What is Web 3.0: A Layman's Guide to the Decentralized Web
14 min read
When Jack Dorsey introduced Web5 as a Web3 killer, I was like, is this all a joke or something? Most people have yet to grasp what Web3 is all about, and now someone has introduced Web5.
Many people still believe that Web3 is just for high-tech people, which alienates laypeople and discourages them from getting involved.
The Web3 isn't just for developers; it also needs the layperson to complete the ecosystem. Until ordinary people can freely use their wallets to connect to a blockchain network to perform a particular transaction, our job isn't complete.
Web3 is a concept for a new version of the World Wide Web-based on blockchain technology, incorporating features such as decentralization and a token-based economy. Web3 is a system that uses blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to give people control of their assets.
Permissionless blockchains are the basis of Web3; they lack centralized authority and do not require users to trust, or even know anything about, other users to conduct business with them. You might still find confusing terms like wallets, blockchain, decentralization, NFTs, cryptocurrency, and token. But we will clarify all of them in this article.
What makes Web3 interesting is its decentralized nature, meaning you no longer need to access the Internet through centralized services like Google, Apple, or Facebook. When you utilize a platform like Facebook or YouTube, these BigTech companies collect, own, and monetize your data. In Web3, the keys in your wallet secure your data. You'll interact with apps and communities on Web3 using your wallet and take your data with you when you log out.
As a layperson, getting involved isn't rocket science; I understand it is always hard at adopted new technologies; it is always like that for every new technology - but with time, it becomes second nature.
With Web3, data ownership is embedded into your wallet. The keys in your wallet are your identity on Web3 and are not easily connected to your real identity. While people can monitor the activities of your wallet, they can't reveal your real identity. Your personal information is private, but your actions are open to the world. Decentralized finance is a growing component of Web 3.0. It entails carrying out real-world financial transactions on the blockchain without the assistance of banks or governments.
Before I go any further, let's have some back story on how this transition started. The World Wide Web is the primary and sole tool that billions of people use to spread information, read and write it, and communicate with others via the Internet. The Web has changed swiftly over time, and its applications are almost unrecognizable from its early days. The Web's evolution is classified into three stages: Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0.
Web 1.0 refers to the first version of the Internet as it evolved from its beginnings with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Web 1.0 was primarily made up of web pages linked together by hyperlinks, without images, controls, or forms we see on today's Web. Web 1.0 was referred to by experts as the "read-only" Web – a web that wasn't interactive in any meaningful way. In Web 1.0, user input took place offline, and websites were static pages hosted on web servers run by internet service providers. In Web 1.0, simple catalogs constituted eCommerce that allowed users to view products and services. The user may then be able to contact the company via email. Web 1.0 existed roughly from 1991 to 2004. Web 1.0 has been consigned to the annals of time. However, there are still living pages from the days of Web 1.0 that you can view.
Web 2.0 is a term used to describe the interactive Internet that we have today. We often compare it to Web 1.0, the previous Internet of the 1990s, and a hypothetical future Web 3.0, which includes extra sophisticated technologies to improve how we will likely utilize the web decades from now. Web 2.0 changed the Internet's read-only environment into a "read/write" one. Users were suddenly able to submit a variety of information into web forms and transmit it back to the servers, allowing them to communicate in real-time with hosting servers. Users of Web 2 can also transmit information back to the server to obtain more tailored information or other user-generated results. As providers could utilize this interaction to modify software services, a variety of web services took off.
You don't have to be a developer to participate in the Web 2.0 creative process. Many apps are open to anyone. A good example is the WordPress content management system, which empowers ordinary users to build their websites with zero coding knowledge. There are other no-code tools that non-developers can also utilize to achieve their desired goals. Shopify, for instance, is another excellent example of a no-code platform that allows users to create an eCommerce platform that helps users start, grow, and manage their business.
Web 2.0, the Web you are currently interacting with, has opened up a world of possibilities - from the comfort of your own home, you can create content and share it with the rest of the world, making it available to millions of people worldwide - who can interact with the content by commenting, liking, and re-sharing. YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms are some Web 2.0 tools that can aid with this.
The exploitation and centralization of user data are fundamental to the operation of the Web as we know and use it today, and this is a big problem. Over the years, numerous lawsuits hit Facebook. It all emanates from the fact that users' data is being breached and sold. I am not surprised because a lot of funding has gone into these big tech companies, and there's a lot of pressure from investors to make a profit. When these pressures keep mounting, these companies will have no choice but to exploit users' data to serve more personalized ads or, in most cases, sell them. This lack of trust is one of the biggest problems plaguing the Web2, the centralized Web.
One of the most significant downsides of Web2 is the numerous security concerns. My employer's server was hit with ransomware sometime last year, and the company paid through the teeth to recover their data. I have seen many companies fall victim to social engineering tricks, where the attacker uses psychological manipulation to trick users into making security mistakes or giving away sensitive information.
In the true sense of things, in web3, you have zero control over your data. You might spend years building your followership on a particular platform, and the next thing you know, the platform can decide to shout you down, and you will not be able to context it. I once had this Facebook page that I spent over $5000 growing to 300k likes, and all of a sudden, Facebook decided to kill pages by reducing the reach. The same thing happened to me on Instagram. Whatever data you have with these centralized big tech companies isn't really yours, and they are free to use it as they please. These big tech companies control and wield so much power, hence the urgent need for decentralization.
I'm a massive advocate of decentralization because centralized technology has really dealt with me. I recall when the Nigerian government decided to outlaw cryptocurrency trading and imposed a penalty of freezing any bank accounts found to be involved. My bank account was one of the unfortunate accounts that companies froze. These centralized authorities wield so much power that they frequently stifle growth and oppress the ordinary person, which must stop. I don't care how long it takes the Web to be decentralized, but it has to be done. Enough is enough. Another sector in dire need of decentralization is the financial industry, but this is a discussion for another chapter.
What is Web 3.0?
Web3 is the truly decentralized and more democratic version of the current Internet. The expression Web3 has recently become a buzzword on the Internet. Most people are still unaware of what Web3 is about, while some, particularly developers, have already made a move. Gavin Wood coined the term "Web3" in 2014 when outlining his vision for the future of the Internet. Gavin Wood is a co-creator of Ethereum and the founder of the blockchain infrastructure startup Parity Technologies. Developers in Web 2.0 design apps that run on a single central server or store data in a single database, which is often hosted and managed by a single cloud provider. However, with Web 3.0, developers can create apps operating on the blockchain, a decentralized network of many peer-to-peer node servers. Decentralized apps are programs made using Web3 technologies (DApps.) Web3 relies heavily on blockchain technology. Blockchain is also the technology that supports cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The idea of decentralization started when developers saw what blockchain did for bitcoin. A single company or person does not own Bitcoin, and is not issued by a central authority like a central bank; it achieved this by leveraging blockchain technology. The trustless approach forms the foundation of Web3. For the time being, we must trust the Big-Tech companies to deliver on their promises. However, if Web3 products and services are decentralized and built on blockchains, you'd need to trust the underlying algorithm to supply the offering. Below are some of the properties of web 3
Web 3.0 is more likely to transform the future of the Internet from the current simple two-dimensional Web to a three-dimensional world. For instance, https://metaverse.network/ is the foundation infrastructure of the future metaverses on the Polkadot Network. In the metaverse, for example, avatars are used as virtual representations of real people; Players can use these avatars to explore the virtual ecosystem and engage with other players, non-playable characters, or other elements of the digital world.
In the Web 2.0 era, organizations have solicited customer feedback better to understand the quality of a product or asset. With Web 3.0, computers may grasp information on a human-like level by merging semantic skills with natural language processing, resulting in faster and more relevant outcomes. As a result, they become more competent and better able to meet the needs of consumers.
Thanks to semantic metadata, Web 3.0 makes information more connected. As a result, the user experience progresses to a new level of connectivity that takes advantage of all accessible data.
With Web 3.0, Internet content and services can be accessed via various devices at any time, rather than just computers and smartphones. In many ways, Web 2.0 is already omnipresent, but the rise of IoT devices will push it to new heights.
Web 3.0 is based on the advancement of edge computing, which processes apps and data at the network edge on devices such as mobile phones, computers, appliances, sensors, and even smart cars.
Relationship between Web 3.0 and cryptocurrency
What is the relationship between Web 3.0 and cryptocurrency? Almost every Web 3.0 company has something to do with cryptocurrency, but what is the relationship between Web 3.0 and cryptocurrency? Cryptocurrencies are frequently used in Web 3.0 protocols because they provide a monetary incentive as tokens to those who want to help establish, contribute to, and manage any web 3.0 project of their choice. Web 3.0 tokens are digital assets linked to the goal of establishing a decentralized Internet.
Core Ideas of Web3
Web 3.0 is still in the making, and we are all learning as we go, but some core principles still guide its creation.
Web3 is decentralized: individuals control and govern areas of the Internet, rather than customers accessing it through services mediated by firms like Google, Apple, or Facebook.
Web3 is permissionless: In Web3, everyone has the same opportunity to engage, and no one gets excluded.
Web3 has native payments: Instead of relying on the outdated infrastructure of banks and other payment processors, money is spent and sent online using cryptocurrencies. Web3 is trustless: Instead of relying on trusted third parties, Web 3.0 operates through incentives and economic mechanisms.
You may have come across games that allow you to collect gaming-related assets such as weapons, objects, and wearables by completing in-game objectives or by paying for these assets. The underlying problem with this arrangement is that these digital assets are stored on servers that belong to the firms that generated them, giving them complete ownership of the things you paid for or earned. They decide to shut down for any reason; all your earned assets get lost. With the introduction of blockchain technology, a new paradigm shift has emerged: you may now earn cryptocurrencies that you can exchange for in-game goods (weapons, objects, and wearables) or real money. You can now own these in-game assets through NFTs and sell them freely outside the platform.
Another problem that plagued Web 2.0 is censorship. Most people put a lot of time, effort, and money into building their reputation on a social media platform. Have you ever considered what would happen if that platform went offline tomorrow? Or, at the very least, the platform bans you. All the work put in over the years is gone. I once had a thriving Instagram page that I built over the years, and in those years, I paid designers, content creators, and writers and ran ads daily. Something happened, and the Instagram bot mistakenly labeled my page as an underaged account and deleted the account. I tried everything possible to recover the account to no avail; in Web3, the blockchain stores your data. You can take your reputation with you when you leave a platform, plugging it into another interface that more clearly matches your ideals.
Another good example is the OnlyFans saga. OnlyFans announced a proposal to ban sexually explicit content from their platform in August 2021, if you've been following the news. This infuriated the content creators on the platform. Who felt cheated out of their earnings and the platform they helped to build. After some protest, they reversed the decision quickly. Although the content creator won the case, there is a lesson to be learned here. You don't have complete control and ownership of the platform and the following you've cultivated on it.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)
DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, are self-governing organizations that allow groups of like-minded people to collaborate on a common objective. In addition to owning your data in Web3, you may also own the platform as a whole, utilizing tokens that function similarly to shares in the company. DAOs let you manage a platform's decentralized ownership and decide its future. DAOs operate using smart contracts, which are codes that automatically execute whenever a set of criteria are met. Ethereum was the first to use Smart contracts. These smart contracts establish the DAO's rules. Users who have tokens vote on how resources are allocated, and the code automatically implements the vote results.
This is the core of Web3 and decentralized identity. Each individual should be able to control who has access to their information. This means users may grant, amend, or cancel access at any moment and get a consolidated view of all the data they share. Web3 solves these issues by giving you control over your online identity. For example, with an Ethereum address and ENS profile, you can use a single secure, censorship-resistant, and anonymous login across platforms.
People without bank accounts or those who happen to live within the borders of some countries are excluded from Web2's payment infrastructure, which is based on banks and payment processors. Web3 uses tokens to send money straight from the browser, eliminating the requirement for a trusted third party.
User experience One of the biggest problems facing Web3 is User Experience. It's almost beginning to look like technology for a selected high-tech induvial. Almost everyone I have interacted with complained about the unintuitive user interface. Again, since your data solely belongs to you - it's virtually impossible to recover it if you lose your login details. There's no central authority to help you with this. The user experience is mediocre, but hopefully, things will improve soon. The Web 3.0 technology is very much ready, but higher levels of adoption on layer 2 are needed to make Web3 accessible to everyone.
One of the most significant issues plaguing the adoption of Web 3.0 is user experience. 80% of the people I have interacted with complained about how unintuitive the user experience is. Again, security concerns are still a big issue. It is not like Web 3.0 is not secured. It is way more secure. The problem is that, since a centralized server does not manage your identity, losing all your data is easy if you ever forget your login details. If you lose your wallet's private key, you lose the funds in it. All these and more cause a substantial technical barrier to entry; users must first comprehend security concerns and navigate the unintuitive user interface. All these things and more discourage adoption. A lot needs to be done about this before web3 becomes widely adopted.
Education is also a huge problem right now. Enough attention is not being paid to this yet. The space is more developer-focused, with little or no education. Even the platforms that claim to onboard people to the space are all focused on onboarding developers, not laypeople. Web3 introduced a new paradigm shift that requires different learning mental models. This problem is what I intend to solve; Web 3.0 isn't just a technology for the high-tech people in tech; we are also building for the end-users, which are the daily internet users. I have decided to publish a book on the layman's guide to the decentralized Web, and this article you just read is a chapter from it. You can also visit my book blog at https://decentrapress.com .
We are only at the beginning of developing a better Web with Web3, but the future of the Web is bright as we continue to improve the infrastructure that will support it. Every day a lot of