What is “Web 3”, the new age of the Internet?

What is the evolution of the Internet that embodies “Web 3”?

“Web 3” will be the third era in the history of the Internet, according to its defenders, Web 1.0, which prevailed from the beginning of the 1990s until the mid-2000s, and Web 2.0, dominant since the 2010s. It is embodied by representatives such as Yahoo! Or AOL, Web 1.0 Refers to the early uses of the Internet with its static pages that essentially allow information to be consulted, or emails sent. Web 2.0 represents the age of the social and interactive Internet, where users can produce and publish multimedia content. It enshrines the reign of a handful of big central platforms like Google, Amazon or Facebook.

The concept attributed to Gavin Wood, co-founder of the Ethereum “blockchain,” “web3” refers to the idea of ​​a decentralized internet, where users control their own data, without the help of intermediaries. To the number three (“three” in English) is thus added the meaning of “free” (“free”), which calls for the return of an Internet more independent of states such as network giants, as was the case in the ‘original’.

What technology allows this development?

Web 3 is closely related to the “blockchain” technology, a type of massive digital record that is shared among a large number of users, without a central authority and is known to be undeniable, listing the entire transaction history. Born after the 2008 financial crisis, the most famous “blockchain” being Bitcoin and its associated cryptocurrency, is completely virtual. Since then many other companies such as Ethereum, Solana or Polygon have been launched. Projects and applications stamped with “Web 3” depend on these “blockchains”, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), non-reproducible digital trust certificates that derive their value from the real or virtual object to which they are attached.

It is enough to give the Internet user the same amount of decision-making power as the ownership of what he makes or consumes on the network. “With Web 3, people create value but also capture some of it, which changes everything for artists, for example. It is an affiliate network for them, where they take back control of creation and what they own,” explains Nicolas Julia, founder of Sorare, a French company. A startup for sharing online games of thumbnails in NFT format. “This is what will make it possible to reinvent a whole range of industries, whether it is art, music or sports,” he adds.

Is the metaverse part of “web3”?

Although it is related, in particular, to “blockchain” technology and the ability to hold digital assets such as NFTs within it, “web3” and the metaverse describe two different concepts. Pushed to the front of the stage in the summer of 2021, the metaverse defines a digital and social world, supposed to expand physical reality via augmented or virtual reality, and move the internet from 2D to 3D. Is it enough promise to combine it with the “Web 3” revolution, when metaverse is carried on in particular by Meta (Facebook), a pioneer in Web 2.0 and a symbol of a central vision of the Internet?

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