What’s web3, the brand new age of the web?

(Paris) A modern concept that upsets both the technology sphere and communicators, web3 has been presented by its supporters as a new version of the Internet, more decentralized and based on blockchain, the technology behind NFT and cryptocurrencies.

Posted at 11:06

Yassine KHIRI
French media agency

“It seems to be more of a marketing term than a reality for now,” criticized Tesla carmaker Elon Musk in late December for underlining the all-encompassing character of the Web3, as well as other popular concepts such as the metaverse. Try to explain.

What evolution of the internet embodies web3?

Web3 would be the third era in the history of the Internet, the successor, according to its defenders, of Web 1.0, which ruled from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, and Web 2.0, hegemonic since the 2010 decade.

Embodied by actors like Yahoo! or AOL, Web 1.0 refers to the first uses of the Internet with its static pages that allow information to be essentially consulted or emails sent.

Web 2.0 marks the era of social and interactive Internet, where users can produce and distribute multimedia content. It avenges the rule of several large centralized platforms such as Google, Amazon or Facebook.

The concept attributed to Gavin Wood, co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, web3 refers to the idea of ​​a decentralized internet, where users would control their data, without the help of intermediaries.

Number three (“three” in English) is given the meaning “free”, which evokes the return of the Internet, which is more independent of states and giants of the network, as was the case in “origin”.

What technology enables this evolution?

Web3 is closely linked to blockchain technology, a kind of huge digital book shared by many users, without central authority and considered to be protected from unauthorized access, which lists the entire history of transactions.

Born after the financial crisis of 2008, the most famous blockchain is Bitcoin and its associated cryptocurrency, which is completely virtual. Many others have since been launched such as Ethereum, Solana or Polygon.

It is on these blockchains that web3 projects and applications are based, such as non-replaceable tokens (NFT), unique digital certificates of authenticity that derive their value from the real or virtual object to which they are linked.

Enough to give the internet user as much decision-making power as ownership of what they create or spend online.

“With web3, people create value, but also capture some of it, which changes everything for artists, for example. It’s a network that belongs to them, where they regain control of creation and what they own, “Nicolas Julia, founder of Sorare, a French startup for online picture-sharing games, told AFP. in the form of NFT.

“This is what will allow the whole range of industries to be rethought, whether it’s art, music or sports,” he added.

Is the metaverse part of web3?

Although they are connected, especially by blockchain technology and the ability to hold digital assets such as NFT within them, web3 and metaverse describe two different concepts.

Launched to the forefront in the summer of 2021, the metaverse signifies the digital and social universe, which should expand physical reality through augmented or virtual reality and move the Internet from 2D to 3D.

Is his promise enough to connect him with the web3 revolution, while the metaverse carries especially Meta (Facebook), one of the leading web 2.0 companies and a symbol of a centralized vision of the internet?

“The answer will be given in a few years, because today, web3, we still don’t know what it is,” Julien Pillot, a digital and cultural industry specialist, told AFP.

“Either we are on a purist vision of a fully decentralized Internet, or a definition based solely on ‘immersion capabilities,'” he added, predicting “inevitable controversy” in the future between the two visions.

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