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Get Started with Web3

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define Web3.
  • Describe each evolution of the internet.
  • Describe why Web3 is important for the future.

Welcome to the World Wide Web

A lot has changed since the advent of the internet in the early 1990s... The internet is alive. It’s an ever-changing technology that has become our default context. And as the internet has evolved—from a way to link documents to an accessible information system to an interconnected social network with millions of active users daily—the way we relate to each other and the world around us has changed. 

Since its advent, the internet has enabled billions of users worldwide to learn, share, and connect globally for free. But millions of people can share and manipulate all of the information out there. This creates the enormous gaps in transparency, privacy, and security we experience with today’s internet ecosystem. This problem can theoretically be solved with the next generation of the internet, Web 3.0, often referred to as Web3. 

How we connect with our friends, family, and coworkers has drastically shifted since the early ’90s, taking us from in-person to virtual, making the digital world more central to our everyday lives. We’re now seeing a new digital economy emerging with users at the center. Many believe we’re entering the next era, where the emerging technology and use cases we see today will continue to evolve and be played out over years and decades.

There’s a lot to unpack here. That’s why we created this module: to help make sense of where we’ve been, where we’re headed next, and what it all means.

Before we get to the details about Web3, let’s review some basics. Let’s start from the beginning. 

The Evolution of the Internet

The evolution of the web is often divided into three stages: Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0. 

In the beginning, Web1 (1990 to 2000) democratized access to information. It was the first iteration of the world wide web. Most of us were consumers of content. And the creators were typically developers who built websites that contained information mainly in text or image format. Data and content were served from a static file system rather than a database, and sites didn’t have much interactivity at all. It was the Web of Read.

Most of us have experienced the wonders of the web in its current form, which is referred to as Web2 (2000 to 2021). This stage of the internet took Web1 further by democratizing connections and transactions. In this era, the simplicity built into the interfaces and applications enabled anyone to become a creator. It’s the Web of Read and Write.

As we experience the beginning of the Web3 era (2021 and beyond), applications will not run on a single server or store data in a single database owned by central authorities. Instead, Web3 applications will either run on blockchains, decentralized networks of many peer-to-peer servers (nodes), or a combination of the two. Web3 has the potential to democratize participation on the internet, enabling people to Read, Write, and Own both their data and digital identity. 

Web 1.0 Web 2.0 Web 3.0










AOL, Amazon

TikTok, Instagram

OpenSea, Discord

Why Web3 Matters

Web3 is a point of evolution beyond where we have been operating. It’s an extension of Web2, which incorporates the advanced technologies we see coming to fruition today. The idea of Web3 is not only to fuel the formation of the metaverse and expansion of cryptocurrency, but to touch on other major industries in our globally interconnected world. The ultimate goal of Web3 is to create a more connected and open digital world.

Web3 does not require “permission,” meaning that central authorities will not decide who uses what services. Nor is there a need for an intermediary to facilitate virtual transactions between parties. Web3 theoretically better protects user privacy in certain ways because it’s these authorities and go-betweens in Web2 doing most of the data collection. 

There are a number of advantages that Web3 has the potential to offer.

  • Decentralization: Intermediaries would be removed from the equation, and blockchains would provide a transparent platform where the rules are unbreakable and data is publicly recorded.
  • Ownership of data: End users will regain control of data by creating a public record of all their activity on the blockchain. Information could then be shared on a case-by-case and permissioned basis.
  • Potential for reduction in hacks and data breaches: As more businesses and enterprises enter the space, there will be a large need for added security. This new technology can provide enhanced security because data will be decentralized and distributed. With further development of the rules and regulations, there is potential for reduction in large-scale hacks and data breaches where hackers would need to turn off the entire network of servers and record every transaction on the blockchain to access information.
  • Permissionless blockchains: Anyone could create an address and interact with the network. Users will not be barred on account of geography, income, gender, orientation, or a host of other sociological and demographic factors.

While still in its early years, the mission behind Web3 is to create a decentralized web that creates new types of ownership, new ways of building trust and collaboration, and opens the doors to new possibilities. It has the potential to change how we interact with the web in the upcoming decades. Web3 is built on blockchain technology that validates user data, creates transaction transparency, and provides more secure payment options. 

Where Do We Go Next?

The future is a decentralized, global marketplace. In the next unit, discover how Web3 is transforming industries and impacting businesses, society, and individuals alike. 


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