So, What The Heck is Web3?
Updated: Jun 13
Written by Saanvi Malhotra
In our latest episode of the Code Savvy Presents podcast, we explore Web3 and its claims of more connectedness while allowing for more individualized content and better-linked metadata. Built incorporating blockchain technology, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI), Web3 promises to be a much more multimedia experience.
In this episode, we interview a Web3 enthusiast who is now making her living creating assets and branded multimedia for this next iteration of the internet experience.
You can listen here:
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And you can also learn more about the concepts and criticisms of Web3:
What is Web3?
Web3 is a conceptual, hypothetical version of the net built on blockchain technology and meant to succeed the current version of the web. The main argument that its proponents have is that it would be a decentralized version of the web- one in which the power is held by the users. While in practice, this sounds impressive, many of its critics argue that it is unattainable and even if it were able to be built, it would not function in the way its proponents claim.
The History of the Web
To really understand where this urge to remake the internet comes from, we must first take a look at the history of the internet in general. Web1 was the very first version of the internet, consisting mostly of static pages that allowed you to view content but not easily produce it. In the early to mid-2000s, Web2 started to pop up which allowed users to generate content in a more interactive version of the internet. This is the web as we currently know it, with social media and tech giants holding the majority of the power.
Many critics argue that companies like Google, Meta, Twitter, and more have made the web too centralized. The companies listed above and many more have made enormous fortunes for themselves by taking their user’s information and data and selling it for advertisement purposes. However, tech giants are not the only ones profiting off of Web2. Many people, such as influencers, have also found ways to make money through our current version of the web.
Web3 is the proposed future and improved version of the internet, where users are afforded privacy and the power to control the sites that they spend so much time on. Rather than be the product as they are in Web2, they would become the owners. A good way to visualize the way this might function is that rather than companies selling their users' data to advertisers, the users themselves get to choose whether or not to release their data and the users themselves would be making a profit from it.
Many, such as Elon Musk, are skeptical of Web3 and its promises. First off, it is unclear what Web3 would really look like on full scale. Predictions of it are, at best, just that- predictions. Many also call Web3 just a giant speculative economy that will profit those who are already wealthy and make them richer. It has also been called the financialization of the web- and not one that will help users in the way it claims.
There are also technical shortcomings. Web3 is proposed to be built on blockchain technology but critics argue that the current scope of blockchain is nowhere near enough to handle the huge amounts of data that companies like Google and Meta handle on a daily basis. In addition, mining is what usually supports blockchain-based technology and it is terrible for the environment. Here is an article from EcoMENA that goes further into detail about the environmental impacts of Web3: https://www.ecomena.org/environmental-impact-web3/
In conclusion, there are many arguments for and against Web3. It is unclear as to which side’s arguments hold the most truth because Web3 is so hypothetical. We will have to wait and see what the future holds for Web3 and whether it is truly the next version of the internet.