The current buzz surrounding Web3 represents the convergence of multiple domains. In the past, Web 3.0 represented the semantic web, which focused on making Internet data machine-readable. Web3 has moved to a broader place, including the Metaverse and decentralization. The metaverse is described by Wikipedia as a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. The metaverse itself is a huge buzzword these days, but its origins date back to Author Neil Stephenson when he coined the term in Snow Crash, a dystopian cyberpunk novel published in 1992. In the novel, the metaverse is described as a 3D shared virtual world – a whole universe of shared virtual spaces seemingly linked together with an ability to teleport between them. Games like Minecraft and Fortnite are close to the vision that he foresaw. You can explore more on the metaverse here.
There is likely to be a great deal of confusion when looking at metaverse and all things reality (VR, AR, MR, etc.), but a narrative for the metaverse is taking shape. The box to the right summarizes a metaverse description via Mark Zuckerberg, as told to The Verge. However, whether the narrative belongs to Facebook, Microsoft, or others, it must be viewed through the lens of their own agendas.
In a separate Forbes article, Bernard Marr describes the areas of Web3 convergence. In his description, the metaverse is the next iteration of the internet’s front-end. In his own words:
The idea of the metaverse is that it will be a much more immersive, social and persistent version of the internet which we all know and love. It will use technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to draw us in, enabling us to interact with the digital domain in more natural and immersive ways – for example, by using virtual hands to pick up and manipulate objects, and our voices to give instructions to machines, or talk to other people. In many ways, the metaverse can be thought of as the interface through which humans will engage with web3 tools and applications.Bernard Marr – What Is Web3 All About? An Easy Explanation With Examples
So, one piece of the story is the front-end. The other critical piece is decentralization – which introduces other areas of convergence like blockchain, distributed computing, DAO, AI, trust, open-source, and encryption. This is a very complex piece of the Web3 story, as it works against the organizing system of our current era. The inertia of this organizing system represents a considerable set of obstacles to realizing the Web3 vision. Nonetheless, Web3 applications are emerging. A sample list provided by the article are:
- Bitcoin – The original cryptocurrency has been around for more than ten years, and the protocol itself is decentralized, although not all of its ecosystem is.
- Diaspora – Non-profit, decentralized social network
- Steemit – Blockchain-based blogging and social platform
- Augur – Decentralized exchange trading market
- OpenSea – A marketplace for buying and selling NFTs, itself built on the Ethereum blockchain
- Sapien – Another decentralized social network, built on the Ethereum blockchain
- Uniswap – Decentralized cryptocurrency exchange
- Everledger – Blockchain-based supply chain, provenance, and authenticity platform
The links in the post provide a great view into Web3 and the related areas of convergence.