Web3 is becoming increasingly important, as evidenced by the plethora of new applications and the heated discussions online about whether a decentralized internet will perform a takeover, let alone gain any ground. And while the term is loosely bandied about, the reality is that few people understand, much less work on the technology that will bring Web3 into the light of day for the common internet user. However, technology involvement must acknowledge it as the demand becomes more mainstream.Â And if you reference the younger audience, remember that they grew up in a digital world and are savvier than other generations even know.Â
So, where to start for those believing in the promise of blockchain and decentralization?Â
It may help to understand the provenance of the term. Provenance is used here quite specifically because it is one of the unique value propositions of the blockchain, along with immutability, security, anonymity, and decentralization. It is commonly accepted that the term Web 3.0 was coined by Gavin Wood, founder of blockchain infrastructure company Parity Technologies, in 2014 as he laid out his vision of the internet. For Wood, Web3 is a more democratic version of the current internet and not (yet) monopolized by mammoth entities like Amazon and Microsoft; thus, it is decentralized, and the user holds control. And we must realize that while crypto is currently popular (and volatile), the promise of Web3 involves a much greater utility beyond coins. Blockchain technology has value propositions in every aspect of life, commerce, and entertainment.
The current reality is that every day, more of the world’s gifted computer scientists leave their jobs to help build Web3. Every year, more programmers graduate from top universities, brimming with dreams of designing the next big decentralized application (dApp) â€“whether it’s a play-to-earn video game, a marketplace for digital real estate, or a tool for browsing the web away from the prying eyes of advertisers and spies. But with all the attention and speculation around Web3, discussions indicate a conceptual phase that has not yet been realized.
But even if metaverses are still being built out, the decentralized experiences that Web3 promises are already accessible to the common, as well as pro user, so for those who want to experience and learn about the next iteration of the internet, taking part in its development, there are a few ways to get acquainted.Â
Whatever shape Web3 eventually takes, digital currencies will remain an important utility. For people who want to start getting familiar with digital assets, there is the option of setting up a crypto wallet with or without purchasing coins.
Conceptually, most people know that a crypto wallet is an application that allows you to store, send or receive funds and other digital assets, like NFTs. Each wallet has a unique address and can only be accessed with the â€œprivate key.â€ The wallet forms the base of every digital currency toolkit, integrating with various marketplaces and enabling financial transactions. But before diving into investing, it is beneficial to practice and uses a wallet â€“ easier than one might think. You can create one with a secure and popular decentralized wallet provider like MetaMask or join an exchange that creates one for you when you sign up with them. Practice makes perfect and ensures greater security of digital assets.
Earn Money Playing a Video Game
Video games have always had digital economies that grow as users shuffle in. But blockchain technology is expanding these economies. Instead of a single entity controlling the game dynamics, the players of blockchain-based games are in charge and compensated for their participation. The payouts come in the form of the game’s native tokens. New ways to earn are constantly emerging in the blockchain gaming space. Video game NFTs, for example, enable players to earn rare in-game items which can then be traded with other players.
Web3 games usually have a marketplace where players can sell their tokens or NFT collections specific to the game Most of the current blockchain games run directly inside web browsers, so all you need to get started is a browser with a connected wallet. Just sign up and start playing. Why not make a coin while learning the ins and outs of Web3?
DEX and DeFi
Traditional financial markets are only open on weekdays during business hours, and all transactions are linked to banks and other institutions. But many people want to trade more anonymously and frictionlessly and do so at any hour.
A decentralized exchange (DEX) is a marketplace for trading and exchanging cryptocurrencies, and anyone with an internet connection can trade anonymously. Although governments have been getting involved with DEXs, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols like those offered by Aave and others let you lend and borrow money from liquidity pools using smart contracts instead of government agencies or financial institutions. The process is automated and secure and allows for continuous rotation of your money with no downtime.
These experiences are available in dApps and can be downloaded and used on computers or mobile devices like any other app. And the best way to understand how to create a dApp is to try it out. Again, digital assets can be an investment, but they can also be a hobby.
Keep an Eye on the Metaverse
The metaverse will one day deliver a virtual world experience like no other. VR technology will likely be at the forefront, and digital real estate will soon be covered in the same way physical real estate is. Still, in a nascent state, metaverses will take quite some time to become what they set out to be. But every day, more developers are creating tools to allow communities to enter and develop the worlds they will populate.
Metaverses are being built by various companies working separately, but one day they may be connected to enable incredibly massive and innovative new worlds. To get an early taste of the metaverse and even help them develop, explore ecosystems like the Sandbox, where users can create their own games and tradable assets without any investment or advanced coding skills.
Web3 is still in its early stages. While there’s still so much you can do right now, it pales in comparison to what we all can accomplish with it. In the meantime, it is a patchwork of services and development environments. Ones that still offer experiences ranging in a spectrum from half-decent to amazing. Soâ€¦ should you wait for the latter to become the norm?
Beginning to explore and experience now means understanding what is being built and having a say in how it develops. Because it won’t be advertisers, government agencies, or tech giants who control the next iteration of the internet, it will be the users. And the more users begin experiencing Web3 today, the more they can help build it into something far better than Web 2.0.