Web3 - the Future of the Internet
The future of the Internet from the vantage point of an average guy.
Most discussions of Web3 are from either crypto currency enthusiasts or blockchain experts. I am neither. However, I can clearly see how Web3 could revolutionize the Internet for people such as me - the average user of the Internet. To put it simply - today we have an existing infrastructure and technologies that are about to be revolutionized by new technology. This has happened before.
The analogy I would use to describe what the Internet is about to go though is to compare it to another technology that swept the world and became part of everyone's life.
What we call "movies" started out as "moving pictures" and I don't think people today can comprehend how popular they were. I also don't think people today can appreciate how adding the new technology of synchronized sound disrupted the industry and changed movies forever into "talkies" as they were first called. Now of course we just call them movies and retroactively stared calling the earlier versions "silent movies."
To convert from silent movies to "talkies" wasn't easy and it wasn't cheap. But those who invested in movies with sound and in theaters with the new film projectors and sound systems throughout the theater became the wealthy Silicon Valley moguls of the day. Converting to Web3 will create similar disruption and opportunity.
The way I see it - the Internet of the future (Web3) will combine our current Internet browsing and buying habits with the new technologies of crypto currency and blockchains. The result will be very recognizable compared to today but so much different and better, Imagine an Internet free of most advertisements and where privacy is a top priority. An internet where a person once again becomes a consumer not a product whose data is for sale to any and all.
This change won't be happening in a vacuum. Big Tech has become abusive in their relationship to their customers. Censoring what is and is not acceptable while at the same time no longer hiding that they purposefully make their products more addicting, biased, and destructive to the very people pouring money into their coffers. People are tired of this abusive relationship and tired of being the product.
Meanwhile identity politics have splintered people into smaller and smaller "tribes." Those doing so don't seem to understand that the next logical step is for these smaller tribes to break free of big tech and woke culture for ecosystems of their very own.
All it will take is a new technology merger of the browser and blockchain. Imagine an Internet where a person can browse anonymously and without Big Brother censorship and without annoying advertisements. An Internet where the user pays for these features with a small digital token of payment. These small payments can be both single use (like for clicking and reading an article or a blog post) or metered payments geared for scrolling sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or news aggregator sites.
For example - imagine if there was a charge of just $.01 for each article you read online or a charge of $.01 for every 5 minutes you spent scrolling through a site like Twitter. The new browser would charge a small fee - say raising the charge from $.01 to $.011 - and keep track of your usage. Your account could be settled daily or weekly whatever makes sense in terms of crypto transaction costs. You would basically be paying about $.22 for every hour spent on the internet but that hour would be night and day different from the experience today. No more cookies - no more annoying advertisements (especially those jarring autoplay videos).
Your new browser of choice would be both a clearinghouse to pay the new Web3 sites but could also act as your homepage with all of your favorites. You would curate your own sources of information.
Content creators would benefit because that $.01 would be going to them. Each blog post or article becomes a mini-NFT where people "buy" a right to read for $.01 in crypto currency. A GIF or meme created that gets a million views would earn the creator $10,000. Paid directly to them.
My example rates will probably have to be much higher to start and remain so until Web3 hits critical mass but I believe people would pay. Paid content today is on the rise. Subscriptions to sites like The Athletic or to individual writers here on Substack illustrate that point. Say a writer on Substack charges $5 per month to subscribe to their content and they publish 2 subscriber only posts a week. That works out to roughly $0.625 per post for the subscriber (much higher than my $0.01 example). But Substack is on the leading edge of this revolution similar to how the first cell phones originally cost thousands of dollars but now are affordable by everyone.
Web3 wouldn't just be for content producers and consumers either. There could also be a marketplace to compete against the Amazons of the world. These merchants would be paid in crypto and the transactions could be handled seamlessly by your Web3 browser/clearinghouse of choice.
It will take a while for Web3 to take hold. Just like theaters didn't convert to "talkies" overnight. But those early movie theater adopters of talkies had people driving a hundred miles to experience the new technology and every showing of even the most mediocre movie seemed to sell out. In just a few years people who are anti-crypto may be compared to the equivalent of modern day Luddites. Or to people who went to their grave thinking sound ruined the movie going experience.