Web2 vs Web3
Crypto Basics

Web2 vs Web3

10 months ago

As Jack Dorsey ignited a debate over Web3 decentralization, we take a closer look at Web2 vs Web3, their history, their features, and what the future holds for both versions.

Web2 vs Web3


What are the differences between Web2 and Web3, and what is their proposition?

The debate around Web3 and its value will be one of the most heated discussions of 2022, especially after Jack Dorsey's tweet that caused an uproar in the cryptocurrency community in December.
The former Twitter CEO argued that, in contrast with popular opinion, Web3 is a centralized entity because it’s owned by Venture Capitalists (VCs) and Limited Partners (LPs).

While it will be interesting to follow the debate over the next few months, this article will analyze Web2 vs. Web3 from a technical standpoint so that readers can draw their conclusions on what the future might hold for both information systems.

What Is Web1?

We hear a lot about Web2 and 3, but what was Web1? This is typically identified as the internet (1991 and 2004) that consisted of static content websites in text or image format without much interactivity.

The first generation of Web 1.0-era websites was limited to passively viewing the content, like a read-only document/page.

What Is Web2?

Web2, or Web 2.0, is commonly identified as the interactive and social web.

While the previous version of the internet was mainly populated by developers who were the leading players in creating content, Web2 typically consists of applications conceived to allow anyone to be a creator easily.

User-generated content, ease of use, interactive culture, direct user participation, and interoperability (compatibility with other products, systems, and devices) for end-users are the main features of Web2.

For the first time, anyone could create any type of content, upload a video or photos, write and publish books, comment on people’s posts and allow millions of people to see it. Social media networks were born and will remain protagonists of the world wide web for years to come.

Innovative user-friendly experiences allow a new way of communicating. Businesses that provide information and communication platform started to flourish in exchange for consumers' personal data. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are only a few of the most popular and successful companies of the Web2 era.

The dynamic web with more social and cooperative interaction was welcomed everywhere on the Earth. It came with a trade-off though, the supply of personal and confidential data in exchange for direct participation in the network.

How Do These Apps Make Money?

Initially, after launch, a web application service aims at onboarding as many users as possible by building a helpful program that is also very easy to use.

Like every business that needs to grow and thrive, the app will have to start generating some revenue. This happens by attracting investors and/or by selling consumers’ personal data. The intervention of venture capital often jeopardizes the autonomy of the service because investors need to see a return on investment which is usually at the expense of quality and integrity.

Security and Privacy Issues

Unfortunately, allowing personal data usage incurs another major problem: data breaches, typical of centralized networks that rely on a single point of failure. Web2 history is full of infringements that it’s fair to assume that everyone’s personal data has been violated at some point.

Consumers have no control over their information; how it is used and stored. Centralized servers also make it easy for governments to interfere, control, or shut down applications as they believe appropriate.

What Is Web3?

Web3 is regarded as the next-generation internet, where everything that could be done in Web2 can still be done but in a decentralized manner.

What Does This Mean and How Is It Rolled out?

We’ve highlighted Web2 centralization issues that might jeopardize the authenticity of systems and pose a risk to data security and consumers’ privacy.

Web3 is supposed to resolve these issues through blockchain and its decentralization.
Platforms like Ethereum are built to overcome user privacy and data breaches through their trustless, open, permissionless attributes and users following the same rules applied by a consensus protocol.
Ethereum is currently the most popular platform for DApps, the blockchain decentralized applications that should be replacing the Web2 apps we are still using today.
A significant role in Web3 will be played by NFTs and the metaverse on blockchain platforms.
Web3's decentralization is also reflected in the way developers build applications. Instead of building apps on a single server and storing data in a single database (usually a cloud provider), developers use blockchain technology through decentralized networks of several peer-to-peer nodes (servers).

Users would typically pay to access the protocol like they would pay to use a cloud provider like AWS today. Except in web3, the money is distributed among the network participants.

Decentralization is Web3’s most important innovation. However, it also offers the following benefits:

FOSS: Free and open-source software that anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, and study. It is a source code that is openly shared so that people are encouraged to contribute voluntarily;

Trustless network: Participants can interact without the involvement of any third party;

Permissionless platforms: Users or providers do not need permission from authorities to participate in the network. Nobody can block anyone or deny access to the service;

Native token payments: Blockchain generated tokens/coins that are borderless and frictionless;

The real challenge, and the one that Jack Dorsey was talking about, will be to create true censorship-resistant, private and open networks like Bitcoin. Like Web2, it would appear that Web3 is still primarily populated by centralized companies that are subject to the power and funds of big corporations, VCs and LPs.
One of Web3’s leading players is Andreessen Horowitz, co-founded by Marc Andreessen. He was in a clear disagreement with Jack Dorsey’s vision and reacted to the entrepreneur’s controversy by blocking him on Twitter.

Whether the cryptocurrency community understood and elaborated the message the former Twitter CEO was trying to convey, it’s something that we will assess in the next few months.

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