Web3 is one of those buzzwords that you probably keep hearing and seeing all over the internet, much like NFTs and the metaverse. Generally, Web3 is used to refer to all the different blockchain-related sectors, such as NFTs, DeFi, and crypto.
To understand what Web3 is, we first need to go back to the humble beginnings of the internet with the start of Web1, and its progression to Web2.
The Past: Web 1.0
Web 1.0 refers to the era of the internet between 1994 to 2004. It is also commonly known as the “read-only” era because at the time the internet pretty much comprised of static websites owned by various companies. It was the first phase in the development of the World Wide Web.
If you weren’t around in the 90s, have a look at the most popular websites back then, such as AOL, Netscape, and other various message boards. Web design was very basic, the content was static rather than interactive, and it could not be shared. Consumers also couldn’t produce any content of their own. But that all soon changed.
The Present: Web 2.0
Web 2.0 is known as the read-write era and refers to the time from 2004 to the present. With the emergence of social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, MySpace (who remembers that?), the landscape of the internet drastically changed from being a one way highway to an interactive world of information exchange, creating, consuming and sharing. These platforms suddenly made user-to-user interactions possible, as well as the distribution of user-generated content, and the rise of new online advertising revenue models.
As with many innovations, this came along with several drawbacks. Although users could create content and use these platforms for free, they couldn’t own this content or benefit from its monetization (such as companies data harvesting personal information and selling it to businesses for marketing purposes). Not only do users have zero control over their data, they also have to abide by the terms and conditions of these platforms, otherwise they can’t use them.
The Future: Web 3.0
As it currently stands, we’re in the Web2 era with development of Web3 infrastructure taking place and already being integrated into some of our online experiences. In a nutshell, Web 3.0 is now referred to as the read-write-own era, and is driven by the goal of giving creators ownership of their content and removing middlemen, amongst other things.
The premise of Web 3.0 was coined by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood after Ethereum’s launch in 2014. According to him, the web as we know it requires too much trust in a small number of private companies, and hoping that they will always have their users’ interest at heart.
That’s where blockchain technology comes in, and the core ideas of web3 which are: decentralization, native payments in crypto, permissionless use, and economic mechanisms without using third parties. In a 2021 Wired interview, Wood explained his Web3 vision: “Less trust, more truth.”
We are still in the very early stages of Web3, and no one can predict how it will unfold as it is still evolving and being defined. What is for certain is that it will make substantial use of blockchain technology, decentralized applications, and AI.
It offers many benefits, such as ownership of your digital assets, censorship resistance, interoperability through a single login address across platforms. However, we’re not quite there yet, as the high-quality and reliable infrastructure required to execute this is still being built, which means that accessibility and user experience of many web3 platforms is sub-par, and we’re still reliant on centralized platforms such as Twitter, GitHub and Discord.
What are the Top Web3 Companies?
You’re probably wondering who is building the vision of Web3 and which are the most prominent companies right now. There’s thousands of innovative Web3 companies, all focused on decentralization and creating a paradigm shift in the creator and consumer economy.
Below is a list of some of the top Web3 companies in the space right now:
Web3 in a Nutshell
We’ve seen the web evolve from basic read-only content, to the centralized internet era where Big Tech companies such as Meta and Google, provide us with interactive and social web platforms but in return we exchange private data and information to use these services, to the now evolving Web3 era of a decentralized internet ecosystem and AI.
Learn more about NFTs & Web3 >> The Ultimate NFT Guide
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