In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the wonderful world of Web3. We’ll be answering the question of “what is Web3?” and take a look at definitions of Web3. Plus, we’ll explore Web3.js, the Web3 developer’s tool of choice!
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What is Web3? – Web 3.0 Definition
So, what is Web3? Web3 is a new era of the internet that is taking power out of the hands of major tech companies and into the hands of everyday users. You may have come across the terms “Web3”, “Web 3.0”, “internet 3.0”, or “decentralized web”. These terms refer to a shifting paradigm in web technologies that promote decentralized, interoperable protocols while minimizing the reliance on big tech.
Blockchain is at the heart of this new paradigm shift. A series of smart contract-based applications on public blockchains enable anyone to monetize their personal data and participate in “open finance”, or “decentralized finance” (DeFi). As an evolution of Web2, Web3 aims to diminish the power of major tech companies and instead place it in the hands of end-users.
Web2 to Web3
Now that we’ve considered the question of “what is Web3?”, let’s take a look at what came before it. As you may have guessed already, the predecessor to Web3 is Web2. However, to fully appreciate the history of the internet, it’s important to understand where it began. The first iteration of the internet came about in the late 1990s. Web1 mainly features a selection of homepages and clickable links. These websites were not as interactive as the websites we know today. Moreover, most websites did little more than enable people to publish and read basic content.
Fast forward a few years, and we have the dawn of Web2, the version of the internet that most of us are familiar with. Many refer to Web2 as the “read/write” iteration of the internet. This is largely due to the type of programming involved and the editable files used that enabled users to do more than just read content online. Furthermore, Web2 enables users to create content and publish it online for others to consume. Also, Web2 saw the introduction of online marketplaces, social media, and content streaming services.
Since the Web2 revolution, many tech giants have come under scrutiny due to mass surveillance and data harvesting. Companies such as Facebook (now Meta) broke several laws regarding data privacy and had to pay a fine of $5 billion in 2019. This abuse of user privacy, coupled with an overly-predictable “walled garden” of curated content, has paved the way for Web3.
Many consider Web3 to be the “read/write/own” iteration of the web. Web3 enables internet users to take back control of their online experience, free from the imposition of big tech and data farming. Moreover, Web3 enables users to govern the protocols they interact with and become shareholders rather than merely consumers.
So, what is cryptocurrency, and how does it relate or fit into Web3? Well, cryptocurrency serves many functions and means many things to many people. However, in Web3, cryptocurrencies can act as shares of blockchain networks and cryptocurrency projects. These coins and tokens can represent fractional ownership of a decentralized protocol or a network. Accordingly, such platforms tend to be censorship-resistant and make crypto investing open to all.
Whereas a small handful of companies dictate what happens on the internet, the decentralized web, or Web3, is community-governed. As such, cryptocurrency holders can determine the future of a broad range of innovative applications and protocols. In this scenario, crypto acts as shares or fractional ownership of a decentralized platform. Moreover, this puts users in control of their online experience. Check out our “Crypto Explained” article to learn more about cryptocurrency!
Decentralized Web – Internet 3.0
The decentralized web provides a site for developing and implementing community governance structures. Also, it enables anyone to tokenize pretty much anything on the blockchain, including art, real estate, and social media accounts.
Blockchain gaming is a prime example of the decentralized web in practice. Crypto gaming projects provide gamers with a platform where they can control their gaming experience and effectively become a shareholder by owning the native token. Also, gamers can earn a passive income by flexing their skills in various play-to-earn (P2E) crypto gaming platforms.
Furthermore, the introduction of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has been a catalyst in restructuring the gaming world. Tokenizing in-game assets on the blockchain gives players “skin in the game” and transparent ownership of weapons, shields, characters, and land. Also, NFTs are heavily disrupting the art industry by enabling anyone to tokenize their creations. Some NFTs have resold on secondary markets for astronomical figures, creating an entirely new digital art market.
Moreover, the scope of the decentralized web is yet to be established. As this movement is still relatively young, the technologies in this field are still in their infancy. As the space develops, we can expect to see many innovative Web3 products and services emerge to challenge the status quo sector-wide.
Decentralization refers to the distribution of activities and responsibilities. Centralization refers to a “single point of failure” that occurs as a result of the concentration of power within an organization.
The decentralized web recreates many aspects of the traditional web without unnecessary intermediaries. Accordingly, community-governed projects provide a compelling alternative to capitalist structures. However, many blockchain and Web3 projects are not evenly distributed. As such, ownership of many projects claiming to be “decentralized” is concentrated in the hands of just a few. Also, a significant number of decentralized finance (DeFi) projects have shareholders like any other company.
Many projects in the space share a similar ethos of decentralization. However, some projects and technologies serve to benefit early adopters and venture capitalists (VCs) more than the average user. Such projects often claim to be leaderless or decentralized. However, this is often not the complete picture. Also, some DeFi projects, such as wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), rely on centralized services to exist in the world of decentralized finance.
That said, the industry is still incredibly young. The innovation in the space has likely been expedited with the aid of major investors. Moreover, elements of centralization do not always negate the decentralized architecture of Web3 technologies.
To learn more about the intense world of decentralized finance, save our “DeFi Explained” article for later! Also, see our DeFi 101 course and learn how to interact with some of the most prominent DeFi protocols. In that course, we teach students how to install and use the number-one Web3 wallet, MetaMask, with top DeFi protocols including Uniswap, Aave, Compound Finance, and MakerDAO! Start your DeFi journey today with Moralis Academy!
Big tech companies such as Apple, Meta, and Google are under increased scrutiny following a series of reports about unethical data mining. The conversation around data protection outlines the lack of transparency and the level of intrusion that people face every day online.
Furthermore, such companies often rely on “siloed” servers in one central location. As a result, when the servers go down for Facebook, they often go down for Instagram and WhatsApp as well. Not only does this concentration make outages more impactful, but it also makes it easy for hackers and malicious attackers to gain entry. Decentralization removes many of these problems by distributing the organization and the network’s activities across a community with incentives to act honestly.
Decentralization can refer to many things. For example, it could refer to a distributed ledger of transactions like a blockchain protocol. Equally, it could refer to the distributed storage of data. From decentralized file storage services to social media and crowdfunding protocols, all of these technologies operate without needless intermediaries or central authority.
Moreover, decentralized technologies are trustless. Accordingly, users do not need to trust humans to act honestly. Instead, they only need to trust technology and mathematics. That way, if a CEO dies or disappears, a company can continue to operate, and services go undisturbed. If an accounting error occurs, it is visible to all and can be rectified immediately. Such accountability is largely absent in the world of finance and technology today. However, decentralized Web3 technologies have the potential to change this.
What is Web3? – Web3.js
What is Web3? – Web 3.0 and Web3.js – Summary
The decentralized web facilitates the rapid development of next-generation technologies. Thanks to the use of open-source code and worldwide collaboration, innovative blockchain-based applications are developing at a rapid pace. Accordingly, a diverse range of Web3 tools and services are emerging that have the potential to disrupt many industries.
The world of Web3 is evolving expeditiously. With blockchain technology at the core of this paradigm shift, Web3 technologies reduce the concentration power held by major tech companies and put it in the hands of users. Moreover, Web3 offers an equitable solution to the inequality that big tech produces. Furthermore, this technology enables users to retain control of their data and their online experience while also providing the opportunity for anyone to invest in their favorite web apps.
The use of blockchain technologies is increasing sector-wide, from art to real estate, fashion, energy, insurance, and music. Check out the Blockchain Business Masterclass course at Moralis Academy to learn how to manage a Web3 project and a team of developers. Or, see our Blockchain for Enterprise course to learn how major corporations such as Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and IBM are implementing blockchain.
After reading this article, you should be able to respond confidently to the questions “what is Web3?” and “what is Web3.js?”. If you want to take your knowledge of Web3 to the next level, check out Moralis Academy! Whatever your goals are in Web3, Moralis Academy has the ideal courses for you. There has never been a better time to learn a new skill in an emerging tech field. Make your Web3 dreams a reality with Moralis Academy! Check out our range of courses today and kickstart your Web3 career! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @MoralisAcademy! We’d love to hear your thoughts about this “What is Web3?” article!