Wherever we are on the internet, people are talking about Web3 (sometimes web 3.0) – the supposed next big evolutionary leap forward of the internet. But what is it, exactly?
That question inspired a Technext Twitter Spaces conversation on March 2, 2022, where well-versed speakers in the cryptoverse unraveled the technicalities surrounding the concept and shed more light on the risks, the good, the bad, and how businesses and content creators can utilise what has been widely tagged ‘the future of the internet’.
What exactly is Web3?
One of the things the ‘Thomases’ of web3 hold against it is that it is quite disorganised. This inspired the first question: What is Web3 to you?
To Ugo Akachukwu, a Music Executive and Tech Entrepreneur, “Web3 is decentralised internet, how we create value from the internet of people. In Web2, big corporations, Amazon, Google, Twitter, used our data to make so much money over the years. Now, we’ve gotten to the point where the internet allows us control our data we give to corporations”.
He added that Web3 is powered by blockchain technology. For the first time, people can get paid and be rewarded by using the internet. He continued, “NFTs are probably the most popular side to web3 that we can see now. It’s going to spread into governance, education, finance, and politics”.
From a slightly different perspective, Asher Aboyowa, a co-founder of useSaFi says “Web3 means more power, more control over my data and internet. The benefit is endless and the world has not seen it yet.”
How data ownership, identity and copyright work in Web3
Web2 is known to be a centralised network. Systems and developers own a monopoly of the users’ database and monetise it in the process. This is one of the defects Web3 is solving. According to Asher:
“In Web3, you’re the owner of your content, this content is stored in multiple computers across the globe.
Ajose Gideon, the CEO of Cyberville, drew inference from Elon musk’s post days ago, where he trolled Vitalik (Ethereum co-founder). Musk had posted a picture where Vitalik put on something like a baby cloth where he was supposed to speak at a conference.
“Web3 is about freedom to do what you wish with your properties, in this case, your data. Metaverse, NFTs, and other decentralised systems are all premised on Web3. In Web3, your identity is tied to your crypto wallet, no two persons have the same metamask address. Issue of identity is quite central to web3,” he said.
He disclosed how he owns ‘Ajose.sol’, just like a domain, and no other person can go on to claim it. In view of that, Web3 solves the irregularities attached with copyright in the traditional systems.
On the same topic, Ugochukwu said, “You can hack my email, but you can never get access to my wallet, no matter who you are except I give you my seed phrase.
He also gave an instance of the viral meme – Pepe the frog (comrade in the Nigerian context). According to him, in the world of innovation known as Web3, it can be minted, put on the blockchain, its ownership can be claimed and the rightful owner can earn from it.
Web3 and the metaverse
The metaverse is often regarded as the future of the internet. Metaverse literally means virtual reality, It also translates to a digital economy, where users can create, buy, and sell goods. And, in the more idealistic visions of the metaverse, it is interoperable, allowing users to take virtual items like clothes or cars from one platform to another.
Metaverse is another concept that goes hand in hand or is interwoven with Web3. Ugochukwu says:
“There’s no one metaverse; a metaverse is like a social community where people are going to engage. Crypto is for the metaverse; it will get to a point where to have a full experience of the metaverse, we will use something like a VR (virtual reality) machine. You can do anything on the metaverse literally, buy lands, buy avatars and even go on dates!”
How to make money from Web3
The fundamental idea behind Web3 is that it rewards internet users just by participating. And the end product of any concept is the monetisation aspect, Ajose Gideon says:
“There are always opportunities in every space, it’s all on individuals, businesses, and corporate organisations to look carefully to benefit. I don’t flip NFTs, I only hold two, and I get paid every day for it. I know my niche, all I want in the space is to build communities.
“You can make money in Web3 by going with the trend, the trend is always your friend but you must know when to get it and get out so you don’t get burnt. People do real estate agents in Decentraland. Do play-2-earn. Instead of playing candy crush where you get 1 million coins that are useless, you can play games like axie infinity and earn money. Join guilds, you can have fun and also earn money”.
Ugochukwu says Web3 is about contribution and participation. He further narrated how he got an airdrop of tokens worth thousands of dollars last year just because he bought the ugochukwu.eth domain name.
“That’s what happens in Web3. I can’t even say the number of airdrops I’ve received just by contributing, being part of the community. You can join a DAO, if you have the necessary skills, you get paid. People are being paid for simple things like coming to a DAO meeting. Getting engaged in discord servers and all that”.
Another way to earn money from Web3 is also to look at the loopholes of projects, like slow transactions, scalability, and interoperability, middlemen cheating content producers – just like the music industry where music platforms gain more than the artists. In Web3, music can be converted into NFT, put on the blockchain, and sold to fans.
According to Ugochukwu individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses can tap into the fantastic innovation known as Web3.
Is Web3 truly the future?
In the internet space, we have two groups, the proponents and believers of Web3, then those that believe Web3 is a disorganised, nebulous, overhyped, and unreal concept.
Jack Dorsey, the former CEO and co-founder of Twitter belongs to the latter. He has always questioned the basis and relevance of Web3 and in December 2021, he came out to say people are being lied to and have been deceived all along.
They do not own Web3, the promises are unreal and, as per Jack, Web3 will still be owned by Venture Capitalists (VCs) and their investors or Limited Partners (LPs), just like the Internet that we see today. That aroused different reactions from several quarters.
Ajose Gideon says, “I’m not shocked about the comments of Jack Dorsey, he was the CEO of Twitter, and Twitter is an integral part of Web2. Donald Trump is still banned from almost all social media platforms due to his comments during the election last year.
“In Web3, that is impossible because you cannot censor anybody. Web3 is here to stay, people are beginning to love and appreciate privacy more and more. What Jack Dorsey said was a fad and ill-conceived.”
Ugochukwu, an Ethereum maximalist and a Web3 evangelist also disagrees with Jack and his henchmen:
“Whatever Jack says is pointless because he’s the godfather of Web2. Web3 is going nowhere. We can see what happened in Nigeria during the 2020 #EndSARS protest. The government tried to use their centralised systems to stop the movement but the people said, no way and started using blockchain technology.
“Ukraine wants to airdrop rewards to people. I can’t wake up in the morning and go to the bank to demand 5 million naira, questions would be asked, but I can take that loan with my asset on Binance within minutes. The idea of Web3 is for the people and by the people, it is the present, not even the future.”
“Whoever says web3 is nebulous or is not clear cut is either a bitcoin maximalist or is just a shady person that has something up his sleeves that Web3 is exposing,” he added.
Jack’s concerns are not completely unfounded. We will have to wait and see how Web3 shapes up, as most Internet users still struggle with the concept and its application. Web3 is currently a work-in-progress and is not exactly defined yet.
However, it will be decentralised, rather than controlled by governments and corporations, as is the case with today’s internet. And, to an extent, connected to the concept of the ‘Metaverse’.
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