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What exactly is Web3?

Web3 is a ubiquitous term but few people truly understand where it came from and what exactly it means.

11 May 2023
Clock 5 min


In 2014, Gavin Wood first coined the term “Web3”, a concept that was relatively unknown at the time. Fast forward to today, and it seems as though this idea is beginning to reshape our online experiences. While Web3 and cryptocurrencies grabbed plenty of attention during the 2020-2021 crypto bull run, a complete understanding of Web3’s potential and its wider impact is still a mystery for many people.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the evolution of the web, the opportunities Web3 will bring and what it all means for you.


Web 1: The passive experience

1990 was a significant milestone in history. Web1 enabled people to access information from anywhere in the world, something that was not possible before. It mainly consisted of static HTML pages which were only limited to viewing and consuming the news.

It was a passive, read-only experience. This period was characterized by one-way communication, where users could only consume content and there were no opportunities for interaction.


Web 2: You are the product

With the advent of Web2 in 2004, the internet continued to evolve, thanks to a series of technological advancements. These innovations paved the way for greater interactivity, allowing users to create their own content and engage with one another.

The rapid adoption of social media platforms, blogs, and video-sharing sites served as a driving force for this growth. However, this new era of online interaction came with some significant drawbacks.

Despite users being able to create and share their own content, they often lack control over it. To access these services, users must adhere to the platforms' terms and conditions, which grant them complete control over the content we produce and the ability to censor us at any time, anywhere.

As a result, we lose control of our data, and Web2 companies capitalize on it. Our preferences, behaviors, and online actions are incredibly valuable to these organizations. They collect our data and monetize it for their own benefit—profit.

While Web2 facilitates two-way communication, it relies on intermediaries to make it happen.


Web 3: Allowing us to take back what’s ours

Web3, representing the next chapter in this evolution, gives you the unique opportunity to take back control of what belongs to you. By building a decentralized, trustless, and secure environment, Web3 ensures that users have increased control and ownership over their data and online experiences.

The Web3 approach eliminates the reliance on centralized entities, such as large tech corporations and governments, promoting a more equitable and democratic web for all.

Web3 facilitates direct two-way communication, without the need for any intermediaries.

Core Principles of Web3


Decentralization means that power and control is distributed across a network of participants rather than being concentrated in a few large entities. By doing so, Web3 aims to create a more resilient and secure digital environment. Web3 takes the power away from centralized platforms and intermediaries that, in Web2, hold significant control over users' data and online activities. This decentralization is achieved through technologies such as blockchains, distributed ledger systems, and peer-to-peer networks.

Data Ownership

Web3 places a strong emphasis on granting users control over their data, a fundamental principle we believe serves as the bedrock of this new digital era. It empowers users by being able to decide how their information is used, shared, stored, or monetized. This is in contrast to Web2, where data is often controlled and exploited by large corporations.


Web3 transparency allows an environment of trust, accountability and verifiability to prosper. For instance, blockchains provide an open and tamper-proof ledger of transactions and data exchanges, which are auditable and verifiable by anyone. This heightened level of transparency plays a crucial role in preventing fraud, corruption, and manipulation, effectively addressing issues that are quite prevalent in Web2.


In Web3, trust is established through the system itself, rather than relying on central authorities or third parties. Smart contracts and consensus mechanisms, such as proof-of-work or proof-of-stake, are employed to ensure the validity and security of transactions and data exchanges. This trustless environment enables direct interactions between users without the need for intermediaries.


In a permissionless system, users can participate without needing approval from a central authority or gatekeepers. This means that anyone can join the blockchain network, develop and deploy smart contracts, build decentralized applications and take part in the decision-making process. This creates a cooperative environment that encourages users and developers to interact and collaborate, fostering innovation and growth together.

But what does all of this really mean?

Now that you have a grasp of Web3's history and its core principles, let’s explore some of the ways Web3 will transform our interactions.

Blockchain technology address the “double- spend” problem and removes the need for a centralized entity to solve it. Instead, we rely on a network of miners or validators to verify transactions.

Info icon The double-spend problem

This was a problem prevalent in early attempts at digital money. The double spend problem refers to the idea you could use duplicate digital money and spend it simultaneously at two or more places.

Similarly, it gives you actual control of your money. When you keep your money in a bank and want to send it somewhere, you need to request the bank to be able to do so. The bank can choose to deny this request, meaning you’re unable to control your own money.

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) solves this problem because you control the assets in your wallet. This means you no longer need to rely on centralized entities such as banks that charge exorbitant fees for transfers. Instead, through DeFi, you’re able to make transfers anytime, anywhere, with reduced fees and near-instant settlement times.

With decentralized identities, you can create a single digital identity that’s portable across different platforms, eliminating the need to create multiple accounts. A decentralized identity gives you ownership over your identity, as it enables you to choose what you would like to share and what you would like to keep private. This gives you more control over the sites you visit and how much they learn about you or your activity.

Utility NFTs go beyond just proof of ownership for digital assets as they provide real-world benefits. They can be used to access exclusive content, function as a ticket to an event and even verify the ownership of physical assets such as real estate.

As I mentioned before, although Web2 enables users to monetize their content, it is according to the terms and conditions of a centralized platform. Web3 fosters a creator economy where the creator retains control over what they create and are able to monetize it in different ways. For instance, Mirror, a Web3 blogging platform, allows writers to sell their work as NFTs. This enables unique crowdfunding opportunities where patrons may fund an idea in exchange for tokens or future rewards.

Censorship resistance is another key aspect of Web3. No single entity can prevent anyone from participating in the network, and information uploaded to a blockchain is immutable and uncensorable.

"Nothing can stop me from sending bitcoin to anyone I please. Nothing can stop me from executing code on Ethereum. Nothing can stop me from storing files on Filecoin. As long as I have an internet connection and pay the network’s transaction fee, denominated in its crypto asset, I am free to do what I want."

Adam Ludwin, in his letter to Jamie Dimon

While immutability doesn’t guarantee data permanence, Akord ensures data storage for at least 200 years, making your data both immutable and permanent. With Akord, you own the keys that control your data. No one can delete or tamper with your data, and only those you wish to see your data will be able to.

In essence, the central theme connecting all these aspects of Web3 is ownership. This fundamental concept lies at the heart of Web3’s transformative potential. Whether it’s your identity, valuable data, or online activity, Web3 provides a unique opportunity for users to take control and possess what is rightfully theirs.

With great power, comes great responsibility

Although Web3 empowers users by giving them more control over their digital lives, this comes with increased responsibility. A significant aspect of this responsibility is safely storing your cryptographic keys, which allows you to access your digital assets and decentralized identity stored in your wallet.

If you were to lose these keys, it will most likely result in permanently losing access to your assets and valuable data. Therefore, it is very important to carefully store your keys in order to safely protect your assets.

Always remember, not your keys, not your crypto.

A friendly reminder from the Web3 community

What lies ahead

Where is Web3 headed?

Web3 is progressing rapidly, with advancements in DeFi, NFTs, DAOs, permanent storage solutions and other innovations. However, it is important to note that Web3 is still in its early stages, which means it continues to rely significantly on Web2 platforms.

To demonstrate this dependence, take a look at how Web3 currently functions. At present, they lean on Web2 services like Discord and Telegram to keep their communities updated. dApp developers rely on Github and Trello for project management and code hosting. Many Web3 projects still use traditional DNS servers to host their websites and applications. You’re currently reading this on one.

Decentralized alternatives are beginning to emerge but they are not yet widely adopted. As they slowly gain traction, who knows, maybe they’ll eventually supplant these Web2 platforms.

To illustrate this reliance, consider the way crypto communities interact and cooperate with users. Currently, they depend on Web2 services such as Discord and Telegram. Who knows what the future holds? Maybe decentralized social media platforms will eventually supplant these Web2 services.

What can you do?

As the pace of Web3 development continues to accelerate, it can sometimes become overwhelming. Don’t worry though, we’ve got two key steps to help you keep up: education and experimentation.

It’s essential to educate yourself about Web3 in order to benefit from the opportunities that it will bring. Stay updated on the latest advancements by reading articles, attending webinars, and engaging in online forums. Additionally, consider exploring our “Learn” section, where we release new content each week to aid your learning and keep you informed. We’ll mainly focus on the data side, and expand from there, we look forward to the progress you’ll make on this journey.

However, education alone is insufficient; practical application is key. Reinforce your learning by experimenting and familiarizing yourself with Web3 applications. Create your crypto wallet, navigate a block explorer, or make your first upload to Akord.

By combining education and hands-on experience, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate and thrive in the rapidly evolving world of Web3.

Learn more

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