Web 3.0 101
Lately, the internet has exploded with the buzzwords of Web 3.0. While adoption (and solutions) for a mass user base will take time, the new age of the internet is already unfolding around us. If you’ve explored it any further, you might have uncovered more familiar terms such as blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which are becoming an increasingly regular part of our digital reality. But while these may help us come closer to some features of the new internet revolution, there’s much more that is at play here.
So let’s take a step back to understand the very basics of Web 3.0, how exactly this change is coming about, and resources you can keep an eye on for staying updated with its ever evolving state.
So what is Web 3.0?
The best way to approach the definition of Web 3.0 is through a comparison with the first two phases of the internet.
Source: DEV Community
The first one, called Web 1.0, was introduced in the 1990s. It was defined by static pages meant for giving out information. You might remember dedicatedly sitting in front of a desktop and dialing in to the internet to spend a specific amount of time surfing it. Until roughly around 2004, this was true for all internet users.
The second wave of Web 2.0, which came in 2004, not only gave everyone a more interactive experience but also made internet consumption mobile-first and social. We consumed and shared and responded to various platforms while being in an always-connected state, thanks to our smartphones.
To further put it into perspective, in a span of roughly a decade and a half, we went from having blog-like webpages only meant to be read to driving to unknown places on the sole trust of Google Maps.
While this was a giant leap, Web 3.0 is going to be even more fundamental. Why? Because it’s making big tech irrelevant.
Web 3.0 adds the quality of owning content on top of consuming and responding to it. With users exceedingly becoming producers of a large amount of content, this new reality ensures that data is decentralized and hence, not controlled by tech giants. So Google, Meta, Amazon, or others will not be able to monopolize and regulate internet behavior at large. By seeing to this, Web 3.0 will resolve concerns over privacy, freedom of access, or freedom of choice. In essence, this will also be the democratization of the internet as we know it.
But how is it doing that?
Since the core philosophy of Web 3.0 is that no single entity can own our data, it brings that power to the users. This is secured by the fact that Web 3.0 is being built on blockchain technology. As an electronic distributed ledger, blockchain helps provide asset ownership on the base of digital records, which are unique and independent of involvement from any central entity.
As you might know, blockchains are more efficient and safe because they eliminate the possibility of external members altering a network, since consensus is distributed among participants. This leads to more transparency and a fair amount of accessibility, which again exists without the need for authorization from an external party or governing body.
The best and arguably the most prominent example of this is NFTs. These are assets on a blockchain with unique identifications that verify their ownership. Two of its use cases which are proving to be extremely promising are a) enabling creators across the world to monetize their digital art and b) allowing gaming companies to further incentivize players with assets they can own and trade in an open market.
A snapshot of play-to-earn NFT game Axie Infinity. Source: Niko Partners
Along with this, another facet that defines this new iteration of the internet is edge computing. Edge computing in simple terms means taking data away from the center and closer to the edge i.e., where it is produced. This would mean bringing it near us (the users) instead of remote data centers.
We will no longer be required to store our data individually with different platforms but instead upload it and then authorize which platforms can use what.
So does this mean that Web 2.0 platforms will become obsolete?
Not at all.
Companies will build on top of the existing experiences to integrate Web 3.0 technology to add its use cases. Companies like Twitter are deliberating on introducing such features to the social networking platform.
However, this is a much more defining shift than what we witnessed between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, and might affect people and organizations that do not have the resources to cope up with it. At the same time, this is also leading to newer startups creating solutions suitable for Web 3.0 as well as helping existing companies ramp up their efforts to prepare their services for this change.
Companies like Polygon Technology, that offers Ethereum scaling solutions to Web 3.0 developers, and AcknoLedger, which maps, monetizes, and distributes Web 3.0 digital assets, are homegrown startups that are already making a difference. If you’re building something yourself, the next section is particularly for you.
Source: Jumpstart Magazine
Which investors are betting on startups building in Web 3.0?
Globally, investments in the crypto Web 3.0 space have skyrocketed from $140.7 Mn in 2020 to $3.7Bn in 2021. India too has seen a promising spike of 1,486% to $587.16 Mn in investments in 2021.
Here’s a look at some active Indian VCs (apart from us, of course) looking to support innovations in Web 3.0:
- Antler India
- Sequoia India
- Kalaari Capital
- Elevation Capital
- Unicorn India Ventures
- Paradigm Shift Capital
- Lightspeed Ventures India
- Eximius Ventures
Along with it, here’s a list of investors outside of India who’ve been funding Web 3.0 startups:
- Eden Block (England)
- Digital Currency Group (United States)
- NGC Ventures (Singapore)
- Horseshoe Capital (United States)
- LeadBlock Partners (England)
- Jump Capital (United States)
- Coinbase Ventures (United States)
- Pantera Capital (United States)
- Fenbushi Capital (China)
- Plug and Play Tech Center (United States)
Thought Leaders You Can Follow in the Space
Web 3.0, as shared earlier, is evolving but it’s doing so rapidly. To stay on top of the next buzzword, you can follow these people and spaces that share a generous amount of information on the space:
- Unstoppable Domains
- Jarrod Dicker
- David Phelps
- Chase Chapman
- Dapp University
- Shermin Voshmgir
- Girl Gone Crypto
- Greg Isenberg
- Crypto Tonight
- Jim Dee
For all the contrasts with its predecessors, Web 3.0 bears the similarity with them for increasingly connecting the world. By making users the epicenter, it will lead to a more equitable experience for everyone and allow creators across geographies to collaborate more freely. However, while we anticipate developments in the space, we need to keep the bigger picture in mind and build solutions that not only continue to dig deep into Web 3.0 but also assist existing platforms to align with this change.