The internet: you probably use it every day. It can no longer be ignored in our lives. What you may not do on a daily basis is think about the technology behind the internet.
The web has gone through many developments since it was invented in the early 1990s. We are often not very aware of these developments, because they happen quite gradually. At the moment, a drastic development seems to be taking place again.
It might just be a smart thing to do this time to consciously focus on this development. If it goes as the experts expect, you could earn a lot of money this time.
We are talking about the transition from Web2 to Web3. This would be a form of the web in which the internet is much more decentralized, and the users have control and ownership of the web. But what exactly is Web3? And what is Web2 anyway? What are the differences between the two? And why should you concern yourself with the developments? Read all that and more in today’s blog about the differences between Web2 and Web3!
What is Web2?
Web2 is the name for the internet as we know it today. It’s the web we use today, where technology giants like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are in control and we can interact with the web.
To better understand what Web2 is, it is good to first briefly consider what Web1 is exactly. Web1 is the first form of the web. It was ‘founded’ in the early 90s and it was a form of the internet where users could only view information. It was like an encyclopedia but on a computer. You could only navigate from page to page and read the information on it. It was not interactive and very superficial. That does not alter the fact that it was a very impressive development for that time of course!
At the time, it was not called Web1 yet, that only happened when the shift towards Web2 took place. This happened around 2001. During the Web2 era, the Internet and more interactive. In addition to clicking around on the web, we were also able to add something, for example in the form of social media. The internet became a way for us to keep in touch with friends and family.
In addition to this, Web2 also has a number of other features, which some may not be a big fan of. You may be familiar with the saying: “Where things are free, you are the product”. The websites we use at Web2 collect data about us, which is sold for advertising space. There would therefore be a lot less privacy since the arrival of Web2. This also ensures that power is much more in the hands of a number of large parties, such as Google and Facebook.
These are traits that are often portrayed negatively, for example in the case of the 2016 presidential election in the United States, where Cambridge Analytica used this data to advertise Trump in this campaign.
Now there would be a new form of the web, in which our data is no longer sold and the power is no longer in the hands of large parties, but rather of the user. We are talking about Web3. If you are to believe enthusiasts, this form of the web will completely change our lives again. But how? What is Web3?
What is Web3?
With the development of Web3, we would, as it were, all become the boss of the web. By ‘all together’ we mean the users in this case. Power over the internet would no longer be in the hands of a few large parties, but in the hands of the user.
You could, for example, see this reflected in what you see on platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. Here, Meta determines what you see, in particular by means of algorithms, but also by selling the advertising space. When no one has power over what you see, you really decide what you see.
There is a pretty good chance that cryptocurrency and blockchain will make a huge contribution to Web3. Instead of being centrally regulated, as in Web2 (centrally as in: with the large parties that hold power), Web3 will be a lot more decentralized. Crypto and blockchain naturally fit this image perfectly. Blockchain is also decentralized and it is also a ledger in which data can be stored.
In addition, the applications of smart contracts are of great value for the development of Web3. Smart contracts are fully digital contracts, which consist of computer code. By means of smart contracts, certain processes can be performed fully automatically, without anyone actually having to do anything.
With Web3, the internet would therefore deal much smarter with the data it has at its disposal. This data could also be processed automatically and decentrally for the most part. Everyone can also contribute to the web, instead of everything being determined by the major parties on the web.
What are the differences between Web2 and Web3?
By now, hopefully, you understand what Web2 is and what Web3 is. At the moment you could place most applications from the internet in Web2, but we are already seeing the first Web3 applications emerge. Web2 and Web3 could theoretically coexist, yet experts believe we will see more and more transitions to Web3 in the coming years. This may all sound very unclear to you, because what exactly are the differences between Web2 and Web3?
Today we’re going to look at the two main differences between Web2 and Web3, namely the way data is distributed and ownership over the web.
The distribution of data
The first major difference between the two forms of the web is therefore the way in which data is distributed. As has already been discussed a few times, at Web2 the data is in the hands of a number of large platforms. These are, for example, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
Because you use these platforms, they know a lot about you. For example, they know your name and your age, but they also know what you are interested in, for example. With this data, they can do a lot of different things and this ensures that they have a lot of power. For example, something they can do is sell this data to advertisers.
With Web3 this is completely different. There you do not really use a platform, but a blockchain. Let’s compare Facebook to a Web3 solution. You have the blockchain DeSo (decentralized social). This is a blockchain that makes social networking possible, but instead of you actually using DeSo, you use an application built on it. As a result, not one party has control over your data, because this data is distributed completely decentrally.
Ownership of the web
The DeSo example not only ensures that the data is distributed decentrally, but it also ensures that you determine what you see. Where at Web2 Facebook determines what, for example, your Instagram feed looks like, you do this yourself at Web3 on DeSo. Here you simply choose a certain algorithm that you run on DeSo.
However, that’s not the only way the forms of web ownership differ between Web2 and Web3. In addition to the fact that you have more and more ownership over how your web experience will look like, you can actually help determine the networks.
This could then be done in the form of a DAO. DAO stands for decentralized autonomous organization and it is basically just a business form in which a company can act on its own, and the future of the company is determined by its users. This is done via governance tokens. When a user holds 1 governance token, it is worth 1 vote. The users can then vote for specific proposals via a panel and in this way directly participate in the decision-making process about the company and, in this case, the platform.
This can be a very big advantage. After Instagram was taken over by Facebook, the data was used to sell ads. This has not happened before. If Instagram had been a DAO, Instagram users could have voted against this development, and it couldn’t happen.
You might be thinking, how can a business ever be built successfully if the users vote on everything? Without these ads, Instagram probably would never have become profitable. However, it is true that these users actually have an interest in the growth of the company. These aforementioned governance tokens are tradable. As the company grows, the value of this governance token also increases, as more people want it. In this way, users can earn money from the growth of the company.
The Future of the Web
At the moment, Web3 is still in its infancy. This is partly because Web3, for example, because crypto wallets are often a part, is still quite inaccessible. It is all very complicated for the regular internet user.
However, when this threshold is lowered, there is certainly a chance that the experts will be right, and Web3 will experience a huge growth spurt. You could certainly say that there are major advantages for the user of Web3, compared to Web2.
It is of course true that these are still advantages on paper at the moment. There are still too few real use cases and examples of Web3 projects to be able to say for sure that Web3 will become as big as claimed. Time will tell.
The internet could be on the cusp of its biggest change ever if the experts are to be believed. They expect the switch from Web2 to Web3.
Web2 is the Internet as we know it today. Here the ‘power’ over the web is in the hands of a number of major parties, such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon. They determine what you see and also have your data in their hands, which they sell for advertising space.
Web3 is therefore the form of the internet that we can expect soon. The power here is in the hands of no one. The largest part of Web3 would act decentralized. The data is therefore not in the hands of anyone here, as it is stored decentrally. In addition, no one can determine for you what you see, for example by means of algorithms, because you completely choose what can be seen on your screen.
There are plenty of similarities between Web2 and Web3, but even more differences. The main differences can be seen in the way data is distributed, and the way in which what happens on the web is determined. In addition, we will most likely also see that cryptocurrency and blockchain will play an important role in the functioning of Web3. We don’t yet know exactly how this will all work. In any case, these are very interesting developments, which we will certainly keep an eye on. We will continue to inform you about this in the future!