What is Web3 and is the hype worth it?

Table of Contents

Just imagine 

(i) your car insurance payment is automatically triggered based on the damage that you car had, in a minor car accident

(ii) your identity information is securely stored on the blockchain and background checks are instantaneous and you know exactly who and what information they’re trying to access

These things are not possible now on Web2. But, they can happen on Web3.You may ask me the question that what is web3 though?

Elon Musk, the maverick billionaire and Tesla CEO, a while ago, tweeted ‘Has anyone seen #Web3?’ to which Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey responded ‘it is somewhere between a and z’. If we keep the sarcasm and cryptic digs aside, Web3 is on every techies mind, big Tech leaders are debating it on social media, while curious engineering brains are leaving their current cushy jobs to get in there before everyone else.

Over the weekend, I met one of my close friends for coffee and as we were chatting, we hit upon Web 3. Now this friend of mine, who is not a techie, has been following the cryptocurrency market for the past few years. But the recent Crypto’s meltdown and heart-shopping crashes have turned him into a Web3 skeptic. As we continued our discussion about the state of crypto and web 3, we dug deeper into why I believe web3 is going to be big. Our conversation went on like this :

1. So, what’s the big deal with this Web3?

At the core level, Web3 fixes various vulnerable points of Web2 and will be a de-centralized, distributed and trust less internet based on #blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

In Web2, the ‘data ownership’ stays with a few companies who sell everyone’s personal data to advertisers – for example, these companies know everything about our health conditions,  what we like and dislike, where we spend most of our evenings, our financial worries or plans etc etc, which we may not even share with our family members or friends.

Centralized Web2 Vs De-Centralized Web3

The centralized nature of Web 2 has resulted in and led to the growth of ONE BIG WORRY – HACKERS who can steal everyone’s personal information. Web2 technologies are vulnerable to various types of attacks from hackers. We have read countless hacking and fraudulent incidents including the most recent one – hackers stole Rs 7 crore+ from the payment gateway firm Razorpay (source Inc.com and other leading media channels). To protect themselves from such attacks and online theft, customers trust ‘middlemen’ and pay for their services,   which in turn slows down the entire system. Anyone who did a bank transfer that took forever to complete, would have experienced this. In a nutshell, the bank acts as a middleman and the funds go into an escrow account that is trusted by the sender and the receiver.

The de-centralized nature of Web 3 makes it almost impossible for the hackers to steal one’s data, as it is not stored on one server, but on thousands or even millions of computers around the world, hence making the system ‘TRUSTLESS BY DESIGN.

Trust less means the system does not need middlemen, and  opens up a whole new world of opportunities for #automation. The Web 3 will be an automated one where fund transfers can be instantaneous on a Saturday night, for very less to almost zero transaction fees.

2. So, is Web3 really the next-gen of the internet?  


Web 1, the first version of the internet, back in the mid-late 90s, was more of a place where we could only consume the information/data that was available on various websites.

Then came Web 2 with Big Tech successes like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc where we could not only consume the information/data, but also could interact with the data, build further on the data, share the data, besides creating and managing data from our individual (personal) profiles. Therefore, it largely is the user-generated web that marked the arrival of Social Media.

Now coming to the tech infrastructure of these platforms – someone pays for the servers and the software setup so that we could access them online, mostly, for free. In this bargain, these companies own our personal data as well as the data that we post or share, which easily is available for hackers to breach – therefore, our privacy is at stake.

With Web 3, not only can we consume and post, and interact with others just the way we do now,  but also can have our data secure and safe. And the whole ecosystem will get more automated and therefore cheaper, over time, since it is trust less.

3. So, is Web3 suitable more for Finance and Banking industries only?

No. The world of Web3 applications is going to be bigger and beyond Finance and Banking, just to name a few, Web 3 is already beginning to find applications in gaming, insurance, identity management, healthcare, supply chain etc.

Let me give one more example in addition to ones that I have mentioned in the beginning (i) & (ii).

(iii) your health records are securely saved on the internet, which can be accessed by your doctor only, who would study them during an emergency.

Such applications and beyond could be made possible as the world transitions into Web 3 from Web 2.

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