I’m Kelly Vero, creative badass, future-gazer, game developer and general metaverse nerd. You can always find me waxing lyrical on my favourite subject - I don’t even need to speak its name - why do I bother? Because it’s important that we get this stuff right.
Web3 is all over our newsfeeds currently but what in the name St Gavin Wood of Ethereum is it? Wonder no more…
What is Web3? This is a fantastic question. The idea of Web3 is currently somewhat of a philosophy. However, if we’re saying that the metaverse is a playground then Web3 is the gatekeeper of maintenance and services for that playground. Let me explain.
Web1 is our Precious
The year is 1989, Bros, Kylie Minogue, and Def Leppard are rising high in the charts. I’m in my last year at school, and the World Wide Web has been born to Tim Berners-Lee as a sort of open framework for sharing documentation. A bit like Wikipedia.
Those of us who wanted more were the folks who were navigators around various web pages and websites using things called top level domains.
From Berners-Lee’s early engineering to the Netscapes, the Internet Exploders and the Dogpiles, the world followed quickly behind this basic function to share. We just know these domains as URLs or website addresses. URLs are really the sort of coordinates of how we get from one website to another.
Web2: The Spoiled Brat of Web1
When Web2 emerged as a possibility of being something more than a web page, shit got messy.
Because it was more than a web page, and that there were things such as data and content that needed to be taken into account, and that they were centralised within companies that we now know as big tech, Web2 became something of a diva.
These big technology companies such as Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, or even Amazon, were starting to effortlessly filter through into our daily lives with a native but definitely fervent need to control what we see, what we buy and what we want.
Then came social: media, marketing, music and MySpace. It definitely ends with Facebook, and Twitter.
When we required a little bit more from the internet, because we’d been told this was the promised land and we all thought it was ours, we were confronted, disappointed and we set about a quiet revolt.
Web3 is All of Us
Today, we're building something called the metaverse and we know that it needs something a little bit more robust or workable, a bit like Play Doh, that we can break off and use chunks of, and allow it to service whichever tools we are building, or whatever it is that we are creating.
We can't do that with big tech, big tech is a walled garden, a limited philosophy that is the vision of its board members, not its users.
So, we’re establishing a new way of thinking about the internet. It’s called Web3.
Though some people argue that data security, scalability and privacy for users has somehow been compromised, for the majority of people navigating Web3, it could be argued that a decentralised web takes us back almost to how the world wide web and the internet should have been, and that is: open.
To everybody and not owned by anybody.
Though some people suggest that web3 is a buzzword or a marketing term, Web3 actually has legs. It creates a system or a series of interoperable tools, services and datasets that can be utilised by everybody. From game designers to social media enthusiasts, and even to fashion designers and aviation component manufacturers.
It gives everybody the opportunity to be a creator, rather than having the reliance upon big technology companies to provide that blueprint or framework for them. Naturally, that completely pisses off big tech companies, because they're really focused on making money through the downloading, buying and utilising of their tools. It keeps their shareholders focused and happy and rolling in profits.
But for the rest of us? All we want to do is pull a little piece of clay off here and add your own little bits of Play Doh there. Why shouldn't we be able to do that? That's what technology is all about - it’s collaborative.
The Gold Rush was never about Gold
So, when we talk about Web3, I like to use the analogy of the gold rush.
In the gold rush, everybody rushed to the rivers and started scouting for the best places to collect and search for little nuggets of gold. Often, they were disappointed. They came away empty handed. How did anyone make money during that time? Who were the millionaires? Who were the billionaires?
It was the people making the tools.
Therefore, if we think about the world as being a gigantic gold rush at the moment, and almost a little wild west, that’s okay!
The gold mines of NFTs, blockchain technology, or your favourite metaverse, game development and extended reality (XR) opportunities are being serviced by investors, toolmakers, dreamers, creators and inventors like Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreesen, probably by Marc Andreesen; because the people who are going to be the big winners in this space will be you: content creators, the doers, the service providers.
And what of the big tech guys? With their prisons of design pillars and KPIs and their demise of infinite deliverables. Who knows? Let's spare a thought for them as we step into Web3.