What the hell is this Web 3.0 thing anyway? You’ve heard the term thrown around in back alley tech programming clubs, where the clickety clack of developer’s keyboards drowns out the collective hum of genius brains working toward a digital new world order. Because in essence, that’s what Web 3.0 is—it’s what comes next.
The lack of clarity around the actual definition of what it is confuses people and it appears the world has been split into two factions:
- Those who don’t know what Web 3.0 is.
- Those that know what it is with such clarity they appear to have transcended to a different level of thinking that renders them completely incapable of explaining it in simple terms to people in category #1.
We only ever succeed through the sharing of common understanding. In the interest of furthering the intellectual prowess of the human race as a whole, let’s collectively try and get on the same page once and for all.
First, we have to take a step back . . .
Welcome to Act 1. Everything has to start somewhere and this is where our journey begins. To understand the destination, we need to comprehend the humble origins of a global phenomenon you may have heard of called ‘the internet.’ In the mid-1990s the first version of the internet was birthed upon an unsuspecting world. It was strewn with single page websites and hyperlinks. Download speeds sprinted at a snail’s pace, clocking in at a mesmerizing 33.6kb per second. If you wanted that picture of Pamela Anderson (it was the 90’s), prepare yourself for a solid 15 minutes before you can look upon the Baywatch phenom (again, the 90’s) in all her glory. Those who remember this time likely also remember AOL informing you, with that catchiest of catch phrases, “You’ve Got Mail.” That’s right, it wasn’t just a poor follow up movie to Sleepless in Seattle starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It was a global phenomenon that revolutionized how we communicated and it stood at the forefront of what would shift our entire world perspective forever.
Notice how dramatic the end of that last paragraph was? That’s because every good first act in a story requires a cliff-hanger that teases bigger things to come in the second act. And no story is more globally accessible than the internet, nor could the foreshadowing of that cliff-hanger be more accurate. Web 2.0 saw the emergence of the read/writer version of the internet. Now people weren’t just able to consume content, they could also create their own. From personal websites to online blogs like Tumblr, to curated marketplace sites likes Craigslist, this was a digital stepping stone that would span almost two decades. At some point during this glorious season of digital enlightenment we were also given the gift of social media. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram replaced weaker early models like MySpace, and ushered forth a world where we poke people across the internet, tweet what we’re eating for breakfast, and share every aspect of our ideal lives to the masses. Or at least to anyone who will look.
THE WEB 2 PROBLEM
Problem? Problem?! If this is truly a story and Web 2 is our second act, then it’s the place where something bad has to happen. All the juiciest conflict happens in the second act of any story and Web 2 was no exception. While we all marveled at our own self-importance (Dude! I got over fifty likes on my latest Tweet!), we failed to consider the ramifications of online companies collecting information about us—who we are, where we go, what we consume, who we’re friends with, what we do for a living, etc. In the late twenty-teens, through media coverage more than anything else, the general public were enlightened to potential breaches in data privacy law, all in the name of marketing. In one of the most famous instances, Facebook was issued a $5 billion dollar fine by the FTC.
As we stand on the cusp of a new age in the form of Act Web 3.0, users are lining up along the virtual picket lines demanding autonomy over their own data usage. No one wants the big tech companies to have all this outlandish control. That’s what happened in the Terminator and we all know how that ended (terrible movie after terrible movie . . . I’d rather watch You’ve Got Mail again). Which brings us to the climax . . .
THE DAWN OF WEB 3
Welcome to the 3rd act where everything gets sorted out and we live happily ever after. Here we find the answer to the ultimate question—what is Web 3.0? In a word, it’s freedom. Web 3.0 represents the read/write/own phase of the internet. It’s an autonomous approach that removes the power from big tech companies and hands it over to the individual by empowering people to be active participants in the growth and development of the internet, where websites and apps will be able to take on a life of their own (Terminator vibes, anyone?)
But how? How?! It’s relatively simple in theory—everyone now has the opportunity to purchase tokens or cryptocurrencies which represent actual shares in a decentralized network. You’ve probably heard them referred to as blockchains. A centralized network is considered to be a large company controlled by ‘the man’ (it’s clichéd, but it’s accurate). A decentralized network is owned by the people.
GETTING CONTROL OF THE DIGITAL WORLD
And the amazing part is that anything can be turned into a token, including artwork and memes (more on NFT’s in a later article). The advantage to all this is control. Control over how people spend their tokens, the things they choose to invest in—it could be a video game, a company, a start-up, a virtual world (ala Meta—also to be expounded on in a later article)—and gives them voting capital to help shape and control the digital world. The easiest thing to compare it to is actually purchasing shares in a real company where shareholders have a controlling stake and decision-making. Web 3.0 is exactly like that only infinitely bigger with more options and a much larger range of opportunities, protocols, and technology that can shift with the trends and growth.
Are there drawbacks and unknowns? Most certainly. Many argue that all the control will lie with early adopters and that no one else after will have the same amount of control or freedom. Others claim that decentralization can easily become centralized and controlled by the choice few.
What we have to realize is that there’s no going back. The opportunities that exist with Web 3.0 are infinite and still shifting. At the beginning of Web 2.0 when people were being wowed by Tumblr, no one could have predicted Facebook, and yet it became a massive part of our lives, changing the way we communicate and spend marketing dollars.
If you need help navigating this new and exciting third act, Space Age can let you know how to make the best use of Web 3.0 for your company, organization, or start-up. Our experts are pioneers of the digital age, able to discern the best course of action and present opportunities to improve your web presence and help establish you as an intentional initiator of the Web 3.0 phase.
Contact Space Age Today and Let’s Get the Conversation Started!