What is Web 3.0
The only constant in civilization is change and Web 3.0 is the latest iteration. As our lives change on this rock, our lives in the virtual rock is also changing. We are moving into a new era of the evolution of the web which might work best for our collective democracy, from helping creators get paid to having a say in the platforms that have ridden to riches on their backs. How did we get here and where are we going?
Web 1.0 was the first version of the Internet and all of the great things you remember about it: Geocities web pages, the flashing graphics, the not so annoying but annoying <blink> tag, the million pixel page, the ping ping ding ding sounds of dial up, and the AOL Running Man (what was he running from?). Web 1.0 was about getting information from your computer when you needed it. The communication was relegated to text based email and chat. “A/S/L” anyone? Thankfully, we left that era close to 15 years ago.
Web 2.0 came with the advent of the mobile internet and social media. With the rise of user generated content (UGC) the amount of content available for consumption exploded exponentially. Starting with blogs then moving to videos and to short bite sized snippets, there was a format that allowed nearly everyone to become a content creator.
And so this is where we are today. However, it seems inevitable that we move from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0. What is Web 3.0 and why are we moving there? Web 3.0 includes the Metaverse and the tools of cryptocurrency. We are already seeing some uses of crypto tools like examples of DAOs, DeFi platforms, and NFTs that are upending how things have traditionally been done. Web 3.0 gives the Internet an infrastructure for headless management, fair incentives, and lower transaction costs (as well as many other things).
Why is this happening?
The last few months have been very challenging for big tech companies, especially Facebook, that blew off the last report regarding the toxicity of Instagram and that they were integral in the proliferation of fake news. Further with Web 2.0, the creators, which were the reason why these platforms existed, were barely getting compensated while the platforms themselves became some of the biggest companies in the world. The platforms took the lion’s share of the revenue while barely sharing any with creators. For example, Twitter does not share any advertising revenue with users. Without users, these big huge public companies will make no revenue because they have no content and no viewers and thus no eyeballs to show ads to.
The consolidated power of ‘big tech’ has led to the creation of the DAO model where every token holder has a say that is equivalent to their vested interest. While not perfect, the DAO model partially was enacted to prevent super founders with a different class of stock that could never be taken away to could continue to make decisions beyond their economic interest.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) platforms add to the Web 3.0 revolution by allowing creators to make money where they couldn’t before due to transaction costs. Most platforms have a minimum threshold before users make money but if payments are algorithmically generated and automatic with minimal transaction costs, then even a one cent payment could be earned. Currently social media companies are the arbiters of this, but with a DeFi component creators can earn crypto automatically for their efforts.
What’s Coming Next?
As more creators leave the social media giants to build their own subscriber followings or communities, the big platforms will have to embrace the change or die. Twitter is looking to fully decentralized its own platform by sponsoring the “bluesky” project to create a decentralized protocol for social media. Users could vote on various issues, including interface changes to content moderation to policy updates like the issue that Jack Dorsey wrestled with on whether to ban former US President Donald Trump from the platform.
It’s hard to see if there’s any downside to Web 3.0 from our current vantage point, but so far everything looks great. Decentralization should in theory give the power to the people which should allow for a more democratic society. Are you excited for Web 3.0 or terrified? Drop us an email and let us know your thoughts!