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What’s the Web3

Web 3.0, also designated as “the internet of blockchains”, “the re-decentralized internet” or “the distributed internet” is the next paradigm of the world wide web.

It became a buzzword in 2021, being alternatively criticized and promoted by celebrities such as Elon Musk. On one hand, its promises are seen as exciting, but on the other hand, as it is currently being built, there is a lot more to do before these promises come to life.

What does that mean and what does that imply on your daily use of the internet? What is going to change?

A short history of the internet

What came before Web 3.0? Obviously, its name implies the existence of two previous “versions” of the internet. The fact that Web 3.0 is undergoing its construction also implies that we are currently using a “Web 2.0”, which is exactly how the internet has been called since around 2006.

Web 1.0: the dawn of the internet

The early age of the internet, Web 1.0, is when all the initial standards of the public internet were set. In this primitive period of the world wide web, websites were standalone pages, mostly designed to be read. Connections were very slow and the use of data was very limited.

To express yourself on the internet of Web 1.0, you could create your own web page (requiring a bit of computing skills) and have it hosted on a server.

Web 2.0: social media and user collaboration

Milestones of the advent of Web 2.0 are the launch of Gmail and the creation of Facebook and Youtube, between 2004 and 2006. But Web 2.0 is more than that.

Giving users the possibility to interact more with the internet, it gave them a way to participate and collaborate. Technology and faster internet connections allowed browsers to show and do an increasing number of things, leading to the creation of web applications.

In turn, Web 2.0 was the launchpad for most social media, as it allowed interconnection between websites and emphasized user input. In consequence, Web 2.0 has crystallized user activity toward major websites, known as the Big Tech: Facebook, YouTube, Google, etc. This is often referred to as centralization: user data are centralized within massive corporations, owning a monopoly on the internet activity and content.

Web 3.0: the promises of a decentralized internet

Web 3.0 is bringing a technical change first and foremost: the decentralization of data, by the use of the blockchain technology. Instead of gathering data in big servers owned by big corporations, the data is distributed among the whole internet, and then owned by nobody.

This is a promise of a more fair internet, where the websites will be built by community and decentralized organizations instead of corporations hunting for profit.

This will be allowed by the integration of cryptocurrencies into the whole internet, through the blockchain technology. Creating content on the Web 3.0 will be rewarded financially, in an automatic manner. Your best blog post can earn you money. Participating in the development of a web application as well. This is the promise of an internet where users are incentivized by financial rewards to participate in building a global virtual world, also known as the Metaverse.

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