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Pramit Marattha for Aviyel Inc

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Web3: The Evolution of a Decentralized Internet

Web3 has recently received a lot of attention, but the definition isn't entirely clear. The term web was coined in the 1990s by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet himself. However, Gavin Wood, one of the Ethereum founders, repurposed the term several decades later in light of what the internet has now become and the problems that stem from it.

For most supporters, Web3 means "Trust, Loyalty, Belief, and Integrity." The words make the world go round, guide our decision making and help us make our choices, be it life, or tech. Would you buy a cheap one that gets damaged quickly or a durable one? Of course, the answer is the latter. When it comes to tech, we take brands at their words- using AWS and Google Cloud over customized service providers, or picking Microsoft CA over private PKI solutions. However, the world has already seen massive cyberattacks on critical infrastructure including cloud and data services in the pandemic period. It has now become vital as ever to diversify the processing points of your critical business data. Because of this obscurity, Gavin Wood recoined the term Web3 in terms of blockchain.

The Road Before Web3: Web 1.0

History of web 1.0

Gavin Wood and a few others experts in the field examined the history of the internet and divided it into three different eras. Web 1.0, or the early internet that existed from 1990 to 2004. This was the internet that most of us grew up with. It was both static and open, highly decentralized but also limited in its capabilities. Remember how difficult it was to connect to the internet back then?

Dail up internet

Previously, users were consumers of content rather than being content creators themselves. Content creation propels us to the next iteration of the internet, which is where we are today.

From Web 1.0 to Web2.0: A Centralized Internet

Evolution of Web2

The Web2.0 version of the internet began in early 2005 with FriendFeed, Friendster, DailyBooth, and MySpace. Finally, it evolved the internet into something we use every day rather than a static hub. The era also centralized technology into a few warehouses that collect user data and sell it back in the form of ads and products. It transformed social media into what we now know as corporate mainstream media.

Web 2.0 was mostly monopolized by the rise of MAMAA- the precursor to surveillance, censorship, and de-platforming.

Why Web 3 Matters?

The corporates who control our data have almost complete control over what happens on the mainstream web. But the main question we need to ask is: Is our information protected? Is it being used ethically? Is it feasible for third parties to access our data? Are we being monitored?

Most mainstream internet users trust these corporate giants to act in the best interests of the internet and freedom. But, as we've seen, they're not to be trusted. Web3 experts and activists have already proposed an internet that is more open, truthful, trust-free with an ownership stake for all those who managed to build it. They knew blockchain could help in democratizing the internet but didn’t work around an implementation until recently. Shifting away from the Web 2.0 paradigm sounds fantastic.

Here’s how the world is adapting itself to Web3: Since 2019, Gavin Wood’s Web3 Foundation has awarded funding to over 300 Web3 companies. The foundation's GitHub page is full of stacks of very cool Web3 projects ranging from gaming to healthcare.

Web3 project

However, Polkadot, Gavin's personal Web3 project serves as the foundation for many of these listed projects. The foundation receives equity in the company to which it makes a grant, and the Level 3 grant members receive VC introductions.

Grant Levels

Consider Acala, Polkadot’s financial hub and another talked about project in the Web3 community. The ACA token is not currently available for purchase. But according to their very own website, more than half of the ACA distribution is going back to backers and team members themselves. Some of the group members are also members of the Web3 society.

ACA distribution

Moreover, if you look at most of the tokens on Coin Market Cap, the vast majority belong to Web3. They are, to some extent, public, tokenized, and distributed blockchains. It's worth noting that Bitcoin and other cryptos that lack native support for NFTs like Litecoin aren't technically in the Web3 category. Web3 is still evolving and its definition, the mechanism is subjected to a lot of dubiety. Moreover, this ambiguity makes other tech leaders concerned if Web3 is just another fad or a mere tool of the tech oligarchs.

The Challenges of Building a Decentralized Internet

Veteran Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently fired off a tweetstorm claiming that Web3 was a trendy name for nothing more than a Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists marketing ploy and how users should be cautious of any promises made.

Jacks tweet

Is he right? or Is this a publicity stunt? One thing is certain: it is convenient for the man who founded one of the world's biggest centralized and censoring corporate media companies to be opposed to an open web initiative. Nonetheless, everyone should be skeptical of his goals and intentions until he shows more action with decentralized work. However, we can't entirely dismiss his opinions keeping in mind his recent initiatives for DAOs and DeFi.

Parting Note

So, Is Jack Dorsey correct? Well, perhaps. However, as previously stated, these are the early days of Web3. So, just because a group of corporate giants refers to themself as Web3 does not imply that they are really into Web3. So, just five years ago, many of these cryptocurrency companies claimed to be the best digital currency in the world. But where are they now?

They've all mysteriously vanished. However, Bitcoin has survived. Similarly, Web3 is still a jumping concept in blockchain technology, and no amount of VC corporatism can stop individuals from taking control of their own money, data, and freedom.

The era of tech behemoths is over! The more they try to adapt old corporate practices to a new digital age, the faster we will be able to make them history

Top comments (4)

kelseyjj profile image
Kelsey Jones

Glad I came across this.

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