In the age of blockchain technologies flooding the global tech market comes a lot of confusion about such fundamental terms as Web3 and metaverse. Despite being already hyped up, both terms are still in their infancy, while corporations like Meta, Epic Games, and Nvidia continue to work on the direct implementation of what they imply.
Although there are many decentralized applications (dApps) and metaverses under construction, no Web3 development company can explain in detail how similar projects will look in the future. Today we can only speak about proto-metaverses and Web3 apps in their initial versions. So the industry is only able to make predictions, not factual estimations.
In this article, we cross the i’s and dot the t’s regarding each term as well as the technology behind it, answering the question of who, why, and how takes advantage of these innovations. Stay in tune with us, and you’ll never miss a thing in the tech world!
What Is Web3 and Metaverse? — Are They Synonyms?
There’s no denying the internet evolves, and this process takes place by iterations, so-called major shifts from the previous generation of tech to its more innovative version. History knows three such dramatic, even revolutionary, changes to the way users perceive the web. Each of them introduced some new, never-before-seen means of interaction between a user and the internet. Let’s reveal more about these iterations. Are you ready?
First, there was Web 1.0, the digital world built out of static, HTML-based web pages mainly offering text and some simple, low-quality images. Its history unfolded in the early 1990s and came to an end at the beginning of the 2000s when Web 2.0 grabbed hold of the internet with social media as well as other web-based platforms like Facebook or YouTube. What they offered, in addition to static websites, was interactivity and visually appealing content.
So, what is Web3? Is it really the current iteration of the internet or an overhyped phenomenon, often confused with the metaverse? Also, is metaverse part of Web3, or it’s a standalone technology? Well, the truth is that the metaverse and Web3 are completely different, yet the former can be the harbinger of the latter, given certain circumstances.
Mainly, the metaverse implies an immersive and incredibly interactive virtual environment that encompasses multiple realms, each offering a particular kind of activity, be it a game, digital marketplace, workspace, or the like. In contrast, according to Harvard Business Review, Web3 is a new blockchain-based iteration of the internet, its decentralized version standing on the pillars of permissionless control as well as smart contracts.
Web3 Overview: History Behind the Term
Shall we talk a bit more about Web3? The more complex and ambivalent the term, the more in-depth analysis it requires to come to light, right? So, what we know about Web3 is that it’s:
- decentralized, meaning there’s no single server that contains all the data or is responsible for administration;
- heavy reliance on cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs);
- dependence on artificial intelligence;
- integration with IoT;
- reimagined data ownership and its transfer.
One thing to be certain about is that the term Web3 was coined by Ethereum’s co-founder Gavin Wood in 2014. The purpose of the phenomenon it’s pointing at involves building a more democratic and decentralized version of the internet dominated as well as controlled by users, not big tech corporations that own big data. However, as you’ve probably already guessed, nothing is as evident as it may seem at first sight. There’s more to be revealed.
Are Web3 and Web 3.0 the Same?
Although a huge array of web resources (some of them may even be considered somewhat credible) add to the confusion by saying that Web3 is the same as Web 3.0, they are not. Why? Starting with the fundamentals, it’s worth pointing out that Web 3.0 is the semantic web focused on intelligence and structured data, a natural continuation of Web 2.0. While Web3 is the term by Gavin Wood, Web 3.0 is part of Berners-Lee’s project called Solid.
In truth, the developer of HTML, HTTP, and URI, often referred to as one of the founding fathers of the web, Berners-Lee, is against the Web3 paradigm. At the 2022 Web Summit, he told the audience that people often conflate his vision of the internet (Web 3.0) with that of Gavin Wood (Web3). Unlike the blockchain-based digital world, Berners-Lee’s vision involves the semantic web, data linking, and providing users with the same level of privacy/control.
Metaverse Overview: Insights & Analytics
Now, as we already know more about Web3, let’s answer the question: what is the metaverse? Even though metaverses (yes, there can be many of them) can rely on blockchain technology in most cases, they are just vast virtual environments delivering a broad spectrum of products and services to the end user. By the way, they can freely move around a metaverse’s digital space as if it were some kind of virtual reality application.
Well, metaverse developers pay careful attention to making these vast virtual worlds a happy place to be, with multiple ways to entertain oneself, buy or sell digital assets in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are minted on a blockchain, allowing for smoother ownership transferring experience.
According to Statista, the global metaverse market revenue has increased from $38.85bn in 2021 to $47.47bn in 2022, with predictions to hit $678.8bn by 2030. Quite a promising forecast, isn’t it? Fortunately, these numbers hint at growing opportunities for tech companies of different sizes, so now is the best time to start building your own metaverse.
How Are Web3 and the Metaverse Connected?
The metaverse and Web3 may serve as two sides of one coin in cases when a virtual environment is built using blockchain technology. Since the Web3 paradigm consists of decentralized applications, smart contracts, the distributed ledger system, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs, whenever a metaverse is packed with some of those features, it’s closer to Web3 than ever before. Just look at current proto-metaverses like Fortnite or Roblox.
What makes these two worlds different and similar at the same time? Well, Fortnite is a proto-metaverse of some sort, though it’s not built with the help of blockchain (yet). In contrast, Roblox is a metaverse game fueled by blockchain technology. The same goes for Decentraland. Although these may be considered not full-scale metaverses but metaverse games, they can be expanded to offer more activities for their audience in the future.
Therefore, the metaverse can be the continuation of the Web3 philosophy because some of its manifestations already make use of NFTs, cryptocurrencies, decentralization, and the rest. Without a doubt, you can indeed build a metaverse that has nothing to do with blockchain, so it depends on your corporate culture, business goals, and target audience preferences.
Web3 vs Metaverse: Key Differences
As already mentioned, Web3 is about decentralization and more secure ownership proven or transferred using smart contracts, such programs written to validate and approve transactions taking place on a blockchain automatically. This method of managing decentralized ownership is considered risk-free, automated, and faster.
The primary difference between Web3 and metaverse is that the former is a philosophy when the latter can or cannot be one of this philosophy’s manifestations. Hence, you can use the technology touching upon the metaverse for business, either with or without addressing blockchain. There’s no need to dive deeper into answering the question of what is the difference between Web3 and metaverse, inasmuch as the meaning is simpler than it seems.
So you can build a metaverse either using blockchain or not, but what you end up with is a full-size virtual world where you are able to integrate third-party services, arrange an online playground, sell virtual real estate for NFTs, or open a crypto marketplace — everything without leaving your metaverse. The audience will no longer have to close your app and open up another for other activities as your product is going to serve as an all-in-one solution.
How the Industry Is Already Using the Metaverse and Web3
We’ve already talked about how some companies make use of the metaverse in one of the previous sections. What about Web3 projects? Here are some of the use cases.
- DeFi. Decentralized Finance is one of the most frequent manifestations of the Web3 paradigm since the distributed ledger system facilitates more advanced cybersecurity protocols, which is a big game changer for fintech products. This way or another, Decentralized Finance is going to change banking.
- Blockchain-based video games. Entertainment applications like Axie Infinity or Alien World can be examined as the brightest representatives of the genre. The technology under the hood allows for ensuring the play-to-earn model for players, meaning they can make money by merely enjoying your game.
- Metaverse. Guess what? The metaverse is indeed a practically lucrative application of Web3. So you shouldn’t google “metaverse vs. Web3” anymore because these phenomena aren’t about the fight — they are created to bring profit and value for stakeholders. Look at companies involved in metaverse development.
- Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO). Wait a minute. Should decentralization mean that there are no groups of people behind the steering wheel? Correct, but here’s the catch. These aren’t centralized. They are online communities ruled by the members themselves. DAOs use smart contracts to ensure autonomy.
- Cybersecurity infrastructure & privacy. One of the best use cases of Web3 projects presupposes using blockchain technology to improve cybersecurity and privacy on the web. In other words, thanks to decentralization and automated smart contracts, users will feel more comfortable sharing sensitive information.
Web3 and the Metaverse — Forecasts
Web3 and the metaverse are two revolutionary technologies expected to shape the future of the internet. They offer a new way to experience the web, with a more immersive and interactive experience. As you already know, Web3 is a decentralized platform that will enable users to access content without relying on centralized servers. In turn, the metaverse is an open virtual world where users can interact with each other in a 3D environment.
These technologies have been gaining traction over the past few years, and experts believe they will become even more popular in the coming years. As these technologies become more widely adopted, it’s beneficial to gain insight into what potential use cases we may see in the near future and how they could shape our online experience.
Research claims that companies already vote for the metaverse as it helps solve issues (39%), enhances creativity (37%), allows people to travel remotely (37%), and increases tech literacy (34%). Interesting insights, aren’t they? Web3 projects are to be the industry standard, with more corporations like Meta or Nvidia pushing their limits forward.
If you want to enter the metaverse as soon as possible, here’s a quick piece of advice. Look for a metaverse development outsourcing company that resonates with your corporate culture and brand identity. You’ll be one of the pioneers of the tech underlying Web3, which is almost inevitable. In the near future, all companies will be employing blockchain, so the privilege will be in the hands of those who start sooner.
How Can Program-Ace Help You Embrace Web3?
Program-Ace is a custom software development company proficient in metaverse creation and working with Web3 projects of almost any complexity. If you’d like to step into the world of next-gen technologies and offer something innovative to your audience, developing a dApp of any kind is the best of both worlds. You embrace digital transformation and satisfy the continually growing demand of your audience, which is a huge deal in today’s business.
Contact us for more in-depth information about how Program-Ace can assist you in your ambitions to develop Web3 projects or build the metaverse either using blockchain or without it.