What is Web3?
As the world focuses on generative AI and the impact of ChatGPT, DALL-E and the proliferation of large language and multi-modal models, it’s easy to forget that there are other emerging technologies bubbling away in the background.
The two that lead the peloton behind the AI leading pack are the metaverse, a term that’s so last year it’s been replaced by an excitement for immersive experiences.
The other is Web3, a term coined by computer scientist Gavin Wood to signal a new era for the internet, one that is decentralised and built on blockchain technology. It’s Web3 and the potential for a new way to operate the Internet that intrigues me for this article.
Unlike the current centralised model of Web2, where a handful of corporations hold control over user data and access, Web3 aims to empower users and create a community-run network.
But what exactly is Web3?
To understand its significance, let’s first look at its predecessors, Web1 and Web2.
- Web1 refers to the early days of the internet, where open protocols allowed information exchange and basic interactions.
- As technology advanced, Web2 emerged, characterised by user-generated content and the dominance of tech corporations like Facebook and Twitter. However, Web2 also came with privacy concerns and centralised control over user data.
Web3 introduces new technologies that support its decentralised nature. The key components of Web3 include blockchain, smart contracts, and digital assets and tokens.
- Blockchain is a distributed ledger that records transactions across a network without a central authority.
- Smart contracts are self-executing contracts based on predefined conditions, ensuring trust and transparency.
- Digital assets and tokens, such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens), exist only in the digital realm and enable unique forms of ownership and value exchange.
One of the fundamental differences between Web2 and Web3 is the shift in control. In Web2, corporations hold centralised control over transactions and data. In contrast, Web3 empowers users to have control over their information without the need for intermediaries. Trust is established through the verification of data and adherence to predefined criteria, rather than relying on trust between parties.
The adoption of Web3 technologies has been gaining momentum in various industries, including finance, gaming, and art. However, challenges remain. Evolving regulations, user experience standards, and consumer protection are areas that require attention and development.
As Web3 continues to evolve, these challenges will need to be addressed to ensure its widespread adoption and success.
Web3 is not without its critics and skeptics. The cryptocurrency market, closely associated with Web3, has faced volatility and challenges. However, it’s important to distinguish between the technology and the market. While the cryptocurrency market may fluctuate, the underlying principles and possibilities of Web3 remain significant.
➜ Here’s The Thing: Web3 represents a new era of the internet, characterised by decentralisation, user empowerment, and the utilisation of blockchain technology. Its potential to revolutionise information management, internet monetisation, and corporate governance is immense.
As Web3 continues to evolve, it will be crucial to address challenges and educate users about its benefits. The journey towards Web3 is an ongoing process, and its impact on the internet and society is yet to be fully realised.
About The Author
Rick Huckstep is a writer, speaker and commentator about the future of tech and business. He publishes Wiser In AI! — a weekly newsletter for professionals wanting to supercharge their career with AI.
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