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What is Web3? Will it replace the internet as we know it or is it just a scam?

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What is Web3? Will it replace the internet as we know it or is it just a scam?


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Web3 is, depending on who is describing it, the next stage towards a utopian internet, or a series of scams by people with more money than morals.

The central idea behind the ‘third version’ of the internet, according to its advocates, is weaving the various blockchain technologies – cryptocurrency, NFTs, and so on – together to create a web that is less reliant on the five big technology companies.

Its critics, which include former Twitter chief Jack Dorsey and Tesla head Elon Musk, argue that this is simply an attempt by other technology companies to grab the reins. “It’s ultimately a centralized entity with a different label,” Mr Dorsey tweeted this week.

Much like other internet buzzwords like ‘metaverse’ and even ‘artificial intelligence’, Web3 has a lot of hype around it in certain circles without properly existing yet; but, also like those technologies, billions of dollars are being spent to make it a reality.

What happened to Web2 and Web1?

Web1, or the ‘old internet’, started in 1991 and refers to the time when most online spaces were where people consumed content. Static webpages like the Space Jam site, poorly-designed by today’s standards, gave information to users with little interactivity.

Web2 began around 2004 and is more like the internet we know now: an interaction between user and platform. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as Google, rose to organise the web’s information and…

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