The difference between web 3, 2 and 1
Getting Confused By Industry Jargon (And Popular Culture Is A Barrier To Understanding. So Here's My Attempt At A Very Brief Explanation.
What the hell is web 3? Or for that matter web 2 and was there ever a web 1 ?
WEB 1 - Read
I’m old enough to remember dial up internet.
For those of us who experienced it, it was very exciting at the time. We were able to view our bank balances but not transact. And it took about 20 mins to connect to the bank.
Websites were hand coded and only IT professionals took on the task of building even the most rudimentary sites. There was no social media.
This is now known as web 1 and it was characterised by one way traffic. We could consume information but couldn’t easily contribute to the body of knowledge on the web.
Web 1 is known as the read phase of the internet.
WEB 2 - Read - Write
Facebook changed the game for most of us.
Suddenly we had a voice. We could easily contribute to the web. We could upload pics, interact with other people and engage. A host of other social media options followed suit. Instagram, Blogger, Twitter, TikTok and more. These were forums for engagement.
Website platforms such as Joomla, Drupal and WordPress made the technical side of creating websites easier. These platforms even integrated with eCommerce and eLearning plugins making a decent website within the affordable reach of many.
With the easy availability of web platforms everyone became content creators.
The role of “influencers” passed to ordinary people who captured the hearts and minds of their followers with their content.
A good amount of sass and confidence could turn you into a personality that made money by just being present on the web.
Web 2 also gave a platform to serious thinkers who set out to change the understanding of the world.
Previously, thought leaders, had to create their own media platforms or conform to media houses formulae. For example a 24 minute segment plus ads gave a 30 minute slot on a TV station.
That was it.
But YouTube and Spotify gave thought leaders a different platform to explore topics in depth. Rogan , Peterson and others developed cult followers as well.
A characteristic of web 2 is that data is centralised and controlled by mega companies. Google, Facebook and Amazon are probably the biggest in this regard.
Web 2 is known as the read – write phase of the internet.
Web 3 Read - Write - Own
Blockchain technology has changed the rules of the game. Anything written on the blockchain is immutable (unable to be changed).
In addition big corporations no longer own and control your data and information that is written to the blockchain. The individual has reclaimed their power.
This data is now decentralised and held on millions of computers based all over the world.
At the time of writing, web 3 is in its infancy, but already we have glimpses of a very changed world as a result. Given the immutable nature of blockchain, experiments in digital currencies, ownership of items through tokenisation (issuing a digital certificate to denote ownership) and unalterable smart contracts show that the very nature of control will probably change forever.
These changes will impact governments corporations and individuals.
A Smart Contract is basically an unchangeable algorithm that is built into the blockchain that automatically triggers when an event occurs.
A digital if that then this if you will. For example if you buy something and pay for it (the trigger) then the payment is automatically divided between the creater, seller and whomever else participates.
So feasibly, if an artist sells an artwork and that ownership vests with a gallery the artist may always retain a % right to a commission everytime the piece s resold. So if the gallery sells the piece to person A, the artist may get 10% of that sale.
And if the piece is resold from person A to B then the artist gets compensated for everyones enjoyment down the line.
This can also be applied to books where the author gets compensated by every new owner.
Non Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) are cryptographic assets stored on the blockchain with unique identifiable codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other.
NFT’s cannot be replicated. They can represent real world items such as real estate, artwork, or even qualifications or identity.
NFT’s are a central characteristic of Web 3 in that they denote ownership.
Imagine a world where real estate registration and transfer of ownership can happen in minutes as apposed to months. There is no human involvement and the ownership is immutable and plain for everyone to see. Taxes, ownership transfer, payment etc all expedited by smart contracts.
Another characteristic of web 3 is community. Most transactions have been facilitated by groups of individuals who have a common belief. You either believe in Bitcoin or you don’t. Early adoption of the NFT concept seemed to revolve around digital art and most of us have heard of the exorbitant prices paid for cryptokitties or Bored Apes.
Similarly NFT’s have become a big thing in certain web3 gaming communities. Players earn the ownership rights to characters that they develop whilst working their way up the various levels in a game. This allows players to buy their way in on certain levels.
So early indications are that whereas in Web 2 the rise of the influencers was paramount and the followers slotted in behind Web 3 seems to have a greater need for engagement between people within their communities.
Web 3 is characterised by raging fans who have higher needs of engagement than ever before, The use case scenarios for web 3 are pretty incredible and it is a forgone conclusion that web 3 will become an interesting and valuable part of our lives in the months and years to come.
Once people work out what can be done with blockchain technology, tokens and smart contracts and develop ways of using the technology easily and effectively.
The utility (value for the person using the service) of blockchain will rise immeasurably. Artificial intelligence will be harnessed to process data in real time with some very interesting real world examples.
Take a look at how Pave Motors is already changing the use of transport. The same principles applied to cars will no doubt disrupt the care hire industry.
Streamr, a web3 company is utilising real time data to provide some really innovative solutions in the areas of sport science, vehicle data, hobbyists and citizen scientists. Here are four examples they cover.
Web 3 is known as the Read Write Own phase of the internet
Digitally First But Physically Enhanced
The swing to digital businesses should be supported by a physical presence. Even if that physical presence takes a new form.