In nine sentences, understand Web3 from zero

Published on 1/17/2022   660 views   0 Comments  
Original title: what is Web3? Here are some ways to explain it to a friend
Original author: James Beck
Rhythm Institute

Web3, a new professional term, was born in 2014. At the beginning, it was used to describe a new protocol to achieve decentralized consensus. Now, it has become a general term for public chain ecology, applications and even design concepts. Like "who am I?" Like such a philosophical question, many people have given their own answers to the question "what is Web3", and it seems that everyone's answers are different. However, for some people, this new professional term will make them feel strange. Therefore, we wrote this article to explain the nine knowledge points about Web3 that people need to know, hoping to help people understand what Web3 is


1. Web3 is a trendy nickname for decentralized networks.Β 

2. Web1 read-only information, web2 read + write information, and Web3 read, write and own information.Β 

3. Web3 is the currency layer of the Internet.Β 

4. Web3 is the identity layer of the Internet.Β 

5. Web3 is a counterattack to the behavior that social networks do not protect our data security and make profits by selling user dataΒ 

6. Web3 is a way for artists and creators to have not only what they create on the platform, but also the platform itself.Β 

7. Web3 is a new incentive model of the Internet.Β 

8. Web 3 makes it easy to establish cooperative ownership and governance structures.Β 

9. Web 3 is still not completely decentralized.

Web3 is a trendy nickname for decentralized networks

Since 2015, Joseph Lubin, founder and CEO of consensys, has been giving lectures and writing articles to support the team to build Web3 and decentralized network. Web3 philosophy has always been the "touchstone" to guide all early investments and projects of consensys.

Metamask is now the main way for people to join and use Ethereum blockchain, and it is also compatible with more networks. This is a method of securely generating public keys on your mobile phone or computer, but it embodies a new principle of user interaction with the network - only you can access your account and data and choose what to share and hide. Some people putMetaMaskIt is called crypto version of consent Manager (customer authorization manager).

When we refer to decentralized networks, we also refer to other stacks other than decentralized money and identity. Other aspects of the decentralized network, such as decentralized storage, have just become the infrastructure of the stack to achieve persistent storage (e.gIPFSAnd arweave), decentralized storage (Golem, w3bcloud, and others), and decentralized data index (graph protocol).

Now, Web3 is a16z and other large venture capital companies' most popular track, and Twitter is full of lengthy discussions. Many people who don't understand Web3 are still satirizing and laughing at it. It can be predicted that in the future, when Web3 will occupy more voice in the discussion of the public Internet, those who laugh at Web3 will come back and learn what Web3 is.

Web1 read-only information, web2 read + write information, Web3 read, write and own information

When I asked a Web3 developer friend how he would explain Web3, he said, "web1 is read only, web2 is read write, and Web3 is read write own.". The original web was built on open source protocols, such as TCP, IP, SMTP and, of course, http. A protocol is a standard way in which multiple computers agree to communicate with each other. These basic protocols manage information and information flow on the Internet. If you want to use their rules to build an application or service, you don't have to pay for access.

Web2 is an iterative product built using the free open source protocol of the Internet. Compared with the static and read-only web1, the major change brought by web2 is that individual users can start publishing content to the Internet. At first, I liked Digg's message board, then developed microblog, and now there are more than 2 billion individual users on Facebook. At the same time, another subtle change is taking place quietly. People began to feel that instead of maintaining their own servers to keep their websites running normally, they might as well leave the trouble to web2. As the other end of the transaction, web2 also created an island of user data and behavior. This social map is very valuable for advertisers. In the era of Web 2, individual users are products.

Ownership of Web3 means that the builders, operators and users of the platform do own part of what they use. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the earliest cases: Eth and BTC are actually in return for honestly keeping the ledger updated and other contributors. What these people do is maintaining the security of the network. Token based networks built on Ethereum and blockchain have even introduced new ownership models, which are not necessarily the same as cooperation or shareholder equity models. For example, the form of ownership can be token, which will be obtained when you provide a service, such as providing liquidity for transactions or governance voting for the future development of the network. The more ambitious vision is that participants in any network will be able to "own" part of the products and services they use every day.

Web3 is the currency layer of the Internet

One of the greatest innovations of the Internet is that information can be distributed all over the world, and it is cheap, reproducible and diverse. However, these labels are opposite to "value". By definition, anything of value, whether money or assets, should be scarce and difficult to obtain. Bitcoin is the first protocol to introduce scarcity into the Internet, which solves the "double flower" problem that plagued early digital currency attempts to some extent. Double flower means that you can use duplicate digital currencies and spend in two or more places at the same time. In the traditional financial field, banks, credit card companies and payment processing institutions will verify transactions by themselves to minimize double spending. For decentralized crypto, the work of the miner or verification node is to ensure that the account will not double spend. This is extremely far-reaching because authentication no longer depends on a trusted central party. As long as there is an Internet connection, anyone can participate in the peer-to-peer network and check the ledger. Social consensus can protect people from perpetrators who try to roll back or review transactions.

Another manifestation of scarcity is whether it is homogenization, that is, whether a single unit can be exchanged arbitrarily, and arbitrary exchange means that you can replace this unit with another unit because they have the same value. For example, the value of 1 eth is 1 eth, while non homogeneity means uniqueness. The emergence of NFT makes some things that can not be owned, such as digital art, photos, music, text, game assets, certificates, governance rights, passes and so on. Many people question "if I can right-click and save it on the computer, why is it scarce?" The reason is that the blockchain records the process of ownership transfer from one account to another. This also gives digital artists or virtual products the concept of "originality", just like the basic problem solved by blockchain, to prevent another person from claiming to be its owner or "double flower". One of the reasons many people are excited about NFTs as a way to prove the source of digital assets is that because they are tokens on Ethereum (there are many NFTs on other blockchains now), they can interoperate with other parts of the Web3 ecosystem. They can be divided into smaller parts, so many people can have them; They can be used as collateral for other decentralized financial services; They have permanent royalties; They can even serve as the basis for Internet identity.

Web3 is the identity layer of the Internet

One of the biggest omissions in early Internet protocols was the absence of a public and open source identity layer. With the development of web2, platforms such as Facebook and twitter monopolize this layer as closed source applications. Web3's position is that you should have your own identity on the Internet, and you can disclose some information only when you want to disclose it. In practice, Ethereum's identity system is very basic. You can think of it as a container that allows other items to be associated with it. For example, when authorities want to know your date and place of birth, they don't need to know other information you don't want to provide. Your identity will also include your transaction records, which financial institutions can understand without requiring you to provide your birthday and place of birth. In addition, the digital identity you develop on one social network can be transplanted to other networks.

In today's practical scenario, the closest thing in the Web3 world to the universal identity layer is the Ethereum domain name service (ENS). Through ens, you can buy a unique domain name, which uses the NFT of erc-721 token standard, and then you can link it to your Ethereum address. Ens makes the Ethereum address readable, and then it is used as a more convenient way to air drop NFT, show off token positions or NFT collections, and show what you choose when you governance voting. Showing others that you "know" Web3 is actually a very attractive thing, which may be why Paris Hilton, Shaquille O'Neill and others have changed their twitter user name to ens domain name. However, like the early Internet protocols, ENS has no early investors. The protocol itself is decentralized and gives open standards.

Other services of 3box labs, such as IDX and self ID allows you to link your wallet and manage your digital identity. You can connect your Ethereum address, existing social media materials and other information you want to make public. Just like ens, but more importantly, people can automatically choose what information and data to share from their personal identity after registering for a new service or platform. At present, the reasons that drive people to use blockchain digital identity still come from the Web3 world. For example, connect your Ethereum address with your social profile, but in the long run, the long-term goal of the Web3 world is to make real-world identities such as authoritative identity be proved on the chain.

Web3 is a strategy for social networks to seek benefits instead of protecting our data security

Facebook has most of the data on your social graph, so even if you close the web page, the data will still remain on meta's server. Gavin wood is the inventor of the word Web3. He once said in 2014: & quot; Web3. 0, or "post Snowden" network, is a rethink of various current network activities and introduces a subversive model for all network participants. If we decide that some information needs to be disclosed, we will publish it; If we feel that some information needs to be agreed before consensus can be reached, we will put it on the list of matters to be agreed. " The scandal of Cambridge analytica in 2018 shows that a company once collected the personal information of 87 million people and created voter psychological files with the help of it, so as to influence the election results. Although this matter made the headlines at that time, in fact, such data leaks have been common, affecting millions of Internet users. The reason for all this is that we entrust the company to store our data, and when we switch to other platform services later, these permissions can no longer be revoked.

Remember when we described metamask as a crypto version of the concent manager? The design principle of Web3 applications is that information is "pushed" by individuals to trusted sources, rather than obtained by applications from sources that master your data. For example, in the web2 world, when you "log in with Google", the application may obtain your personal identity data without your consent. The transparency of the data you provide to different applications on the network is one of the reasons why social media networks have won the dominant position - your personal information often has high value, and in most cases, we have surrendered it the moment we agree to the platform's terms of service.

Web3 can be said to be a response to the continuous acquisition of user information by today's Internet platform. With Web3, users can choose which information to share or hide.

Web3 allows artists and creators to own not only their works on the platform, but also the platform itself

In 2021, it seems that everyone is launching NFT. According to dappradar, NFT's total trading volume reached more than $23 billion in 2021. For many digital artists, the emergence of NFT enables them to devote themselves to art work full-time in a real sense for the first time. Because NFT is a general token format, you can cast NFT by deploying your own code or using the NFT market. Unlike web2 social networks, your token can be purchased on the service platform and sold in the secondary market, or used for other games and applications. In other words, NFT continues the characteristics of Ethereum and is a kind of portable and interoperable value.

Some early NFT markets soon realized that their positioning should not be just a market, but to build more bridges between creators, users and platforms. In 2021, superrare released the rare governance token and created the superrare Dao to reward early artists and collectors, so as to encourage the community to participate in its art curation. Superrare explained: "we hope that spaces is the future of community art curation. With the support of superrare's shared brand and technology, it will become an active ecosystem in which curators, artist groups, galleries and community members can hire artists and conduct cooperative auctions."

Other applications on Ethereum are now using tokens to reward people for their contributions to network construction and decision management. Even web2 social networks like reddit are exploring the use of a token called "community points" so that active contributors on subreddit can "own" part of the social network; Defi protocols such as uniswap build an integration mechanism to encourage liquidity providers to provide capital for transactions of almost all assets on Ethereum.

The benefits of individual collective pledge on multiple service platforms of the whole network may be the biggest threat to the effect of web2 social network. Scott Belsky once asked, "if every stakeholder in these enterprises can be inspired to help establish, improve, promote and sponsor these brands, will this become an advantage in their competition with large enterprises?"

Web3 is a new sponsorship model of the Internet

The term "creator economy" is a term used to describe Internet space, which aims to help creators make profits in new ways. Onlyfans, twitch and other platforms promise that platform users can make money directly from their fans without restrictions, instead of relying on the money making model centered on advertising and traffic. However, unlike the Web3 network, some creators are randomly removed from the network and cannot own the content they share.

Due to the emergence of platforms such as substack, ghost and Lede in the past year, the motivation of writers and journalists to earn income directly from their readers has been further strengthened. However, none of these platforms allows writers to use ownership to establish a direct relationship with their fans. Mirror is a Web3 blog network that allows users to sell their works in the form of NFT and redefine the mode of creation and sponsorship through "crowdfunding". The crowdfunding function allows sponsors to fund an idea by depositing into eth in exchange for a token that can prove your sponsorship, which can be further used to join Dao or obtain future returns from publications. Token is not only practical, but also can prove that you have supported an idea or author. As more and more people support crowdfunding, the value of token will become higher and higher. Just like funded by mirror Kyle chayka, special writer of XYZ's new Yorker, said: For the first mock exam, subscription is a sustainable business mode for many forms of media, but it is not always suitable for all forms of content or work. But collectors and sponsors are very suitable for this mode. NFT can provide support for collectors and patrons. Similarly, Mirror supports all kinds of Token, such as NOVEL of ESSAY or Emily Segal. I hope future creators can make money by token and NFT, not just by readers or regular payments, and their article income should also be shared by creators and sponsors. "

Since homogenizable or non homogenizable tokens can play a role in the relationship between sponsors and artists, artists should also be able to establish direct contact with their early supporters - with the help of Ethereum addresses or ENS name sets that can be used for mailing lists, tickets and payment systems, Artists on any platform can interact with their fans.

Web3 makes the construction of cooperative governance and ownership structure easier

If you joined any Dao in 2021, you may have joined the telegraph or discord group together with other unfamiliar netizens: voting on the governance proposal of defi, making decisions on project funding, and obtaining tickets for Erykah Badu concert; Join the artist and developer residence program, collectively purchase the only backup of Wu Tang clan's 2015 album once upon a time in Shaolin, and even jointly purchase the printed version of the U.S. Constitution.

Dao, or "decentralized autonomous organization", is a community led entity that uses Ethereum smart contracts to establish basic rules and implement agreed decisions. Some of the largest and earliest Daos in Ethereum manage the growing vaults of decentralized financial agreements. Currently, the top 20 Daos have digital assets worth nearly $10.5 billion.

Dao not only serves defi, but also many other areas. Media such as bankless and public funds such as gitcoin are using DAO to coordinate, govern and manage their financial activities. Currently, there are more than 1.3 million Dao token holders in Web3. A reporter of the New York Times once joked that Dao is a "chat room with a bank account". However, the attraction of Web3 is that it can quickly gather leaderless online groups composed of like-minded people to pool capital and make decisions.

Not every layer of Web3 is decentralized

As any senior user of Web3 ecosystem knows, engineers have been trying to build a maximum decentralized architecture, easy-to-use applications and scalable infrastructure, and will make various design tradeoffs. Moxie marlinspike, founder of signal, recently wrote in his Web3 exploration experience blog: "The premise of building web1 is that everyone on the Internet becomes the publisher and consumer of content, as well as the publisher and consumer of infrastructure. We all have our own web server, website, mail server and email. However, this is not what people really want - people don't want to run themselves Server (I don't think this can be overemphasized).

Then, he should not be too surprised to learn that most applications of Ethereum call data from trusted API sources, and that 40% of Ethereum's 5433 full nodes are running in the United States. Metamask made similar design decisions in the early years - instead of requiring each user to run a self hosted Ethereum node, they chose to use infra to provide data for Ethereum. In this way, developers can focus more on the construction of applications rather than the infrastructure of network operation. Dan Finlay, founder of metamask, wrote, "this approach can make it easier for users to use our platform without consuming too much power to host nodes. At the same time, it also changes the previous rules in the use and promotion of the platform, just confirming what moxie said before:" people don't want to host their own servers (because it will take up the capacity of the whole laptop).

However, this does not mean that Ethereum and Web3 communities are still considering using decentralized data centers such as w3bcloud, or transferring lightweight clients to eth2 through a series of operations to reduce trust at all levels. Although metamask takes infra as its default server, they always allow users to choose their own blockchain connection. In addition, with snaps, users can choose other schemes besides connecting the wallet with the server. Dan Finlay explained, "snap can help users run lightweight clients, choose alternative runtime systems such as ZK stark chain or new friendly languages, or it can also allow users to connect to their favorite centralized service platform."

Although many teams in the Ethereum community are committed to improving centralization, the success of some newer and more centralized crypto networks shows that users may not care much about these things. However, we can not assert that the Web3 infrastructure will not make further development in the future, because now more and more people have experienced the advantages of completely decentralized network.Β 

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