Let’s start with an example (inspiration from Nic Carter).
Let’s say Bob has his own website. He uses it to express his opinions & write educational content for his passionate fans. Since it’s his website, he can do anything he wants. Right?
No. Bob doesn’t really own his website. Why?
He relies on AWS for storage, WordPress for hosting, & NameCheap for domains. Each of those third parties can deplatform Bob if he expresses the wrong opinions because he is using their service to use the internet. If he were to use Twitter or Instagram, he would take on even more risk for being deplatformed. And, if that happens, he loses all of the followers that he worked hard to gain.
Definitely not ideal.
This theme of relying on platforms for internet access stretches across more than just censorship & social media.
Most people use cloud service providers like Apple to store their personal photos. They use Google to search things up. And, a big bank like Chase to handle their finances. When you look under the hood, a lot your internet activity functions on top of big tech platforms - namely Apple, Amazon, Facebook, or Google.
Buuut, these platforms benefit their user’s lives. What’s the issue?
- When someone relies on a company’s platform, they also agree to play by that company’s rules (which can change at any second).
- They have to live with the result of that company’s decisions (even if it hurts them).
Let’s be honest, these platforms are incredible resources. They are a playground that allow you to do all types of magical internet things, like connect with people from around the world.
But, wouldn’t it be cooler to play in your own playground? A playground where you have a say in the rules & can benefit the most from using it.
Many of the aforementioned platforms & applications can be addressed by a more decentralized approach. This approach primarily benefits the person using it, rather than the company that created it.
Granted, there’s a long way to go for building tools for users to interact online without relying on big tech intermediaries. But, that user-centeredness is the overarching mission of web3.
web3 is an improvement of our current web.
Chris Dixon calls it “the internet owned by the builder and users, orchestrated with tokens.”
Eshita describes the Web1 → Web2 → Web3 evolution as Read-Only → Read-Write → Read-Write-Own.
Regardless of your preferred shorthand, it might seem intuitive that the user-owned economy will outperform the monopolist-owned economy in the long-term.
Let’s dive in!
What Is Web3??
It’s probably most helpful to think about Web3 in the context of previous internet paradigms, Web1 and Web2:
(1980s - early 2000’s)
- The first phase of the Internet, Web1, was mainly about providing the everyday consumer with online content and information.
- As consumers could only read information or content online, and not yet interact with it, Web1 was incredibly static.
- When you think about Web1, think Internet Explorer, Yahoo, or Netscape. While Web1 was read-only, the companies we associate with web1 were built on open protocols (meaning pretty much any person or organization could build on the internet and know they were subject to the same rules as the next person or organization).
(early 2000’s - present)
- It’s the version of the internet most of us know and use today. Where Web1 was static and “read-only,” Web2 was “read-write,” and interactive. Under Web2, the internet became more usable: web2 was dynamic and users could consume, interact with, and create content on the internet themselves.
- Along the way, the internet became largely dominated by the four behemoths we know today as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Web2 also saw an explosion in the use of smartphones, and most of internet use was through mobile apps and hardware built by these companies. While this meant more people could participate in the internet, it also meant the internet was becoming increasingly controlled by the leading digital platforms.
- Why is this a problem? In the centralized internet we know today, Apple can take a 30% cut on all paid-app downloads and in-app purchases, Twitter and Facebook can de-platform the POTUS, and the everyday consumer has less privacy, security, and control over their online information than ever before. TL;DR big tech has wayyy too much power.
The earliest version of the internet, Web1, was about accessing static web pages. Web2 is about interactive, social experiences within closed ecosystems. And Web3 will be about digital ownership within an open, decentralized environment.
Under Web3, the internet is shared online and governed by the collective “we,” rather than owned by centralized entities. The Web3 world is one that has open-source protocols at its foundation. Web3 is about rearchitecting internet services and products so that they benefit people rather than entities. People own their data & content is not confined to a single platform.
Web3 is a free reign information marketplace where you don’t have centralized figures intervening and controlling things .
Why Does It Matter?
Before we go in depth to learn, let’s zoom out and figure out why everybody keeps talking about this stuff. What even is the fundamental value of blockchain/crypto/web3?
Read this Chris Dixon(🐐) article to get a holistic view of why decentralization matters.
Why Decentralization Matters
During the first era of the internet - from the 1980s through the early 2000s - internet services were built on open protocols that were controlled by the internet community. This meant that people or organizations could grow their internet presence knowing the rules of the game wouldn't change later on.
Dixon articulates why the transition to web3 is natural & why it will win. How & when that transition hits mainstream is unknown. But, over a long time, it does make sense that the internet should be owned by the people that use it.
Granted, this is a very high level view of web3. It may be difficult to see how it plays into your everyday life.
Here is an insightful blog to help you see the bigger picture. This article zooms out to show you why this is all happening at a conceptual level.
What Is Web 3.0 & Why It Matters
Written by Max Mersch and Richard Muirhead What technology benefits more than 3 Billion people for 80% of their waking hours every single day? Web 2.0. Web 2.0, coined as such by O'Reilly and others between 1999 and 2004, moved the world on from static desktop web pages designed for information consumption and served from expensive servers to interactive experiences and user-generated content that brought us Uber, AirBnB, Facebook and Instagram.
It’s obvious that we are becoming a more online society. Web3 is the natural progression to be more connected online. It’s inherent structure makes people, not corporations, the primary beneficiaries of the internet!!
The progression of the internet appears inevitable, so it’s wise to stay ahead of the 8-ball. Understanding the current applications and future implications of web3 can help you build & benefit from the future of the internet.
We will finish up with these two tweet threads by Chris Dixon. He makes the argument for blockchain/web3 being the new tech frontier. He also introduces ideas and real-life examples that may be new to you.
Hopefully, those tweet thread got some gears turning and adrenaline rushing as you think about the shear potential of web3 🤯.
Are you as fired up about this stuff as I am?!?!
I’m sure you are foaming at the mouth to learn more. Good news for you, we have some extra readings below. Beware! These may lead to a 4am rabbit hole. You can’t say we didn’t warn you 😉.
If not, scroll down for a quick recap and link the next stage where we learn what blockchain is.
The Value Chain of the Open Metaverse
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The Great Online Game
Welcome to the 1,265 newly Not Boring people who have joined us since last Monday! Join 47,388 smart, curious folks by subscribing here: Today's Not Boring is brought to you by... Rows In March, I wrote that Excel Never Dies. I may have spoken too soon. Rows very much wants Excel to die.
Web2 vs Web3 | ethereum.org
Twitter can censor any account or tweet Web3 tweets would be uncensorable because control is decentralized Payment service may decide to not allow payments for certain types of work Web3 payment apps require no personal data and can't prevent payments Servers for gig-economy apps could go down and affect worker
We learned what web3 is and why blockchain is revolutionary.
In short, web3 is the next natural step in the progression of the internet. It is an internet owned by its users & powered by blockchain. It will connect & be a more accurate/effective compensation of the value people create for others.
This is a nice summarizing picture:
Since we are all hyped up on web3, let’s learn about the tech that makes web3 possible: blockchain.