For something that is not even in existence yet, web3 is sure making waves on the internet space. Tech icons are debating and projecting idealistic theories on social media. Investors are not not left out the cryptocurrency and web3 debate, some have actually put a lot of money into businesses built on the premise of the Web3 and big time engineers are quitting their jobs in order to focus on web3 and get in before its space become crowded.
Unfortunately, the public perception of web3 is something that was designed to confuse rather than bringing enlightenment to them. As a result, this wrong perception has created a crisis in the tech industry, especially the crypto world. Therefore, for the benefit of crypto industry stakeholders, It is very key to know what Web3 truly is.
What exactly is Web3?
To better understand the concept of Web3.0 in relation to the crypto industry, it is important to trace the history and evolution of the internet. The Three Eras of the Internet is as follows:
Web 1.0 is the very first stage of the Internet’s evolution, this was the era of static web pages, with very little interaction for end users. There was no opportunity for creativity like today since most the web pages are like a “read-only” for a lot of people.
A decade later, Web 2.0 evolved and brought with it the dazzling and user friendly internet that we presently use. The evolution of Web2 offered people exceptionally interactive web pages like YouTube and the social media.
Unlike the Web1.0 period, the era of Web2.0 enabled the mass of people to become creators in many different ways. in addition, It led to the rise of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and many more.
This period brought extraordinary gifts and opportunities to billions around the globe, but it also came with costs.
Now to the question, What is Web3? In simple term, Web3 is the third version of the World Wide Web. Web1.0 being the first stage of the Internet’s evolution in the 1990s.
It is a decentralized alternative internet, based on blockchain technology, the technology that drives many of the major cryptocurrencies.
Having explained Web3, the next question is what is blockchain technology? The Blockchain technology works like a public ledger of transactions that is updated by multiple computers around the world.
As a matter of fact, numerous investors and some tech giants like Twitter and others have commenced the use of the blockchain technology.
The introduction of web3 is premised on the future where internet ownership and power are more widely allocated among its users. This futuristic web is based on the transparency provided by blockchain technology.
It is a courageous new vision for the future, which tend to take control of the internet from big companies. In essence, it will enable everyday citizens to control their own data and privacy.
Web3 when fully deployed, will provide the ability for the user the right to be involved in big decisions made by tech platforms. It will offer users democratic power to make decision on what goes on in big tech companies around the world.
The problem with our current web setup
One of the problems of our current web is its over-centralization of power in a handful of corporations, to a height that the world has never comprehended. The truth is many of these tech giants have revenue in excess of most countries GDP put together; more private information about their users than any entity and more authority than many governments across the globe. All of these are accomplished without effective government control or supervision.
For instance, when creators upload content to YouTube, they are completely at the mercy of the platform. YouTube captures most of the value from the views of the videos, put advertisements on top of it, and can completely ban or shut off someone’s account if they so decided.
They can single-handedly introduce whatever changes they want to everyone’s experience with creators only “vote” being to exit their platform and run their business elsewhere. Ask anyone who has run a substantial part of their business through YouTube, about the first time they had an actual problem… that’s the moment when you realize how powerless we all are against them.
You can remember years ago when YouTube turned off the “auto-notify” and forced to users manually click the notification bell to receive notifications? I also want us to remember when they reduced payouts to creators? Or when they did that again? Or again?
Presently, if you looked at Google’s earnings lately (YouTube’s parent company)? You can see how astronomical it has grown. Yet, the content contributors have no say in what happens to them. Now, imagine a system built on ideas almost like Bitcoin or Ethereum, a kind of decentralized YouTube (something multiple projects are actively building towards right now).
Therefore, if there is a decentralized network that allowed you to host your own videos just like YouTube. End users could have the precise same experience as YouTube today. However, on the back-end, rather than all the money flowing to some other company’s bottom line, that money remained in the community, and paid the people running the network?
To be more clearer, imagine “Bitcoin miners”, but instead of competing to solve a puzzle and wasting all that energy, they were hosting videos for users in exchange for payment. Then, imagine if by owning that crypto’s “coin”, you owned a share in that network and you were entitled to fees paid within the network, and you were able to vote on what happened in the network. Which platform do you think users and creators would prefer using?
Which economic model do you think is more sustainable in the long term? Of course the model where users get to share in the rewards is an easy win. It also turns out, that this kind of decentralized model, organized and orchestrated with some kind of coin or token, is applicable to a truly phenomenal number of internet businesses and services.
So with the Web3 model, you are not just an ordinary “user” of the network, you are actually an owner. That is the very essence of Web3. You own your data, you own a part of the networks you interact with, you get to financially enjoy the economic activity you’re helping drive, you’ve got a vote in what happens, and you are no longer simply a pawn in someone else’s chessboard.
You are treated equally no matter your gender, race, origin, orientation, location, or status in the world.
Regardless of your parental background and financial status, you can use the system, receive the same treatment, and benefit from creating and participating in the same network.
Therefore, if we overlook the thirst for individual control otherwise known as decentralization. The tech giants will continue to see their users as a product in their world. While for the companies, it may be an exciting and vibrant world, but as an end-user you do not own anything.
Truly, the lack of decentralization on major platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and the rest, has produced a situation of winner takes it all where only the stakeholders decide and users are left in the dark.
John Perry Barlow, an activist, in his book, “Declaration of independence of cyberspace” said that the internet should be a cyberspace where anyone can express their beliefs without fear of being enclosed into silence or conformity, no matter how singular these beliefs are.
Many times we see on social media platforms, cases of banning and blocking of end-users, due to one violation or the other. Actually, many of these blocking are really unnecessary, because the user could have been corrected by simply caution or warning. Thanks to the crypto world and its accompanying motion which has began a revolution towards correcting this imbalance.
This issue of decentralization and ownership in Web3 leads us to the next question which is:
Why Web3 is inspired by Cryptocurrency
The thought of being a key player in one’s investment is enough inspiration to support anything course of action that will create such possibility.
Although much of the excitement seemingly emanated from the cryptocurrency community, which would obviously benefit from an internet that’s more reliant on their technology. Many of the buzz also has to do with a few notable companies, including Reddit, making moves to get a head start on developing Web3 services and platforms.
For instance, proponents of Web3 agree that blockchains and associated technologies lessen the power of tech giants like Amazon.com Inc. or Instagram, and clear the way for direct relationships between people who want to collaborate with colleagues, communicate with friends, or buy and sell goods and services online.
As the appraised value of all digital currencies took off last year, with the total value of the crypto market exceeding $3 trillion in early November, so has the expectation that the distributed model of these tokens can be applied to all areas of the internet.
So the line of thought goes: ‘if bitcoin can work so well that it is traded on platforms like eToro and plus500, why not other blockchain-based financial products like loans and insurance?’
Perhaps a more significant latest development was the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz’s Web lobbying push in Washington, D.C., in early October 2021. The company, which has invested laboriously in cryptocurrency and other blockchain technologies, said it sent representatives to Capitol Hill and the White House to promote Web3 as a solution to Silicon Valley consolidation and to propose regulations for the burgeoning virtual ecosystem.
The web3 enthusiastic venture capital firm went on to say that crypto is not only the future of finance but, is also poised towards transforming every aspects of our lives.
The firm defines web3 as the internet owned by the builders and users, developed and invented with tokens. A token in this case means a deed of ownership of a little piece of the web.
We have seen how fast NFTs are growing, are we right to believe in the new web?
From the above, Web3 inspiration is not just about the crypto and its associated technologies, but it is about every area of our lives.
Cryptocurrency and Web3; The Next Era of The Internet?
Some experts posit that the best case scenario for Web3 enthusiasts, is that the technology will operate alongside Web 2.0, not fully supplant it.
In other words, blockchain-based social networks, transactions businesses can and will grow and thrive in the coming years. But knocking out Facebook, Twitter or Google completely is not likely to happen, according to technology scholars.
“I am not in a position to mention who will win,” Dryhurst said. “But Web2 companies are going to be folding Web3 ideas into their services to stay relevant.”
He thinks many of us would want to be ready to take their data and history of interactions online wherever they are going on the web, instead of remain on singular web platforms–what some call the “walled gardens” of massive tech companies.
“This is may be a fundamentally difference experience than what we are used to today,” Dryhurst said. He however admits that boundless freedom can lead to troubling outcomes for some.
“The Faustian bargain is that an equivalent reasons that it is exciting that there is nothing impeding people to create whatever community they need, I cannot stop someone from building something that is hellacious,” he said.
Decentralized social networks have proved appealing to white supremacists and other far-right groups, but Sam Williams, founding father of Arweave, a blockchain-based project for storing data online, said he trusts most small communities to work out what speech is permitted online.
On balance, he said, collective voting on the rules of engagement will be better than what users experience on major social media platforms today.
“If we stay in the current paradigm, we will move further and further into a realm where a small handful of companies run by a small number of people run our experiences in cyberspace,” he said. “And in that world, the problems of Big Tech are exacerbated.”
Another issue, of course, is government oversight. Blockchain-based tokens are now in a regulatory netherworld, but that would soon change because the Biden administration begins the method of setting new rules for the industry.
In spite of the above, Web3 is gathering serious momentum in the direction of the new internet. Because it is based on blockchain technology which eases cryptocurrency transactions. Also because of decentralization as the problem of middle-men is eliminated.
In the course of this new year, transactions worth over $23 billion has been traded in NFTs across the globe and that is just a tip of the iceberg because that will multiply exponentially.
The blockchain whirlwind is going to blow across all industries, governance, and institutions alike since all transactions or relevant records and data can be recorded on a public ledger not controlled by any single corporate entity but by the blockchain technology.
Therefore, a more decentralized access to the internet which is Web 3.0 provides up to date security when it comes to data preservation. Employing it’s advanced Artificial intelligence, users across the globe can now receive the best objective data.
Developed with the sole aim of producing an internet that is acceptable to everyone, peer-to-peer networks, user-controlled data and monetization act as building blocks for Web3.
Using the new internet, users especially the crypto community can now enjoy a more personalized browsing experience that gives control over personal data and finances creating an overall rich digital experience.
However, it is still uncertain whether web3 will be an alternative to the traditional internet; but from all indications it appears to be a significant step towards the future of the internet and It will empower people to be more free and flourish in the final analysis.