The term Web3, or Web 3.0 (yes, there is a difference), has been around since 2014 when Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood first coined it. It's only become part of the Zeitgeist over the past couple of years as it reaches the masses who, at some point, find themselves within its web.
Technology is constantly iterating as we make advances and the world evolves, and to explain Web3, we must go back in time and define Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.
Web 1.0 (1991 - 2004) Read-Only: The best way to think of Web 1.0 is to think of the first television sets. They plugged into the power supply and gave a black-and-white picture of whatever content was being broadcast. You couldn't interact with the content, and the experience was primarily passive. This is how the internet was in its first iteration - lots of static pages. You could surf, look at text and pictures, click links, and pay for some products and services.
Web 2.0 (2004 - 2014) Read & Write: The next iteration was to get audiences to participate, create content and build communities. Web 2.0 was also known as the participative social web and required technical updates layered over Web 1.0 to make it interactive. The defining event of this decade-long internet epoch was social media, where people could have a say, be part of virtual communities and generate content for viewing and monetization. This was the age of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, where these companies had centralized control of user data and content. However, all this centralized power has led to significant privacy and societal issues and paved the way for a revolution!
Web3/Web 3.0 (2014 - ) Read, Write & Own: This is the third phase of the internet's evolution and is characterized by decentralized technologies and self-determination ethos. Web3 incorporates DeFi (crypto), blockchain, token-based economics, and AI. Web3 also provides improved security, scalability, openness, and privacy as a counterbalance to BigTech supremacy. In other words, Web3 aims to give control back to users through ownership.With Web3, ownership is represented by digital tokens (like NFTs) and cryptocurrencies on decentralized networks called blockchains. For example, if you hold crypto, you are the bank and the customer - there is no central entity preventing access to your funds if there is a financial crisis. You are in control - this is the essence of Web3.
Yes, there is - quite a big one.
Web 3.0 - also known as the semantic web, focuses on greater efficiency and a common framework to enable data sharing across entities, applications, and communities. Web3 is all about decentralization and restoring power to the people, with a strong emphasis on security, data control, and ownership.It is important to note that both Web3 and Web 3.0 are nascent technologies, and definitions can continually evolve.
Web3 is the future based on user-adoption growth data and the fact that the technologies are highly effective, efficient, scaleable, and have incredible utility across all aspects of daily human life.