With blockchain and cryptography hype increasing, the Internet is getting its way out to a newer dimension. Only recently, the fad of NFT took over the Internet, and now, the emerging trend called Web3 is in the talks. But what exactly is Web3 and why does it matter? Well to start off, Web3 was coined by Gavin Wood, the co-founder of Etherium, in 2014. The Web3 in its simplest form means a liberal democratic Internet that will be utilizing a Blockchain network and will be decentralized. Now, to understand it in a practical way, you need to learn what are its previous iterations.
Web1, Web2, and the Web3 – let’s understand
The Internet that kickstarted back in the 90s was termed as Web1, meaning that the first phase of the Internet. Web1 a.k.a Web 1.0 was basically a bunch of documents or pages hyperlinked to each other. Back in the day, the Internet just acted as a digital magazine where users were able to consume information. That said, it was just a read-only, one-way Internet. But, slowly with Java and Flash, the Web1 showed many possibilities. At this stage, users were solely consumers, who cannot provide feedback but just consume information.
Coming to Web2, which we are living in right now, revolutionized the Internet where users were not only the information consumers but also the information givers, and also creators to some extent. Now, some web pages not just provide information to users but also receive information from the users in the form of feedback forms or surveys. There was and is a two-way interaction on the Web2 or Web 2.0 and some examples of it are Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. Thanks to the two-way interaction on Web2, where users provided their personal data, the ad companies began to showcase personalized content to each user, which wasn’t the case earlier. Today, each user has a different homepage for a social media platform, and it truly iterates the way of content sharing on the internet.
Believers say that Web2 has come to an extent where the system is still centralized although users have access to doing multiple things. An interesting example for the same was reported by Wired, where it said that let’s say you can send flowers to a specific person on a dating app. However, the app is owned by one party and it has set a limit to 1 flower a day. But, the app also has a breakthrough where users can pay money to send as many flowers on a single day. It clearly shows how today’s Web2 is centralized.
Now, if we talk about Web3 or Web 3.0, which is believed to be the next generation of the Internet will be completely decentralized, meaning no control, no intervention, or no restrictions by the government or a single party. Practically, how it translates is each user can create his own content and he himself can control it. But, a question arises that it is the same today, isn’t it? You might say that a user can upload his own videos on Youtube and can control the comments and each part of the video. Furthermore, he can take down the video and share it on any platform.
Well, in Web2 or today’s Internet, some users are still the creators, if take the Youtube example, a user can definitely control his own channel but only to some extent. It means that he can do multiple things with his videos but it is still bound to a policy created by a centralized company – Youtube in this case. That said, the Youtuber cannot go beyond the policy of Youtube.
In Web3, however, if a user posts a video or a post, he can curate it as per his wish. The video or post will be on the web for as long as the user wants. It cannot be removed by anyone as it is not bound by any policies. It is completely decentralized. To why it won’t be removed by anyone else is because it won’t be on a single server as it will be on multiple networks. And similarly, everyone posting anything on the Web3, blockchain-based Internet, will be everywhere.
Some experts say that Web3 will reach an extent where it will be run by DAOs – Decentralized Autonomous Organization. DAO is touted to be created by those having the most tokens on the Internet. This authority can decide on certain things but notably, there won’t be any CEOs or Founders. Here the major decisions will be taken by votes of Web3 users. Basically, a liberal democratic Internet.
Why Does it Matter?
Now, that you know how Web3 will work, let’s understand why it matters. Some people believe that Web3 could take the Internet with a storm, while some say that Web3 isn’t practical. Recently, Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO said, “I’m not suggesting web3 is real – seems more marketing buzzword than reality right now – just wondering what the future will be like in 10, 20 or 30 years. 2051 sounds crazy futuristic!.” Even Twitter’s former CEO, Jack Dorsey commented on Web3.
I’m not suggesting web3 is real – seems more marketing buzzword than reality right now – just wondering what the future will be like in 10, 20 or 30 years. 2051 sounds crazy futuristic!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2021
No matter what the Internet experts say, Web3 does seem to have potential primarily for the blockchain industry and for the general public. Back in 2018, Gavin Wood shared a post that said that he believed in his Etherium network where people were able to interact in mutually beneficial ways without having to trust each other. The cryptocurrency exchange worked remarkably and so does he expects the Web3 to work.
He further said that the Web3 phenomenon won’t look much different from Web2 initially, but will have blockchain protocols in the backend. It may have ‘wallets’ or ‘key stores’ as browsers and users will be able to do things anonymously on the Internet using MetaMask. The Web3 primarily matters because it will create a new digital economy and pave newer ways for businesses. It will also bust monopolies from top giant companies like Facebook and Google.
It is said that in Web3, users will need just one password to log on to the Internet. By logging in once, users can discover all the information online. That one password can be the passcode of a digital wallet or some master password. It would really make things convenient. All we are waiting for is the evolution to take place in the future years.