• Lokesh Rajendran

Web3 - Why does it matters? What's wrong now?

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

This blog is for people who want to know what is Web3 and why is that everyone is so obsessed with it. I am sorry we are not exploring any quick-rich scheme here.

Before looking into Web3, let's try to understand what's wrong with the present internet. Where we can share and collaborate in no time. Obviously, if it is Web3 we should have Web2 and Web1 right? Let's see that too.

Web1 and Web2

Web1 was king from approximately 1990-2005, and most people using the web in those days were consumers rather than creators. The content was consumed by many but created by few, mainly obnoxiously nerdy tech people and forward-thinking news sites. It is now nicknamed the 'read-only web.'

Web2 changed that, particularly with the introduction of social media. Suddenly, more and more people were posting, creating, and sharing their lives with the world. Those who were originally only reading news stories started publicly arguing with them. And the internet that we know today was born.

What's Wrong?

Okay, I am tweeting, I am making reels and I am connected to my friends. What's wrong then? Everything that we post, share, comment, like, or furiously screenshot is owned by someone else. And it goes deeper - it's owned by 4 big companies: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. We'll call them GAFA.

We created a Data Economy, where data we created started working against us. Consumers became the commodity and Computer Programs started learning more about us than we know about us. The worst part is you are pawned and you are not given any share in that. To know if you are pawned, enter your email into Am I Pawned. That's where web3 comes in to save us.

Web3 Promises

Web3 promises two things:

  1. To remove the ability to make money from collecting data

  2. To create incentives to make money on the internet through other means

By achieving both these goals, we will no longer live in a Data Economy. Companies will have to find new ways to make money, and people will be able to take control of their own data. There will be no incentive to hack into data centers. We'll live in a world where the people consume, create, and own our information, not in a world of surveillance capitalism that feeds 4 power-hungry data-hoarding entities.

Sound unrealistic? Up until now, it has been. We've been relying on governments and companies to do the right thing, and we've seen how that's panned out. But if we can't trust people to enforce these promises, we can trust technology. So let's go through how web3 can technologically fulfill each of its promises.

Now you are incognito. How?

Web3 is also referred to as decentralized web. While data is currently centralized and owned by GAFA, in Web3 the data is separated and stored in a large number of computers and hard drives. These computers are not owned by one company - the idea is that each person can own a small amount of data. Without one entity having access to data, there is no ability to make money from it.

Decentralization can be achieved in many ways. But the most famous technology is BlockChain. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two biggest blockchains in existence, but others like Solana and Cardano are slowly catching up. There are hundreds of decentralized apps, aka dapps, already deployed on Ethereum, and building on the blockchain is getting easier by the minute. It is by far the most secure decentralized architecture. I repeat, Web3 is not BlockChain. Blockchain is not the only way to accomplish Web3. However, with blockchain comes cryptocurrency, which brings us to our next point.

Making money on the internet through other means

When we talk about money in Web3, we are referring to cryptocurrencies. Crypto provides a financial instrument called Tokens. There are many ways to earn tokens - some examples are offering storage (like Storj), creating content, or sometimes even being early adopters of the application. You might have heard of Brave Brower. Where you earn BAT (Basic Attention Token) for watching advertisements. You are earning it, not GAFA.

Companies can set up their own protocol for rewarding their users, and it cuts out the need for other third-party services. This token economy is exactly what the web was created for in the first place. It's direct. People reward people for providing a service or participating in a better world. There is no malicious data tracking or manipulation. No exploitation, no incessant ads, no algorithms designed to be addictive. No reliance on huge profit-driven companies. Just people interacting with people. That's web3.

Where are we now?

Most of our internet runs on Web2. Dapps (Decentralized apps) are mostly seen in financial applications like crypto and NFCs.

Web3 may seem to be a long way now. But we are moving faster. Industries like music, gaming, and video streaming started to embrace Web3. We will be soon into that space. Well now if you want to experience Web3, you can start with Metamask. For developers, I recommend reading Ethereum DAPPS. We will cover more about Web3 Soon.

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