Twenty years after the birth of the Internet, people are trying to return it to utopia
In the past few months, I believe that everyone has been bombarded by the “Metaverse”. Short videos and marketing accounts are everywhere. Even the grandfathers and aunts who dance the square have begun to talk about them. In fact, if you want to say that the most popular and fiercest thing in the Silicon Valley technology circle and investment circle recently, it is really not Metaverse, but another technology concept related to it.
Because of it, top venture capitalists such as Sequoia and A16Z have made heavy bets, and even reorganized their structures to “reshape their own lives.” Also because of it, top-tier tycoons such as Musk and Jack Dorsey are diametrically opposed to venture capitalists, and they are about to quarrel in Silicon Valley. It turned the sky over.An introduction about it has hundreds of thousands of page views on the Internet to top the circle of friends; news about it is dynamically updated on the front page of the New York Times, Bloomberg and other overseas media every day, wherever you go. Full of discussion and controversy.
Some people say that its arrival will completely change the current way of economic and social operations and open up a new era of digital economy.
This concept is Web 3, the third-generation Internet , which is the most concerned and most controversial of the current technology circles .
So, what exactly is Web 3? What is the difference and connection between it and the Metaverse, and what impact will it have on the future? This time, we tried to do a more comprehensive inventory.
Web 3: Start a new era of internet “dominated by you”
Before talking about what Web 3 is, we need to briefly look back at the concepts and connotations of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 in order to better understand why Web 3 was born and the problems it wants to solve.
Web 1: “Read-only” information display platform
The concept of Web was first born in a study conducted by the European Institute of Particle Physics in 1989. At that time, in order to facilitate global researchers to share and update information between different computers, British scientist Tim Berners-Lee submitted a proposal on “establishing a hypermedia information retrieval system on a global scale” and named this system It is the World Wide Web. The idea is that the resources on the Internet can be displayed more intuitively on a web page, and these resources can be linked to each other on the web page.
The proposal submitted by Tim Berners-Lee that year, the picture comes from the European Institute of Particle Physics (CERN)
On August 6, 1991, Berners-Lee released the world’s first web page. This was also the first time that the World Wide Web appeared as a publicly available service on the Internet. To this day, you can still click to view this page, which explains what the World Wide Web is and links to information such as how to use a web browser. Although this web page looks very simple today, it was it that opened the curtain of the Internet era and announced the arrival of the Web 1.0 era.
From the background and definition of the invention of the World Wide Web, we can see that the Web at that time was designed for information sharing and exchange. The World Wide Web is like a platform for information display, aiming to become a window for people to understand the wider world.
From 1991 to 2004, the information circulating on the World Wide Web gradually changed from text to pictures and then to video, and the era of information portals was surging. A large number of browsers and information portal websites such as Netscape, Yahoo, Sina, etc. have sprung up all over the world. Although these websites have completely changed the way people understand information, the information is static and read-only. Users can only be audiences and cannot participate in it.
So soon, a revolution in the era of Internet interaction arrived.
Web 2: “Interactive” content production network
Web 2 was first created by Darcy DiNucci, an information architecture consultant, in an article “Fragmented Future” written in 1999. In this article, she proposed: “The Web as we know it now is basically loaded into the browser in a static form. In the window, but this is only the prototype of the future Web. The future network is no longer just a full screen of text, but a transmission mechanism that will generate real-time interaction.”
It took nearly 5 years for this concept to be widely known. It was not until the end of 2004 that the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference was held in San Francisco. Tim O’Reilly, the founder of O’Reilly Media, officially brought Web 2.0 to the public. Sight, and further explained and enriched the definition and connotation of Web 2. He said that Web 2.0 is a new way of the Internet, and its model will be more user-centric, allowing users to act as content creators and interact and collaborate through social media.
He used Netscape and Google as examples to explain the difference between Web 1 and Web 2. Netscape, which was born in 1994, was the world’s largest browser. Its business model was to sell advertising spaces on webpages to the company, and then collect fees based on click-through rate or the length of time it was put on the shelves. It was a user-dependent Information display platform. The emergence of Google has changed this model of searching for consumers by advertisers. Through a data-driven search engine, users can independently enter query information and then provide more accurate advertising services on this basis, and at the same time solve the advertising window. The negative experience caused to the user.
In this example, both consumers are passive in using Netscape browser, but active in Google. This is the core difference between the first generation and the second generation. In other words, in the Web 2 era, users can not only browse information, but also actively participate in the transmission and exchange of information.
Today, most of the technology companies we know are products of the Web 2.0 era. Including search engines represented by Google, social networking sites represented by Facebook and Twitter, video communities represented by YouTube and Tiktok, knowledge communities represented by Wikipedia, and so on. Under the mode of user-created content, the scale of the Internet began to expand rapidly, and the Internet began to become an indispensable part of people’s lives. Today, we are still in the era of Web 2.0.
So, since the era of Internet interaction is developing so vigorously, why has Web 3.0 been repeatedly mentioned and become more and more popular in the past two years?
Web 3: “Decentralized” personalized environment
Before explaining this problem, we need to go back to the original intention of Tim Berners-Lee to create the Web in 1989.The World Wide Web was born to solve the information transmission problem of researchers from various countries at that time. When the information of a site is gone, everyone can still find the information on the Internet and use it for free.Therefore, the first generation of the Web has two notable features: first, it does not depend on a central organization; second, it is not designed for profit.
But in the Web 2 era, the development of the Internet has deviated from the original design track. As users change from receivers of information to participants, the digital behaviors of users on the Internet are also recorded one by one, and are controlled by various companies in the form of data. For example, Google records your search traces, Facebook and Twitter record your relationships and interactions, Amazon records your purchase records and so on. These technology giants use a large amount of data to obtain benefits, and algorithms control your world.
And most importantly, your personal data does not belong to you, but has become their profit tool centered on each company. For example, if Facebook goes bankrupt one day and shuts down your social account, then all the dynamics and all the relationships you have made in the past will disappear with the disappearance of Facebook, and your information does not essentially belong to you. .
Picture from pcmag, author Angela Moscaritolo, copyright belongs to the original author
These giants have made huge fortunes by swallowing huge amounts of personal data. At the same time, there have been many cases of user privacy leaks and data abuse. For example, the sensational Prism Gate and Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica incident have driven people to start more. Pay attention to their own data security issues. Therefore, we have also seen that in recent years, technology giants have faced more and more intensive and severe data privacy and antitrust allegations and investigations, and there are increasing calls for returning data control to users and returning the Internet to its original intentions. .
In 2014, Gavin Wood, the co-founder of Ethereum, clearly put forward the concept of Web 3.0 in his blog “Insights into a Modern World” for the first time, and proposed a brand-new Internet operation mode: information will be released and kept by users themselves. , It cannot be traced back and will never be leaked, and any actions of users will not need any intermediary agencies to help transfer.
So, does this mean that sites and services like Google and Facebook no longer exist? In fact, this is not the case. From the user’s point of view, the experience of using Web3.0 and Web2.0 will not change much. Various applications will still exist, but the back-end operation mode will undergo a revolutionary change. Users no longer need to create multiple identities on different centralized platforms, but have a decentralized universal digital identity system. In the future, users will have their own “key storage”, and the data held by these service sites in the past will be mastered by users themselves through distributed application technology.
What does that mean? For example, your login time, search records, photos and activities posted on Facebook are no longer recorded and kept by Meta. Your own browser is your personal database. When do you want to transfer this information from Facebook to other platforms It will be all right. For another example, if you need to pay and transfer online, you can directly prove your identity through the browser you use instead of entering account information and seeking third-party verification as you do now.
In short, Web 3 will be an era that will not rely on any central organization and will be completely controlled by users. Its arrival will completely break the monopoly of the current technology giants, rewrite the current mode of operation of the digital economy, and trigger a large number of bottom-up innovations.
Image courtesy of Fabric Ventures
Although Web 3 was proposed in 2014, it has always been in a tepid state due to the lack of a very specific and well-known application scenario. But this year, with the full-scale explosion of digital currency, NFT, and Metaverse, more and more people began to participate in the discussion of decentralization, virtual identity, and encrypted currency. 3 passion. Venture capital represented by A16Z began to run into the market. From deconstructing the concept of Web 3 to deploying related companies in advance to lobbying the regulatory authorities to adjust policies, there is a sense that Web 3 is coming.
Regarding the changes and conceptual features from Web1.-Web3, the Silicon Star people also summarized a table for everyone.
Silicon Stars watchmaking, copyright belongs to Silicon Stars
The relationship between Web 3 and the Metaverse
Nowadays, the word Web 3 often appears together with the concept of annual hot money Metaverse. So, what is the relationship between the two?
First of all, as a grand concept of “universe”, the Metaverse does not refer to a technology or an industry, but a huge social economic system. It is precisely because it covers such a wide range of fields, so now it seems that any project can be involved with it. But in fact, it can be said that more than 90% of the current Metaverse projects are out of the nature of the Metaverse and only stay at the stage of conceptual hype.
What exactly should the form of the Metaverse look like? Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, once said, “Metaverse will be an unprecedented large-scale participatory medium in which all users can participate, create, share, and profit from it.” Metaverse is not the same as virtual space and virtual space. Games and virtual platforms will not be controlled by only one company. The digital avatars of users can freely shuttle between different platforms, and everyone will have their own universal identity and universal wallet.
For example, we can use digital avatars to buy clothes in Amazon’s virtual store, then wear the clothes to buy tickets in Disney’s virtual park, and then transmit the play records to virtual social media. In this process, we do not need to register different accounts on each platform, do not need to use different settlement methods, do not need any third-party verification, all the data is recorded in my account with the same digital identity, it Can exist across platforms. Does it sound familiar? Yes, this is the concept of Web 3 we mentioned earlier.
Picture from Pulsar
Therefore, the essence of the Metaverse is a non-stop running, decentralized virtual social system, and its concept is in the same line as Web 3, and Web 3 is the cornerstone of the continuous operation of the Metaverse.
To truly realize the Metaverse, we need to follow such a logical relationship: first, the underlying technologies such as distributed database, encryption technology, edge computing, etc. will be mature, before the arrival of the Web 3 era, and then combining VR/AR on this basis. The hardware equipment and the corresponding policy and supervision environment are intertwined and progressively developed to form an ideal Metaverse.
The relationship between Web 3 and the Metaverse, drawing by the Silicon Stars, the copyright belongs to the Silicon Stars
Controversy about Web 3
When we look at the changes from Web 1 to Web 3, we will find that this is actually a process of upgrading user demands:after solving the problem of food and clothing in information transmission, users’ requirements for their own Internet rights have gradually changed. However, it should be noted that it is not the different stages of the Web concept that gave birth to companies in different periods, but the different forms of the Internet in the development process that led people to try to use this stage division to summarize and explain technological changes. the trend of.
Therefore, the so-called Web 2, Web 3 is not a closely-proven technical standard, and the definition of Web 3 has also been under debate.
Today, regarding Web 3, two distinct factions have emerged in the technology and investment circles: one is the All in Web 3 investment army represented by A16Z, which believes that the Web 3 era is around the corner; the other is the founder of Twitter The “anti-Web 3 speculation” faction represented by Jack Dorsey and Musk believes that Web 3 technology needs more time to explore. The current Web 3 promotion is all about money and hype.Recently, the two factions have also been quarreling over this matter, and they have all used it.
Jack Dorsey and Musk joked about Web 3 on Twitter
Jack Dorsy and Musk are also well-founded to question Web 3, because the Internet is still facing huge challenges on the way to Web 3, and these problems seem to be difficult to solve in a short period of time.
First, the cost and difficulty of technical implementation are high. We know that the core of the Web 3 concept is to let users have the right to control their own data, which means that distributed application technology must be very mature. In fact, the peer-to-peer technology required for distributed applications has existed decades ago. The reason why it has not entered the mainstream is because the problem of data storage and processing cannot be solved. On the one hand, the storage and processing of massive data requires huge costs, which cannot be shared among individuals; on the other hand, the efficiency of centralized network processing tasks is very low at the current level of technology. For example, the current Bitcoin blockchain can only Process 3-7 transactions, and Visa’s transaction processing system can process tens of thousands of transactions per second. Just imagine, if we want to use the blockchain network to pay for a glass of Coke, this transaction may take an hour to complete. Can you accept it?
Second, many current blockchain projects are not completely decentralized. The foundation of the blockchain is a consensus mechanism for reaching consensus among all participants, and this mechanism must be unique and universally trusted. Therefore, the decentralization of the blockchain is only to the institution center, not the trust center. At present, according to the degree of decentralization, there are three types of blockchains: public chains, consortium chains, and private chains. In addition to public chains, consortium chains are polycentric, and private chains are central. In other words, if you want to achieve the ideal state of Web 3 “everyone is the center”, how to build a consensus mechanism that is accepted by all users is the first problem to be solved.
The main types and characteristics of the current blockchain, the picture is from Quora
Third, regulatory issues are obstructive and protracted. The idea of decentralization proposed by Web3, in essence, puts forward high requirements on supervision. This is why Zuckerberg encountered strong resistance when he proposed the establishment of the Libra digital currency alliance many years ago, and it was finally unstoppable. Therefore, it takes a long time to discuss and explore how to establish a set of operating rules that are compatible with the Web 3 era and what roles all parties should play.
In summary, Web 3’s ideal of returning the Internet to its original intention is full, but at the same time the technical and practical problems it faces are also skinny. In the next few years, we may not see the rush of the Web 3 era as advertised by venture capitalists. Social networks and enterprises based on Web 3 may develop and grow in the next few years, but they will not be able to completely replace Google and Meta. The role of companies such as Amazon in people’s daily lives.
So, when will the Web 3 era come, and where will the Internet develop? Musk once asked when reposting a video of Bill Gates talking about the Internet in 1995, “Considering the almost unimaginable nature of the present, what will the future look like?” Then, he agreed with a netizen’s answer-“The good way to predict the future is to build it. ”
Finally, the Silicon Stars also compiled a few pieces of opinions and materials from venture capitalists and technology bigwigs on Web 3 for everyone. Friends who are interested in Web 3 can check it out for themselves:
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/full-interpretation-of-web-3-going-to-the-metaverse-it-is-the-only-thing-that-science-and-technology-bigwigs-care-about-most/ Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.