Web3 has the potential to upend virtually everything we know about online life and who controls it. But as with any rapidly evolving technology, it can be hard to separate fact from wishful thinking. So, if you’ve been struggling to understand the web3 hype or wondering why web3 matters, this article is for you.
First, what is web 3.0?
Web3 or web 3.0 is basically the next iteration of the internet. It follows the two previous evolutionary phases of the Internet, namely web1 (or web 1.0), the birth of the internet that we all know and love, and then web2 (or web 2.0), the more interactive, user-generated, social-based web media that has exploded in the last decade.
Web3 represents the internet’s next great evolutionary leap forward, a leap led by blockchain, NFT, and cryptocurrency. But perhaps the biggest distinguishing feature of web3 is decentralizationwhich brings us to our first reason why you should care about web3.
In the decentralized era of web3, internet users will have more control
That’s the idea, anyway. Because web3 represents a decentralized internet, as opposed to today’s highly centralized internet. If you think about it, most of the sites we use today are owned by large companies (like Meta, Google and Amazon) and are controlled by government regulations to some extent. Power is centralized.
Web1 and web2 evolved this way because the infrastructure needed to build and run the Internet is expensive and someone has to pay for it! These powerful companies recoup their investment (and, let’s be honest, much more) by charging us for their services or by collecting and using (often selling) our extremely valuable personal data. Web3 and the decentralized internet promise to change all that, or at least ensure that centralization is not the right thing only way forward. How is it possible? Because web3 platforms are powered largely by the token-based economy and blockchain-based infrastructure where, typically, no central authority is in charge and users can transact and interact without third-party intervention.
A good example of decentralized web comes from Secretum, a messaging app aiming to become the web3 version of WhatsApp or WeChat. Secretum users can connect without an email address or phone number, which promotes user privacy, and there is a built-in trading function, which allows users to trade cryptocurrencies and NFTs securely without the supervision of banks or other facilitators.
Web3 could kick off a major power shift
Dwelling on this vision of a decentralized internet, where control is taken away from intermediaries and authorities and placed in the hands of users, it is clear that this represents a major power shift. With web3, we could freely access the Internet without transferring our personal information, have full ownership of our data, and not depend on centralized authorities that don’t always have our best interests at heart. It’s a rejection of how things are currently done. It’s sort of a battle cry.
The question is, will web3 really end up reducing the tremendous amount of control that today’s power players have and making the internet more democratic? Of course, the big tech giants, central banks and governments have a vested interest in maintaining some oversight, and of course we all want the internet to be a safe place and not the new Wild West.
Eventually, I suspect organizations like Meta will evolve and new organizations will arise to facilitate web3 interactions, for example, with a digital wallet managed and secured by a third-party platform. This is still some form of centralization, of course. But I think Web3 will offer us the opportunity to create a more equal Internet, where users have more choice and more autonomy.
Web3 will underpin much of the metaverse
Web3 technologies are intrinsically linked to the development of the metaverse as they will allow us to interact and transact with others in metaverse environments. For example, NFT and blockchain, both web3 technologies, will allow us to own and trade digital assets in the metaverse, be it digital art, digital earth, or digital sneakers. Cryptocurrency will most likely form the foundation of economic and monetary systems in the metaverse. And many of the virtual worlds that will eventually be part of the metaverse (places like Decentral and the virtual world) are built on blockchains.
Basically, the metaverse cannot reach its full potential without web3 technologies. So when you hear people like me getting excited about the metaverse, know that the web3 is a vital part of that future.
NFTs will have real-world uses
We’ve all seen the crazy price swings and headlines about the sale of NFTs. But if we think of NFTs as digital tokens that represent ownership of assets, it’s clear that NFTs can offer far more value than just trading jpegs of cartoon animals.
In fact, many experts believe that utility NFTs will be used to represent ownership of real-world objects and assets, such as event tickets. Imagine the Burning Man festival decided to sell tickets for life and you bought one of those tickets. Having it as an NFT is much easier and safer than keeping a hard copy or confirmation email in an account you won’t use in 20 years.
Blockchain will transform business operations
We haven’t touched on the business impact of Web3 so far, but I believe this next evolution of the Internet will have a significant impact on how businesses operate. The most transformative web3 technology for business is undoubtedly the blockchain. In fact, I already see blockchain being adopted across a range of industries.
For example, blockchain is ideal for the supply chain, where it can be used to facilitate the transfer of goods from one party to another and allow organizations to monitor the status of goods in real time. In this way, the blockchain increases the security and transparency of the supply chain and generally makes the whole process much more efficient. This is why Walmart and its Food Safety Collaborating Center in Beijing use blockchain to track farm origin details, lot numbers, factory and processing data, expiration dates , storage temperature and shipping details of pork.
Any industry that needs to track supplies, materials and products can benefit from blockchain and this is just one example of how blockchain will revolutionize the business world. So if you think web3 has no relevance to your organization, think again.
To stay abreast of the latest on new and emerging business and technology trends, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, follow me on ChirpingLinkedIn and YouTube and check out my books, Future Skills: The 20 skills and competencies everyone needs to succeed in a digital world AND Future Internet: How the Metaverse, Web 3.0 and Blockchain Will Transform Business and Society.
Follow me on Chirping or LinkedIn. Watch my website or some other work of mine here.
#reasons #care #Web3