Web 3.0 and the Metaverse Walk Into a Bar... by@julieplavnik

Web 3.0 and the Metaverse Walk Into a Bar...

The ‘Web 3.0 and Metaverse’ concepts have been heavily talked about in recent years. However, since they are still raw, with little exposure to actual use cases, it’s easy for newcomers to get lost in confusion and questions. How do these trending concepts actually go together? What are the differences and/or common ground? Do they have anything to do with all this intergalactic hype around blockchain and decentralization? How many of them are scams?!
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Julie Plavnik

Rupiah thousandonnaire. FinTech nomad. Soon to become great content marketer. Ultra spiritual Jew living in Bali.

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The ‘Web 3.0 and Metaverse’ concepts have been heavily talked about in recent years.

However, since they are still raw, with little exposure to actual use cases, it’s easy for newcomers to get lost in confusion and questions.

How do these trending concepts actually go together?

What are the differences and/or common ground?

Do they have anything to do with all this intergalactic hype around blockchain and decentralization?

How many of them are scams?!

With all the “future-is-now” sensations popping up every day online, it’s really hard to keep track and have a clear picture in your mind of what is actually real.

So What’s the Deal?

First I’d indicate, Web 3.0 and metaverse are merely concepts (frameworks, ideologies, whatever you like), rather than official names of particular projects (I mean unless you’re Facebook and you want to flip that).

They can be realized by any company that has sufficient money and the right human resources for that.

Metaverse stands for a new type of social online environment that goes beyond chats, content sharing, and other interactions we’re used to on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc.

It’s a digital space, mainly powered by AR, VR, and AI technologies, where users can create their virtual simulated worlds and interact in them with others as if these worlds were real life.

So here is the main idea:

Invite your friends, who might not be in the same physical location as you, to have a beer together in a virtual pub.

Work on projects with your team in a virtual office. Go on a virtual date, have virtual sex, simulate marriage, birth-giving, then divorce..so simulate any next-level thing you want without even leaving your comfy chair! [Editor’s note: Pause…]

All hopefully enjoyed without losing your touch with reality.

So simply put, the metaverse is like a digital alternative to LSD or ayahuasca. Probably a bit more immersive. Definitely way more expensive.

Now, as for Web 3.0.

The Web 3.0 movement works on re-engineering the Internet so that people can interact with each other freely, securely, without intermediaries, as well as create their own economic environments and be in total control of their data.

Web 3.0 aims to break users’ dependency on tech giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc., which in fact control the Internet, accumulate users’ data, and have an unlimited capacity for its misuse.

So Web 3.0 is driven by a kinda “fuck the system” non-violent anarchy mission to make the Internet such a place, where the user is king.

If this sounds wishy-washy, for getting more familiar with the mission I’d recommend you to check out the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace by John Perry Barlow.

Here is the quote:

“Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather”.

If the Declaration doesn’t help much, stick with me.

Below, I would add some more buzzwords in the hope that this time the picture would become clearer.

Are Web 3.0 and Metaverse Compatible With Each Other?

Yes, when both serve similar purposes and rely on the same technology in order to reach them. ==The case of harmony between these two worlds is a metaverse that is built upon Web 3.0, which means that it’s a decentralized virtual universe. ==

As mentioned earlier, Web 3 is poised to redesign the Internet in order to enable users’ freedom of interactions, as well as full control over their data and identity.

Here is a great quote by Gavin Wood, one of the pioneers and leaders of the Web 3.0 movement, explaining in the best way what’s meant by freedom of interactions:

“Web 3.0, or as might be termed the “post-Snowden” web, is a reimagination of the sorts of things that we already use the Web for, but with a fundamentally different model for the interactions between parties.

***Information that we assume to be public, we publish. Information that we assume to be agreed, we place on a consensus-ledger. Information that we assume to be private, we keep secret and never reveal. ***

Communication always takes place over encrypted channels and only with pseudonymous identities as endpoints; never with anything traceable (such as IP addresses). In short, we engineer the system to mathematically enforce our prior assumptions, since no government or organization can reasonably be trusted.”

Since I don’t want this article to turn too technical, here is just a brief summary of the core carriers of the Web 3.0 infrastructure:

  • Decentralized Blockchain Protocols:

Public, interconnected (interoperable) decentralized blockchain protocols are the foundation of Web 3. The main job of the protocols is to ensure trusted transactions between users, strong privacy in their interactions, as well as distributed and censorship-resistant data storage.

  • Smart Contracts:

They are the key facilitators of blockchain protocols’ work. Smart contracts are programs that automatically self-execute upon certain conditions being met. They are tamper-resistant, which means excluding the risk of any interference, or modification of their terms in any way.

In Web 3, among other things, they also drive such important elements of its ecosystem, like DAOs and distributed data storage.

  • DAOs:

A DAO, or “Decentralized Autonomous Organization,” is a community-led online entity with no central authority. Unlike traditional companies, DAOs eliminate the hierarchy of corporate management bodies and offer a model of decentralized governance.

Voting, decision making, distribution of dividends, execution of the agreed-upon decisions, and other business-related matters are regulated by the rules laid down in blockchain-based smart contracts and performed by them automatically.

This is done to exclude any risk of human error or manipulation with votes. Neither a sleazy CEO nor pushy shareholders would have any chance to manipulate the entity’s work to their benefit.

The point is that it’s safer to rely on algorithms, rather than on humanity’s goodwill. We all know man is weak.

If you’d like to learn about types of DAOs, check out Metagame Wiki and have a lot of fun.

  • Distributed Data Storage:

What does this mean?

The vision is to ensure that users’ information is stored sliced to multiple independent network nodes, instead of one server that is not under users’ control.

This distributed approach will procure high-quality data protection, as well as enable users to manage their data, encrypt and keep it private, authorize access to data, and backup the storage.

  • Crypto Payment Networks:

It would be nothing new to say that crypto pioneered the principles of decentralization and anonymity, which are now at the core of Web 3.0.

Contrary to fiat payments, which immediately bring nation-state borders along with regulatory complexities and limitations, crypto has offered an alternative financial paradigm — peer-to-peer trustless and anonymous transactions with no middleman involved.

One might object that anonymity in crypto is questionable, as there are many use cases when a user is tracked and required to provide a bunch of intimate information about themselves. That’s true.

But here is the obvious solution:

Stop using centralized intermediaries, like giant exchanges, investments apps, or payment gates, to make your life easier in crypto.

Yep, they take care of everything. They make your relationships with crypto easier and supposedly worry-free. They are your wallets, private key keepers, brokers, custodians, clearing centers — they are your everything.

But they are still intermediaries, which is not native to crypto. Actually, the idea behind crypto is to kick out intermediaries and stimulate peer-to-peer economic relationships. Please always bear this in mind.

Each time it comes to intermediaries, you give up the benefits of anonymity, as well as the other perks that crypto offers. Period.

I don’t like the buzzword “consciousness,” but you do have to be conscious about how your goals line up with your actions and choices. This is especially true for crypto.

That was a side note. Now let’s get back to Web 3.0.

For crypto-native businesses built upon it, crypto would not only be a means of payments or raising capital (as it was in the wild ICO times), but also as an incentive mechanism to create a community, build engagement, and provide feedback on products in development. At long last, this will facilitate the shift towards an “upgraded version” of the sharing economy.

Don’t run away now. I’ll explain it simply and in a few words.

In today’s sharing economy looks like we are doing business relying on giants (like Facebook or Google). We accept their terms and conditions, please their algorithms, give away our data, often pay huge commissions, and let them control the content we create.

Now Web 3.0’s sharing economy: We kick the giants out and do everything peer-to-peer with the use of blockchain, as well as the power of community engagement and a fair incentives mechanism and distribution of value.

Actually, this is still the same as Web 3.0’s tone of voice.

Wrapping it up on the question of Web 3.0 and metaverse relatability: They are the perfect match when Web 3.0 is the base and metaverse is its superstructure.

A truly “kosher” metaverse is one that is open-source, runs on a public blockchain, is interoperable, enables decentralized data storage, is crypto native, and has no center of control. In an ideal world, both metaverse and Web 3.0 are interlinked and play their music in sync.

Now let’s look at how close we are to this synchronicity now.

What’s going on now?

Currently, there are a few upper-echelon tech companies that have announced their stake in the “metaverse”: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Nvidia, Epic Games, Facebook, etc.

The last is talking the loudest and some time ago even rebranded for Meta.

Despite all the noise, there is still not so much concrete information about how these metaverses would look in their final versions.

Many of them try to appear as Web 3.0 related. That’s understandable. As the power of hype and marketing has no limits, this way of self-positioning is no doubt strategically wise.

But wait a minute! These are exactly the same guys who control the Internet right now and drive the existing controversial “top-down” economic model of Web 2.

Some of them are famous for their skill in manipulating users’ data, as well as for their practices of successfully selling it outside without the users’ consent.

Web 3.0 offers to knock them off the pedestal and build a sharing economy instead, as we discussed earlier. So where is the common ground?

My answer: there is none.

In fact, these corporate-owned metaverses offer us the same old well-known practices of market power misuse.

Despite all their play with trendy words and even the integration of crypto payments, they still remain centralized and will keep collecting your private data on their servers. However, now in a more extensive way.

Your activities in their virtual worlds, and your interactions with other people, would let them make such a deep and detailed behavioral portrait of you, which couldn’t be done even by 1,00,500 psychologists therapizing you for years. They will track you to the end, and no one knows what it could mean for your future.

Just look at them closer.

The idea of a revolution that doesn’t change the distribution of power seems kind of ridiculous. Same key players, same corporate mindsets, same sources of revenue. Why should they be expected to create a really new economy, while the old practices worked for them perfectly? Just rebrand and keep going.

The good news, is there are still some examples of decentralized metaverses out there that seem to really overlap with Web 3. I purposely don’t list them here, as I haven’t had a chance yet to analyze them thoroughly.

So, Google is your friend here. I hope you’ll share your findings with me later in the comments 👍.

Key Takeaway

To answer the question of the compatibility of Web 3.0 and metaverses, we need to look at the similarities of their technological frameworks, as well as the backgrounds of those who stand behind those projects.

Don’t let the hype misguide you. Keep educating yourself on this new decentralized economy — it’s closer than you think!

Also published here.

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