When you look back Web 1 was pretty barbaric, but that was part of its beauty. These were static websites from companies. Less interactive than a dial-up BBS (Bulletin Board System) this was a rudimentary web without all the bells and whistles we’re accustomed to today. You couldn’t do much more than read. Connecting with others was virtually non-existent compared to today.
Web 2 is the internet landscape we currently find ourselves in. Web 2 brought about social media and the ability to share thoughts, politics, photos, videos, etc. Users could come online to connect with like-minded individuals and opposing viewpoints. While users could feel more connected, they were funneled into major platforms and tech giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple creating walled gardens and echo chambers. The users would create connections on these platforms but were at the mercy of these platforms and therefore didn’t truly own their content or benefit much from monetization.
Web 3 is all about bringing the power back to the users. This is in the form of ownership via cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
Key Features of Web 3
The internet today is centralized by big tech corporations. Web 3 decentralizes the internet as ownership, authority, and governance are in the people’s hands.
You don’t need anyone’s permission to get started with Web 3. This means that no one gets excluded for any reason whatsoever. As long as you have an internet connection, you are good to go. An open source project called Qortal is building a decentralized internet 2.0.
Web 3 takes advantage of all cryptocurrency has to offer. This is a much more streamlined system than the antiquated legacy fiat system.
A big part of Web 2 is putting trust in the hands of mega tech corporations. Web 3 flips this premise on its head where you don’t have to trust any third party.
Another big advantage Web 3 has over Web 2 is that you truly own your crypto and digital assets. In the Web 2 world, you may â€œownâ€ in-game items but are locked into their economic ecosystem. Since everything is tied to your account, there is no opportunity for you to hold, trade, or sell, etc. your assets. Worst-case scenario, your account could be banned or the game could cease to exist at a moment’s notice. Any value you accrued while playing the game would be virtually lost.
With Web 3, there are NFTs. This means you are the sole owner of your assets. No one has the power to take these things away from you, as long as you hold the private keys. You’re always in control of the value your NFTs accrue over time.
You aren’t at the mercy of platforms and their choices in Web 3. Platforms in Web 2 could make decisions on a dime that could affect your livelihood. What are you to do in that circumstance other than maybe complain on social media?
Web 3 allows you to be in control of your data and your funds. If a platform doesn’t align with your values, you are free to move. This is the beauty of censorship resistance in Web 3. You decide the rules, not the other way around.
Rather than having a central figurehead from a company or corporation, DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) offer a different approach. A DAO centers around a specific goal or purpose. Members have a say in the direction of the organization fueled by smart contracts and tokens. Everything is recorded on the blockchain which streamlines the process. There is no red tape, hierarchy, or bureaucracy necessary.
FYI some DAOs will be more decentralized than others.
What is identity in the Web 3 world? Before we answer that question let’s take a look at what it’s like in the Web 2 world.
With Web 2, you’re accustomed to logging into separate accounts for e-mail, social media, and the like. Sometimes these accounts will be the same e-mail address or you’ll log in via a company like Google or Facebook. While this provides some convenience, it also presents a significant flaw. Suppose these companies don’t agree with the content you’re putting out there. They could easily shut down your account.
Web 3 you log in with a secure pseudo-anonymous address (such as Ethereum). This provides you with a level of censorship resistance, control, data ownership and freedom that has not before been seen with Web 2.
Web 2 only favors those with bank accounts to make payments. Now people who are unbanked or underbanked can make payments thanks to cryptocurrencies.
We no longer need to rely on middlemen like banks, payment processors, and intermediaries to handle our money. Now with DeFi (decentralized finance), anyone with an internet connection can do what these legacy institutions but instead with cryptocurrencies (with many advantages).
Fees are reduced with DeFi. Everything is written to a public blockchain which cuts down on any shady things happening. Now people can do things like deposit, withdrawal, transact, lend, borrow, and trade. As long as you have a cryptocurrency wallet and secure the private keys, you’re good to go.
NFTs are non-fungible tokens. This means that no two digital assets are alike. On the other hand, Bitcoin and fiat money ($USD) are fungible. There are no defining characteristics between one satoshi from the next or one dollar from the next.
What you might not know is that NFTs are going to be used for everything from real estate to car dealerships. They are digital certificates of authenticity, proof of ownership, titles and deeds. Some NFTâ€™s allow you to redeem them for goods and services. Some NFTs will award an â€œairdropâ€ delivery of new NFTs to existing owners. In the not so distant future an NFT will make you a 1/50th part owner of a Rolex watch or Lamborghini which you can use for one week each year.
Defining characteristics are what sells with NFTs as art. Maybe you found a monkey jpeg that has some minting error that the others don’t. Or perhaps you have a super rare one. The more finite the amount of the NFT batch combined with demand will usually increase the value.
What can you do with NFTs? What are the more common use cases? We have seen the hype and excitement for NFTs explode with PFPs (profile pictures), sports (NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day), artwork, tickets, virtual land, and domains (Unstoppable Domains). This means that NFTs can take on many mediums such as text, photos, videos, 3D models, etc.
When you purchase an NFT using crypto, what you’re really buying is proof of ownership. This proof of ownership acts as a deed that lives on the blockchain. Anytime the NFT transacts (bought, sold, changes hands, etc.) it gets recorded on the blockchain.
The Metaverse is the next evolution of the web as we know it. The Metaverse is a digital landscape where users can come to connect, play, build, invest, buy, sell, and own. This is all capable thanks to the blockchain and NFTs.
If you’ve ever played GTA (Grand Theft Auto), you’ll feel right at home in the immersive world.
Popular metaverse platforms are Decentraland, The Sandbox, and The Uplift World all with their native tokens MANA, SAND, and WAXP. These tokens enable you to interact with the corresponding metaverse.
Metaverse-type games existed before Web 3 too with the likes of The Sims, World of Warcraft, and Second Life. While these games were a step in the right direction, you were locked into their ecosystem. There was no way of selling your virtual land on an open marketplace or interoperability.
Explore the Web 3 World
The Web 3 world is new waters to explore. Once you get the ropes down, you’ll be amazed at what you can do. The more you practice using the tools, the easier it’ll come.
As you begin your journey, you’ll want to connect with like-minded individuals. You never know who you’ll come across and what they’ll offer. Be sure to keep the momentum going and teach your friends and family about all Web 3 has to offer. As we move towards a more decentralized net, we begin to harness the power that was once lost.