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What is web3 and why should you be paying attention?

Maybe you’ve heard about web3, maybe you haven’t. Regardless, web3 is something everyone should be paying attention to. In this post, I’m breaking down what web3 is and why it matters. In simple terms and without the jargon. I’m also going to share my best resources for learning more about web3 if you’re a complete beginner.


Let’s dive in! 🏊‍♀️


What is web3?

A year ago, I had no idea what web3 was. I was not even aware of the terms web1 and web2. Fast forward to today - I’m deep into the weeds of web3. A few months ago, I even invested in my first NFTs!


I feel a strong urge to spread the word about the huge paradigm shift that is coming. Because for some reason, explanations of web3 usually come with all this jargon (blockchain, crypto, DAOs, etc), creating a barrier to entry to this space that is completely unnecessary. We need more people in web3 and in my opinion, we especially need more women in web3!

The jargon-free definition is coming, I promise. But, to be able to explain web3 properly, we first need to define web1 and web2. So bear with me…


Web 1.0 - (1991-2004)

Read only

Web 1.0 was made up of static websites, imagine a big Wikipedia site. The web was not interactive and users could only consume content.


(Fun fact: there was a point in time in the early days of the web1 era when you could actually finish reading all the content published on the entire internet. Hard to imagine, right?!)


Web 2.0 - (2004-now)

Read and write

Thanks to social media and blogs, we can now write and publish our own content. In the web2 era, the internet has also become more centralized to a few, big tech companies. Up until now, many of us have willingly given away our personal information and content in exchange for using platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Using our content, our data, and our attention, the big tech companies are making massive profits as middlemen. In web 2.0 YOU as a user are the product.


Web 3.0

Read and write + own and benefit

So now we get to the good stuff. What is web3?


Here is a simple definition 👇

Web3 enables us to own things on the internet, similar to how we can own things in the physical world.

Web3 is creator-focused and community-driven. Thanks to web3 and its underlying technology, the middlemen are removed, so that YOU will be the owner of your content. Not only can you own your own content and data, but you can also monetize it using web3 technology.


In essence, web3 has 3 core concepts:

  • Ownership and exchange of digital goods and value

  • Automated and customized experiences

  • Creator and community ownership


Web3 is a big concept and has underlying technology that I won’t go into here. We’re keeping this jargon-free, right?


So let’s keep going and talk about why web3 matters, and why you should be paying attention.


Why does web3 matter?

I can still remember that aha-moment. When I finally got it. It kind of broke my brain thinking about all the new business models for content creators, entrepreneurs, and even service providers like me.


Web3 will create new business models and revolutionize the internet as we know it. Here are two of the web3 features that make this possible:


Digital scarcity - The fundamental nature of the internet is that information wants to be free. In web1 and web2, basically anything you create can be copied and spread indefinitely. However, thanks to web3 and its underlying technology, it is possible to track ownership of a digital asset.


Smart contracts - A smart contract goes beyond just laying out the terms of an agreement between parties, like a regular contract. A smart contract executes any deals or transactions detailed in the contract automatically, using code. In general, smart contracts can’t be changed, even by the creator. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), for example, are made possible by smart contracts.


Digital scarcity + smart contracts = new ways to monetize

Combining digital scarcity with smart contracts enables you to monetize your digital content in entirely new ways. Some examples of monetization that is made possible in web3:

  • Turning your content, like your best-performing blog posts, into scarce digital assets, and then charging a subscription fee for access.

  • Setting up a smart contract to collect royalties from an online course you created every time a former customer sells their own unique access to the course to someone else.

  • Letting your community invest in your work (through your own creator coin or NFT collection) and then offering a dividend to those investors in return. This is kind of like issuing your own stock but without actually doing an IPO.


How to learn more about web3

This past year I’ve spent countless hours consuming content about web3 - here are some of my favorite beginner-level resources for learning more about this fascinating space.


Twitter Twitter has a very active web3 community. Here, you’ll have to cope with the jargon though. But using this web3 glossary as a dictionary anytime you come across an unfamiliar term will get you far.


Podcasts

A few of my favorite podcast episodes on the fundamentals of web3:




Bankless - How to Own the Internet - with Li Jin




Women in Influencer Marketing - NFTs and the Creator Economy - with Dayna de Stefano, Founder of unblcd


Articles

Digital Scarcity in Web3 - Unstoppable Domains


Guides Transition to web3: a guide for non-technical roles - Although this guide is targeted toward people wanting to make a career shift into web3, it is a goldmine when it comes to curated resources on web3 for beginners.


Final thoughts

Writing this in December 2022, we are still early and web3 is still under development. However, by getting involved early and keeping your eye on where web3 is headed you will be well-equipped to start reaping the benefits of what web3 has to offer as soon as this internet paradigm shift is a reality.

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