Have you heard the words, “web3”, in conversations lately? Or in articles you are reading? If you have, you may be wondering, “What is web3?”. I know many other people are asking the same question. Especially since there is still only one internet, and no one has really seen any massive changes as of yet. However, those changes are coming, and it is only a matter of time before everyone is utilizing web3. So, it might be time to learn everything you can about this topic.
What is Web3?
First, lets begin with what web3 really is. It is a decentralized web, which focuses on decentralized finances and applications. It is an entirely new philosophy for managing the web and how it is accessed.
To really understand web3, you must have an idea of what web 1.0 and 2.0 are. Web 1.0 was introduced years ago and was in use until 2005. It was a basic idea that had you reading content from files and not doing much interacting while online.
Web 2.0 is the internet you are using today. The one you love most of the time, but hate on occasion. The privacy you have on web 2.0 is almost non-existent. Your personal data is collected on almost every website you visit. That data is used to display ads for items that interest you, in hopes of getting you to make a purchase.
The biggest downside of all that collected personal data is you have no say over how it is stored or used.
Another downside of web 2.0 is the centralized authority. You can use your Facebook page to access thousands of other services. And someone always knows what you have been searching for.
Web3 is nothing like that and actually takes the internet to a new level. As I mentioned above, web3 is decentralized. So, there is no one looking over your shoulder to check out what you are doing. Online banking will become a thing of the past, because you will be in control of your own money.
Blockchains are used to ensure digital money is safe. While an endless chain is created to record financial transactions, and other things, nothing can be stolen or altered. This is despite the fact it is accessible to millions of people.
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How Does Web3 Work?
Now that you know what web3 is, you are probably wondering how it works. Well, no one really knows the answer to that just yet. All anybody knows is it will involve blockchains, but that’s about it.
However, there is a prime example of what web3 could potentially be like. All you need to do is look at, or play, certain video games. Axie Infinity uses an Ethereum blockchain to reward users with cryptocurrency when they achieve goals.
Helium allows people to share their home network connections and receive cryptocurrency in return. One of the best examples though is Minecraft. In that video game, you get to build anything you want. This is similar to web3, because the goal is to be able to own your own virtual properties and build on them through the new metaverse.
You will also be able to transport yourself to those areas via a hologram and avoid traveling in traditional ways. The goal of this is to monetize these areas by letting other people use them when you are not. Some people have already sold virtual spaces in the metaverse for millions of dollars.
Main Characteristics of Web3
Since web3 is enhanced, it contains a few more main characteristics than the earlier webs. Those characteristics include:
- Distributed and Robust
- Native Built-In Payments
Benefits of Web3
There are multiple benefits of using web3 in the future. I am going to list out the most common ones today, but there are others.
Currently, you do not have complete control over any digital assets you own. Web3 will change that, so you can do whatever you want with your digital content in the future. This will be accomplished with NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.
Censorship is common on web 2.0. If you have lots of your content censored on websites or you have been in Facebook jail over a seemingly innocent comment, you will love how nothing will be censored on web3.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
One of the best things about web3 is you can own the platform, as well as your data. This means you can make decisions about a platform’s future. However, how these organizations evolve in the future remains to be seen.
How many different account names do you currently have? If you are like many people, you have a different name for your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. This may have happened because your first account name was not available on the other two platforms when you finally started using them. Well, web3 will allow you to have one digital identity that is yours across all platforms. This will be done using an Ethereum address and ENS profile. One secure login sounds perfect!
Payments on web3 will all be done using cryptocurrency. There will be no need to rely on banks or payment processors when making or receiving payments.
Limitations of Web3
Despite all the benefits of web3, there will be a few limitations, especially in the beginning.
Network upgrades and other solutions are going to be needed in developing nations in order to be able to access web3. This means not everyone will have access to all these new platforms at the same time.
There are currently numerous technical barriers for entering web3. Everyone will need extensive training to navigate web3 and understand some of the more technical components. There is work being done to prevent these issues from being too major. Everyone should be prepared to take a class or two to learn more about web3 when it becomes available.
Yes, I know I said that web3 is a decentralized platform. However, it is not at that point yet. Therefore, it currently has a centralized infrastructure it depends on. Companies are working tirelessly to fill in the gaps to make it decentralized, but it takes time.
There is obviously a steep learning curve when it comes to web3. This new web is still being created and implemented. There is a lot of work to do, and no one is quite sure when it will all be complete. Before web3 can be released to the public, it needs to be able to prevent NFT and cryptocurrency scams.
This is important, because everyone will basically be anonymous once web3 is up and running. So, cyber security measures must be implemented to prevent fraud and hacks. Although, the proper blockchains should assist with those measures.
We may not know when world wide web 3.0 will be ready for everyone to use. But you at least have an answer to your question, “What is web3?”. I recommend continuing to learn more about web3, as it gets closer to becoming the new internet everyone will be using in the future.