What is Web3 & How It Compares to Web1, Web2
The future we’ll live in is developing right now.
Have you already heard of Web 3, also known as Web3 or Web 3.0? Mentioned a lot lately, this term refers to the upcoming iteration of the Internet promoting decentralized protocols and its goal is to decrease dependency on large tech companies such as YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix.
With emerging technology, there are constantly new terms coined which are very unclear to the general public, and sometimes even to the tech enthusiasts. However, as each of these terms comes with a unique set of benefits for those who know how to maximize its potential, it’s good to ride the wave while you still have the chance.
Web 1, Web 2, and Web 3
The first version of the Internet, also known as Web 1, arrived in the late 1990s and was a collection of links and homepages. The websites at that time weren’t as interactive as they are now. The website owners were the only ones able to publish basic content that their audience could read. Almost zero interaction. The content was created and owned by companies and earned by it.
What followed was Web 2, often referred to as the “read/write” version of the Internet. The name came from the computer code option allowing you to open and edit files instead of just viewing them. With Web 2, people were not only able to consume the content on these websites, but they were also able to create their own and publish it on blogs such as Tumblr, online forums, and marketplaces.
In terms of ownership, Web 2 allowed users to create the content, but it was still owned and earned by companies. With the appearance of social media platforms, everything was taken to another level.
Then, people using the internet frequently became aware of how their data is being harvested by all these tech companies to create tailored marketing campaigns. Do you remember that hefty fine of $5 million that Facebook had to pay in 2019 for breaching data privacy laws?
This and many other examples shined a light on the issue of privacy. Internet users are demanding to be more in control of their data and the way that data is being used. As this need was growing over the past few years, everything was getting ready for the new version of the web — Web 3.
If Web 2 was the “read/write” version of the Internet, then Web 3 can be looked at as the “read/write/own” version. Instead of using free tech platforms in exchange for our data, we can participate in managing and operating these protocols. In a way, people can finally become participants and shareholders, and not just customers or target audiences of companies across all industries. Here, blockchain allows users to create content and data which is no longer managed by companies, but by protocol.
What Brings Web 3?
With a cooperative governance structure, Web 3 converts all those involved into actors with a certain power. The shares here are called tokens or cryptocurrencies, representing ownership of decentralised networks or blockchains. Those who hold governance tokens can use them to vote on the future of protocols.
In the Web 3 world, anything can be tokenised, from a meme and a tweet to a digital piece of art. The gaming industry is where this shift is most evident. As gamers often complain about the bugs in their favorite video game, the bad characteristics of in-game items, or anything else, Web 3 allows them to invest in the game and vote on what needs to change and how.
Even the big Web 2 companies like Ubisoft and Meta have started creating virtual worlds supported by Web 3. Of course, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will continue to have a crucial role in reshaping the entire gaming industry.
Room for Improvement
None of the technologies are perfect on their launch day. It requires constant testing, improvements, and adjustments to ensure that technology is providing users with its maximum value.
Just like Web 2 had weaknesses, Web 3 has it too. One of the most mentioned weaknesses of Web 3 is its lack of ideals. Ownership over mentioned blockchain networks is not equally distributed but rather concentrated in the hands of venture capitalists and early adopters.
To truly serve its intended purpose, Web 3 would need to be decentralized not only in name but in substance as well. There are decentralized finance protocols where only a few people have access to hundreds of millions of dollars. There are private blockchain and venture capital-backed investments that are completely the opposite of the philosophy behind Web 3.
For instance, we cannot talk about everyone being the active contributors in Web 3 if founders of leading blockchain networks still hold the major portion of power over these networks. There is no more room for cosmetic changes that are there to announce something they are unable to deliver.
Undoubtedly, Web 3 has incredible potential, much more than its previous version. It needs to continue improving and hearing the early critics ensure it doesn’t only serve the rich ones, the powerful ones, the privileged ones. One way it strives to achieve that is with the code being the law and protocols rewarding community members and users based on their role and participation in development.
The idea of Web 3 is to eliminate these privileges and as long as they insist on organizations and companies that gained their power even before Web 3, the evolution of the web will not seem as advanced as it should.
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