Web3 and the metaverse are both terms that are often used in discussions about the future of the internet and digital experiences, but they refer to different concepts. Web3 centers on decentralized technologies and data control, whereas the metaverse revolves around immersive virtual experiences and interconnected digital spaces. Let us talk about them in details.
What Is Metaverse?
The metaverse is a concept of an online, 3D, virtual space connecting users in all aspects of their lives. It would connect multiple platforms, similar to the internet containing different websites accessible through a single browser. You can think of it as a future iteration of the internet. The metaverse will allow users to work, meet, game, and socialize together in these 3D spaces.
The metaverse will be driven by augmented reality, with each user controlling a character or avatar. For example, you might take a mixed reality meeting with an Oculus VR headset in your virtual office, finish work and relax in a blockchain-based game, and then manage your crypto portfolio and finances all inside the metaverse.
The metaverse isn’t fully in existence, but some platforms contain metaverse-like elements. Video games currently provide the closest metaverse experience on offer. Developers have pushed the boundaries of what a game is through hosting in-game events and creating virtual economies.
The concept was developed in the science-fiction novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. However, while the idea of a metaverse was once fiction, it now looks like it could be a reality in the future.
Besides supporting gaming or social media, the metaverse will combine economies, digital identity, decentralized governance, and other applications. Even today, user creation and ownership of valuable items and currencies help develop a single, united metaverse. All these features provide blockchain the potential to power this future technology.
What is Web 3?
Web3 can be described as a decentralized internet – built on distributed technologies like blockchain and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) rather than centralized on servers owned by individuals or corporations. The term was coined in 2014 by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, and the idea gained interest in 2021 from cryptocurrency enthusiasts, large technology companies, and venture capital firms.
The idea is that this will create a more democratized Internet. No single entity will control the flow of information or “pull the plug” and kill a network, simply because can as they own the hardware it’s running on. The servers, systems, and networks where applications are run from and where data is stored will, in theory, be owned by the users themselves, who will have voting rights over what rules and regulations are in place, and how they can be used. Why is it called web3? Because it’s thought that it will be the third major evolution of the internet, after the worldwide web (web1) and the user-generated web (web2, or social media).
Definition and Focus
- Web3 refers to the next evolution of the internet, where decentralized technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies play a central role in creating a more open, secure, and user-centric online environment.
- The metaverse is a virtual shared space, often depicted as a collective virtual space, merging physical and digital realities. It’s a concept of a fully immersive digital universe where users can interact, socialize, work, play, and conduct various activities.
- Web3 emphasizes decentralized technologies such as blockchain, which aims to redistribute control from centralized entities to individuals and decentralized networks.
- The metaverse emphasizes virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and other immersive technologies that create an interconnected digital space.
Ownership and Control
- Web3 aims to empower users with ownership and control over their data, digital assets, and online identities through blockchain-based mechanisms.
- The metaverse envisions users having digital identities and property within the virtual space, blurring the lines between real-world and virtual ownership.
- Web3 focuses on creating interoperability between different decentralized applications and services, allowing seamless communication and data sharing.
- The metaverse also requires interoperability, but it primarily aims to integrate various virtual worlds and platforms, enabling users to move between them with ease.
- Web3 explores new monetization models through cryptocurrencies, token economies, and decentralized finance (DeFi) mechanisms.
- The metaverse envisions diverse revenue streams, including virtual real estate, digital goods, virtual events, and more, all facilitated by virtual currencies or tokens.
Decentralization vs. Centralization
- Web3 seeks to reduce reliance on centralized platforms and services by distributing control and authority among participants.
- The metaverse can include both decentralized and centralized components, with some platforms being controlled by central entities and others operating on decentralized principles.
- Web3 aims to enhance data privacy and security by giving users more control over their personal information and reducing the risk of data breaches.
- The metaverse raises concerns about data privacy as users engage in extensive digital interactions, potentially sharing personal information and behavior patterns across virtual environments.
Scope and Experience
- Web3 pertains to the overall evolution of the internet, focusing on how the internet is structured, accessed, and utilized.
- The metaverse focuses on creating immersive digital experiences that emulate the physical world and expand human interaction and activities within a virtual environment.
- Web3 may enhance digital identities with self-sovereign identity solutions, allowing users to control and verify their online personas.
- The metaverse relies heavily on digital identities, as users’ avatars and personas play a central role in their interactions and engagements.
- Web3 can enhance social interactions by providing more secure and private communication channels through decentralized applications.
- The metaverse takes social interaction to a new level by enabling users to interact in virtual spaces through avatars, fostering new forms of communication and collaboration.
Web3 is a set of solutions to the shortcomings of the modern internet. Web 2.0 is controlled by corporations that develop proprietary protocols and harvest user data. Web3 puts ownership and control in the hands of its users and the community that maintains the network.
The metaverse is a shared digital reality. It provides users with ways to connect to each other, build economies and interact in real time. It doesn’t necessarily get rid of the idea of corporate presence or leadership. Meta (or Facebook) could still sell ads in three-dimensional virtual worlds and be a big player. This friendliness makes metaverse an interesting area to look for investment opportunities.
So, while Web3 provides solutions to the problems of the current internet, the metaverse is a bigger idea. It uses Web3’s solutions like blockchain or non-fungible tokens (or NFTs) and puts them into an always-connected digital reality.
Web3 is focused on the digital infrastructure that will provide better alternatives to Web 2.0’s problems. Metaverse could absorb both Web 2.0 and Web3 and use all the technologies we have so far and will develop in the future to build a massive digital reality.