Web3 is digital sovereignty for individuals, companies and states. It no longer lets anyone decide for everyone what the Internet should look like. In short, this is the principle of Web3. Heralded as an internet revolution, based on cryptocurrencies, NFTs, metaverse and blockchain, it is a new web vision. It wants to revolutionize our surfing habits and transform the current concept of the web. Beyond these disruptive technologies, it is a new paradigm that could quickly invade us. It is therefore important to understand what Web3 is – or will be.
Unlike the current web, which is dominated by giants like Facebook, Google or Amazon, who impose their system and have total power over our data, Web3 is a profound revolution in mentalities regarding the concept of ownership. According to this new principle, based on the decentralized blockchain, users appropriate and truly own their data. So it’s a new architecture, a new way of understanding connectedness and ownership. Even if it is still more of a marketing idea than a working system.
Web3: a decentralized world that gives power back to users
Decentralization, the cornerstone of Web3, means that no one is dependent on any particular network or central authority. For example, Facebook is a centralized system where we post content, search for information, etc. But Mark Zuckerberg’s social network can make drastic unilateral decisions at any time. Delete our account, censor this or that topic, etc. Facebook applies American law, works with American authorities… In addition, the economic model of these web giants is often at the expense of users. Their value is based on owning our data and knowing exactly what we are doing.
The principle of Web3 is to reverse this trend and empower users. The idea is to decentralize the concept of services and content and ensure that everyone is in control of their data and everything they create on the web. Each person owns their data and decides whether to connect to other services and connect with other people to post content, share content, etc. All of this is made possible by the blockchain, decentralized protocols primarily used by cryptocurrencies today.
An unstoppable model
Just as most blockchain protocols are “unstoppable” today, Web3 is unstoppable. The philosophy is the same: it is based on a dense network of servers and computers, several hundred million machines connected to each other. And therefore, Bitcoin’s success has a lot to do with it. In order for this cryptocurrency to work, conditions had to be created to ensure that nobody could stop this network. Otherwise, the first regulator or the first coming state could have decided to completely disassemble Bitcoin.
Hence this idea of decentralizing the entire system and imagining cryptocurrency mining (algorithmic calculation method that validates and records transactions) distributed to all four corners of the world. It is then impossible to attack a central system since there is none. Nobody, not even the Bitcoin founders themselves, can stop the network from validating new transactions and exchanges. The Web3 is based on this principle.
Billions to bring Web3 to life
When investing in Web3, the question is no longer if it will see the light of day, but when. In 2021 no less than 27 billion dollars were invested in startups working directly or indirectly on the blockchain, NFTs or even cryptocurrencies. This year, global spending on blockchain solutions alone could reach $11.7 billion.
In June 2021 the venture capital fund a16z announced the creation of a new investment structure. baptized Crypto Fund III and valued at $2.2 billion, it is entirely dedicated to Web3. As a reminder, a16z was founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, two Netscape alumni who have invested in startups like Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Groupon, etc. in the past. Today Andreessen Horowitz participated in OpenSea (NFT) or Roblox (Metaverse). In short, Web3 has their full attention.
A Gold Rush (and Opportunities)
In November 2021, another major investment fund, Paradigm, raised $2.5 billion to support the development of companies looking to develop Web3. The investment portfolio is teeming with crypto solutions, blockchain protocols and decentralized services. The era is not very reminiscent of the time of the internet bubble of the “New Economy” – between 1998 and 2001. But the story being written seems to be very different. This mountain of capital available to build Web3 and ensure the transition from Web 2.0 to this new world seems “too big to fail”.
Recently, Katie Haun, a former a16z, raised $1.5 billion to start her own investment fund, Haun Ventures, in late March 2022. The latter intends to invest in various crypto projects, in NFTs and Web3. 1.5 billion is twice as much as she had hoped. “Web3 is the new era of the Internet and deserves a new era of investors”, she told CNBC. In Europe we are seeing the emergence of venture capitalists such as Maven 11, Tioga Capital Patners, BlueYard, Greenfield One, Semantic and Fabric Ventures. The latter took over from Web3 in July 2021 by creating Fabric X, a €109 million fund.
Capitalism reviewed and corrected?
Launching Fabric X, the three co-founders of Fabric VC shared their vision for Web3 in a post on Medium: “New open web technologies such as cryptocurrencies, blockchain, NFTs and the Metaverse support the free flow of users, data and value. This encourages collaboration by facilitating an open economy with higher overall economic returns for all stakeholders. And ultimately a fairer, more stable and more sustainable society. Fabric Ventures sees it as an upgrade of capitalism itself.”
Those who see this as an anti-capitalist system could not be further from the truth. The vast majority of Web3-related technologies are designed to add more value (especially hard and fast). Above all, the principle of decentralization does not mean that the money is evenly redistributed between everyone. The majority of Web3 pioneers are clearly there to make a fortune.
A technological solution to a political problem
Ultimatelythis Web3 is above all a technological solution to a political problem. For a long time, a crucial question arose during the Trump era: “Who owns the Internet?”. Why should Facebook, Twitter or others have such a strong right to censorship without matter? This new decentralized system is an answer to this problem.
However, there is a risk that another distortion will be introduced: the commercialization of all aspects of our lives through tokens (digital tokens) and other NFTs. Unless, perhaps, establishing free tools and open access at the same time. Like Creative Commons licenses. Open and collaborative projects for everyone. So that Web3 is not only a new Eldorado for investors, but also a public service, returning to the philosophy of the World Wide Web as envisioned by Sir Tim Bernes-Lee and the W3C (which has just celebrated its 33rd anniversary). . : Making the web accessible to all.