Web3 Will Be for Everyone
Web3 is at a pivotal moment, buzzing with a lot of discussion and hype. Web3 will be monumental. And it will be for everybody. Yes, it is inevitable. No, not because it will be forced on anyone, but because everyone will want it.
Do you like owning things? Do you like control? Do you like to be yourself? Then Web3 is for you. We’ll all be just a little bit smarter, more honest and more wealthy with Web3.
So what is Web3 anyway, and why will it be for everyone?
In this article we’ll cover some common and tightly related ideas around what Web3 and what it is and why it’s a big deal:
- Web3 is an individual-centric web with better identity and data control/ownership.
- Web3 involves cryptography but is mostly a way to have a new kind of identity with new freedoms.
- Web3 is about all new kinds of digital assets or digital belongings. NFTs are just the start.
- Web3 will be tightly related to the evolution of the metaverse.
Web3 is an individual-centric web with better data control/ownership.
The above picture from a Bill Prin piece gets it clear, wallets are at the core of Web3. Why? They give you control over your identity.
Digital wallets, as illustrated above with login screens, represent how individuals can own their identities without relying on a third party. Public/private key encryption, the technology that crypto wallets use is now a widely accepted standard. That means you can make as many as you like and use them anywhere that accepts them. Essentially your private key is random, and it’s linked to your public key, which you can share freely. You cannot derive the private key from the public key. But you can prove that the public key belongs to you with the private key. This gets rid of the need for passwords and databases of login credentials. Better security because the secrets should only be stored with the owner, even better, offline.
Your public key becomes your identity and that key can be attached to things like profile pic NFTs. The ownership (linking a key to a transaction or proof) of these things can be quickly validated because it is all provable on chain.
Consider blockchains as public resources for provability. That’s really all they are. You could prove a transfer of funds as in cryptocurrency transactions, of course, but that is just the beginning. It gives you the ability to prove what is yours with a complete history of the origin. Kind of like seeing a string of receipts for a physical good.
Now, this may not seem like a very big deal, but it is.
Web3 means you can have an identity that’s provable and you can prove what you OWN with that identity and all the stuff associated with it. All this is without any central authority of any kind, just that public resource of provability, the blockchain and your keys. You are who you say you are because the math proves it.
That might be hard to understand, but it is as real as gravity, and something we’ll all get used to very quickly, because it’s EASIER and MORE SECURE.
So what does that mean as far as your experience online? It means you have a passport that will take you to any application without opening a new account, or at least, not having to go through lengthy signup processes. When you go on to OpenSea, the big NFT marketplace, you are your key. You connect your wallet. Your public key and/or the things you own become your account.
That means you don’t need to share other information, and it means you don’t need to remember a new password when you use new software. Of course, applications can always ask for more info, but in general, it’s not needed. All that’s needed is a unique key where you can prove you have the private key.
It also means that data you use in an application can live with you instead of with the application. Your data becomes another thing owned by you and your keys, and that means better privacy. Shouldn’t your notes and personal information, texts, communications, and dating profile belong to you? In this sense, you become known more by what you do online than who you are physically in the real world.
And because all that data and your identity belong to you, that means you can start owning and controlling a lot of things that can be cross-platform, working easier across applications. You don’t have to live as a completely separate person across applications, but you will still be able to if you want to have those separate identities. It’s up to you.
Web3 involves crypto but for identity first
So, yes, Web3 does involve crypto…but it’s not a rebranding of cryptocurrency! Crypto is used for the independence of identity, aka self-sovereignty. Now you can prove you are who you say you are without some central authority. That’s it. This is the core of Web3.
That means you have independence when performing “normal” web activities, like posting, sharing, and connecting.
You can start to accrue value to yourself and your immediate network. Will it make you rich? Hard to say, but it opens the door. NFTs, largely digital art with ownership attached, are selling at a pace of about $4Billion per month, a brand new market. Anything digital can now be turned into something you can sell with a provable ownership history.
You can think of it as signing a real-world object. As things or people associated with them become desirable, like the rookie card of a baseball star, those digital things now have the opportunity to increase in value as they are unique and have a provable history.
NFTs are just the beginning of digital assets on Web3. Soon we’ll have “digital belongings.”
On the technical front, a few things will need to happen first before that is a reality.
First, we need a Web3 data infrastructure that has ownership baked in. Right now wallets like Metamask operate on top of the existing web infrastructure. We need user-centered crypto data structures act more like databases than chains (full disclosure, we’re cooking this up!),
.eth domains are a first step in the direction of these relational structures that merge web2 and web3 together, but they are also just the beginning. With .eth, you get a web address that is also a crypto address, so there is some relationship between a web space and a crypto account.
Once we have more relational structures based on keys at low costs, we will have a true web3.
These are the core things that Cortex infrastructure, along with Cortex domains, is meant to solve. Data and crypto addresses will become nearly synonymous, but with enough flexibility to allow updates and versions.
We also need proofs that are inexpensive enough for data transactions to cost next to nothing and fast enough to make the user experience comparable to web2. We’ll discuss how we’ll solve these two major issues in an upcoming post, but the bottom line is that Web3 will be for everyone because it will become cheap enough that everyone can afford it!
Web3 will be tightly related to the evolution of the metaverse.
This relational structure, where things have relationships in a kind of space with pieces that can be owned, starts to sound a lot like what people are calling the metaverse. But that’s not how most people are thinking about the metaverse. Most seem to be thinking about the metaverse like some kind of role-playing game in VR. Meta (formerly Facebook) sees it that way.
A metaverse based on crypto will be user-centered, not platform-centered.
That means you and your digital belongings can enter any space you want, and your stuff will still be there. This will be very similar to the real world, where everything is unique, and you and your stuff can go wherever you choose, given you have the right to do so.
There will likely be digital “homes” where only you and those you choose have the right to enter.
In this open metaverse based on decentralized, self-sovereign identities, you don’t have to change your identity to move between spaces (unless you choose to.)
So yes, Web3 is coming, and it’s yours, and it’s also for everyone.
More coming. Stay tuned on making this all a reality.