Despite the obscure rise of the term Web3 and it's close association with crypto currency and blockchain, it is interesting to see how the recent decentralization storm is taking up everything. As a successor to Web 2.0, the era which was supposed to democratize the internet, but instead became dominated by FAANG and related products, Web 3 is all about re-decentralizing the web.
The 1990s saw the Web 1.0 era, where the typical internet user would mostly view web pages, created by other users. Users had little knowledge how to create their own webpage. The Web 1.0 saw the masses passively consuming media created by publishers. In Web 2.0, the masses were creators. Blog posts, Amazon review, Wikipedia entries, YouTube videos, and crowdfunding campaigns all saw the people creating content in the Web like never before. However, the downside that no one realized back then was the monopoly over the user data that companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft were having. The content was stored in servers owned by the major corporations.
Web 3.0 would allow users to unlock the web open where their data will live on the blockchain, and not a central server. Instead of the business platforms owning it, the content would be owned by the user. This is a major shift in content ownership and moderation landscape. The access to the content would be controlled via a private cryptographic key that only the user will possess. Data migration to a different service would also be seamless as there is no one entity controlling the data storage and server.
The crypto landscape is however not too user-friendly. This puts the average user open to risk of losing assets unless it is clear how to manage NFTs and different wallets. Convenience is a factor that the blockchain ecosystem is struggling and has a long way to go before seeing mass adoption of the startups. MetaMask and similar apps that provide windows into the blockchain often require plenty of steps before completing a planned action that the average user will hesitate if they are not tech-friendly. DeFi and other similar protocols and ecosystem will take time for mass adoption.
As much as Web3 dreamers might shun the crypto casino, the fact remains that crypto currency – money – is the sole driving force of what everyone is trying to build. Here’s where the concepts of game theory comes in, along with the higher tenets of Web 3. This is also where Web 3 movement breaks with the economic innocence of the past waves of internet utopianism. Web 3 apps even give them a say in how the platforms are run with sort of a governance power over the platform. With tokenomics, the business model of nearly every Web 3 proposed Web 3 platform entails distributing tokens to everyone involved, and thus incentivizing them to use and improve the platform. Web 3’s approach to financial incentives is an ingenious way of solving new technology’s adoption problem.