Real-time Technology Glossary

An ever-growing repository of technical terms around real-time technology and beyond.

Web3 is the term used to describe the next iteration of the world wide web. The word web3 is a catch-all to describe the new functionality being developed.

The current version of the internet is mainly monopolized by large technology corporations. The core idea around Web3 is that the internet should be decentralized. Cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, highlight how currencies can be decentralized and managed by their users instead of a central authority. Cryptocurrencies (and web3 apps) run on what are called permissionless blockchains. A permissionless blockchain has no centralized control and does not require users to trust or know other users to do business with them. Intermediaries are not necessary.

The blockchain technology that powers crypto can also be applied to the greater internet. In Web3, internet users will build, operate, and own content instead of tech companies. A decentralized internet creates many opportunities for new Web3 applications that are blockchain-based.

Let's first take a look at the features from web 1.0 and web 2.0 so you can understand the need for Web3.

History of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

Web 1.0 was the first version of the internet. From the early 1990s until 2004, the world wide web mainly was read-only and static HTML web pages. This version of the web had limited use cases and was primarily used to share data. Search engines became popular during this time as the early users of the web were trying to find information. As more people came online, they began to want to share information, not just consume it.

In the mid-2000s, social networks and social media platforms began to emerge - paving the way for Web 2.0. For the first time, users could contribute user data to the web. Since the introduction of Web 2.0, big tech companies and their apps have figured out how to take advantage of the centralization of all that personal data - using advertising. Social media platforms take advantage of users creating content by exploiting users not owning content after they share it. This means users don't own their data and don't usually benefit from monetization.

In recent years, many big tech companies have come under fire for misusing personal data and content. With decentralization being so successful in crypto, the proponents of web 3.0 want the same blockchain-based technology applied to the entire web to prevent data from being misused. This means that companies like Meta (Facebook) would not necessarily own user contributions to their platform - that ownership would remain with the user and be verifiable.

The idea of 'Web 3.0' was first shared by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood after Ethereum launched in 2014 to capture the ideas around a decentralized internet powered by blockchain technology.

Think of the evolution of the web like this:

  • Web 1.0 is 'read-only.' Users could access information but not contribute.

  • Web 2.0 as 'read and write.' Users could access information and contribute. However, they may not own their contributions.

  • Web 3.0 is 'real, write, AND own.' Users could access information and contribute. Their contributions are linked to the user similarly to digital assets in a crypto wallet.

Solutions powered by Web 3.0

The idea of ownership creates many new opportunities for the next generation of the web. Web3 is more than just a trend - it will solve real problems in the online ecosystem.


Web3 allows you to have one universal login instead of creating an account for every online service. Your identity can be verified across services, and you don't have to share personal information.


When you purchase a digital asset online, like an item in a video game or a non-fungible token (NFT), it can be tied to your identity instead of your account with that game. No one has the power to take away or delete your ownership, and you can sell your ownership in other marketplaces.

Censorship resistance

In the current web, social media platforms can change the rules whenever they want. Governments can step in and enforce changes and rules as well. If the platform wants your content or account deleted, there's nothing you can do to stop them. In Web3, since data lives on the blockchain, it cannot be deleted. You can take your data with you and connect it to a different service or platform.

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs)

Web3 also allows users to own the platforms they contribute to. A DAO is an agreed-upon smart contract that automates decision-making over resources (tokens). By using tokens to represent shares in a platform, users can vote on decisions for the platform.

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