What evolution of the Internet does “web3” embody?
The “web3” would be the third age in the history of the Internet, successor, according to its defenders, of Web 1.0, which reigned from the beginning of the 90s to the mid-2000s, and of Web 2.0, hegemonic from the decade of 2010 Embodied by actors such as Yahoo! o AOL, Web 1.0 refers to the first uses of the Internet with its static pages that allow you to essentially consult information or send e-mails. Web 2.0 marks the era of the social and interactive Internet, where users can produce and disseminate multimedia content. Consecrate the reign of a handful of large centralized platforms like Google, Amazon, or Facebook.
A concept attributed to Gavin Wood, co-founder of the Ethereum “blockchain”, “web3” refers to the idea of a decentralized Internet, where users would control their data, without the help of intermediaries. The meaning of “free” (“free”) is thus added to number three (“three” in English), evoking the return of an Internet more independent of states as well as of the giants of the network, as happened in its origins.
Which technology allows this evolution?
The “web3” is intimately linked to the technology of the “blockchain”, a sort of huge digital ledger shared among a multitude of users, without central authority and deemed not falsifiable, which lists the entire history of transactions. Born after the financial crisis of 2008, the most famous “blockchain” is Bitcoin and the associated cryptocurrency, which is totally virtual. Since then, many others have been launched such as Ethereum, Solana or Polygon. It is on these “blockchains” that “web3” branded projects and applications are based, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), non-reproducible digital certificates of authenticity that derive their value from the real or virtual object to which they are attached. .
Enough to give the Internet user as much decision-making power as ownership over what they create or consume on the network. “With web3, people create value but also capture some of it, which changes everything for artists, for example. It’s a network that belongs to them, where they take back control over creation and what they own, “explains Nicolas Julia, founder of Sorare, a French start-up of online miniature game exchanges in the form of an NFT.” This is what it is. which will allow us to reinvent a whole group of industries, be it art, music or sport, “he adds.
Is the metaverse part of “web3”?
Although they are linked, in particular by “blockchain” technology and the possibility of holding digital assets such as NFTs, “web3” and metaverse describe two different concepts. Pushed to the fore in the summer of 2021, the metaverse designates a digital and social universe, which is expected to extend physical reality via augmented or virtual reality and shift the internet from 2D to 3D. Is his promise enough to amalgamate it with the “web3” revolution, while the metaverse is carried in particular by Meta (Facebook), one of the leading companies of Web 2.0 and a symbol of a centralized vision of the Internet?