You may have heard of Web3 recently in the news. It has the potential to revolutionize how we use the internet, and the ongoing blockchain developments are one of the key pillars of Web3. We want to take a deep dive into how Web3 is related to blockchain. This new stage of the internet has a lot in store, so this article will discuss a brief history of the Web, an overview of Web3, how Web3 relates to blockchain, and why Web3 is important.
The Web Before Web3
The Internet as we know it is Web2, which has been around for around two decades. Around 15 years before that, in 1990, was the creation of Web1. This first stage of the Internet was mostly read-only static websites. This iteration of the Web lacked the social interaction and e-commerce that we all know today, but it let users surf the web from website to website reading in this new medium. Due to this lack of social interaction, there was little content creation on an individual basis. This is before chat rooms and YouTube.
It may not seem like it now, but the implementation of Web1 was tremendous. It created an entirely new medium for information to travel and a new industry. Time went by. People explored the limitations of Web1 and around 15 years later, the social Internet began. Web2 offered a ton of new possibilities. Companies shifted from providing content to users to providing platforms for users to create their own content. Time passed, and advertisement-driven marketing grew in popularity and sway. From there started the data age, where companies do just about everything they can to gather data that informs their marketing practices and products.
What is Web3?
Web3 is the decentralized and new stage of the Internet. The core tenants took shape as Web2’s problems became increasingly apparent. Web2 is amazing. It opened countless doors and crafted the definition of the Internet as we know it today, but it is far from perfect. Corporations learned how to leverage the system to their benefit, creating the data and SEO-driven information forest we see today. Web3 offers a new take on the way we see the Internet built upon a separate foundation from any one we’ve seen before. Web2 emerged around a set of pillars like social interaction, communal knowledge sharing, content creation, and crowdsourcing.
The pillars of Web3 relate to an increase of privacy and ownership. Some of its core tenants are:
- Trustless and Permissionless
The Pillars of Web3
A cluster of ideas and technologies defines Web3. Those ideas and technologies are destined to change as the platform adapts and evolves. Technologies like blockchain, crypto, and VR make the ideas and pillars behind Web3 possible. Let’s look at what each of them means.
Blockchain technology powers the decentralization of Web3. This is the core technology that makes everything possible. One of the major problems with this end-state of Web3 is that the majority of control is held in the hands of the largest corporations. This results in a variety of problems, some more subtle than others.
A decentralized system with blockchain-powered tokens and shared ownership decentralizes the power and control over the web, leaving it in the hands of all its users. There will still be governing bodies, but they will lack the ability to enact immediate and sweeping change as they have in Web2. Web3 is related and indebted to blockchain technology, as users become the complete content owners with no central authority verifying data.
In the Web3 world, your data is no longer mined and distributed to all the major companies. When your data is stored on the blockchain, it flits among countless nodes and ensures you are the only person who owns it.
Trustless and Permissionless
Alongside privacy, Web3 is related to the blockchain by leveraging that technology to create a trustless and permissionless web. The trustless side means that interaction and monetary transactions can occur between two parties without an intermediary. Most payments on Web2 go through banks, which serve as the intermediary. Other transactions happen between the owners of the website or service, and you, the consumer, have to trust that the intermediary has no ill intentions with your monetary information. A trustless transaction could involve sending a cryptocurrency directly to another person, not through an online platform or wallet stored in a central server. Another older school trustless transaction is handing off some money to someone. No credit card or bank transaction and no intermediary.
The permissionless side of this means that neither party in a transaction needs permission from a third party (like a service provider) to certify the transaction. Many questions remain unanswered surrounding this new development and it makes many people nervous, and with good reason. Any uncharted territory on a scale this large is bound to cause concern. Many experts must continue to work on developing software that ushers in this next phase of the Internet with as few bumps in the road as possible.
How Web3 is Different From Web2
Many core concepts that emerged with Web2 will likely remain major staples in Web3, at least for many years. The pillars of Web2 are social networking, downloadable software applications, and wikis. These are not going anywhere as we transition into Web3, but they will adapt. We may see decentralized social networking platforms and a drastic change in e-commerce. At this point, no one is certain where Web3 will lead, but here are some of the major differences that give it its own definition.
- Decentralization. During the development of Web2, a few corporations began to control the great majority of authority on the web. When you search on Google, you see the content that Google has decreed you see. They have a robust algorithm in place to show you the most valuable content, but there are always those that work to abuse their SEO regulations to jump to the top of the list without providing the best content. Central authorities dictate a lot of internet interaction, and the blockchain-based Web3 attempts to change that. With countless nodes on the network, no single server will have all the data and information.
- New Technologies. Just as Web2 leveraged technology that Web1 did not have, so will Web3 leverage new technology today. Web2 is not built around the blockchain, crypto, VR, or AI. Building this new system allows for the integration of these new technologies, whereas Web2 would only be able to tack them onto a system that’s already fully built.
How is Web3 Related to Blockchain?
Web3 is related to blockchain, like driving a car is related to fuel. Without it, you would have the framework of something amazing without the juice to get it going. Blockchain is one of the technologies that Web3 is leveraging to create this new system. This section will cover how blockchain is central to Web3 development and where you will see it as Web3 continues to develop.
Blockchain is Necessary for Web3 to Develop
Blockchain completely changes the data structure behind the curtains of the web. The Internet requires a robust data structure, which lets data remain available for everyone the moment they need it. Utilizing blockchain and its unique advantages, Web3 can output all the other planned technological advancements, but blockchain is not without its flaws.
Since blockchains carry out far more operations, it is slower and less efficient than traditional databases. To output the secure operation, the network requires verification, consensus, and redundancy. This leads to its high cost and energy usage. The complex mathematical verification and volume of transactions make blockchain-based networks less efficient and costlier than traditional networks. It is also challenging to modify data once it is recorded. Correcting a mistake takes the same verification, consensus, and redundancy as it did to write it the first time.
Blockchain-based networks are not a blanket improvement on how networks are currently set up, but they are still at the beginning of their lives. There is a lot of potential in blockchain networks, and as they continue to develop, so will Web3.
Crypto Transactions on Web3
Crypto is set to become tremendously important in Web3 as a secure way to transfer funds in exchange for goods and services. Cryptocurrencies reduce the need for a middleman, like a bank, by letting users use tokens to send and receive money. This opens the door for peer-to-peer payments and these tokens also serve as an incentive to enter the blockchain and exchange some power to “mine” tokens.
Just like the concerns with blockchains, a different set of worries arise with crypto tokens as the main operational currency in Web3. Cryptocurrencies are a new technology and with it there are cases where people exploit the system for their own gain. There are problems with blockchain, and crypto, but there are no plans to yank the rug out from under everyone; the deployment of and transition to Web3 will take a lot of time. During that time, people will continue to discover ways to create a secure and polished system that is ready to go.
One major hurdle of Web3 is its predecessor. Web2 works great for a lot of people, and Web3 has to create a system that is not only better than what came before, but provides enough value that users will choose to undergo the learning process required to utilize the new platform. The timeline remains uncertain, but there is positive and active development to overcome that hurdle.
Blockchain Decentralizes the Web
The crux of the core values of Web3 is blockchain. A blockchain-based database distributes information over many nodes rather than being centralized on a small group of corporate tech companies. Using Web2 cedes a quantity of control to those companies, as you need them to surf the web. The decentralization planned with blockchain puts the control back into the hand of the individual. Up to a point, that is. The idea falls apart if a single entity controls the majority of the nodes on the blockchain. While the blockchain would function as intended, the number of nodes within the “central” entity would override its inherent decentralization. A lot of these problems arise from the cost and complexity of running a blockchain network, and the infrastructure required for the creation of the blockchain.
In this, the intent and reality have differed up to this point. Something similar occurred with Bitcoin mining in its heyday. Many years ago, anyone could hook up an old PC to their home network and mine some Bitcoins in the background. Eventually, people started dedicating warehouses filled with high-power machines to the task, and that dusty old laptop started mining fractions of a cent. Blockchain has its problems, certainly.
Why is Web3 Important?
Yes, it has its problems, but Web3 is an important step for the Internet as a whole. It can do a lot of good and create an environment where the corporations that have taken advantage of the current system are thrust into the thick of things again, rendering the playing field a bit less skewed. With the body of this article, we wanted to highlight the fact that Web3 has its problems, but with it comes great opportunities. Let’s look at two reasons why Web3 is important and hopefully answer your final questions as to how Web3 is related to blockchain.
Decentralized Applications (dApps) are programs that run on a blockchain or a peer-to-peer network of computers. Standard applications run on a computer system owned and operated by a single organization. Decentralized Applications are operated through the blockchain, where a single authority does not have complete control over them. This means that the application's creators do not have the power to delete or change user content after it is created. These applications have a range of functions and applications across a wide variety of sectors. Some examples of practical dApp usage include:
- Financial Services. dApps facilitate peer-to-peer financial transactions, guaranteeing security in the exchange of currency or assets.
- Social Media. A decentralized social media platform allows users to interact and share content without a central authority.
- Education. Decentralized learning platforms are great for student and instructor interaction without the need of an intermediary.
- Real Estate. Decentralized apps allow for the sale and transfer of real estate directly between the buyer and seller.
- Identity Verification. dApps can store and verify identity information on the chain, keeping information secure and unable to be tampered with
These are just a few examples of dApps. There are people trying to take advantage of dApps with fake initial coin offerings, Ponzi schemes, and phishing attacks. Although dApps are used to create a safe and secure environment, be careful that there is not someone behind the curtain waiting to take advantage of interested parties.
Crypto and NFT-Fueled Gaming
Web3 also sees the rise of Crypto and NFT-based games. Some of the first games are ones like Axie Infinity, and there has recently been a rise in titles across various genres. These provide a new way to the game, but be careful that the developers are not putting the game first on their priority list. The allure of making money while you play video games is exciting, and malicious developers will leverage that to create a game that has little to no earning potential or requires an up-front buy-in for necessary units or materials.
These games function in a similar space with similar cautionary tales. People are trying to exploit unsuspecting customers to scam them out of money. Still, some are working honestly to create an innovative and exciting experience. If you are interested in utilizing a dApp or getting into a crypto and NFT-based game, spend extra time researching the game systems and reviews so you know what you are getting into.
A lot happens in the Web3 world, and it all returns to the blockchain. Web3 is related to blockchain technology, and it is leveraging various new technologies to create an experience fundamentally different from how we interact with Web2. In this new sphere, tremendous innovation is possible and companies are rushing to find the best ways to operate their businesses and craft the best user experiences they can. Stay tuned as we watch the developments in the Web3 sphere and how they affect how we interact with the Internet! If you are nervous about all the new tech, don’t worry! Web2 is not going anywhere. The Internet we use today will stick around for many years.