The Beginning of My Web3 Journey
This buzzword brings me back to the days of the “Web 2.0” craze and hype that, as a web developer, I didn’t understand. Its former buzzword, “Web 2.0” made me cringe inside, as at the time, very few even knew what it meant. Web 2.0 to me describes XMLHttpRequests or Ajax requests. This allowed for much more rich and engaging front ends for websites.
One does not stumble upon Web3. One has to seek Web3, and there is going to be a fight along the way.
At the time I was already using these to do some nifty front-end work, and it was normal day-to-day for me. But then people started to use “Web 2.0” to refer to some utopian internet where everything was rainbows and unicorns. I laughed and rolled my eyes every time I heard some executive use the term.
Web3, well this feels different. One does not stumble upon Web3. One has to seek Web3, and there is going to be a fight along the way. If you ask ten different people what Web3 means, you will get ten different answers. Some may discuss cryptocurrency, others decentralized identity, and yet others will call you names and tell you it is a horrible idea.
“What is Web3? Take something that already exists and rub some cryptocurrency on it.”
— Kelsey Hightower
Already there are skeptics of Web3 that seem to be stirring things up.
It seems there is in large part a misunderstanding of what Web3 actually is, and what its intentions are. So, what are the intention of Web3 anyway? I also fall into the ask ten people get ten answers group. Through this blog, I will journey down the rabbit hole of Web3 and see if I can pull away from the layers of rainbows and unicorns. I will dispel the “dystopian society of excessive control” as Simon Wardley refers to it.
As it stands now, Web3 is about the decentralization of our information and identity. You may be asking yourself, “What the heck does that even mean?” Your private information which is currently the property of Facebook, Google, and other large corporations, will no longer belong to them. Instead, your information will belong to you, and only you. You will choose who gets access to what information about you. You will be able to retract that access at any time.
A lot of the time when I see someone begin to discuss Web3, they bring up cryptocurrencies along with it. Many have used this as an argument against Web3, suggesting that, as Kelsey Hightower suggests, “Take something that already exists and rub some cryptocurrency on it.”
The reason why people bring cryptocurrency up when talking about Web3 is many believe that there needs to be some decentralized ledger that drives it. Right now, cryptocurrency seems to fit that need. In my mind, the bitcoin blockchain with its proof of work backing is the only cryptocurrency decentralized enough to meet this need.
Does that mean we need to use cryptocurrency as the backing ledger? No, no it does not. There are many types and forms that a distributed ledger can take, other than a cryptocurrency. In fact, there are some that believe we will not need a distributed ledger at all. That remains to be seen.
Web3 is something that is not going to go away. There are many people who are ready to bash Web3 because they do not understand how it works, and what it will look like. Because there is Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) surrounding it, it is easier to bash it.
I am going to continue to research Web3 and to pull apart what it can, and cannot do. I am going to listen to the skeptics, and pull out the parts that will cause me to second guess my current views. I am going to push as much as I can into each area that it entails, and I invite you to ride along this journey.
This blog will serve as my findings along the road of Web3, with some initial stops in the DID protocol as well as Identity Hub implementations. I plan to journey into IPFS and many other types of decentralization systems. More to come.