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web2 vs. web3

Web2 vs. Web3 - Explained

Published On: September 29, 2022
Since a few years ago, the crypto community has been hyping up web3 as the future of the internet. However, not too many of them seem to truly understand what web3 is. They just hype up the word because everybody else does it.

This article will explore all the differences between web2 vs. web3 and the definition of the word itself.

What Is Web3?

Web3 is the expansion of web2 (the internet as we have it today) with the concept of ownership and decentralization. Basically, web3 utilizes blockchain, crypto, and digital assets to bring back the sense of ownership to the users.

While web1 was read-only, the web2 space is already read-write. Web3 will be about read-write-own. The word “own” here means you own the digital assets on the web3 world, thanks to the addition of cryptocurrency and blockchain. 

Why do we need to “own”? Because the current web2 (think of Facebook or YouTube) has been plagued by too many issues. Data ownership, biased political and social censorship, and concentration of power have been going worse in the web2 world. This is why many crypto advocates believe the web2 will be sooner or later replaced by the web3.

By adding the idea of decentralization and trustlessness to the web, the crypto advocates believe that eventually web3 will be able to fix web2 issues.

Let’s look at the biggest differences between web2 vs. web3.

Web2 vs. Web 3 - Which One Is Better?

As we mentioned above, web2 is already read-write. It means that you can “write” content to the web and it will be displayed to the world. Think of it like Facebook or Instagram where you can write texts and upload images or videos, and they will be displayed to your entire network in the same website. That’s web2, which is the expansion of the previous generation called web1 (where you can only read content, but you can’t “write” anything to it).

The read-write features on web2 are also implemented on web3, but web3 has one additional benefit, which is the “own” feature. The “own” feature is implemented through the utilization of blockchain. 

Since data on the blockchain is immutable and decentralized, inside the web3 world, we won’t have to worry about the website owners manipulating the data that they upload. This is the biggest difference between web2 vs. web3. Web2 has website owners who can manipulate data that they display to you anytime they want.

Web2 Main Issues Are Censorship and Subjectivity

censorship is a big issue
As mentioned above, web3 intends to fix web2’s issues with data ownership, censorship, and concentration of power. The web2 as we know today is full of these problems. Take a look at Youtube as an example. The company behind YouTube has been accused of political censorship for many years and it only seems to get worse.

Another good example to prove our point is Github's drama with Tornado Cash repositories. From this particular case, we can see that Github was able to ban Tornado Cash repositories anytime they want. They only reversed their decision after the authorities clarified that the repo itself didn’t violate the law. 

Most of the bigger social web2 platforms (YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) have been caught making controversial decisions when it comes to censorship. And since the web2 platforms are owned by very few entities, they can do whatever they like, since you do not have many alternatives to consume the same level of content.

Web3 Aims To Be the Decentralized Internet of Anti-Censorship

This is where web3 comes in. In the world of web3, you give the sense of ownership to all the users and builders. Unlike web2, the “owners” of the web3 get distributed among different builders and users, and not just the co-founders. 

You simply need to connect your web3 application or wallet to the page, and you will be able to interact directly with everybody else.  Considering the fact that web3 is powered by blockchain, it technically solves the issue of centralized ownership.

Since the core of web3 stays on the blockchain, the data in web3 stays online and immutable forever, as long as the blockchain itself remains decentralized. This is different with web2 where the data is centralized, and can be manipulated by the owners whenever they want to change something.

In theory, we can say that web3 aims to be the decentralized internet of anti-censorship. When you upload data to the blockchain, you cannot further modify the data anymore. Since all the blockchain participants have the same copy of the blockchain, you can’t manipulate it as long as the blockchain has enough level of decentralization.

This is why a lot of crypto advocates believe web3 will fix web2’s censorship issues alongside other problems.

Web3 Key Features

Logically, web3 is the future of web2. By integrating blockchain technology and potentially other peer-to-peer technologies as well, the web3 world will eventually replace web2 platforms. Here are the key features of web3:

Immutability: since the data is uploaded to the blockchain, web3 is basically immutable. The data uploader won’t be able to easily modify the already-deployed data whenever he likes since the blockchain validators are composed of hundreds or thousands of different individuals and entities.

Decentralization: one of web2’s core issues is the centralization of power. Just like our examples above with YouTube and Github, they can do whatever they want. Web3 solves this problem by giving back the sense of ownership to the users. Decentralization gives privileges to the users and blockchain participants to control the network.

Trustlessness: Another key benefit of web3 is the fact that you don’t have to trust the counterparty as long as you trust the code and the blockchain network itself. You don’t have to worry about the counterparty’s ability to manipulate the data and transaction.

The Current Web3 World - Where Are We Today

Many of the crypto dapps where you can connect your Metamask and other wallet apps to them are already considered part of the web3 world. However, keep in mind that the web3 frontend is usually still hosted on centralized servers with the same traditional setups. 

Although you can interact directly with the smart contract public functions on blockchain explorers, the majority of dapp users are still very dependent on the web3 frontend accessibility through the standard web browsers.

It’s widely believed the current DeFi industry has not yet pushed the web3 use case to its limit. Apart from DeFi transactions, we have not seen much of actual web3 potential. Hopefully that will change in the upcoming few years as the blockchain industry continues to grow.

If you believe web3 is part of our future, you should also read our is cryptocurrency the future of money article, where we explore much more details about the future of the entire crypto industry.
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