What Is Web3?

Sep 19, 2022

At some point in the last year, you’ve likely come across the term Web3, also referred to as Web 3.0. It’s been one of the biggest buzzwords of the year, but what exactly should you know about this concept that sounds like something from a sci-fi novel? 

 The Next Evolution of Online 

The history of the internet is roughly divided into two periods, Web1 and Web2. Web1 was the early days of the internet, from about 1990 to 2004. During this period, the internet was not widely accessible and the skills to develop webpages and other assets were few and far between. Content consisted of static pages that could be viewed but not interacted with, and businesses were still figuring out how to make money online. 

 Web2 began in 2005 with the launch of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook and continues to be the internet of today. Along with expanded internet access and advances in technology, Web2 is characterized by user-generated content and participation. Blogging platforms like WordPress made it easy for anyone to create and post their own content without knowing how to code. Functions like commenting, liking and sharing were introduced, allowing users to interact with one another. With Web2 came the rise of megacorporations like Facebook and Google, which centralized ownership of internet properties in an effort to profit off the explosion in user participation. 

Web3 is meant to be the next step in our internet journey. Using blockchain technology and token economics, Web3 aims to create a decentralized version of the internet that merges the open infrastructure of Web1 with the modern tech and mass participation of Web2. 

The realization of Web3 may take many forms, including new crypto-based video games and social networks, NFT platforms for the buying and selling of digital content, and the metaverse – a network of virtual worlds that focus on social connection online through augmented and virtual reality. Both Web3 and the metaverse are being touted as “the future of the internet” and tend to go hand-in-hand. 

What Opportunities Currently Exist? 

Though in their rudimentary forms compared to the end vision of many developers, there are already various opportunities for businesses to be engaging with their customers in Web3 and metaverse-based platforms. 

Take retail for instance. Within the past year or two, brands have begun hosting virtual storefronts and fashion shows within platforms like Decentraland. Fashion brands like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton and Adidas are utilizing the metaverse as a place to host virtual event experiences and digital-only collections. The trade of NFTs, or digital assets, including art and fashion items has become a major force for crypto adoption, and many brands have started releasing digital and augmented reality versions of real products, as both an avenue for additional sales and an opportunity for online marketing. Companies like VNTANA are making it fast and easy to create these AR experiences by using patented optimization software to convert existing 3D designs into formats that can be used across the metaverse and Web3 applications. 

Several brands have also begun exploring new advertising opportunities in Web3. Performers and celebrities have teamed up with platforms like Fortnite to host virtual events, concerts and brand activation experiences. For example, the Jurassic Park movie franchise and Roblox teamed up to host a creator challenge within the gaming platform based on the franchise’s Jurassic World. Brands are hosting virtual lounges, purchasing virtual billboard placements and buying up virtual real estate. All of these opportunities are largely powered by the trade of crypto and digital tokens, accessible to any online investor or gamer. 

The Rest Is Yet to Come 

Though Web3 is still in its infancy, there are already large audiences engaging with the next generation of the internet. Just like social media in its early days, Web3 and the metaverse provide opportunities for marketers to become early adopters and disruptors in the new era of online.