What is Web3?
Understanding the history of the web To understand Web3, it is first important to understand how we got there.
In short, Web1 was read only, Web2 was read and write, and Web3 is read, write and own.
Web1, known as the read-only web (roughly from 1990 to 2004), was mainly made of static websites and used by companies, with individuals creating close to no content.
In 2004, social media platforms emerged, and that was the beginning of the Web2 era, with centralization at its core. Users can also create content and interact with one another. Companies started creating platforms that allowed to share user-generated content, and some big tech companies (think Google, Apple and Amazon) began to monopolize the web as well as collect huge amounts of personal data.
In 2014, Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum, coined the term “Web 3.0”, which referred to the next iteration of the internet. It has since become a term that encompasses the idea of a better, trustless internet that embraces decentralization and a user-owned internet. Web3 uses blockchains, cryptocurrencies and NFTs to empower users and give them ownership.
The decentralized internet The blockchain-based ecosystem is growing fast, and an incredible amount of Web3 platforms, DeFi apps, startups and DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) have emerged over the past few years, with blockchain technology as their pillar. Web3 platforms have many use cases, ranging from the real world to the metaverse.
Although disliked by some, Web3 is believed by many to be the future of the internet. In 2021, The New York times reported that venture capital firms invested over $27 billion in crypto and related projects, more than the previous 10 years combined. Even Jack Dorsey, who argued that Web3 was a marketing buzzword, sold his first tweet as an NFT for $48M, proving that crypto adoption is increasing.
With Web2, users can generate content but they don’t own it: they must trust private companies to act in their best interests and if their account is deleted, their data is lost. With Web3, your data lives on the blockchain, so if you decide to leave a platform, you can take your reputation and digital assets with you. Web3 is permissionless, meaning no central authorities get to decide who gets access to what, nor does it require trust as there are no intermediaries for peer-to-peer transactions to occur. It operates using incentives and economic mechanisms.
Let’s say you’re a creator posting your work on a web2 platform. Over time, you build a follower base and use the platform as a means to communicate, share and sell. If the company closes or your account is deleted or banned, you lose your follower base and all the content you had posted on the platform, leading you to have to start over.
Through blockchain technology and smart contracts, users own their data. If you’re a creator who created an NFT (non-fungible token) or a collector who owns an NFT, that information lives on the blockchain. If you leave one NFT marketplace for another or change wallets, you take your digital assets with you.
With DAOs, the company is a form of collective governance: users of the application who own governance tokens of the smart contract can vote on the company’s future, and no single authority has the power to make changes.
Web3 networks include Ethereum, Solana, Polygon and Stacks. Some of the most popular Web3 platforms are OpenSea, Coinbase, Binance and Metamask, but there are many more including Gamma.io on the Stacks blockchain.
Web3 with Gamma Gamma is the third letter of the Greek alphabet, for the third phase of the web, a home for creators and collectors to come together in a user-owned internet.
The Gamma platform consists of three core products:
A user-first marketplace to find, explore, and collect extraordinary NFTs secured by Bitcoin, the most trusted and decentralized settlement layer for digital assets.
A creator-first NFT launchpad for artists to deploy fully tested, creator-owned, no-code smart contracts in minutes.
A social platform, bringing together creators and collectors in an engaging and Web3-native way.
Gamma is built to support your existing decentralized identity and let you bring it with you, not lock you into another one within a walled garden. That’s why we’ve supported BNS names from day one, without requiring users to sign up or give up personal data to use the platform.
Not requiring users to set up accounts linked to personal data unlocks a completely new way of following and engaging with Web3 identities. Users can follow other users based on their public blockchain data and visualize their own entire history immediately when they connect their wallet. We believe this fully embodies the paradigm shift in online privacy models introduced in Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper.
Gamma is built on the Stacks blockchain, a layer 1 blockchain which uses Bitcoin's high security while allowing the creation of smart contracts. The Stacks blockchain enables the creation of many projects and applications with the most notable examples being Stacks-based NFTs and DeFi. Stacks uses the Clarity programming language, which is decidable and interpreted and allows users to verify the code, essentially making the Stacks blockchain a ‘GitHub for smart contracts’.