Web 3 And The Metaverse - Two Big Conflated Concepts

web 3 and the metaverse
Web 3 And The Metaverse

The concepts of web 3 and the metaverse have been used interchangeably in recent years. While they both point to a vision of a better, future internet, it’s critical that the two concepts don’t get mixed up or become a source of disagreement over how we want to keep growing it.

The Metaverse

The metaverse, named after the 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash,” is more of a vision than a tangible reality. Many people see it as a 3D immersive universe with unlimited concurrent users that is synchronous, durable, and scalable. It’s a digitally native environment in which we’ll spend the majority of our time working, learning, playing, and entertaining.

Because it hasn’t taken shape yet, the metaverse feels hazy and hypothetical. While some engineers want the idea to be anchored in the style of Meta’s Ready Player One-like address, the metaverse will need everyone’s involvement and engagement to actually take shape. It should be a synthesis of various iterative attempts and technological breakthroughs with no clear endpoint.

Web 3

Web 3, on the other hand, is a much more focused paradigm that addresses specific problems with the Web 2 internet. It’s a reaction to the walled-garden ecosystems produced by platforms like Facebook and YouTube, which resulted in people’s data being mined, their privacy being violated, and their ability to manage the content they make being stifled. Because it directly addresses the issues of ownership and power, Web 3 subverts that model.

Data is open and distributed, and peer-to-peer networks jointly own it, thanks to the blockchain. Users control their data as a result, peer-to-peer transactions can circumvent middlemen, and data is stored on the blockchain as a public good that anyone can contribute to and monetize. We’ve already seen incredible new consumer behaviors emerge from Web 3 initiatives, such as creators being able to sell their content as non-fungible tokens (NFT), play-to-earn games that have allowed people to make a living playing game, and a community-organized investing collective (ConstitutionDAO) raising enough capital to bid for the United States Constitution at a Sotheby’s auction.

Read more: Under Armour Launches Metaverse Wearables Partnering With Steph Curry Sneakers

Different Concepts Of Web 3 And The Metaverse

While Web 3 is a powerful tool for transforming how we store data, govern ourselves, and trade money, the latency with which blockchain transactions are cleared limits the settings and use cases in which it may be used. Although a completely decentralized internet approach sounds appealing, it is impractical. While it may be claimed that Web 3 is an important component of the metaverse, it is merely one part of a larger whole.

Instead of alienating other types of contributors, realizing that Web 3 and decentralization are simply building blocks for the metaverse opens new opportunities for them. There was protest when Meta (previously Facebook) announced their primarily AR/VR-centric metaverse vision, fearing that Big Tech would once again dominate the metaverse and force platforms to operate as a closed ecosystem.

People overlooked the fact that Meta’s innovation and attention were mostly on hardware and a 3D user consumption and input interface that, to be honest, does not exist today. Facebook is attempting to address the immersion issue, which is a significant one. Consider that for a moment. Many of us have been on Zoom for the past two years and are exhausted. How will we feel if we have to wear a virtual reality headset all day?

If we want to spend more time in the virtual world and enjoy it, we need more immersive, natural, and expressive virtual interfaces. Meta’s advances in AR/VR and motion-sensing technology do not jeopardize Web 3 and decentralization efforts. In reality, the best-case scenario is that people begin developing Web 3 applications for emerging 3D form factors such as AR/VR and holographic projections.

Another popular belief is that Web 3 will render Web 2 obsolete. It’s difficult to envisage such a scenario. Despite some of Web 2’s flaws, there are still a lot of products that work better without using the blockchain. People can chat and broadcast at scale and in real-time using platforms like Discord or Twitch. Uber and DoorDash, for example, effectively queue demand and match it with supply. Whether you like it or not, centralization is effective. OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace, is essentially a centralized marketplace that just facilitates blockchain transactions. Coinbase is another controlled exchange that facilitates cryptocurrency trades. These intermediaries, like any other Web 2 marketplace, take service fees on transactions in both circumstances.

While these hybrid products do not exactly correspond with the decentralization idea, they are important “bridging products” that aid in the widespread adoption of Web 3 aspects by appealing to the general public. Meta’s adoption of Stories helped it become a mainstream product for all demographics, comparable to how Snap Stories was a popular young product but struggled with adoption with older users. It’s common to think of new technologies and paradigms as revolutions. However, we can see throughout history that they tend to build on top of previous eras’ foundations. Email is still a big part of our daily lives, despite the fact that it was created during the Web 1 era of the internet.

Finally, rather than focusing on differences and “picking a side,” we should focus on how different operational models interact and how they might work together to improve people’s lives. While the recent creation of Web 3 and efforts to mainstream blockchain cases is a big step forward in our progress toward a better internet, it is only one component, and other related activities should not be overlooked.

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