Web3 is an evolution of the internet as we know it. It will be a digital, social and cultural revolution that will profoundly impact our personal and professional lives.
The concept was created by Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum. In a nutshell, we can say that Web3 will be a much more democratic and decentralized internet, which values security, privacy and, above all, the return of digital property to people. The power of communities will be the main driver of marketing and outreach strategies.
This evolution is only possible thanks to the creation and popularization of blockchain technology, which is the basis of Web3 and other applications such as cryptocurrencies, tokens, etc. With it, it will be possible to drastically reduce the need for intermediaries in commercial transactions, as well as restoring the possibility for all of us to carry out digital custody of our goods and properties.
What was Web1 like?
When the internet emerged, it was essentially decentralized, but with huge entry barriers for most of the population:
Breaking the Paradigm – People had no idea of the potential of the technology they were accessing. The possibilities seemed so unrealistic that no one believed it would be possible to send a letter that would be read instantly, for example.
Cost – It was still too expensive to access the internet. Both for the cost of computers and the need to connect using telephone lines (with charges for minutes connected).
Usability – Publishing information on the internet was for the few. Websites were not user friendly and content creation often required technical programming skills.
As a result, the internet was primarily an environment for reading and consuming information, with little interactivity between people.
What is Web2?
In the early 2000s we began to see changes that culminated in the internet as we know it today. People have naturalized and valued the web as part of our personal and professional daily lives. The entry cost has become increasingly lower with the massification of cable/radio internet access, popular smartphones and 4G.
Social interaction has become paramount, with the creation of social networks, instant messaging applications and the ability to read reviews and recommendations. The ease of creating and distributing content has drastically changed the possibilities for companies to advertise.
Along with this evolution has come some legitimate concerns:
Centralization – Big Techs have become very powerful, practically acting as an oligopoly in several areas such as: social networks, messaging applications, website hosting and digital services, internet searches, etc.
Censorship and cultural influence – With centralization, the risk of censorship and direct influence on important events in society grows. We have, for example, the influence of social networks and messaging applications in elections in different countries.
Abusive fees – The lack of competition and the network effect (market dominance) can lead to an abusive increase in service usage fees and marketplace commissions.
Business Model and Privacy – Several technology companies depend on the ability to attract the attention and time of their users to leverage their market value. They are also increasingly interested in cross-referencing personal information, seeking maximum efficiency in offering their own or third-party products and services.
How can Web3 change society?
The focus of Web1 was information, while Web2 was born prioritizing interaction. As we have seen, Web3 is unfolding as a major economic transformation, using blockchain as the backbone of that transformation.
For the first time in history, we can relinquish the role of an intermediary and guarantor of trust between the parties in a negotiation. Through smart contracts (programming code that takes place on the blockchain), it is possible to ensure that all terms of a commercial agreement are respected.
This sets a precedent for people in our society to be better rewarded for their creations. It will also cause the entire economic modeling of various industries to be remodeled, allocating resources more fairly and less concentrated in the coffers of large companies.
As a side effect, but no less important, we will have an increase in individual freedom and a lower possibility of censorship, since property will be better distributed and much more decentralized.
The Metaverse and the Web3
The term “metaverse” originated from the science fiction book “Snow Crash” (1992) by Neal Stephenson. Many of us have only heard this word in recent months, but it is important to understand that the concept is already fairly old.
Meta = What “goes beyond”… Something that transcends. Verse = Universe.
In 2003 there was the launch of a platform that became very well known called “Second Life”. It was an attempt to create a virtual environment that simulated real and social life through interaction between avatars (your “little doll” in this environment).
Initially it was a big fever, attracting people and companies, but over the years it has fallen into oblivion.
The concept was again in evidence in 2021, when Facebook announced that it would change the name of the company to Meta. In the words of founder Mark Zuckerberg.
“Today, we are seen as a social networking company. But in our DNA we are a company that creates technology to connect people. And the metaverse is the next frontier, just like social media was when we started.”
This announcement attracted a lot of attention to the topic, with the bet that we now have enough technology (virtual reality glasses, internet speed, etc.) to make the metaverse much more immersive and interesting than at the time of Second Life, for example.
It’s worth a big caveat here: metaverse is not synonymous with web3, VR glasses and cryptocurrencies. This is one of the most common confusions we see in the market today. As an example, we can mention several online games (MMOs like World of Warcraft and Ragnarok) that existed long before the blockchain. In these universes, each player had his own avatar, interacting with the others and carrying out commercial exchanges within this virtual environment. Access was done via the computer, that is, without any immersion device.
Actually, the idea of metaverse has a great marriage with blockchain technology, NFTS and cryptocurrencies. There is nothing more common in a virtual world than the need to verify authenticity, digital ownership and currencies for commercial transactions.
Therefore, it will be possible to create a metaverse along the lines of Web3. But it will also be feasible to have metaverses that are centralized and without any digital ownership by their virtual inhabitants. Exactly like it happens nowadays with many online games.
Web3 and NFTs
The famous “jpgs” of monkeys ended up becoming synonymous with NFTs for most people. Collections of images of questionable taste, which are used by millionaires to buy and display the arts on their profiles on social networks. Calm! This technology is much more than that!
The NFT is the acronym for “Non-fungible Token” or “Non-fungible Token” in Portuguese. It works as a type of certificate, created via blockchain, which attests that a digital asset is original and exclusive. nothing else, let’s understand this concept.
A token is a digital asset registered on a blockchain, which can be bought, sold or exchanged.
A fungible good is something that can be replicated and standardized without loss of value, like a Real coin, for example. In an exchange, we don’t have any appreciation for a specific note or coin, as they all have the same value.
A non-fungible good is unique by nature. As much as there are copies of the Mona Lisa or an autographed football, the true value is in the original piece. The originality certificate is very important for these cases and directly influences the value attributed to the good.
As the basis of Web3 is decentralization and digital ownership, NFTs have an unquestionable importance in this ecosystem. In general, it is possible to transform any digital asset into an NFT. A movie, a text, a photograph, video, music, game item, metaverse lands, etc.
Within the creation of an NFTs, it is also possible to create specific rules via smart contracts. For example, we could assign a code that defines that any commercial transaction involving a certain NFT must generate 5% for the creator (simulating royalties).
Without going into too much detail, reflect on the transformations that this type of technology could generate in the market for music, games, social networks, etc. Everything will change soon!
Part of the great transformation that Web3 will cause will be through our relationship with work. We will have professions specific to this new environment, such as the metaverse architect or the specialist in NFTs, for example. However, the main change will be in the day-to-day of the professions that already exist.
We don’t need to go back very far in time to observe that the massification of some technologies has completely changed the job market. First with personal computers, then the internet and finally smartphones and 4G.
We are facing a new technological leap that will have a similar effect in a few years. We can list some areas that will be directly affected.
Technology – Improvement and development of specific programming languages for the blockchain and the metaverse. Integration between physical, virtual and immersive environments.
Law – Laws and regulations for the various applications that will emerge from the Web3 such as: smart contracts, tokenization, NFTs, intellectual property, cyber crimes, business law, etc.
Marketing – Understanding the new consumer journey and product attributes. Campaign and launch planning using a hybrid of realities and new technologies. Fostering and building communities (which is a pillar of Web3).
Art – Use of NFTs and digital royalties as a new way of generating income with creations. Participation in new areas such as “fashion for avatars”, for example.
Games – The ability for players to own digital assets created within games could change the industry and its business model. We’ve had recent examples of games on the “Play to Earn” model, where players were rewarded for their time in the game.
Economics and Finance – Creation of new economic models taking into account the community’s majority ownership of assets. Study and investments in assets such as cryptocurrencies, tokens, NFTs, virtual land, etc.
We saw why Web3 will be the evolution of the internet as we know it. It will be a more decentralized internet, focused on communities and with ownership of assets going back to the people.
With education and dissemination of knowledge on web3, we have the potential to generate a great impact on people’s lives, promoting a better distribution of wealth and remuneration.
Certainly the hype and development of the Metaverses can accelerate this internet transformation, as blockchain and its applications are a perfect marriage with this new reality.
In the job market, each professional will need to update themselves and, who knows, be the pioneer in new areas of activity within their professions. We are witnessing a rapid and profound change in our society. Those who prepare in advance can have a great advantage over others.
Welcome to Web3!