The internet has evolved over time to become a vital part of our daily lives. Web3 marks the next evolution of the internet where websites, applications, or services are controlled by their users. When you see the phrase “Web3 compatible” this often means that the website or service interacts with the Ethereum network. If you’re new to all this, it’s certainly a bit confusing. So, to better understand it’s easier if we take a look back at how we got here.
In the early days of the internet, websites had limited functionality. Users mainly consumed content from websites. Maybe you had a personal web page but it was static. And, it was hosted by your ISP or a site like GeoCities. There was little interactivity except for maybe a guestbook where users could leave their name and a brief comment.
Web 2.0: The rise of social media
Next came Web 2.0 as some would call it. This era saw a notable shift towards user participation. Social media sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc. became the norm. Before long, the majority of content was being generated by the users of a website. However, these users don’t control the content they create. Websites host their content for them. And so, users are expected to abide by their terms of service (ToS) or they’ll get the boot. Not to mention, the website can change their ToS at anytime forcing the user to agree or be cut off from the service and, in some circumstances, their own data.
Web3: Giving the power back to the people
Web 2.0 relies on users to create the value which the owner or host can reap the benefits from. In most cases, you have little to no control over your data. Also, you never know if the content you enjoy will stick around. When content is no longer needed or threatens profits, the host of the website or service has the right to remove it from their platform leaving you high and dry. Not to mention, most service providers own your data under their terms of service. Web3 seeks to empower users and to recapture the value that they create.
Web3 applications, sometimes referred to as DApps, are built on decentralized peer-to-peer networks like Ethereum and IPFS. Instead of being run by some company, these networks are built, operated, and maintained by their users. They’re self-organizing and lack a central point of failure. Additionally, they’re open-source meaning anyone’s help to build upon this shared infrastructure. Products and services that are “web3 compatible” have the ability to interact with smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.
Smart contracts are like pieces of code that run on the Ethereum blockchain. Once launched, they operate as programmed and users can rely on them to be unstoppable and censorship-resistant. Web3 is the future of the internet that treats it like the shared infrastructure it is. It’s a future where everyone can contribute value to the internet and be rewarded for it.
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