WTF is Web3?

Written by
Adam Roberts
Published on
November 17, 2022

So, WTF is Web3?

Here’s an analogy…think of it like Pokemon. As time goes on, you have an evolution of more developed, more exciting and more powerful Pokemon.

You start with a Charmander. Charmander evolves into a Charmeleon. And then comes an almighty Charizard, where you’re not sure what’s coming next - but it’s bound to be exciting!

Let’s have a run through of Web1 to Web3…

Web1 (Charmander)
Around about 1990 to 2004, Web1 was the first iteration of the internet.

Coined the ‘read-only web’, Web1 was all about static webpages sharing information that could be accessed from around the world.

There was no interaction between the users, it was all one-way. It was effectively a gateway to a digital encyclopaedia.

Web2 (Charmeleon)
From 2004, Web2 arrived with the emergence of social media platforms and creation of online communities. It’s what we have access to now, and is what you’re using at this precise moment in time.

Web1 was all about reading; Web2 is all about reading AND writing.

With a lot more people now information sharing, contributing and participating - through the likes of blogging, social networking, podcasting - Web2 encouraged not only a huge influx of user-generated content and interactivity opportunities, but also saw the launch of e-commerce.

Mobile internet access accelerated Web2’s impact on today’s society, with the creation of apps such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

Web3 (Charizard)
Launched in 2014, Web3 focuses on the decentralisation of ownership, moving away from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Web1 - reading. Web2 - reading and writing. Web3 - reading, writing and owning.

We’re still only scratching the surface in 2022, and fulfilling Web3’s potential is going to take years.

Its decentralisation factors in blockchains, giving ownership back to builders and users, incorporating native built-in payments such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Central banks and payment platforms are bypassed, as tokens such as Bitcoin, Etherum and Doge are used instead for peer-to-peer transactions.

The focal aspects to Web3 are decentralisation, openness and advanced user functionality, utilising AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning to bring a more immersive, intelligent and digitalised experience for users. This has in turn brought about DAOs (decentralised autonomous organisations) that enable member-owner communities to work towards a shared mission, without central leaders dictating things. Unlike a governed platform that you need permission to join, everyone has equal access to participate in Web3, and no one is excluded.

In addition to the above, Web3 is housing metaverses, with the creation of virtual worlds and new realities. This is probably the most tangible(ish) example of where marketers could apply this new wave of technology into their customers’ day-to-day lives. Something that Nike has launched in the form of Nikeland, seeing over 21 million visitors.

And apparently there’s already talk of Web4 - albeit this will be decades away yet. Who knows what that will bring, and when. But we’ll call that a Mega Charizard in due course!

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