What the Heck is Web3? Everything You Should Know
Cool! What’s Web3 once more?
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Web3 lately, but if you’re still not sure what it is, don’t worry. A lot of people are still trying to figure out what it is. But at a very high level, Web3, the newest version of the internet, is a decentralized online network built and set up with the help of the blockchain.
With Web3, there is no one in charge of the platforms or apps, and there is no central authority. To put it another way, companies don’t collect, store, and sell the information of users who want to use a Web3 consulting company or app. Users can instead use Web3 platforms to engage and interact without giving up their data in exchange for access. The services are also built to be completely open and trustworthy, with all data and updates being stored on the blockchain.
This is, of course, only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to explaining Web3. The best way to understand this new phase of the internet is to look at what came before it.
Web2… and Web1 came before Web3.
In the 1990s, Web 1, the first version of the World Wide Web, showed up on our computers. Compared to what we’re used to today, it was an old-fashioned version of the internet with landing pages that took a long time to load (anyone remembers dial tones?).
Another thing that made the original internet unique was that it wasn’t very interesting to use. People who browsed the internet could only read a text and look at static images.
So far, the web has gone through three stages.
Next came Web2, which is what we now call the internet. We give big companies our information on the internet so we can use their services.
It’s a centralized web, which means that most online activity happens on closed platforms like Snapchat, Meta, and Alphabet Inc., which are run by monopolistic companies and regulated by the federal government.
Web2 isn’t all bad, of course. Where would we be without TikTok and Tinder? But many people are wary of how these tech giants collect data, and there’s a growing movement of people who want to take back control of their online lives.
More about what sets Web3 apart
Web3 is giving people a whole new way to interact on the internet. When compared to older versions of the internet, there are many differences at first glance, as well as differences that are more subtle.
Still, building a new internet with a focus on decentralization is one of the main reasons for this revolutionary move to Web3. Here, the different parts of the web start to split off, and Web3 could change the way the internet is put together.
Centralized vs. decentralized vs. distributed
More on decentralization
Vitalik Buterin wrote a very informative article in which he said that Web3 technologies and platforms are made up of three “axes” of decentralization:
The number of physical computers that run the system is a measure of architectural decentralization. In decentralization, instead of a single server, there is a large network of computers.
Decentralization in politics is the number of people who control computers and platforms. Again, with Web3, there isn’t just one group in charge. Instead, users share control.
Logical decentralization: “Do the system’s interface and data structures look more like a single, solid object or a loosely organised group?”
With these parts of a decentralized Web3, peer-to-peer networks are supposed to create an equal online experience. Theoretically, this new structure will change how corporations and government bodies control data on Web 2.
How this affects Web3
Without gatekeepers and big businesses, decentralization and Web3 are also important because users play a big role in making protocols and deciding where platforms and apps will go. In some ways, this is a huge benefit. In other ways, it can be expensive, but we’ll talk more about that later.
A decentralized network where people talk to each other directly can also make transactions that don’t need a middleman. The fact that users own their data and content and that there is no middleman makes it easy for users to make money from their data and content.
Cryptocurrency and non-fungible token (NFT) fans owe a lot to Web3 and decentralization because digital ownership might not have been possible without them. Even though Web1, Web2, and a centralized network all seem to have a lot going for them, Web3 is still not perfect.
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Problems with Web3 and the spread of power
Both Web3 and decentralization have problems and have been criticized. Also, Web 2 has some advantages over the Web3 infrastructure that is already in place.
For one thing, code changes and transactions happen faster on Web2’s centralized networks than on Web3’s. “Changes to state, like a payment, need to be processed by a miner and spread across the network,” says Ethereum. A centralized platform can quickly share information with the whole network, while a decentralized platform may take a long time for information to reach all parts of the network.
A slow network can be annoying or even bad for your business. Take the case of hackers stealing from a DAO. Thieves on the Internet can break into a DAO’s treasury and start taking money out of the group account. To stop the hack, all DAO members need to agree on the code change. This can take a long time and cost a lot of money.
A common model that can be seen everywhere.
People also often say that Web3 and other decentralized platforms are too centralized and have too many levels. In other words, a Web3 platform might say that everyone has an equal say in governance, but there is usually one person who has the final say.
Aside from this, the learning curve is probably Web3’s biggest problem. From learning the language to using the software, it’s clear that this technology is new, and people are still getting used to the changes.
Even though Web3 has been criticized, investors are still pouring money into projects related to it, and people are getting more and more excited about its potential.
How will Web3 change our lives?
Web3 has helped make NFTs, the metaverse, and even cryptocurrencies possible, but it’s still hard to know how far this new phase of the internet can go.
Others think that NFTs, the metaverse, and even cryptocurrencies are just a small part of what can be done with the huge amount of time and money being put into building the next phase of the internet.
What is certain is that people and money will keep going into making Web3 technologies better. You can bet your favorite non-fungible token that big changes are on the way.
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