Web3 (also known as web 3.0) and metaverse are two terms that are generating a lot of buzz and enthusiasm in the world of business technology right now based on some of the coverage, you’d assume they mean the same thing. Even though they are similar in several ways, they both describe different notions. So, let’s examine the differences.
What Is Web3 ?
Web3 is the decentralized internet, which is built on distributed technologies such as blockchain and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO), rather than centralized on servers owned by individuals or corporations.
The objective is to build a more democratized Internet as a result of this. Because they own the hardware it runs on, no single entity will be able to restrict the flow of information or “pull the plug” and end a network. In theory, the users will control the servers, systems, and networks from which applications are run and data is kept, and they will have voting rights over what rules and regulations are in place and how they can be used.
Why Is It Called Web3? Because it is expected to be the internet’s third significant evolution, following the worldwide web (web1) and the user-generated web (web2, or social media).
Also Read: Top 5 Web 3.0 Crypto Browsers You Should Try
What Is The Metaverse?
The metaverse, on the other hand, is a catch-all term for virtual environments in which users can connect and interact with apps and services in a significantly more immersive manner. The term “metaverse” was initially used to describe a virtual reality universe in Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel Snow Crash. Since then, books and films like Ready Player One and The Matrix have popularized the concept. Today, science fiction is swiftly catching up with technology. According to a survey conducted by Ericsson, seven out of ten people predict that by 2030, we will be able to enter virtual worlds that look to be fully genuine.
More broadly, the phrase is now applied to any online place that aims to create immersive settings, including games like Fortnite, which has been utilized as a venue for virtual concerts, and Roblox, which allows corporations to construct branded worlds.
Why People Think They Are The Same: Similarities Of Web 3 And The Metaverse
There are a number of reasons why they are frequently discussed as if they are the same thing. The first, and arguably most obvious, is that, despite my assertions, no one knows exactly what each of these is yet.
Both are still very much “under construction” by a variety of people and organizations, each with their own vision of what they should look like when they’re finished. For example, in 2021, Meta (previously Facebook) said that it would invest at least $10 billion in exploring the concept of a metaverse. However, its vision of the metaverse differs significantly from that of those who believe the metaverse should be decentralized and independent of large firms like Meta.
Second, both the decentralized web (web3) and the metaverse have been referred to as “web 3.0” at one point or another, a designation that simply means “third major iteration of the internet.” Now type “web3” into Google, and the majority of the results will correspond to the concept I mentioned in the opening section of this post. However, some have dubbed web 3.0 “the immersive web,” a new generation of the web that is distinguished from prior generations by its “immersiveness.” To put it another way, the metaverse!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they cross over in some very crucial ways, which is another reason they are frequently confused with one another. The web3 technology, which comprises blockchain and blockchain-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as NFTs, which are unique digital “things” stored on a blockchain, all have major ramifications for how we utilize virtual worlds for work, play, socializing, and learning.
How Does Web3 And Metaverse Connect?
While the metaverse and Web 3.0 aren’t the same things, they’re also not rival versions of the future internet, either one, both, or neither of them might materialize, and there may be some overlap.
For example, a digital artist might build an outfit for an avatar to wear in the metaverse and then sell it together with an NFT to make money. This would give the purchaser sole ownership of the clothing; if others duplicated it, their avatars would be wearing knockoffs.
It’s also possible that we’ll wind up with a Web 3.0 that we use on PCs and smartphones instead of VR headsets, similar to how we use the internet today.
If the IT industry is unable to overcome present hardware restrictions, this is very plausible. To support the metaverse, computers will need to be 1,000 times more efficient, according to Intel, and we’re still waiting for a comfortable, affordable VR headset to be released.
If the metaverse materializes, it might be centralized (as with Web 2.0), decentralized (as with Web 3.0), or a hybrid of the two.
Facebook has changed its name to “Meta” to symbolize its goal to construct and monetize the metaverse, the kind of centralized firm Web 3.0 seeks to cripple.
How Will They Come Together?
Cryptocurrencies, maybe most obviously, could serve as the metaverse’s economic and monetary basis. If the metaverse is a digital version of the real world, it’s safe to assume that people will want to shop, earn money, and start enterprises there.
Cryptocurrencies provide a ready-made platform for this; they don’t require the use of banks, clearinghouses, brokerages, or exchanges (in the traditional sense) to allow consumers to transact and invest in currency tokens they own. All you’d need to equip your avatar with is a wallet on your computer (or in the cloud) in order for it to go forth and prosper in these brave new worlds.
But, in the metaverse, what would you want to buy, and why would anyone want to buy digital objects that aren’t even “real”? Well, there is already a market for in-game stuff in video games, estimated to be worth $54 billion by 2020. The majority of them are cosmetic things that users use to dress up their avatars or in-game homes, or simply for bragging rights.
This is where non-fungible tokens (NFTs) come into play. NFTs, another fundamental component of the web3 vision, allow for the existence of unique goods in digital worlds.
Because it is represented by a token on an encrypted blockchain, unlike most of the digital material that makes up the internet, social media, and virtual realities, it cannot be infinitely copied simply by utilizing “copy and paste.”
This is why firms like Nike are already developing NFT-backed shoes and clothing that can only be purchased online. After all, why should individuals behave any differently in the virtual world than they do in the real world when they spend hundreds of dollars on pricey sneakers simply because they are limited edition?
Finally, from the perspective of a technologist, web3 allows the very foundations on which digital worlds are created to be developed on decentralized platforms. For example, Decentraland is a virtual environment based on the Ethereum blockchain. This means that users can buy parcels of land that are inherently theirs, rather than belonging to a corporation that owns the servers where they are hosted, using the Ether virtual money. This doesn’t only mean they’ll benefit when the land’s value grows (like with real estate), but it also means they’ll be able to impose restrictions on what can and can’t be done there.
So, there you have it: a brief summary of why web3 and metaverse are essentially separate concepts, but also in many ways linked. More importantly, they both have the ability to assist the other become more than they are, which is why the possibilities for interaction are so exciting.