WTF is Web3? by@thumbsup

WTF is Web3?

Web3 is just the continued evolution of the internet. It takes the ideals of Web1, the creative and social elements of Web2, and infuses them with the technologies and principles of decentralization. Web3.0 solves these issues using one of the most innovative technologies of modern computer science: blockchain. Users create a secure digital wallet that serves as a keycard to unlock access to special privileges all over the modern internet, or as some call it, the metaverse.
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The Future of The Internet, Explained

Up until recently, you’d probably never thought of the internet that you use every day as being “version 2.0” of something. And yet, most likely the reason you’ve stumbled upon this article is that you’ve heard a new term floating around and you’re wondering what it means. That term is of course Web3.


Is this just a buzzword or is there something more to it? And if there is a Web3, is it merely an iteration on Web2, or is it a complete overhaul? Well, in a way, it’s both. Web3 is just the continued evolution of the internet. It takes the ideals of Web1, the creative and social elements of Web2, and infuses them with the technologies and principles of decentralization.


This article will explain the concept of Web3, how it differs from what came before, and why the transition to this new version of the internet is both inevitable and essential.

What came before?

Let’s start by looking back at the history of the internet as we know it. From the early 90s through to about 2005 — right around the time Facebook was becoming popular on campuses around the globe — the internet was in its nascent stage, or Web 1.0.


Web 1.0 was built on the ideals of open protocols (like HTTP and TCP/IP) and community participation in its development. Anyone could build a website, but the interactivity common today, where users can create content within larger networks of their peers, was not yet a feature. As a result, most users of the internet did not get to participate meaningfully in the creation of content and therefore did not accrue much of the economic value generated.


Web 2.0 was built on the idea that social interaction and user-generated content are essential elements to creating network value. For many of you, this is the only internet you’ve ever known, regardless of your age, because it’s the internet that offered the most compelling case for participation thus far. Interestingly, while Web 2.0 provided countless hours of entertainment, easy access to educational content, and the opportunity to express ourselves in digital forums of like-minded individuals, there were some things it did not provide, arguably by design…

Ownership and Interoperability

While Web 2.0 aimed to introduce more and more people to socially-connected networks of content and information, it did not agree to share the economic benefits with its participants. YouTube or Facebook would run ads before the videos users create without necessarily returning any of the income generated to the creator.


Purchases in online video games such as character skins, in-game items, or virtual currencies could not be sold or transferred to other users. Digital art could be posted to platforms like Instagram, tumblr, or Pinterest but once again, the user would struggle to receive any economic benefits of the content they painstakingly created.


Worse still, with digital identity and proof-of-ownership not yet solved, imitation (often for nefarious purposes) spread like wildfire. And with even basic features like account verification being authorized by centralized forces — with little to gain by investing in due diligence — often, nothing would be done to prevent these problems.


Web 3.0 solves these issues using one of the most innovative technologies of modern computer science: blockchain.

But how?

A blockchain is essentially a public ledger of information where new entries are verified by all network operators — those willing to invest the capital and equipment needed to validate transactions. It is a tool to prevent fraud, censorship, and consolidation of power. It’s no surprise then that this technology forms the basis of Web3.


Users create a secure digital wallet that serves as a keycard to unlock access to special privileges all over the modern internet, or as some call it, the metaverse. This keycard can tell multiple websites that your profile picture is authentic. It can verify your identity to prevent fraud and create opportunities for participation in platform governance. It can allow you to sign in to a website to access paid content (like a subscription but without usernames or passwords). And it can do all of this without invading your privacy.


The result of this interoperable digital identity and ownership is that builders, content creators, and users alike can all benefit from the value they create online. While in Web2, large, centralized entities served as gatekeepers and amassed the majority of the value created, in Web3, everyone can benefit.


Given the subject matter of this post, I felt that it was only fitting that it become my first ever Entry Edition on Mirror, meaning that supporters can mint unique NFT Editions of this post (think of them like digital magazine clippings) to support my work. Learn more here.


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