What is web3, the new age of the internet?

(Paris) A fashionable concept that is exciting both the tech-sphere and the communicators, web3 is presented by its followers as the new version of the internet, more decentralized and based on the blockchain, the technology behind NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

Posted at 11:06 am

Yassine KHIRI
Media Agency France

“It seems to be more of a marketing statement than reality at the moment,” however, criticized the head of carmaker Tesla, Elon Musk, at the end of December for underlining the catch-all nature of Web3, like other popular concepts such as metaverse. try to explain.

What evolution of the Internet does web3 embody?

The Web3 would be the third age in the history of the Internet, successors, according to its defenders, of Web 1.0, which reigned from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, and Web 2.0, which was hegemonic since the decade 2010.

Portrayed by actors like Yahoo! or AOL, Web 1.0 refers to the early uses of the Internet with its static pages, essentially allowing for the retrieval of information or the sending of emails.

Web 2.0 marks the era of the social and interactive Internet, where users can create and share multimedia content. It consecrates the rule of a handful of large centralized platforms like Google, Amazon or Facebook.

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

The number three (“three” in English) is thus added the meaning of “free”, evoking the return of an Internet more independent of the states and the giants of the web, as was the case in the “origin”.

What technology enables this development?

The Web3 is closely associated with blockchain technology, a kind of giant digital ledger shared by a multitude of users, without central authority and considered tamper-proof, listing all transaction history.

The most famous blockchain born after the 2008 financial crisis is bitcoin and its associated cryptocurrency, which is entirely virtual. Since then, many others have been launched, such as Ethereum, Solana or Polygon.

Web3 projects and applications are based on these blockchains, such as B. non-fungible tokens (NFT), non-reproducible digital certificates of authenticity that derive their value from the real or virtual object to which they are attached.

Enough to give the Internet user as much decision-making power as ownership over what they create or consume on the network.

“With web3, people create value, but also capture something of it, which changes everything for artists, for example. It is a web that is theirs, where they regain control of creation and what they own,” Nicolas Julia, founder of Sorare, a French online gaming startup for thumbnail sharing, tells AFP in form of NFTs.

“It will allow reinventing a whole range of industries, be it art, music or sports,” he adds.

Is the metaverse part of web3?

Although linked in particular by blockchain technology and the ability to hold digital assets such as NFTs in it, Web3 and Metaverse describe two distinct concepts.

Coming to the forefront of the stage in summer 2021, the Metaverse denotes a digital and social universe intended to augment physical reality through augmented or virtual reality, shifting the internet from 2D to 3D.

Is its promise enough to merge it with the Web3 revolution, while the Metaverse is carried in particular by Meta (Facebook), one of the flagship companies of Web 2.0 and a symbol of a centralized vision of the Internet?

“The answer will only be given in a few years, because today we still don’t know what the Web3 is,” summarizes Julien Pillot, specialist in digital and cultural industries, with AFP.

“We’re either on the purist vision” of a fully decentralized internet or on a definition based only on “the ability to immerse,” he adds, predicting “an inevitable controversy” in the future between the two visions.

Leave a Comment