Author Image Robbie King

Robbie King

Aug 9 2022

Web 1 vs Web 2 vs Web 3 and Why the Change Needs to Happen

Butterfly depicting the Web 2 vs Web 3 development over the years
It’s hardly been three decades but the Web has come a very long way, and VerseProp’s goal is to help give you a front row seat to this evolving spectacle. To help clarify where the Web is heading and why our new and improved Web 3 is so important, we’ll start by outlining the stages that led us to where we are now!

Web 1 vs Web 2 vs Web 3: the differences

In a nutshell, the Web started as a crowdsourced online magazine that let you jump around its pages when you clicked on things. Then Web 2 made the experience more complex and responsive to the user. Now Web 3 is putting it all on a blockchain. Let’s elaborate on this.

    Web 1
Web 1 Yahoo screen
Source: w3.org
The first incarnation of the Web dates back to the mid-90s when the dot-com boom was underway. This came fresh from the mind of its creator, Tim Berners-Lee. This has been dubbed the “read-only Web” as early sites were mostly just digital pages of text and images connected by hyperlinks. Visually it was characterized by pretty basic 2D graphics, although it should be noted that this appearance was not a defining characteristic. You could easily create an experience with the defining characteristics of Web 2 or Web 3 and make it appear like the image above.
What’s also key to the Web 1 vs Web 2 vs Web 3 comparison is the barrier to entry. In the Web 1 days, if you wanted to create content, you had to be a developer or know/hire one. This meant that Web 1 content was mostly produced by corporations and techy first adopters.

    Web 2
Probably a little easier to picture since this is the Web we’re all familiar with. Web 2 gave us something more interactive. It turned everyone into a content creator and allowed us to share our thoughts and opinions more easily. A common misconception is that this was impossible beforehand; Web 1 had online forums and a few basic interactive functions. Still, it was things like social media, drag-and-drop website builders, and CSS that made the internet and the Web mainstream.
For those unfamiliar, CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. It’s a layer of styling code that sits on top of regular HTML web code and, for want of a better term, makes web pages look prettier, and lets them appear more intricate. The rise of dynamic apps has also contributed. From Google maps to Uber, Web 2 apps started updating content in real-time and created a whole new world of functionality.
Big technological leaps forward have underpinned so many of Web 2’s developments. Improved internet speeds and better servers let people and corporations deliver superior levels of Web content.
Another big leap in tech has been the smartphone. Putting serious computing power in people’s pockets, mobile internet, complemented by the rise of social media, made the human race connected at all times. Social media gave everyone a voice and online personality, taking us from being media consumers in Web 1 to becoming both consumers and producers in Web 2. Whilst Web 1 creations like internet forums paved the way for social media, the smartphone was the key component that made the social media world explode.
Thanks to these big technological leaps, the mega content platforms that most of the Web is built on came into our lives. Platforms like WordPress let anyone spin up a website. And YouTube and TikTok provided us with all the user-generated video we could ask for. Along with Instagram and a few others, they helped establish
the creator economy
These sizable amounts of content and interactivity were facilitated by equally large companies that knew exactly what to do with it. Facebook/Meta, Google/YouTube recognized the world’s lust for media. They built platforms that made publishing and interacting with content so attractive, that the data generated from doing so became its own commodity. Along with other big tech giants like Amazon, Twitter, and Netflix, Web 2 fell into the hands of a select few, i.e. an oligopoly.

    Web 3
In Web 3, the tech giants won’t be at the helm like they are in Web 2. True, Web 3 enterprises will rely on blockchain technology to hold data. The centralized server that holds the entire platform’s data will essentially be distributed amongst its users. This decentralized Web puts the individual in charge and – as we’ll see later on – gives them several benefits. For those unfamiliar with what a blockchain is,
click here
. The explanation is used within the context of money but blockchains can be applied to all kinds of applications and tools.
Cryptocurrency is a big part of Web 3. To make Web 3 decentralized, you can’t be paying in standard, government fiat money all the time. Whether it’s the native currency of a
Web 3 platform
or a major cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ether, Dollars, Pounds, and Euros are avoided at all costs in Web 3.
Although it’s been featuring in Web 2 for some time, AI and machine learning will make Web 3 a richer and more engaging environment. A significant feature in all this is the Semantic Web, something Google’s been using lately. That’s
another rabbit hole
to go down. But to give you a quick idea, it's essentially the use of metadata to help computers make better judgments and interpretations. Basically making AI more akin to human comprehension. Google has been using the Symantic Web to serve more effective and relevant search results to users for some time now.
There are of course several similarities between Web 2 and Web 3. They both require engaging and responsive UX. They both need to work in standard web browsers (for now).  And they both encourage content creation from participants.

Why the change to Web 3 needs to happen

Tim Berners-Lee’s original vision for the Web was one of decentralization. He wanted an online world where…

“No permission is needed from a central authority to post anything on the Web, there is no central controlling node, and so no single point of failure...and no ‘kill switch’! This also implies freedom from indiscriminate censorship and surveillance.”

Web 3 brings the Web back to being the democratic force for good that it was designed to be, and (in places) has been. When our data is decentralized and recorded on blockchains, this vision is well within our reach, and tech oligopolies can be circumvented.
There are also privacy and security gains to be had in Web 3. Without a centralized, third party platform capturing and making money off the data you generate, you’ll have the ability to be the only one who controls it. Since it's stored on a blockchain, your data will be harder for hackers to steal and corrupt. These gains are very much the missing piece of the Web 1 puzzle; many were suspicious of the early Web, perceiving it to be more dangerous than it actually was.
Being the sole custodian of your data also means that you choose how it’s used and monetized. Right now you have no say in how your behavior influences your personalized algorithm. And you have little say in what ads you’re shown. Web 3 data ownership gives you a say in what data you share. You will be able to choose how you feed a platform’s algorithm, giving it what it needs to create a better experience and not giving it your life story. As the owner of your data, you could even monetize it to your liking; you’ll be able to sell as much, or as little of it as you want, directly to corporations.
If you want to go full libertarian, then Web 3 can help you avoid the traditional financial system too. As mentioned, Web 3 platforms are developing their own economies with in-world currencies. Whilst many are purchased in fiat currency, we can certainly see a point where users are earning and spending the bulk of their income within Web 3.

How the Metaverse and NFTs are part of this change

As we know,
starting with a rebrand
, Mark Zuckerberg is planning on morphing Facebook into a metaverse company. And whilst his world will be anything but decentralized, we already have several alternative metaverses that will support the true Web 3 ideals outlined above.
The decentralized Metaverse is here to be the decentralized social environment that Facebook and Twitter never could be. The content you create in the Metaverse can be experienced, owned, and even
. Social media has become an online world where we spend several hours of our lives but where we have very little control over the environment. Now it’s time for the Metaverse and Web 3 to give us the power and richness of experience that social never could.
Equally, NFTs complement the metaverse by letting users own their own little piece of Web 3. Whether it's
metaverse real estate
or another form of NFT-backed
digital asset
funneling value back to the creator, NFTs can help Web 3 users bypass the oligopoly.
This is a big driver behind our current NFT collaboration,
The Skyscraper Collection
. Working with architecture studio PLP Architecture, we’ve created 5000 unique NFT images of a concept building designed by PLP. Ownership of the NFT will give owners access to exclusive utilities that will help them navigate the world of Web 3 and the Metaverse with ease. With this NFT our goal is to help establish
metaverse architecture
as a creative force to be reckoned with, and demonstrate how a new business model can serve both real world and metaverse architects.

Final thoughts

It’s not necessarily a case of Web 1 vs Web 2 vs Web 3 when we’re ultimately aiming for the best of all of them. In the next few years, we should see the benefits of all three bubble up. However, we’re very much in the early stages of the Web 3 movement. We’re probably where Web 1 was in 1995 or so. For another view of the Web 3 timeline, Bill Gates has some thinking that feels pretty accurate.

“We usually overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”

This means that right now Web 3 is in baby mode. Developing rapidly, sensitive to all sorts of influences, but still miles from its final form. New economies, new forms of content, and new groups of people are forming. And for the keen entrepreneur, now’s the time to be the early bird.
VerseProp is here to help you do that by giving you the virtual keys to the Metaverse. Whether it’s via our NFT mint or our
metaverse real estate marketplace
we want to make your journey into Web 3 as rewarding and easy as possible.
If you haven’t already, click below to sign up to our mailing list. There you’ll be the first to learn about all things metaverse real estate, Web 3, and more.