What is Web3?
Updated: May 18
This is a complete review of how the Web evolved from Web1 and Web2 to Web3 and the core features and examples of Web3.
In this article you’ll learn:
Difference between Web1, Web2 and Web3
The core features and examples of Web3 applications
Evolution of the Web
In order to understand what is Web3 we need to look back at what was the Web back in the 90s and how it evolved over time.
Web1 - Read
When it first launched in the 90s, the internet, or Web1, was made up of static HTML pages that could only display information that provided limited functionalities, as users couldn’t interact with the data nor upload their own.
Web1 main characteristic was the complete no interaction between users, which is why is known as a read-only web.
Web2 - Read/Write
The late 90s and 2000s saw a significant shift in the web browser, as a more interactive internet started taking shape, becoming the Web2.
Web2 is known as read/write web due to its interactive nature, users could now interact between websites through databases, server-side processing, forms, and social media, making the experience much more dynamic than the previous limited static one.
In addition, this new version of the internet focused much more on user-generated content and interoperability between different sites and applications, paving the way for many companies to create applications, digital services, and social media.
With the increasing control over users’ data from large companies, privacy and data protection became a thing during the past years, leading the way to Web3.
Web2 and its centralized nature have paved the way for the onboarding of billions of people into the World Wide Web.
Web3 - Read/Write/Own
The term Web3 was coined in 2014 by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, and the idea gained interest in 2021 from cryptocurrency enthusiasts, large technology companies, and venture capital firms.
While looking back, the transition from Web1 to Web2 is now very clear. However, the transition from Web2 to Web3 is still not entirely defined.
Web3 is an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web which incorporates concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies, token-based economics, and data ownership.
It aims to improve on the previous generation of the web, focusing on security and privacy with benefits from a decentralized network, allowing users to pass data, verify ownership and decide how the data will be shared.
Furthermore, it brings users enhanced and improved graphics and 3D visuals and interoperability with artificial intelligence, providing a faster pace environment and access to real-time insights. It takes advantage of Semantic Web functionality, support for understanding words and their meaning for machines, allowing them to analyze, share, and find information on the wide web.
The current applications and features developed on Web3 leverage peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies, such as open-source software, blockchain, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT), to make the Internet more decentralized and open.
As Web3 is still in its early stages, it’s still taking shape and is yet to be fully defined. However, some core concepts are already defined and categorized under four central aspects:
3D visualization and interactive presentation
The looks are changing immensely, moving towards a 3D environment that incorporates augmented and virtual reality. This area is often referred to as the Metaverse, an area currently being developed for 3D video games and a 3D work environment. This aims to improve the UI and UX, making the experience immersive and more intuitive.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
Leverage data ownership, online economics, and a decentralized environment to unlock the ability to put information on-chain, create a digital identity, and tokenize assets without the need for a centralized entity, and therefore a point of failure.
The ability of AI machine learning to understand over time the content and data created by humans, not only understanding in absolute terms but being able to understand in context and in different scenarios that might change the meaning of certain words.
Is crucial in turning human-made content into a format that machines can understand. Currently, an example of this is customer service chatbots.
Still, with time artificial intelligence AI will learn how to improve itself, adding additional functionalities and reducing the work needed by humans for its further development.
Advantages of Web3 applications
One of the most significant advantages of Web3 is its potential to enhance business operations and customer experiences across multiple industries. For example, B2B businesses can leverage Web3 to build trust-based relationships with customers and clients by enabling greater transparency and feedback. In the social media industry, web3 can remove centralized authorities and protect user data while offering digital asset rewards.
The integration of Web3 with IoT devices can open up new opportunities for productivity and expansion, while advanced AI and machine learning models can introduce significant transformations to conventional marketplaces. Web3 can also offer personalized customer experiences through AI-based chatbots and ensure the safe and cost-efficient transfer of digital assets with the help of blockchain.
Overall, the potential of Web3 is vast and promising, with many innovative applications yet to be discovered. By embracing Web3 principles and technologies, organizations can explore new possibilities for growth and competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Top 5 Web3 Applications
To understand the practical value of Web3, it's important to review the top Web3 applications available in the market. These applications play a significant role in shaping the growth of Web3 in the future. Web3 apps cater to a variety of use cases, ranging from browsers to gaming and social media.
Here are some of the best Web3 applications that you should keep an eye on in 2023:
Everledger is one of the first examples of Web3 apps that come to mind. It is a distributed digital global registry that offers a unique record to each user. With Everledger, users can store data in the cloud and access it flexibly.
The primary application of Everledger is to provide strong safeguards against fraud. It helps in tracking the use of valuable assets such as diamonds, gold, and wine throughout their journey in the global supply chain. Customers can scan the Everledger sticker to ensure that they purchase authentic products. The app ensures safety against fraud without using personal data or complicated passwords.
Brave Browser is a popular Web3 application that provides ad-blocking and privacy-enhancing features on mobile devices. It has become a preferred alternative to other popular browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Brave Browser is one of the most secure browsers, leveraging blockchain technology to safeguard user privacy. The browser interrupts unwanted ads and trackers and enables users to monetize their data in return for Brave tokens.
Beaker Browser is an open-source and free browser for Web3 currently under development at Blue Link Labs. It is a peer-to-peer web browser that allows users to publish web apps and websites from the browser itself.
Beaker Browser is one of the best Web3 applications for usability, as it eliminates the need for setting up and maintaining separate servers. Users don't have to worry about hosting their content on third-party servers, thereby improving security.
Decentraland is a virtual world that has gained a lot of hype in the metaverse or the future of web3. The online virtual world allows users to meet, interact, socialize, and play games with other users. Decentraland revolves around the customization of virtual parcels of land and creating new experiences.
Users have been exploring the prospects of mortgages on the virtual property and renting out virtual properties for events in the metaverse. Decentraland has captured the attention of many big brands such as Samsung, Adidas, and PwC.
Ethlance is a platform that uses blockchain technology to expedite the process of matching job seekers with suitable employers. It is an innovative Web3 application that provides new opportunities for freelancers.
Ethlance breaks down conventional barriers between freelancers and companies as a decentralized talent marketplace. Employers can lower their expenses in recruiting talent while freelancers can achieve improved control over their work. Ethlance is a great application of Web3 in the field of job seeking and professional networking.
What makes Web3 unique
What makes Web3 unique and superior to its predecessors is some of its key features, that is all dependent on how well the underlying technology will evolve:
No central point of control - with no intermediaries, data can’t be controlled by a central authority, reducing the risk of censorship by governments or corporations, and reducing the effectiveness of Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks.
More efficient browsing - improved searching, finding semantically-relevant results based on search context and metadata, based on a user's search preferences from previous years.
Improved advertising and marketing - the ads are more relevant to people by being tailored around their preferences, feeling less annoying and intrusive. This is done by leveraging AI systems and targeting specific audiences based on consumer data.
Increased information interconnectivity - with more products connected to the internet and larger datasets, new algorithms are developed to analyze it. These can help deliver data specifically for needs in a more accurate manner.