Web3 – 1
2021 was an explosion in interest and investing around Web3. While the general interest focus to a large extent has been around the cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, ether, and thousands of others), there has also been a lot of work going on in building the infrastructure for a new type of Web. It is like the early days of the Internet in the 1994-95 era. The true impact of this buildout will manifest itself in the years and decades to come. Understanding the foundation of the Web3 ideas is important for us to explore solutions to the twin problems of Attention Recession and Voter Aggregation.
Let us begin by understanding what Web3 (or web3, as some put it) is.
Wikipedia: “Web3 is an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchains, which incorporates concepts including decentralization and token-based economics. Some technologists and journalists have contrasted it with Web 2.0, wherein they say data and content are centralized in a small group of companies sometimes referred to as “Big Tech”. The term was coined in 2014 by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood.”
InfoWorld: “Web 1.0 was the first iteration of the modern internet, from 1990 until around 2004. In the Web 1.0 era, users typically engaged with static web pages where read-only content was created and distributed by a small cohort of gatekeepers like Yahoo and AOL. Web 2.0, which broadly encompasses 2005 to the present day, is the dynamic and interactive web, in which static web pages are joined by apps and user-generated content. Web 2.0 is ruled by a set of dominant platforms, as represented by the market power of the FAANG companies—Facebook (now Meta), Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google, all of which exchange services for personal data to some degree. Where Web3 purports to differ from Web 2.0 is by eliminating these powerful gatekeepers and empowering a more egalitarian internet, where users are repaid for their contributions with ownership through a variety of tokens, all while keeping their data private and secure on a shared, distributed, tamper-proof ledger… This idea has naturally given rise to decentralized autonomous organizations—or DAOs—which are highly democratic internet communities with a shared goal and no leadership structure.”
Olga Kharif: “The term Web 1.0 generally describes everything from the earliest interconnection of computer networks in the 1970s and ’80s to the first flowering of browsers and websites in the ’90s. In the next phase, Web 2.0, companies built applications on top of that, from social media to search engines to wikis, much of it based on content generated by users. Although that made much of the web in one sense decentralized, most things still run through big companies. The idea of Web3 is to create software and platforms that aren’t dependent on traditional companies and Web 2.0 business models such as advertising. For example, users might pay for services directly using tokens. In an ideal world, Web3 services are supposed to be operated, owned by, and improved upon by communities of users…Many Web3 ventures have few paying customers but can gain from the appreciation of the underlying token, making them vulnerable to a wild market.”