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  • - [Narrator] Web3 is the newest buzzword

  • taking over the tech and venture capital world.

  • And if you've found yourself wondering what it means,

  • you're not alone.

  • Web3 is seen as the third generation of the internet,

  • a decentralized online ecosystem based on the blockchain.

  • - Web3 represents kind of a new philosophy

  • about how to realize these technologies

  • in a more distributed and democratic way.

  • - [Narrator] Venture capitalists have invested billions

  • into this vision, but some tech experts are unconvinced

  • that Web3 could scale globally.

  • Skeptics like Tesla CEO, Elon Musk,

  • have called it a marketing buzzword.

  • - A lot of the skepticism about web 3.0 comes from the fact

  • that it's early expressions are fairly primitive.

  • - [Narrator] As experts debate

  • whether or not this new version of the web

  • can become a reality,

  • here are some of the underlying principles

  • behind the vision for Web 3.0.

  • (keyboard clicking)

  • To better understand Web 3.0

  • and what sets it apart from the web we use today,

  • you have to go back to the early days of the internet,

  • what experts now refer to as Web 1.0.

  • Most of the participants were content consumers

  • who were limited to navigating

  • through individual static web pages.

  • - Web 1.0, for those who remember,

  • was just, you know, raw HTML

  • and lots of very simple web pages,

  • and it wasn't really controlled by anybody.

  • - [Narrator] This was a more decentralized version

  • of the web, meaning anyone who knew how to code

  • could build on it from their own computers.

  • But at this time only a small number of users

  • had the technical skills to create and publish content.

  • Then came Web 2.0,

  • which is the stage of the internet we're living through now.

  • Web technologies like JavaScript and HTML5

  • made the internet more interactive,

  • allowing startups to build platforms

  • like Facebook, Google, Amazon and many others.

  • For the first time, anyone could publish content online

  • even if they couldn't code.

  • - Web 2.0 is this modern, centralized verse of the web.

  • You know, we're all sharing things on social media

  • which are owned by, you know, only two or three companies,

  • and we're all using Google Search.

  • - [Narrator] These companies own and manage

  • the data collected from their users,

  • and they frequently track and save this data

  • and use it for targeted ads.

  • - What's at the core of their business model is data.

  • - [Narrator] Olga Mack is a blockchain lecturer

  • at UC Berkeley, and is optimistic about Web3's potential

  • to reshape the internet.

  • - The data economy, where the user generated content,

  • whether it's a conversation or a video,

  • that is an exchange for services.

  • And so there is a perception

  • that this monopoly of data could be abused.

  • - [Narrator] Here's where the vision for Web 3.0 comes in.

  • The term Web3 was first coined by one of the creators

  • of the Ethereum blockchain, Gavin Wood.

  • In a 2014 blog post, Wood envisioned Web3 as an open

  • and decentralized version of the internet.

  • Theoretically, users would be able

  • to exchange money and information on the web

  • without the need for a middleman,

  • like a bank or a tech company.

  • In this vision for a Web3 world,

  • people would have more control over their data

  • and be able to sell it if they choose.

  • And it would all be operated

  • on a decentralized, distributed ledger technology.

  • The most common version of this is known as the blockchain.

  • While still considered relatively new and unproven,

  • it could offer more transparency and autonomy for users.

  • - The computers that are actually

  • doing that computing for you or storing that data,

  • anyone could own those computers,

  • anyone can become a part of that blockchain.

  • And so it's not Facebook and Google's computers doing that.

  • - [Narrator] With a single, personalized account,

  • users would theoretically be able to move seamlessly

  • from social media to email to shopping,

  • creating a public record on the blockchain

  • of all that activity.

  • But how exactly would Web3 remain operational

  • if it's not controlled by a central corporation or entity?

  • Theoretically, people would be given virtual tokens,

  • or cryptocurrencies, to incentivize them

  • to participate in the operation of Web3.

  • A central element of the system

  • is so called DEFI, or decentralized finance.

  • - And the idea is that if you can issue a token

  • for everything in the universe,

  • if you can financialize every possible interaction

  • of computers and software and humans,

  • then you can create this vast ecosystem of cryptocurrencies

  • which can be traded,

  • which can be valued relative to one another.

  • - [Narrator] Still, it's unclear

  • how this decentralized token system would be regulated,

  • how it could operate on a large scale,

  • or even how well it would distribute

  • control of the internet.

  • Critics of the idea like Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey,

  • called Web3 "a centralized entity with a different label."

  • - Developers who really dug into this

  • think that the underlying blockchain structures of Web 3.0

  • are very insecure, not decentralized as promised,

  • they're actually as centralized as previous technologies.

  • - [Narrator] Some see Web 3.0 as a critical building block

  • IN creating the metaverse, an immersive online world

  • where people can use avatars

  • to socialize, shop, work, and play.

  • But others say Web3 and the metaverse

  • are two very different concepts.

  • - Because the Metaverse is being hyped a lot right now

  • and Web3 is,

  • there are some companies at the intersection of the two,

  • like let's create a metaverse

  • that, you know, somehow it's connected to the blockchain.

  • - [Narrator] Right now, Web3 is still very much

  • an abstract concept with little real-world foundation.

  • Skeptics, like engineer and blogger Stephen Diehl,

  • argue that web 3.0, doesn't have the computing power,

  • bandwidth, or storage to work on any practical level.

  • - For skeptics of Web3, their argument is that,

  • you know, tokens and cryptocurrencies in general

  • are just a giant bubble,

  • and as soon as it pops, in their view, all of this nonsense

  • about how that's going to build the next internet

  • will go away.

  • - [Narrator] While it remains to be seen

  • whether or not Web3 will become a reality,

  • the philosophy behind it is driving billions in investments

  • in the venture capital world,

  • funding a vast ecosystem of decentralized internet services.

  • - So there's so much real-world money

  • going into building Web3 startups

  • that even if, as a concept, it proves unworkable,

  • we're gonna be hearing about it for a long time yet to come.

  • (gentle music)

- [Narrator] Web3 is the newest buzzword

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Why Some See Web 3.0 as the Future of the Internet | WSJ

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    Kelly Lin posted on 2022/09/21
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