Recently, big name crypto experts gathered together again on September 28 in an inaugural blockchain conference called Token2049 in Singapore. The event was attended by many high profile crypto thought leaders like Justin Sun, Arthur Hayes, and Dan Morehead, where they exchanged insights and gave tips to market watchers about what the next big thing in the crypto space could be.
While a topic that was often mentioned included the vulnerability of the central bank controlled fiat currency system and the role crypto, DeFi and stablecoins would play to protect the wealth of individuals, experts were equally keen to expound on more constructive topics as to how blockchain could improve the lives of people outside of the financial market system.
Web3 The Next Big Thing in Crypto
Specifically, Web3 was singled out as being one of the most prominent and important growth segments in the space that has immense potential and can bring about a positive change to the world.
Dan Morehead, the CEO of high profile crypto fund Pantera Capital, with $4.5 billion of assets under management, even described Web3 as the most inevitable trade he has ever seen.
Morehead, who has seeded and invested in many of the most lucrative projects in the crypto space, is drawn to Web3 because it gives users control of their data, instead of the current Web2 where users' data are at the mercy of centralized infrastructure provider platforms.
To quote Morehead as saying, “The existing internet is all about extracting value out of you. There are also some sketchy governance issues in Big Tech. I’m excited for a world where people create and add value and all these networks actually own their data.”
In short, Morehead thinks the next big move in crypto would involve decentralized versions of existing popularly used applications like Google, Youtube or Twitter, which will be able to hand value and authority back to the original content creators and end-users.
What is Web3?
For the uninitiated, the above sounds exciting, albeit a tad confusing - isn't Web3 about NFTs and Apes like we see splashed all over social media? The short answer is no, but fret not, let the experts at Margex explain more about Web3 to you so you can see from Morehead’s point of view how important Web3 is.
In simple terms, Web3 is a decentralized version of everything online that we currently use daily. Before we elaborate about Web3, let us take a few steps back and examine the evolution of the internet that we use today.
The Evolution of the Internet
In the early days after the internet was born, people could communicate and utilise services online, which opened up a sea of new opportunities and ways of doing things that were previously not even thought of. People were introduced to the concept of email and web browsers, online banking and online shopping. The creation of this content was done by the companies who were conducting business on the internet.
Next came stage 2.0 of the internet evolution - where interconnectivity of the internet improved and led to the invention of hosting services. The growth of this new type of business eventually created the sharing economy, or commonly referred to as the “gig economy”. Think of services like Twitter, Youtube, Meta, Whatsapp, which do not create any content, but are merely hosting services that allow users to create and share content. The phenomenal revenue growth of these hosting platforms has made many of these so-called Web2 companies among the world’s biggest companies by market capitalization.
However, these giants have grown so big and powerful that many have become monopolistic players that are able to unfairly control and change the rules for its users. Worse still, they have even started to unilaterally ban certain users from using their platforms, which have by now become necessities to many users (especially many in the gig economy need to use platforms like Youtube or a ride-hailing app to earn a living). The ability of such large corporations to be able to dictate the lives of millions at their whim is unsettling for many people.
Herein Steps Web3
Web3 aims to be the decentralized versions of the Big Tech firms like Youtube, Twitter and Meta. Imagine a Youtube that will no longer be able to censor anyone’s video for a controversial decision of “violation of platform rules”, or a Twitter that will no longer be able to unilaterally ban Donald Trump’s account, or stop anyone from expressing their opinion. In other words, Web3 will be able to liberate users from indiscriminate censorship and surveillance.
While previously a faraway dream, the vision of Web3 is now attainable with the distributed ledger technology known as blockchain, where projects can be built open-source and updated simultaneously on different computers at different parts of the world at the same time. With Web3, instead of a platform's code being written by and controlled by the platform owner, it will be developed in full view of everyone who wishes to have a look, and everyone that wishes to participate in its development and governance will be able to do so. Instead of being centrally controlled by only a small group of people, these Web3 platforms will be community governed, where everyone using it will become a stakeholder, and each stakeholder will be able to cast his vote to influence the decisions of the platform, making it equitable for everyone involved.
Web3 coming to life is akin to taking the riches of the founders of Google, Youtube, Meta, Twitter, etc, and putting them into the pockets of each individual, and even better, without the unilateral unfair treatment and censorship.
Looking at how successful Web2 companies have become, why wouldn’t Web3 become even bigger? Whether one likes it or not, Morehead’s take on Web3 becoming the next big thing has compelling reasons to come true.
Now, the next time you hear someone say Web3 is about jpegs and web games, maybe you can help explain that Web3 is a much bigger and nobler vision than that.