Before taking a deep dive into the rudiments of web 3, let’s go down memory lane and examine the world currently at web 3. The inception and emergence of the internet were called web 1. This was also referred to as a read-only web. In the web 1 era, websites were information-based and made up entirely of static content. Web pages are linked together with hyperlinks and users cannot interact with the content creators or the website. They can only read through and make do with what they have read. This era was from 1991 to 2004 before the advent of web 2 which is an upgrade to web 1.
For web 2 which is next on the chain, it is the modification of web 1. From being a read-only web, the internet migrated to a read-write internet web 2 has created a platform where internet services are made available to all. In the creation of web 2 internet and its services, attention is paid to user-generated content, ease of use, participatory culture and interoperability. The web 2 internet facilities interactions between the users and the website itself. The era of web2 started in 2004 and is still in use to date.
Although web2 came to address the inadequacies of web 1, web 2 internet space has its shortcomings. One of those is the centrality of human data which poses a big threat to security. These problems will be addressed in web 3.
Web 3 is a term that describes the decentralized and secure nature of the internet. Web 3 also facilitates the exchange of money and information, which eliminates the need for middlemen or big tech companies. Rather than operating on a single storage unit or database, web 3 functions on the blockchain technology through peer-to-pair nodes also called servers. Unlike web 1 and web 2 where the content is owned by the content creator or firm, content on web 3 is owned by users.
Core elements of web3
Blockchains are extremely secure and decentralized networks that allow people to store data, exchange value, and record transaction activity in a shared ledger that is not being monitored or managed by any central authority. Blockchain networks in operation are the powerhouse of Web3 as they provide secure execution environments that permit the creation, distribution, and trading of cryptocurrencies, alongside the development of programmable smart contracts. Blockchains are the settlement layer of Web3.
Cryptocurrencies are the native currencies of Web3 decentralized applications (dApps). They are used to pay for Web3 services and participate in some of Web3’s governance. Cryptocurrencies in Web3 applications are also units of value that are issued to Web3 content creators. These tokens are digital, programmable, and have functions that transcend the level of exchange. In the Web3 space, a token could be held as an investment in a protocol, project, or blockchain.
Before the emergence of blockchain technologies, tokens are just units of value that could be purchased and exchanged to pay for services, and products. An example is the use of tokens for highway tolls or amusement park rides and games. The emergence of blockchain and web 3 further gave these tokens more utility and use cases.
Smart Contracts and Decentralized Applications (dApps)
Smart contracts are tamper-proof programs on blockchains that facilitate the automation of transactions by using conditional software logic. These programmable smart contracts foster the creation of decentralized applications, or dApps, which are the crypto-economic protocols that bring Web3 to life and put it in the hands of users.
Decentralized applications (dApps) are applications powered by the decentralized infrastructure of blockchain networks. They are different from the centralized applications (apps) that dominate the web 2 space. These decentralized programs are used to create complex, automated systems such as peer-to-peer financial services (Defi), data-driven insurance products, Gamefi projects, Socialfi projects and more. Examples of dApps are Lbry, Everledger, Storj and Ethlance.
For smart contracts to attain their full potential. they need to gain access to and interact with data and systems outside of blockchain networks. This is where Oracle comes in. Oracles are the entities that bridge blockchains to real-world data and existing systems. They also provide cogent infrastructures for establishing a unified, interoperable Web3 ecosystem.
Oracles have evolved as an expansive layer of the Web3 stack by providing off-chain data and services to facilitate smart contract innovation and cross-chain interoperability. All these are to ensure seamless connectivity between different on-chain environments. Oracle infrastructures are the welcoming window to Web3 for Web 2.0 backends, functioning as an abstraction layer where traditional systems interact with any private or public blockchain. Basically, oracles are the infrastructure that bridges Web 2.0 and Web3. It also extends the power of decentralized computation and cryptographic guarantees to the existing systems.
NFTs, GameFi and the Metaverse
Non-fungible tokens NFTs provide verifiable ownership of digital assets giving digital goods the ability to have different functional levels of uniqueness that is similar to that of items in the real world. Through NFTs. digital items can be differentiated from others even if they appear to be the same. Just as two similar copies of a book are differentiated by a distinctive mark, digital arts get differentiated through NFTs. These NFTs have various utilities and use cases that facilitate the tenets of web 3.
Gamefi and SocialFi
Gamefi is a term used to describe blockchain games. They are also called play-to-earn games. On play-to-earn games. Unlike traditional games where games are only played for fun, these blockchain games reward users for playing these games. For some of these games. In-game characters are NFTs and they are used to play these games. The rewards are in the form of native tokens or NFTs. Examples of these games are Axie Infinity, Gems and IguVerse.
Socialfi is a much wider concept that houses different engage-to-earn models. Web 3 in its wonders rewards users for every engagement in the web 3 space. Some of these models are Move-to-earn, watch-to-earn, blog-to-earn, learn-to-earn and socialize-to-earn. Examples of these apps are Lbry, Steem, ScriptTv and STEP N.
The metaverse is a virtual reality space where users interact with each other via a computer-generated environment. In making web 3 space work, the metaverse houses various aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), along cryptocurrencies which are web 3’s economic tool. All these are geared to allow users to interact virtually.
What’s next for the next generation of internet
Web 3 as an ever-expanding space will create a space where users can explore and interact in a space where the digital and physical worlds converge. As a virtual world, it would function just in parallel to real-world activities. Gradually, the whole world is transitioning to web 3 and everyone will be brought on board consciously or unconsciously. Web # is dominating every area of life, all activities including the world of telecommunication. An example of this is the creation of the Saga phone by Solana blockchain.
In addition, Web 3.0 will support billions of new devices through the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution which is part of web 3’s future. Billions of connected devices will get to interact with each other as a global village and can carry out complex functions. An example of this is the refrigerator that automatically orders food from Amazon and pays for it using cryptocurrencies.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will also play a significant role in the future of web 3. Sophisticated artificial intelligence systems will analyze the influx of massive data on the web. These systems in their functionality will be able to monitor shopping trends and even predict political strife. Web 3.0 will be distinct because of the presence of more devices, more data and more sophisticated tools.