Nobody is convinced about what Web 3.0 exactly entails. Some say it is decentralization; some say it is composability or interoperability. Some people think it is just a buzzword to pump prices of projects that have no real-world use. And some people think it is the next thing after what high bandwidth internet has brought to the scene.
To understand Web 3.0, a quick look at Web 1.0 and 2.0 would be helpful. As a precise summary: Web 1.0 was read-only; Web 2.0 was a shift to read&write; Web 3.0 will be read&write&own.
What does that even mean?
When the internet was first founded, personal computers were not widely adopted. Even using a computer without the internet was extremely challenging for an average person. Then the internet was invented on top of that. Contributing to this new technology required an immense amount of technical knowledge. As a result, an average user could only browse the static content pages on the internet by navigating it using a low bandwidth connection. Hence, the read-only nature of Web 1.0. The unique thing about Web 1.0 is that there were no owners of protocols, just contributors and consumers of information with no permission from any institution whatsoever. It was accessible to everybody and brought by open source community effort.
The viability of Web 1.0 was questionable at best when it came to utilizing its full potential. Web 2.0 started to emerge within a trade-off: The generally read-only nature of Web 1.0 has been transformed into bringing read&write functionalities by driving the barrier to entry down for the average user. However, this required enormous resources and also got a tremendous amount of profitability potential. Hence, read&write platforms: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, etc., emerged. Read&write functions here are defined as their technical meaning; an output(for example, a YouTube video is coming out from your screen) is a reading function that your computer performs by reading data from YouTube’s database with its processor. Meanwhile, the input function(Uploading a video) is a writing function that your processor instills your content into YouTube’s database.
The experience was great at first, but the problem started to emerge when the platforms that allow people to share their content with the rest of their users(millions, sometimes billions) are natural monopolies and inherently have no competition because of the network effect they possess.
When the barrier to entry is driven to the levels that an average user contributes to these platforms efficiently, human creativity is unlocked, enabling exponential content creation, which resulted in the social media age where users created all of the content. Although, the companies reaped all the benefits, or partially all the benefits.
The companies that own these platforms have all the privileges regarding what will happen to their users’ accounts and content, making them the arbitrators of who does what on a global scale. Some of these platforms became stronger than nations in terms of exerting their trannies whenever and wherever they chose.
It is obvious now that Web 3.0 will bring something more to read&write functions that are introduced on Web 2.0. The magical following function/property/characteristic is own. Web 3.0 is read&write&own.
There is no strict definition of Web 3.0 that everybody that can be considered crypto-natives agrees to, but there is a characteristic of Web 3.0 that all of them agree on: it should be owned by users, not corporations.
Instead of defining what Web 3.0 exactly is, which is also a fool’s errand because there is a lot of new technology that can’t be foreseen will be built for it through its development.
Let’s take a look at the currently built components of Web 3.0 and their varieties that correspond with the Cronos Chain ecosystem:
Smart Contract Platform: Cronos
A network is needed for communication systems to operate, such as phone lines, tv cable services, the internet, and blockchains.
On Web 2.0, the companies existed on the open internet protocol(DNS), but their protocol was an application within a closed database owned by them and stored in their servers, as a walled garden, if you will. Blockchain technology solves this by a transparent database structure secured with cryptography.
Cronos is a smart contract platform powered by blockchain tech and EVM virtual machine, allowing Web 3.0 participants to build on top of its decentralized network freely. Besides, the
network users can own a piece of the network by owning its token CRO, exposing them to the upside of the overall network feasibility for decentralized applications.
Decentralizing the network of applications shifts the control to the collective, instead of a Web 2.0 company where a small select people who are executives of a big tech company impose their wills on billions of users who use their platforms.
Identity: Crypto.com DeFi Wallet
On Web 2.0, identities in the forms of accounts are fragile, rusty, and don’t have fluency. Each application requires a new identity and an account, and the account’s information is prone to third-party risk to the security of the used app.
In Web 3.0, the wallet that encrypts holds a user’s private keys and public keys allows that user to operate on the realm of interoperable internet.
Applications like Crypto.com DeFi Wallet provides the user with a simple way to interact with the capabilities of Dapp(Decentralized Apps) without going through technical legwork. It is similar to lowering entry barriers by transforming Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, but the user still keeps their keys and thus identity(and self-custody of their funds) when using these third-party wallet apps. The only thing sacrificed here is the app creator may anonymously collect the data.
All the data and funds are in the hands of the user by private keys they hold in their custody on Web 3.0.
Finance and Decentralized Markets that Govern Value: DeFi
An unconventional way of employing financial services has been born through Web 3.0. This unique way of holding, transporting, and relocating value is called DeFi. It is a fundamentally groundbreaking way of handling finances which also introduces the new ways of engaging with value through online networks.
An example: the most popular Web 3.0 game called Axie Infinity delivers living for hundreds of thousands of people through tokenomics(token + economics) by the structure of their DeFi mechanism.
Most people think that the first killer app will be video games for Web 3.0. The reasons are that there is already a big virtual market for video games, and in-game purchase as a revenue model is already the norm: skins, weapons, armors, accessories, digital cards, etc.
Cronos Chain is at the beginning of building its own Web 3.0 gaming ecosystem, the announcements are coming sequentially, and the community is thrilled.
Identifier, Culture, Myth & Community: PFP NFTs
Since Web 3.0 definition is all over the place, and there is not a neutral, widespread virtual 3D reality built yet for people to engage, connect and share, the closest thing brings up NFT communities. There is nothing better for aligning a group of individuals on the internet than giving them a stake in an online community which NFTs do perfectly. A common theme, a storyline, and a specific style create a myth around PFP Projects, and a new culture with new lingo emerges. The NFT owned serves as an identifier of the value staked in the given community by the individual who holds it in their wallet. It is also their premium ticket that gets them the inner circle of the community and some skin in the game for the community’s success.
Web 3.0 is the internet owned by individuals and communities, not corporations. And it seems that the first efficient communities started to emerge through respectable and credible NFT projects. It will be interesting to observe which unique ways will occur in this new fashion of engaging with strangers on the internet whose shared values and delights are entrenched with financial incentives.