Web3 refers to the decentralized web and generally includes decentralized applications (or DApps) and decentralized finance (or DeFi), including cryptocurrencies, assets or tokens.
But web3 is more than just a new way of programming or managing finances. This is a new philosophy of how the web should be run and how users should access it: In the world of the Web3, we are no longer dependent on monolithic and centralized bodies like governments, Big Tech, and Wall Street.
Or, as investor Chris Dixon noted, web3 is “…an internet owned by users and builders, orchestrated with tokens.” In web3, control is in the hands of the individual.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- How web3 differs from web 1.0 and 2.0
- What web3 is (and what it’s not)
- The benefits and shortcomings of web3
- How you can safely access web3
A brief history of the web: 1.0 and 2.0
Web 1.0 covers the early days of the Internet around 2005. It was characterized by static content (rather than dynamic HTML), with data and content served from static files (not databases). In Web 1.0, websites don’t have much interactivity.
You can read things that have been posted by other organizations, but that’s about it. Think magazines and newspapers, only with the comment thread turned off. Not much social media and not much opportunity for users to create or publish their own content, apart from very early blogs.
Web 2.0, on the other hand, is the web as we know it today. It is a social network, instant website builder, and platform that makes it easy for you to upload content for anyone to find and see. It’s also a network of apps you can log on to, for everything from banking to grocery ordering to ride-sharing.
Like Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, online banking, eHealth, review sites. Almost any site you can post, post, or log on to is considered Web 2.0. Websites are dynamic HTML and their content is rarely static and often served from a database.
Web 2.0 is often called the “social web.”
The dark side of web 2.0—Privacy
Although Web 2.0 is the web we know and love, it has some real drawbacks. First and foremost: This is a privacy nightmare.
Web 2.0 applications are often “free” because users do not pay a fee to use the service. But these companies have to make money somehow. Instead, they “monetize” their users: they collect mountains of personal user data and monetize it in the form of highly targeted ad spaces, which they sell to online advertisers.
The challenge with Web 2.0 is that users often have no control over whether their data is collected, how it is stored, or which technology companies handle it. They are basically trading your data to use the app. Because tech companies don’t make money directly from their products, you (or more specifically, your data) become the product they sell.
The dark side of web 2.0—Centralized authority
Another major disadvantage of Web 2.0 is that it relies on a centralized authority. Think government, big technology, and Wall Street. This central authority verifies your identity, authorizes online transactions, controls who can post content (and what types of content), and more. In essence, Web 2.0 companies act as benevolent dictatorships: they decide who gets in and out, how long they can stay, and what they can do.
What web3 is?
Web3 is often called the “Decentralized web,” and generally encompasses both decentralized applications (or DApps) and decentralized finance (or DeFi) like cryptocurrencies, assets, or tokens.
these depend, respectively, on two new technologies: decentralized networks, and blockchain.
A decentralized network is a network in which the code that powers applications is distributed across hundreds of servers. And “server” in this case can mean a black box in a group of servers, or even the computer you’re currently using: in a decentralized network, individual users can offer their machines to be part of the network and, in some cases, be rewarded for their efforts.
Blockchain often goes hand in hand with DApps and they share the same philosophy. Blockchain is like a database, or what is sometimes called a distributed ledger, where each new entry is added above the row below it in a potentially infinite chain.
Just like traditional databases, blockchains can keep records of things (e.g. financial transactions). But unlike traditional databases, there is no centralized authority or host in the blockchain ledger.
It can exist on thousands of computers and servers simultaneously and be used and shared by everyone in this large decentralized pool. It is basically an open, publicly available, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties.
Blockchain requires all history in the ledger to be consistent with every other computer in the chain. This is very important to verify transactions, e.g. B. trading crypto assets.
On a blockchain, when one party wants to sell bitcoins to another, the seller’s holdings must match the information in identical ledgers hosted on thousands of other computers.
How to access web3
You can access web3 from almost any computer, phone or tablet. If you trade cryptocurrencies or have a crypto wallet, you probably use web3. If you play online or have access to some online streaming service, you probably use web3. It’s possible you’ve used a web3 DApp before and didn’t even know it.
- Web 1.0 can be thought of as the “read-only” web.
- Web 2.0 can be thought of as the social web. While it democratized publishing, it’s been dominated by centralized Big Tech, and a nightmare for privacy.
- Web3 is the decentralized web. It’s marked by decentralized apps (DApps), decentralized finance (DeFi) like cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology. It’s much stronger on personal privacy.