Why does Web 3.0 Exist? - Web3 Oversimplified

Why does Web 3.0 Exist? - Web3 Oversimplified

Anti-bullshit look at what Web3 really is (Oversimplified Series)

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Favor Onuoha

Published on Nov 25, 2021

13 min read

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Introduction

So you might have heard about Web3 aye, great! so have I, but probably maybe quite longer ago than you have, or maybe not. Web3 is this meaningless thing that people on that bird app Twitter have been chirping about (see what I did there πŸ˜‰). Anyways, I was just kidding lol, Web3 is the future and, so stick around as we oversimplify all its complexities.

Web3's been trending everywhere! Twitter is talking about it, Reddit is talking about it thus leading to so much info and needless crap about it being shared all over the internet. You keep hearing more and more about it till the point you'll think even Cartoon Network would start talking about too! Yeah, maybe that last part ain't ever gonna happen but one thing comes to mind always if you're new to this topic which is "What on earth is Web3?" and "Why does it exist?", and yeah I've been there too so, let's oversimplify it!

Origins of Web3

Alright, so Web3 exists but some of y'all smart cookies out there are thinking "Hey! If Web3 exists, could there be a Web2 or even a Web1? What type of Web are we currently using?". If such thoughts were running through your mind then congratulations on winning the lottery πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰, just kidding, you just made this article a bit much longer because you're right about that, but before we oversimplify those other web types, let's understand some very important components of all web types.

Centralization: Data is kept or concentrated at a single storage base.

Decentralization: Data is distributed across a network of self-governing nodes.

Remember these, you'll need them for later.

Web 1.0

The Web1 era was the first evolution of the World Wide Web (WWW).

This era mostly involved developers creating content by using static HTML webpages and sharing that content over the web. Most websites were hosted publicly on the personal computers owned by the developers and were only accessible by literally knowing the IP address and resource path of that developer's personal computer on the internet.

Web1 was mostly Decentralized and was a model that mostly benefited the developers that contributed to it and on top of that, Web1 was referred to as the read-only web because people mostly consumed information and were not able to interact with the static webpages that existed at the time.

Web 2.0

We currently live in the Web2 era and the big players here are well... Big Tech. Yep Big Tech, the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Amazon and so much more of them that enables Web2 to function the way it does today.

Centralization is the backbone of Web2 and is a model that benefits the platforms that enable this type of web.

In Web2, we are both consumers and content creators, yes you! you also are a content creator that is supposing you comment, like, or share this content! Okay, you don't really need to do that to become a content creator but by Web2 standards, if you can interact with other people's content or create your own content, you then are part of the ecosystem.

This is both a good thing for some and a bad thing for the rest! Wonder why? Let's oversimplify...

So say you go to a social media site like Facebook, and you create an account and start using it, a few things happen:

  • You are required to provide all your valid ID data and biodata to contribute to the platform.
  • Your interaction data and all other data you generate is recorded.
  • All your data is stored at data centers controlled exclusively by Facebook
  • You are not in control of the data you generate on the platform.
  • Facebook can do whatever they want with your data like say sell it for profit.
  • You do not receive any revenue for the content you create.

If you read that right, you can conclude that Facebook and the other companies just like them, are making a killing off the data you create on their platforms. Don't get me wrong, you can actually make money by using Facebook but it would have to be done off-site and by your audience who are following you and are interested in what you're doing.

As a content creator in the Web2 space, your revenue relies mainly on the stuff you don't do on whatever Web2 platform you are using. Tech companies that mainly harvest data are sitting on gold mines and are making millions on advertisement sales because the data we give to them, enables them to continue doing so and ripping us off in the process. The more data they can effectively harvest, the more profit they can turn and there is nothing you can do about it which leads to even worse problems like:

  • Your information and personal data can get leaked by the platform.
  • These companies can sell your data to advertisers for targeted marketing.
  • You are at risk of identity theft.
  • Worst of all, you don't get any $$$ from your own data.

On the bright side, Web2 has made some small-time creators literal superstars overnight. Because their large platform connects so many people, it has created the opportunity for talents to be recognized and appreciated, making their content very valuable and easily convertible to cash (if you know what I mean πŸ˜‰). Web2 is essentially the read-write version of the web!

I know that was a lot to sip in but that in its simplest form, is the love and hate story of Web2.

What is Web3?

Now I've given you a literal crash course of what the other web types are like, we can finally dive right straight into what on earth Web3 is and what it's all about, here goes...

Web3 is simply the next and third evolution of the web that would make the internet process information with human-like intelligence using AI technologies creating a more autonomous, intelligent, open, and secure web. Uhhh... let's oversimplify.

So in 2009, a man named Satoshi Nakamoto created (allegedly) the world's first cryptocurrency called bitcoin. He envisioned his new invention to be a peer-to-peer cash system and an alternate payment system that would be free of any form of central control or regulations.

Fast forward 12 years πŸ˜‰, yeah, that exactly happened. It was a dream come true but this great accomplishment had also created and kickstarted a new type of web, one that is:

  • Decentralized, meaning it runs on a distributed peer-to-peer model and no one entity can make a decision independently that can directly influence or change the course of the entire system.

  • Anonymous, meaning your ID is of no significant importance to contribute to the system.

  • Free of influence and control, meaning there are no regulations, the network's creators make the rules.

  • Easily monetizable, meaning everyone is rewarded for being a part of the platform.

Most importantly, Web3 overshadows the control that big tech companies and governments have over the regular folk over the years.

Web3 can be really broad, with a lot of confusing words and crazy topics, so let's understand some fundamental Web3 concepts before we move along!

Blockchain Technology

Yes, blockchain! some people love it, some people hate it, and yet a majority don't even know what a blockchain actually is, and yet blockchain is at the backbone of Web3

Blockchain technology is a system for recording data that makes it difficult or impossible to change

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Etheruem rely on blockchain technology to make their network transparent, and reliable, and secure from fraud.

So basically, blockchain is the reason why cryptocurrencies are fraud-free and this is because no single human being can alter any financial records in it and give himself/herself any free money. This is made possible because blockchains run on peer-to-peer networks called nodes which agree on what record is valid and what record is invalid by achieving something called a consensus.

Cryptocurrency

A cryptocurrency or a Crypto Coin is a digital currency that can be used for making payments but uses cryptography and a decentralized online ledger called a blockchain to secure its transactions. Bitcoin, Etheruem, Litecoin, and Dogecoin (the to the moon coin) are all perfect cryptocurrency examples

Token

A Token or a Crypto Token is a type of cryptocurrency that represents an asset. Unlike a crypto coin that has its own blockchain, tokens are built as utilities that exist on another blockchain. For example, the USDC and USDT Stable coins are actually tokens that are sitting on the Etheruem blockchain.

Smart Contacts

Smart contracts are programs stored in blockchains that are executable and run when predefined conditions are met.

So Translation, they are just these fancy stuff that runs whenever something interesting in a blockchain happens, and guess what? even you can write some of this funky smart contracts code.

Solidity

Solidity is an object-oriented language used for creating and interacting with Smart Contracts on a blockchain.

So basically, you can use this language called 'Solidity' to create your very own smart contract.

dApps (Dapps)

Dapps is short for "Decentralized Applications" and refers to any application that is decentralized in nature, built on a blockchain, and may use tokens for transactions.

Why Web3?

You may be thinking right now "Alright, so Web 3 exists, so why do we even need it", and if that thought went through your mind then great, if it didn't then still great because I am gonna explain why anyways.

To oversimplify, the concept of Web 3 needs only exist because of the flaws posed by Web2 which if you were paying attention, you would know are very disturbing and not rewarding. Web3 looks to solve three main problems that we face in our day to day lives:

  • Trust
  • Anonymity
  • Control

Trust

Let's take, for example, you buy a car insurance policy from an insurance company/broker for $150/month, that insurance company then enters into a contract with you that in the case of an accident involving your car, they will make sure that your car gets fixed. What happens here is that you are putting your trust in that insurance broker to come to your aid if your car ever gets wrecked. But what if they don't? what then can you do? Short answer, nothing, long answer, they could attend to you, but they would probably be dodgy about it. It's really hard to trust some random person you don't know with your money especially when it comes to a scenario similar to the example above.

Web3 solves this sort of problem by using Smart Contracts which are written with code and are decentralized in nature and, can never be taken down. No one person can modify this code or influence this code. When it's time to pay, the smart contract will pay up which basically makes any system that uses it trustless.

Anonymity

Most platforms and apps we use daily require us to submit our personal data to be able to use them. This leads to data leaks and the owners of those platforms just outright selling our data for profit. Because the blockchain is not governed by any single entity or by any government oversight, Web3 app creators can create apps known as Dapps that allow people all over the globe to use them without submitting any sensitive or personal data.

Control

Imagine you use a software service like Facebook and you keep uploading images of a war-torn country. Facebook has the power to censure you and stop you from uploading those graphic images. In your mind, you may actually want to spread the word about injustice happening in that war-torn country but the bosses of that platform might not like that.

Because most of the platforms we use daily are centralized(i.e they are owned by a single entity), the owners of those platforms can basically make decisions that may affect you in some way. In this scenario, you have no control over the platform and all it takes is just a simple command to cut you off it.

Due to the nature of Web3 apps (Dapps) and the blockchain in general, everything is decentralized and there is no single 'Point of Failure' that could be exploited to take control of the system.

In conclusion, Web3 could deliver us to a future that is truly autonomous and does not rely on people to make decisions for us but relies on software (Smart Contracts) to keep the system trustless, anonymous and free from external control.

Why Should I Care?

If you're wondering why you should be excited or even give a flick about Web3, then am hoping that the chapter above answered that question for you but if it didn't, then let me give you more reasons to care about Web3

The New Order

A majority of apps today run on the Web2 model the same way a majority of apps in the late 90s ran on the Web1 model. A lot of companies that are Web 2 oriented, are already migrating and adopting Web3 models and are currently preparing for the future.

The Metaverse

The Metaverse is a concept about a virtual 3D world that is free and will be built around Web3 concepts. Decentraland is a very popular example of this concept and Facebook just recently changed their name to Meta in an attempt to own this concept.

DeFi

DeFi stands for "Decentralized Finance" and as its name suggests, is finance but based on a decentralized model. DeFi has been around for a while now and allows people to take the capabilities for regular peer-to-peer transactions on the blockchain to a whole new level allowing some Dapps to function like decentralized banks.

DeFi allows some dApps to act like banks, offering services like:

  • Lending and Borrowing.
  • Investments.
  • Insurance.
  • Trading.
  • Liquidity Pools.

If you read everything right, you'll see that one way or another, Web3 will become a part of our lives which is truly exciting and the best time to jump aboard is now!

Why The Hype?

The reasons for the hype are fairly simple! Just like when bitcoin was $10 over 9 years ago and is now $50,000+ now, two (2) things led to that massive growth and also led to the hype. The first is the Crypto Boom and the other is called FOMO.

The Crypto Boom refers to the period when Bitcoin and a few other popular cryptocurrencies like Etherium and Bitcoin Cash skyrocketed in value. This epic boom attracted the attention of a lot of people from around the world who now saw the potential of blockchain technology and sort to exploit the unique capabilities of the blockchain which then led to newer blockchain-based technologies being invented, one of these cool new tech is something called NFTs (a topic for later).

This gain in popularity is in part the reason why the hype around Web3 has been booming in recent times and also in part because people have been rushing and actively trying to participate in the Web3 ecosystem due to FOMO. Speculations also played a big role during this time with celebrities like Elon Musk fueling the speculations the most and making people feel the FOMO or just outright almost crashing the crypto markets.

FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. Most people want to get rich quickly! and when an opportunity creates itself, they don't hesitate to take it because they may fear missing out on it. FOMO is driving more and more people into the Web3 space every day for the past few months, which is creating the hype we see today. Even celebrities are jumping aboard the ship which is creating more awareness and tension in the hearts of people who may not even understand how the technologies work because they just don't wanna miss out on it!

Can I benefit from Web3?

A lot of you are probably wondering "Alright Favor, you showed me all the great stuff about Web3 which is cool but, how do I take advantage of it to benefit me". Don't worry mon petit pois, I have got you covered!

There are several ways you can benefit from Web3 as a participant! But most of those ways will be a write-up for another topic.

Here are 5 benefits of participating in the Web3 ecosystem:

  • Interoperability - Send funds to anyone, anywhere in the world.
  • Trustless - Put your funds anywhere in the world without human interference.
  • Decentralized - Your content will never be taken down.
  • Anonymity - You will remain anonymous and untrackable.
  • Freedom - You have the freedom to participate in any Web3 project with little or no oversight.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯, and I hope you found this article useful in your path to becoming a Web3 maestro πŸ”₯

If you have any questions or just wanna chat, feel free to DM me

If you enjoyed reading, please consider following me here on Hashnode and also on Twitter @ heyOnuoha so you don’t miss out on new content on topics like:

  • Web Development (JS and Python)
  • Web3 Space
  • Blockchains and NFTs

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