, it will be like a combination of open infrastructures like Web1 and mass or community participation in Web2.
What are the features of web3?
One of the main features of web3 is the absence of any centralized authority. This is very unlike web2, where a few companies have come to control the platforms and benefit from them. With this, anyone, even you and me, can build and own the spaces and content. Users do not need to depend on Instagram or YouTube to monetize their content and they can earn crypto from other users in exchange for their data through the decentralized data networks. 🤗
No, trustless does not imply that web3 cannot be trusted the way your professor couldn’t be trusted when she gave you a list of qs for exams. It is quite the opposite, in fact. 😂 Trustless, in the context of web3, means that the users would be able to interact with one another without the intervention of an intermediary. For instance, in web2, when two users are conversing with each other, the data is handled by a third party and then transferred further. It is evident by the terms and conditions or pop-ups asking users to trust third parties and service providers that the web is based on trust between networks and the people. With web3, the mechanism will change to one, based on incentives in the form of tokens. The overall aim here is to increase the credibility of the web.
With the coming of web3, cryptocurrencies are going to be the medium for sending and receiving money online. All that users are required to do is install a wallet for them and begin transacting (possibly similar to your Paytm or Paypal wallets).
Web3 aims to come up with a ‘permissionless’ space where no gatekeepers can restrict access to the blockchain network, thus creating maximum engagement.
Relevance of web3
You own your shit 🎉
Blockchain technology and decentralization are significant features of web3. Unlike web2, which uses social media sites to store, distribute, and benefit from the content, Web3 allows users to participate in community activities and possess tokens, which are equivalent to monetary assets. With these, the user becomes the owner of their data and is responsible for its security. No one can take this advantage away from them. In web2, tech giants ask for users' data and store their information. All this is provided to marketers for profits which explains your mailbox and SMS (which no one uses otherwise today) being flooded by all sorts of promotions and stuff. It'd be so good if this stops because aren't you already tired of clearing your space everyday? 😜
Censorship has become an indispensable feature of web2 in the sense that if one creates an account on any social platform, they have to trust the owners not to make any such changes that may negatively impact their content and data, or worse censor some content as ‘unfavorable’ from their perspective. The web has become a major hindrance in the accessibility of information as it now focusses on censoring and silencing out those whom it thinks of as unconventional. Since the web3 is a platform wherein you own everything and it is free from a centralized authority, it is essentially an anti-censoring space.
How many accounts do you have across various social media platforms today? Probably, different usernames and IDs for different spaces like Reddit, YouTube, Instagram, etc. In the web3 space however, your wallet is your singular identity. Your identity is only split by the chains you use. For example, you have your MetaMask (A wallet for EVM Chains) Public Address as your singular ID for all the Dapps and transactions on Ethereum. And similarly, you have your Solana’s Public Address as your singular identity for all things on the Solana chain.
For instance, if my public key is ‘xyz’ (it’ll be a long random list of letters and numbers), I can use it to be identified throughout the blockchain for any transactions. Sometimes, people use ENS or SNS wrappers, for instance, njdkfhehru874871904njnd reduced to anon.eth or anon.sol; this then acts as their public key identifier as well.
Knowledge of web3 will become indispensable in the future
2004 onwards, i.e., after the introduction of Web2, users may have initially faced obstacles in integrating themselves into web2. Now, tbh, in today’s world, one cannot think of surviving without the knowledge of the internet. Similarly, when Web3 is all set to become the future of the internet, knowledge of its functioning is bound to become indispensable.
This is not to suggest, however, that you should purchase, own, or invest in something on the new web without doing proper research. DYOR!
You're almost there!
So, we expect that you at least got the slightest idea about what all of the hype about web3, its features, etc. is about. You have sufficient time to process all of this because the transformation is not going to happen overnight (just like Rome wasn’t built overnight 🏗️). Think about it, discuss it with your peers, different communities online, and experts, and do in-depth research about it.
Now that you have an idea about web3, let's understand how blockchain technology forms the basis of web3.
1. What is web3 and why is it important? ↗Ethereum 2. What is web3? ↗ The New York Times 3. What is web3 all about? An easy explanation with examples. ↗ Forbes 4. The History of Blockchain | Explained for Beginners ↗️ Youtube