Wen / Chen Gen
With the current iterative innovation of various information technologies, the Internet is showing the trend of evolution to the next generation Internet. This evolution may trigger a new round of information revolution and further profoundly change all aspects of people’s life, work and society, and the result of this evolution is the emergence of Web3.
Recently, the word Web3 appears frequently in various news. In the science and technology section, you can see many reports on the new technology and new architecture of Web3; In the commercial version, you can see that Sequoia and other investment institutions, Tencent and other well-known enterprises have arranged Web3 information; Even in the international political sector, you can see the thinking on the development of Web3 caused by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Of course, all this discussion about Web3 can also be a little disturbing. After all, most of us haven’t really adapted to the new rules created by social media in web2, so Web3, as an updated version of the network, will be somewhat overwhelmed.
How to evaluate the emergence of Web3? Will Web3 be a new opportunity for the Internet?
Rational view of Web3
The emergence of Web3 is reasonable, but the excessive praise of Web3 is inappropriate.
In fact, from the perspective of technology, the emergence of Web3 is an inevitable trend. Just as from web1 to web2, on the basis of web2, with the further promotion and upgrading of technology, it is bound to move towards Web3.
Specifically, web1 is the first development stage of the Internet. In web1 stage, users are simple content consumers, and the content is provided by the website. A typical example is the news portal, and there is little interaction between users. Of course, web1 is not completely without interaction or payment functions, but these functions are greatly limited because the transfer infrastructure can not guarantee security.
Obviously, although web1 is based on open, decentralized and community management protocols, web1 is only a readable network. In the era of web1, users cannot interact with the content of the page. Moreover, with the increase of the number of users, there are more and more web1 problems.
The birth of web2 is mainly to overcome the limitations of web1. Compared with web1, the main advantage of web2 is that users can interact with the network. In fact, it is the user’s demand for social attributes that has led to the birth of many Internet social platforms. People can share their daily life on Twitter and microblog, and can also evaluate or sell goods on app. The Internet changes from passively receiving information to actively creating information.
This new and more interactive Internet experience has brought many new functions to users and improved the user experience. However, the problem also follows, and it has not been completely solved until today, that is: if users want to use these new functions, they must authorize the centralized third-party platform to manage a large amount of data.
Therefore, these centralized entities have been given great power and influence in terms of data and content permissions. A large number of communication and business activities are concentrated on the closed platforms owned by a few technology giants, such as Google, meta, Amazon, etc., and this model has been running until today.
This is why every one of us should unconditionally hand over our data behavior privacy to the platform on various platforms today, and then we have to pay for some behaviors on the platform, such as shopping, reward, recharge, buying equipment and so on. Moreover, after we paid for our behavior, these platform providers also collected, analyzed and processed our privacy behavior data, and then began to sell it.
It can be said that under the core mode of web2, people’s lives are almost manipulated by several major Internet social giants. This brings an opportunity for the emergence of Web3. Web3 exists based on blockchain and promises to return privacy and digital identity to users. At the same time, due to non-homogeneous tokens (NFTs) and decentralized applications (dapps), it has achieved a new level of interaction.
From this perspective, Web3 represents a vision to break this monopoly control – the Web3 platform and applications built based on blockchain technology will not be owned by giants, but by each user, who will obtain ownership by helping to develop and maintain these services. The vision of Web3 is to provide convenient access and more features based on open source protocols and business as the interface.
Based on this, decentralization has become the biggest feature of Web3, which is not only an important reason why Web3 is touted by capital, but also the reason why the significance of Web3 is most easily used and exaggerated.
In fact, although Web3 claims to realize decentralization, in the final analysis, from the objective fact, decentralization is only an ideal – decentralization can only develop in a more open and equal direction driven by technology, because the final central power is still in the hands of the platform designers.
It can only be said that in front of public information, Web3 technology, or its underlying blockchain technology, is essentially to increase information confidentiality and security, but it still can not form absolute confidentiality at the level of national governance or hackers. Well, since there is no absolute security or absolute decentralization, it means that the so-called anonymity is obviously limited.
Of course, it should be pointed out that Web3 can still eliminate the business mode monopolized by the current platform and protect the privacy of users to the greatest extent. Web3 will become a centralized entity with different labels, and the standards of these labels may be based on the legal behavior of the country.
Web3 ahead of metaverse
Another concept that catches fire with Web3, or even earlier, is metaverse. In fact, metaverse is also regarded as the ultimate form of the Internet. It is a network world with a higher degree of virtualization, more freedom and better reflecting the personal labor value of Internet users. It will be a third world constructed by integrating virtual and physical entity space, and a virtual world that can realize the same as the real world.
Metaverse connects virtual and reality, enriches people’s perception, improves experience, and extends people’s creativity and more possibilities. Among them, metaverse’s virtual world changes from the simulation and reproduction of the physical world to the extension and expansion of the physical world, which in turn reacts on the physical world, and finally blurs the boundary between the virtual world and the real world.
In March 2021, roblox landed in the capital market, which is considered to be a landmark event in the metaverse industry. Immediately, it set off an upsurge of the concept of “metaverse”, and the capital was moved by the wind. At the same time, major Internet giants entered the market with large chips. Many listed companies said on the interactive platform that they had begun to layout this field, such as Facebook, an Internet social giant, and many Internet giants such as byte beating, Tencent, byte beating, Netease and Baidu. Metaverse’s madness is obvious to all.
At present, the enthusiasm of metaverse can be said to be extremely irrational, just as many enterprises try to scratch the hot spot of metaverse for enterprise renaming. In 2021, more than 450 enterprises with the name of “metaverse” were added (all enterprises are in the state). In January 2022, 23 related enterprises were established, and one was established almost every day. According to tianyancha statistics, more than 30 enterprises have recently changed their names to “metaverse”.
But in fact, the conceptual layout of Metaverse is still concentrated in XR and game social fields. Technology ecology and content ecology are not yet mature, and the entrance of the scene needs to be widened. There is still a long process of “de bubble” between ideal vision and reality development. Take content as an example. At present, although China has leading “metaverse” hardware manufacturers including Pico, the ecology of VR content such as games, video and audio is not perfect.
Contrary to the distance of metaverse, Web3 is the technology closer to us and the underlying technology architecture of metaverse. The reason why metaverse’s underlying technology must be based on Web3 is that Web3 technology is to break the monopoly mode of the current data platform center, that is, return the data and privacy rights to users. We can understand that Web3 is a technology developed to build the digital power of digital people.
At present, when the world is talking about human rights protection, each of us has been stripped of our digital rights by platform businesses. This means that when entering metaverse, when everything is digitized, everyone’s digital virtual human and the behavior based on digital identity in the future virtual entity world should not belong to the current platform monopoly or secretly occupy for themselves.
The underlying technology based on Web3 allows everyone’s Internet data rights to return to everyone. When everyone’s data rights are returned to individuals, we can ensure our data security to the greatest extent and protect our behavior privacy on the Internet to the greatest extent. More importantly, our data human rights can be truly realized, because the ownership of these data belongs to each user.
When businesses need data or conduct some business behavior research, they must buy from users. We can choose to sell or not to sell individual behavior data, but the key is the behavior data and property right data of these individuals, which are owned by each individual.
Therefore, combined with the promotion of technology and data human rights, we are bound to move from web1 to web2, then to Web3, and further change our way of life and business with the development of Web3.
Who is seizing the opportunity of Web3?
At present, the competition of Web3 has started. In the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Web3 industry seems to be more actively involved in the war process than any other industry – Web3 adopts completely novel forms of war, such as NFT fund-raising, cryptocurrency sanctions, Ukraine Dao, etc.
Through the technical support of Web3 company of the United States, Ukraine bypassed the cumbersome international bank settlement system. Within two weeks of the war, it has received more than US $100 million of cryptocurrency. Almost all of these cryptocurrencies come from enterprises and individuals, and most of the encrypted assets have also been quickly used in military operations.
This war, known as the first “encryption war” in human history, also sounded an alarm to countries all over the world: a country can not have cryptocurrency, but it can’t help mastering the Web3 technology behind cryptocurrency.
At the same time, the Internet giant has also started the layout of the Web3 field. On January 20 this year, twitter announced the launch of new functions to display the user avatar with NFT as a hexagon, which is also considered by the industry as the first attempt of the transformation of the Internet giant to Web3.
At almost the same time, meta, youtube and Google announced that they were trying to launch NFT products and join the research and development of Web3 products. Google parent company alphabet Inc Sundar Pichai, CEO of, directly said that the company was monitoring the development of blockchain industry and Web3. He said that many technology companies are pouring into the field and have hundreds of millions of dollars of investment, and alphabet may soon follow suit.
At this point in time, China’s Internet manufacturers also began to connect with foreign NFT companies and layout Web3. On March 7, 2022, immutable, an Australian NFT game company, completed a financing of US $200 million. Tencent and a number of international capital such as Temasek and mirae asset participated in the investment, with a post investment valuation of US $2.5 billion. Tencent’s investment object this time is a game company based on Web3 technology. Immutable’s goal is to develop blockchain games that let players really own game assets.
Byte runout is also added to immutable X. In 2021, tiktok placed NFT at the dedicated site supported by immutable x to avoid the energy problem of blockchain. When NFT hype is explicitly prohibited in China, the Sinicization of Web3 seems to be a road we have to take.
It is undeniable that Web3 gives entrepreneurs in this era an opportunity to subvert giants. After all, no matter which era, as long as there are new changes in technology, new giants may be born. For example, in the era from web1 to web2, social giants such as Facebook and twitter were born under the monopoly of Google.
The same is true in China. Despite the monopoly of Alibaba and Tencent, such subversives can still be born. Because the large enterprises formed in each era, because their own enterprises are too large, it is difficult to make a complete transformation and trade-offs in strategy, so they must not have the advantage of light loading of new challengers.
In general, it is certain that the blueprint of Web3 is beautiful. The emergence of Web3 is to redesign existing Internet services and products to benefit the public rather than just corporate giants. Of course, data will still be used to drive decision-making, but it will not be used to exploit consumers. Data rights will be protected, not just for profit.
This is an era worth looking forward to for the Internet; For the market giants or rookies who hear the wind, it is not only a challenge, but also an opportunity.