Centralization has made it possible for billions of people to use the World Wide Web and has made it possible for it to live on a stable, strong infrastructure. At the same time, a small number of centralized organizations control large parts of the World Wide Web and decide on their own what can and cannot be done.
Web3 is the way out of this mess. Instead of being controlled by a few big tech companies, Web3 is built, run, and owned by its users. Individuals, not big companies, are in charge of Web3. Let’s look at how we got here before we talk about Web3.
Web 1.0: Read-Only
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee was hard at work at CERN in Geneva making the rules for what would become the World Wide Web. His plan? To make open, decentralized protocols that allow people from anywhere on Earth to share information.
Berners-first Lee’s creation, which is now called “Web 1.0,” came into being between 1990 and 2004. Web 1.0 was mostly made up of static websites that were owned by companies. There was almost no interaction between users, and people rarely made content, so it was called the “read-only web.”
Web 2.0: Read-Write
In 2004, when social media platforms came out, the Web 2.0 era began. The Web used to be read-only, but now it can be read and written on. Instead of just giving users content, companies started giving them places to share content they made themselves and talk to other users.
As more and more people went online, a small number of big companies started to control a lot of the traffic and money made on the web. Web 2.0 also gave rise to the model of making money through advertising. Even though users could make content, they didn’t own it or get paid for it.
Web 3.0: Read-Write-Own
Gavin Wood, one of the people who helped start Ethereum in 2014, came up with the idea of “Web 3.0.” Gavin put into words a solution to a problem that many early crypto adopters had: the Web required too much trust. That is, most of the Web that people know and use today depends on a small number of private companies being trustworthy.
What is Web3?
Web3 has become a catch-all term for the idea of a new, better internet. At its core, Web3 uses blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and non-fiat tokens (NFTs) to give users ownership and power back to them. A tweet about 2020 said it best: Web1 could only be read, but Web2 can be written on, and Web3 will be able to do both.
Why does Web3 Matter?
Even though Web3’s best features don’t stand alone and don’t fit neatly into neat categories, we’ve tried to separate them so they’re easier to understand.
There is a huge imbalance of power between platforms and people who make content.
OnlyFans is a website for adult content made by users. More than a million people make content for the site, and many of them use it as their main way to make money. OnlyFans said in August 2021 that it would stop letting people post sexually explicit content.
Creators on the platform were upset by the news because they thought they were being cheated out of money on a platform they had helped build. After people said what they thought, the decision quickly changed. Even though the creators won this battle, it shows a problem for Web 2.0 creators: if you leave a platform, you lose your reputation and the people who follow you.
Your information lives on the blockchain on Web3. When you leave a platform, you can take your reputation with you and plug it into a different interface that fits your values better.
Web 2.0 depends on content creators trusting platforms not to change the rules, but Web3 platforms are built to resist censorship.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
In Web3, you can own both your data and the platform as a whole by using “tokens,” which work like shares in a company. DAOs let you make decisions about the future of a platform that is owned by many people.
Technically, a DAO is a set of smart contracts that are agreed upon and automate the making of decentralized decisions over a pool of resources (tokens). Users with tokens vote on how to spend resources, and the code automatically carries out the result of the voting.
But many Web3 communities are thought of as DAOs. The level of decentralization and automation by code in each of these communities is different. Currently, we are exploring what DAOs are and how they might evolve in the future.
Tim Berners-Lee’s creation of the World Wide Web was called Web 1.0 between 1990 and 2004. Web 2.0 gave rise to the model of making money through advertising. Web3 is built, run, and owned by its users instead of big companies. Web3 is a catch-all term for the idea of a new, better internet.
Web3 uses blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and non-fiat tokens to give users ownership back to them. Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) let you make decisions about the future of a platform.