What Is Web3 and Is It Already Here?

in LeoFinance4 months ago


In our corner of the Internet, we talk a lot about Web 3, some even get ready for the Metaverse. Being someone who appreciates the lessons history teaches us, I'd like to travel back in time and see how the internet was before the World Wide Web and what each version of the Web added on top of what already existed, to reach where we are now and to see what Web 3 is all about.

Internet pre-Web

Before the first Web was introduced, the internet was definitely not worldwide or a web. While more people started to get access to the Internet by the early 90s, it was mostly technical people who were able to navigate through the Internet and find anything useful.

This is an older article that describes detailed enough the situation at the beginning of the 90s. The article mentions a protocol named Gopher that was helpful at the time (a sort of directory of internet resources). Here's another article that describes Gopher in more detail, if you are interested.

Web 1.0

The internet pre-web had scattered resources hard to find. Gopher made things easier to find by building directories of resources.

Interestingly, WWW was at first dismissed in favor of Gopher, but the release of the first web browser Mosaic in 1993, coupled with the fact Gopher team introduced paid versions and that the Web was a publishing platform that could easily be adapted for commercial use, unlike Gopher, made WWW explode and Gopher have no counterargument, particularly since Mosaic supported the Gopher protocol as part of the browser.

Besides those arguments, WWW also had for it the fact multiple search engines were being developed, which started to make resources easier to find on the internet.

At first, there were many search engines to pick from, but at present - and for a long time - there is one quasi-dominant: Google. We no longer search online, we "google". That's the kind of influence the search engine of Google has built over time. Let's see how it handles competition from a different kind of search tool, more advanced (ChatGPT). My impression is they will handle it, even if they look a bit behind right now.

Web 2

Web 2 doesn't represent a protocol evolution to WWW, but rather a different way of using it.

Web 1.0 was mostly static information that was difficult to update. On the contrary, on Web 2 the information is mostly dynamic and easy to change.

Web 2 is better suited than Web 1.0 for interactions, collaborations, for being social.

The content on Web 1.0 is information and data-driven, while on Web 2 it is more social and interactive.

While the early ideas about Web 2 may have come some time ahead, it is probably accepted that WWW entered the Web 2 era with the advent and worldwide adoption of social media platforms.

What Is Web 3?

Are we ready to define Web 3? Is it here already?

If you search for the definition of Web 3, you may be surprised to see there are 2 of them.

One we already know here in this space. And the other is created by the W3C, which is the definition of the Semantic Web, as an extension to the World Wide Web through standards. The goal of the Semantic Web is to make Internet data machine-readable.

So, what is Web 3 for us in the crypto-sphere?

You know... Strike that. I'd better answer what it is to me. I'm not sure all definitions are the same anyway.

To me, Web 3 is a new Web iteration that includes several components:

  • Semantic Web will be part of Web 3 since robots are already the most numerous entities talking to each other online
  • AI will be part of Web 3, with or without Semantic Web
  • the social aspect of Web 2 will remain important, but there will be non-siloed options
  • account ownership will be part of Web 3 (that can be assured with a good degree of decentralization of the base layer on a blockchain or maybe in a different way in the future)
  • tokenization of "everything" will be the main trait of Web 3
  • p2p markets will be part of Web 3

Is Web3 already here? I think parts of it are. And they are at the beginning. Was WWW a thing in 1993? Yes, and even started to pick up speed. And yet, Gopher was still in the lead... In the end, Gopher is no more, at least not at a mass scale. And WWW took over.

Is there a Web 5?

Obviously not. It is a way Jack Dorsey thinks he does smart marketing while minimizing Web 3. I think he's... not smart. Elon Musk played along since he obviously would prefer the next iteration of Web to be around the silo he controls at Twitter.


I believe discussions around the metaverse are premature. It will be a thing, but 15-20+ years into the future. The main thing that is lacking right now is the infrastructure to connect to the metaverse by a significant number of people and have a good experience interacting with each other and with the environment at the same time.

In a way, talking about Metaverse now would be like talking about Facebook in 1991.

So, has Zuckerberg made a bad move pushing Facebook (now Meta) in that direction? Well, by what I read here, it sounds like an admission:

In February 2023, Zuckerberg wrote a Facebook post announcing the company's pivot away from the metaverse to focus on AI.


World Wide Web was created in 1991, but it took some time for it to replace Gopher as the dominant internet protocol. Web 1.0 was replaced by Web 2 roughly in 2004. That's 13 years or so.

Web 2 is still the dominant standard now, 19 years later. The time is very good for Web 3 to emerge. Even though it may take some time to crystallize and be embraced.

Big businesses have been built around Web 2. It is normal that they or their representatives don't like any potential disruptors of their business models.

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It is funny to see Facebook pivot and chase after the latest trend. I am curious to see how far the AI integration will go. I would never have imagined in my Spectrum 128k days that we would get any cohesive answers back from the computer like in Star Trek.

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It is funny to see Facebook pivot and chase after the latest trend. I am curious to see how far the AI integration will go.

The news outlets didn't seem as eager to broadcast their latest change of strategy.

I would never have imagined in my Spectrum 128k days that we would get any cohesive answers back from the computer like in Star Trek.

So true! I had to manage with 16k of usable memory on my Spectrum. 64k of which 48k was the Basic OS. And I think I was watching Next Generation while having that Spectrum. Is it me or science fiction doesn't seem as fictional as it was back then?

Yes, all the developments in StarTrek have been made except teleportation, oh and going into space!

There are still a few where we are behind... Here's a list, although some are debatable whether we are very close with a different technology (like 3D printing vs the replicator):

Thats a great overview!

I remember the time when I had a 14.4K modem that I bought for over 100EUR at those times... lol... Connecting to BBS to exchange messages on the forums... From today's perspective, it looks like we jumped fast from one tech to another, but it took some time... My parents know that well, as they had to pay multiple huge phone bills because of my BBS adventure(s)... 🤣

Web 3 is the future, and I have no doubts about that... and I agree that it's partially here, but it will spread...

Yep, the modem times were fun! I remember our phone/internet companies played it smart and broke the bills into data and voice. And a lot of data was often included in the monthly fee. For them, it was an opportunity to capture as much of the market as possible from the former state company, which they did. Now they are a huge company, they even provide cable and broadcast sports in Spain.

Web 3 is definitely the future and it is in many ways before our eyes already. Which you can't really say by something like the metaverse.

Now they are a huge company, they even provide cable and broadcast sports in Spain.

Are you talking about Digi? As if you do, I'm using them as my mobile phone network... I was thinking to take their fiber network too, but I like to diversify my Internet connection... 😂 I one doesn't work, I have a working backup version... :)

Yep! That's the one. Didn't know they operate under the same name in Spain. I'm having internet and cable from them, not mobile. But I know many people who have everything from them, which makes them hugely influential, as you can imagine.

I was investigating them and found out that they are using the infrastructure of Movistar, which is the biggest mobile provider in Spain, so the coverage is great... Also, the price is amazingly low for the service that I get... + some great benefits in the EU as free Internet data... and it works great! In Spain, and around Europe too (tested in many countries 😃)

They have an awesome deal for mobile + home fiber network, but as I said, I like to have more different Internet options at home (learned from the past 😂)

If you want to check out the offer in Spain :)


Yep, they were very smart to push for a competitive fiber optics network right from the start. Great quality (abundance) brought them an impressive number of stable customers.

I'm not very familiar with their mobile offer. I know it's free calls in their network and a free smartphone, at least, for a 2-year contract minimum. We have a group deal at a different operator and so far it's been ok.

I have an offer here that, if I go to Romania, I can enjoy all the benefits that I have in Spain! It is counted as my "domestic country"... 😃
See you in the summer! 🤣

Web 3 is slowly taking form and will eventually be everywhere. A lot of people own Airline miles and other sudo tokens without realizing it really is crypto. We are a few steps away from a unified crypto environment where everything is tokenized. Give it a few more years and there will be some protocol that will allow most things to move between blockchains. This will allow a more fluid trading environment.

We don't have yet a good and secure way to interoperate between blockchains. When that will come, things will improve significantly. In a way, we are now in the pre-Web stage of the internet, when resources were mostly insular instead of linked.

As we all know 2021 was the era of metaverse and NFT. And the way we're seeing now is China coming into the market again and they're going to put more of their money into somebody like that and we're going to see the market go up again next month.

Well, both of these words have a lot of hype surrounding them. At least some NFTs have use cases, but the metaverse is more wishful thinking for now.

Yeah you are right.

Technology takes time to play out and the first time I saw web3, I thought of www. It was already part of almost every url so I was confused. It was only after that I learned what it would look like and I don't think we are close to seeing what Web 3 is. I think Web 2 is going to last for quite a while longer until we have something that can replace that. The metaverse is decades out.

Technology takes time to play out and the first time I saw web3, I thought of www

Ah, I see why you made that confusion. In fact, sometimes ww, www2, www3, etc. may be used as subdomains instead of www, to add to the confusion.

I think Web 2 and Web 3 will coexist for a good while even after Web 3 catches on. We still have Web 1.0 after all, it didn't just vanish. The difference is its weight in the total internet is now much smaller and decreasing.


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