Explain like I am 5, what is Web 3.0?Featured

Web 3.0 could have better marketing. When I ask people around me, from friends and customers to my parents-in-law: "What crosses your mind when I say the word Web 3.0?". Their answers are "crypto", "ftx fraud", "bitcoin", "flop", "tech stuff", and "no idea".

So you see, this saddens me. Not because I am involved in Web 3.0, I am just a passionate tech learner. To give you context about my background, I fell in love with code (still am) and taught myself over fifteen years ago. I don't work at a Web 3.0 company, but I do write code a lot, appreciate blockchain technology, and am a startup founder in the event industry.

I am writing this article because Web 3.0 can help many people's careers, it's where we are heading, and it's still early for anyone to jump in. The Web 3.0 space needs more diverse people to be involved, and the diversity could benefit the tech ecosystem in the long run. If shaping the future of tech is one of your callings, Web 3.0 is one of the ways to do it. I will clear the noise, and you should keep reading if you are looking for a beginner-friendly Web 3.0 article.

What is Web 3.0?

First, we need to know the history of the web. I will cut the noise to ensure readers grasp the core within minutes.

Web 1.0 ("read-only")

Web 1.0 is like opening a Wikipedia page that you know the exact URL, and... that's it. Literally. One-way source of information.

Web 2.0 ("read-write")

Web 2.0 is like opening a Wikipedia page that allows you to interact with their pages instead of just viewing them. Two-way source of information. This era enables web users to share their thoughts, experiences, and opinions with others.

Web 3.0 ("read-write-own")

Then comes the next generation of the web, where users can share their thoughts, experiences, and opinions with others and can own them.

Let me elaborate; I assume you have one of the online-platform accounts like MasterClass, LinkedIn, or Elpha. When you do any actions on these outlets, you don't own any of them; your comments, pictures, videos, articles, or anything else are in their database, rightfully so, because they provide convenience.

Owning user data is one of the by-products of delivering the best user experience, plain fact - nothing sneaky. Some platforms might have an arguable moral compass when sharing user data, but I still want to believe it's not some malicious evil planning. Nothing is free, my friend. When it is, then you are one of the products. I am a bootstrapped startup founder, so I won't sugarcoat that bills are real; if you love some startups, make them charge you.

So here comes the next wave of web users wanting to claim ownership, but what can or should you own? Would you start paying a monthly subscription to take care of all your data? But then, how will you use these data across multiple platforms when most platforms still need to support it?

Why should you care?

Valid questions. Now you understand why we are still super early in the Web 3.0 space and why it is essential for non-tech, non-finance people to be involved in Web 3.0. The core of it is vertical agnostic, meaning you can apply this to any industry you are passionate about.

Future of Work

Let's pick "future of work" as an example for this Web 3.0 exploration. I have various random skills and interests, and I am sure I am not the only one. I love writing code, learning physics, building houses, and training people in sports. So far, I have only managed to earn money from code and sports, but the truth is, I want to have multiple careers in life. I sincerely believe that in the future, humans will work fewer hours and earn a living from numerous sources and various industries because they care so much about improving their quality of life. Web 3.0 could be one of the significant components that will bring us to this future.

The DAO–Distributed, Autonomous Organisations is one of the incarnations of Web 3.0 that rejuvenates the freelance economy. DAO is a community-led, fully autonomous, transparent entity ruled by smart contracts. This model enables people to do the work they choose for multiple DAOs that align with their values and skills, and receive various sources of income on their terms.

Too futuristic? Today it is possible to work across multiple DAOs and earn an average of $47,500 per year[1], with a record of up to $300,000 a year[2], commonly paid in tokens. Moreover, these jobs are designed for more than just technical people. Non-technical people such as designers, writers, illustrators, musicians, and other creatives are thriving in DAOs. I wouldn't be surprised if you could work for multiple DAOs doing physical labour and various initiatives in the future.

How does it work?

Say organisation X has several projects looking for contributors, and you are interested in applying. The first step is proofing your identity and skills. Today's solution is a massive amount of interviews to prove that you are not a con artist and then a crazy amount of tests to prove that you know what you are doing. If you belong to a minority group, hold tight because biased hiring is real.

Future's solution is to use the Web 3.0 identity layer. It uses the blockchain, which is inherently secure and impossible to hack. Web 3.0 identity confirms your identity, skills and work history without hesitation. For a culture fit interview, existing project contributors could invite you for a 40H work-together to see if you click with the rest of the contributors.

After successfully passing the trial, you can browse and pick up projects matching your skills and experience on organisation X's platform. When you complete a task, your reward will be delivered to your Web 3.0 wallet thanks to the smart contract protocol.

What's next?

The above example hypothesises what could happen when Web 3.0 evolves and becomes a part of our daily lives, particularly in the "future of work" category. It's a good practice to allow ourselves to imagine the future we wish for and to build the paths towards it despite how impossible it seems. We can apply the same thought to various categories such as "healthcare", "education", "sustainable energy", "governmental projects", and whatever you are interested in.

Suppose, after reading this article, you feel more curious about Web 3.0. I'd recommend reading more about "edge computing", "decentralised data networks", and "artificial intelligence" or reading some of my articles on my website. I am always keen to learn new things and different perspectives from others, so don't hesitate to reach out if you want to connect.


Thanks! This is a great breakdown, and clarifies some of the attempts I've run into - some great, some not. But this 👉🏻 "It's a good practice to allow ourselves to imagine the future we wish for and to build the paths towards it despite how impossible it seems," really got my attention. I've experienced great and not great versions of it as well, but I can never resist the pull!
@Penina: Thank you for reading! I can relate to your thoughts. I often find myself contemplating questions like, "Why do I consider X as a positive future? Is it beneficial for me personally or for the greater good of humanity? What are the implications in the short term versus the long term?"I'm curious, what are your perspectives on this matter? Would you be willing to share your visions of both the ideal and less-than-ideal versions of the future?
I'll start with the less-than-ideal (so I can end on an up note :-):Mainly what I've seen is initiatives that leave out transparency from the blend you describe, or rely so much on tech and automation that all personal communication is eliminated (another blow to transparency).My poor web3 examples seemed to stem from a hyperfocus on growth and amassing data/tokens/"traction" without investing in enriched experiences for real humans. On the other hand, in one ideal future the new web would _enhance_ interpersonal interaction. We would be able to really live what even the earliest web promised - communities of interest, passion and vision that transcend borders and perceived differences. And in addition to our work histories (the past), our potential and willingness to pivot, learn completely new things and solve problems in uniquely individual ways would be unharnessed from rigid processes (the future!).People are too smart for me to believe a subset of us won't devise brilliant ways to abuse any system. It could end up being much more important to provide creative and intuitive inroads to utilizing web3 (and other emerging technologies) so that a truly diverse range of contributors can surprise us with unexpected solutions.
Thanks for this! I really had no idea and this was very helpful.
Thank you for reading @charisyourlife!
I always start explaining it like "The next version of the Internet as we know it" and there are many things to shine a light on and it's essential to understand that web3 is not crypto.
Super helpful article, thank you! I've just started working in a blockchain company and my mind got blown away by so many unknown definitions. Your article is in my bookmarks now ;)