Since this seems to be a sort of trend in the online spaces I inhabit, thought I might join in!
How I like to think about web3 is in terms of Web 2.0 and Web 1, so what were those?
Most people consider the internet to have been invented in 1983, as that is the year that the standard of TCP/IP (Transfer Control Protocol/Internetwork Protocol) was formalized, creating a standard way of sending data from computer to computer, but that wouldn't be the begining of the web.
Web 1 starts with Tim Berners-Lee. In 1989 he created HTTP (Hyper Text Transport Protocol), a method of sending documents over the IP stack that we still use today! Because of the rudimentary nature of this protocol, Web 1 was characterized by static, informative content. Now why would people build such a boring internet? Well, they were academics, sooooo.
Web 2 is considered to have started in the mid to late 90s, when technologies like PHP and MySQL solidified. Web 2 is the "interactive web," where users started creating content instead of just consuming. One of my favorite examples of this is WikiPedia, where users created litterally billions of words of content.
Web 3.0 was originally considered to be the "semantic web," that is, an internet where the content itself is machine parseable and easily contextulized. That's a whole bunch of buzzwords for basically "look at this data, this data is related!" The idea was created by the the guy we talked about earlier Tim Berners-Lee, an idea I love, and if you do too, then look into the IndieWeb!
And then cryptobros came along.
Insert scary sound effects here
web3 (yes it's lowercase, which I will use to separate it from Web 3), is like worse late Web 1. Also it's a terrifying capitalist hell.
web3 is mostly based around cryptocurrencies, I'm not going to say blockchain because blockchain tech itself is amazing, but cryptocurrencies are an ancaps wet dream (that's bad FYI).
Here are some of the base protocols, technologies, and concepts:
Cryptocurrency: A type of currenency where, hear me out this is gonna get ~ economical ~, the value is derived from the decentralized trust model. That's a #bigbrain way to say that people think it has value because math and "no one owns it".
NFTs: These are a great idea, in theory. NFTs are basically (for the most part), a reciept that points to a piece of art you own. Interestingly, in a lot of casses you dont own the art. The good part of them is that a cut of every sale goes back to the artist. On the flip side of that, a lot of major NFTs aren't made by actual artists, and are just brands looking for a quick buck.
Handshake and ENS: These are two seperate DNS services for the decentralized web, ignoring that projects like OpenNIC exist and don't burn the planet. Handshake is it's own blockchain, where as ENS is a suite of so called "smart contracts" on the Ethereum blockchain. Both of these are Proof Of Work, which is a system that relies on solving complex math problems, burning gigawatts of power a day.
IPFS This is one of the few pieces of the web3 stack I am genuinely a fan of. IPFS is a p2p (fancyspeak for 2 computers connecting to eachother without needing someone orchestrating it) network where files are stored. I'm a fan of this one because it's not tied to some sort of currency to compensate for storage, you just pin the files you like and want to support, and can have others pin yours! It's genuinely a great file system.
In your average cryptobros mind, these can all come together to make some sort of magical metaverse of happy capitalism wonderland.
One thing you might notice is that the majority of these protocols are static, immutable, or store the entire history. This seems amazing right now, but with exponentially more users and growth, the storage and compute requirements will also rise exponentially, which makes sense from a Big Tech point of view, how else would you sell more CPUs, more GPUs, more RAM, more SSDs.
Theres's a solution that comes to us from the world of economics. It's called Degrowth. With our current situation, quite a few people belive that the solution to our issues with some things like climate change and the hell that is work in our neoliberal economy. The core concept is moving backwards, slowing down, and reversing. We can apply this to web3 aswell! We need to stop pushing forwards on things like PoW cryptocurrencies and move back to Web 2 or 1 tech.
I have no clue how to end posts, so enjoy this amazing call to action:
Just go and like, ya know, steal some bitcoin mining GPUs and use them for games.