Web3 for Dummies
In this article I want to explain in the simplest way what this cool Web3 thing is that everyone has been talking about recently. Understanding these five new concepts will help you easily understand the next generation of the Internet:
- The Graph
- Crypto Wallet
The Internet we are using today, commonly called the World Wide Web, or simply the Web, is basically what’s known as “Web2.” This means it is the second generation of the Internet. “Web3", as the number suggests, is the next iteration. If you are an end user, or a consumer of services, you don’t need to go deep into details to understand the technicalities. The only thing you need to know is that Web3 is the next evolution of the Internet we use today. Web2 is basically the Internet which saw famous services like Facebook, Amazon, Google, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok succeed and become pervasive in our everyday lives. The origination of Web2 began around 2004, and has continued up to the present day.
In Web2 companies like Google or Facebook own huge server farms where thousands of computers (servers) run their applications and also store a huge amount of data. What data do these companies store about you? Everything! Companies like Google or Facebook know everything about you. For example, Google Maps knows every place you visit during the day (you can read more here). These companies own their servers and therefore own your data, which is concerning. As we have already discovered these past ten years, these companies often misuse our data (e.g., you can read an article here about the biggest scandals Facebook faced over the last decade).
Web3, the next evolution of Internet, is based on a new technology called “Blockchain”. The main difference is that while in Web2 all the applications and data are stored on servers owned by private companies, in Web3 applications and data are stored on a public, large server that is not linked with any private organization. A Blockchain network is made up of thousands of computers, exactly like a Google server farm, but with one major difference; these are computers owned by everyone in the world. Blockchain is what is called a peer-to-peer network. Maybe you have heard of “Napster”, a popular audio streaming service provider that pioneered the peer-to-peer file sharing software service, with an emphasis on digital audio file distribution. A Blockchain is basically a peer-to-peer network of distributed computers where everyone, without needing permission or authorization, can download the software and become a node of the network. But as an average end user, you do not need to own and run a node, as you will mostly be interested in using the services built on top of Blockchain tech.
Now that we understand what a Blockchain is, we can introduce Ethereum. We have different blockchains and Ethereum is the largest and most popular blockchain in the world. Ethereum is also called the World Computer! Ethereum runs applications and stores data in a public and accessible way, where no one but you owns your personal data. In a nutshell, if you store your photos or your music in Ethereum, they will always be your property and not linked with any company like Google or Facebook. Ethereum has no owner, rather it is a public network of computers that can be used by everyone. If you want to know more about Ethereum, you can visit the Ethereum Official Website, here.
Today, we gain access to ‘free’ internet services by giving up control of our personal data. Ethereum services are open by default — you just need a wallet. These wallets are free and easy to set up, controlled by you, and work without any personal info. (cit. Ethereum Official Website)
Ethereum is an open Internet! If you are asking yourself how you can access and use applications built on top of Ethereum? The answer is simple: you can use a web browser like Chrome but with an extension called “Crypto Wallet” (or simply Wallet) that I will explain later below. Alternatively, there are also new browsers under development that are Web3 native, that means that have been designed and built to work with Web3 smoothly. For example Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in US, has recently announced its new app that has a web3 browsers built into it, you can read more here.
If Ethereum is a huge world computer where applications run on top of it and a huge amount of data is stored there, the question that pops up immediately is: how we can search for our data in such a huge, distributed world computer?
The answer is The Graph, which is basically what Google does for Web2, but with some key differences. Google Search allows end users to find the information they need with a simple user interface where you only have to type in your search. The Graph, instead, allows the new applications built on Ethereum to search easily for the data they need. As an end user, you won’t type any search into The Graph user interface. Instead, you will use an app that runs on Ethereum and the app itself will perform all the searches to retrieve the data needed to provide you their services.
A Crypto Wallet, or simply a Wallet, hosts your credentials to access the new Web3 world. Basically, instead of remembering a lot of credentials (usernames and passwords) to access multiple applications, you can use your own Wallet to explore this new world. In addition, with a Wallet you can also store your crypto currencies, send/receive funds, and even earn interests on your assets. It is the key to access a fairer financial system. If you want to know in detail what a Crypto Wallet is, you can read my article here. A popular Crypto Wallet is MetaMask, built for the Ethereum blockchain.
Do you have any questions?
Graphtronauts is the biggest and fastest growing non-official community for long term GRT holders. We are believers in The Graph and the impact it will have on the upcoming Web3 revolution. Our objective is to connect with and educate the broader crypto community, so they may better understand and interact with The Graph’s ecosystem.
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