Each new generation of the internet has represented the adoption of a feature which would enventually and drastically change the way we have interacted with it. While Web1 only provided a passive experience for the user who was limited to consuming content from static pages, Web2 has brought the possibility for the user to participate much more in the network by producing and exchanging information. Today many observers agree that the element of ownership and decentralization introduced by blockchain technology, as part of a myriad of advances (AI influence, increased connectivity, new devices participating in the network, etc.), will be a significant enough disruption to support the idea of a new age of internet, Web3.
If we approach this transition from the perspective of the revolutions brought about by blockchain, Web3 can be defined by borrowing Chris Dixon's formula according to which "the internet belongs to the builders and owners, orchestrated by tokens". On this new internet, centralized applications coexist with decentralized ones, the latter built on peer-to-peer and permissionless blockchain networks like Ethereum or Algorand. Those services support the exchange of value with native tokens, the recognition of ownership, and their existence is supported by a multitude of users who act as a crowd of servers with the ability to store information and run programs.
The tokens introduced here provide a new native payment layer that removes much of the friction encountered with current methods. Stripe and Paypal are two examples of Web2 services that have made substantial revenue by improving on the existing model at the time. Now, new players such as MetaMask are making it possible to integrate secure and international payments, without the need to transmit personal data or sensitive information, and with a speed and cost that can prove very advantageous.
The notion of tokens also evokes the idea of tokenization and the establishment of a token economy. Stakeholders can use their tokens as a way to participate in projects and vote on future changes to them, or even become an active participant in the operation as in the case of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
The new era of ownership allows the emergence of NFTs and other forms of digital value, which are unique and exchangeable. This is not only a new source of income for artists, but it can also be applied to guarantee the authenticity of products, to register intellectual property or simply to represent entry tickets. This leads to hybrid concepts such as the existence of second-hand markets for digital products like game licenses, which can be resold between individuals, a transaction for which the publisher takes a pre-agreed share.
Today, a majority of the top 100 global banks have invested in crypto-currency and blockchain technology. Indeed, financial institutions are looking to capitalize on the rise of the crypto-currency market, and 13 of the world's largest banks have invested nearly $3 billion in the sector. This is in addition to all the successful ICOs of startups and decentralized projects of all kinds, which should ensure enough funds for the ultimate Web3 idea to have a great chance of becoming reality.
In conclusion, we are experiencing a transition phase from a very centralized web to a new ecosystem where alternatives to current services could emerge, bringing advantages in terms of privacy and ease of use, but also new economic products and services promising fresh opportunities.