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Web2 vs. Web3: What’s the Difference?

From its early days of static text and visuals, the internet has come a long way. The present version, known as Web2, has revolutionized the web and its associated industries. However, the Internet is evolving once again, and the next iteration is known as Web3. This new version promises to be the future of the web and will have significant implications on how we conduct business online. In this article, we will delve into the history of the internet, its different versions, and the key differences between Web2 and Web3.

web2 vs web3
web2 vs web3

Web1: The Foundation

Web1, also known as the “Information Age,” marked a turning point in human history as it allowed for easy access and sharing of information on a global scale. The invention of the World Wide Web, which was created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, made it possible for users to access and share information through web browsers and HTML pages. This paved the way for the creation of the first search engines and websites, which were primarily used to provide information to users.

At this time, the internet was still in its early stages, and its potential was not fully realized. Websites were limited in their functionality, with most being static and only offering basic information. It was difficult for users to create and share their own content, and there was little room for collaboration and community building. As a result, the internet was primarily used as a source of information, with users relying on search engines to find what they were looking for.

Examples of Web1 platforms include early search engines like Yahoo! and AltaVista, as well as personal websites and online forums. These platforms offered limited functionality and were primarily used to provide basic information to users. Despite their limitations, they were groundbreaking at the time and set the foundation for the development of more advanced and interactive internet platforms in the future.

Thus, Web1 marked the beginning of the internet revolution and the Information Age. It paved the way for the development of more advanced and interactive internet platforms and set the foundation for the growth and evolution of the internet as we know it today.

Web2: The Social Era

Web2, also known as the “Participation Age,” emerged around the mid-2000s and marked a significant shift in the way the internet was used and experienced by users. This era saw the internet transition from being primarily a source of information to a platform for communication and interaction. This shift was driven by several key innovations, including the rise of social media, the ability to easily create and share user-generated content, and the emergence of new technologies like blogs, wikis, and podcasts.

The rise of social media was one of the defining features of Web2. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allowed users to connect with each other, share content, and build online communities. This made it easier for people to stay in touch with friends and family, regardless of where they were in the world. Additionally, social media allowed for the spread of information and ideas at a much faster pace than ever before.

Another key innovation of Web2 was the ability to create and share user-generated content. This was made possible through video platforms like YouTube and written content on blogs, which allowed users to easily upload and share videos, photos, and text. It also opened up new opportunities for individuals and organizations to share their ideas and perspectives with a wider audience.

Finally, Web2 was marked by the emergence of new technologies like wikis and podcasts, which allowed for greater collaboration and community building on the web. These technologies made it easier for people to work together on projects, share knowledge, and engage in discussions.

Examples of Web2 platforms include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Wikipedia. These platforms have had a profound impact on the way people interact with each other, and access information online. They have also changed the way businesses and organizations communicate with their customers and stakeholders, as well as how individuals consume and share information.

Web3: The Decentralized Future

Web3 is the latest and most talked-about iteration of the internet. The term “Web3” was first introduced by Gavin Wood, who is the founder of Polkadot and co-founder of Ethereum, in 2014. The first Web3 project was Ethereum, which was launched in 2015. Ethereum is a decentralized platform that enables the creation of smart contracts and decentralized applications. Since then, the Web3 space has seen the rise of many other innovative projects, including Polkadot, which focuses on providing interoperability between different blockchain networks. Other projects in the Web3 space include Cosmos, Aave, Uniswap, and Chainlink. These projects are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with decentralized technology, and are exploring new and exciting use cases for Web3.

In Web3, the emphasis is on empowering users and giving them more control over their online experiences. This is achieved through the use of decentralized technology, which eliminates the need for central authorities to manage and control the flow of information and data. Instead, Web3 uses a distributed network of nodes to process and store data, making it more secure and private.

One of the key advantages of Web3 is that it gives users full control and ownership over their data, which is a major departure from the current state of the internet. In Web2, users often have to surrender their personal information to third-party companies in order to use online services, which leaves their data vulnerable to breaches and privacy violations. In Web3, users have the ability to store their data on a decentralized network, which eliminates the risk of central points of failure, and makes it difficult for malicious actors to access.

Another key characteristic of Web3 is the integration of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. These technologies will be integrated into various applications and services, enabling Web3 to deliver a more personalized and intuitive online experience. This also allows for the development of new and innovative applications, such as predictive analytics and recommendation systems, that can provide users with more valuable and relevant information and services.

Thus, Web3 represents a major step forward for the internet and has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with technology and information. With its focus on decentralization, security, and privacy, Web3 offers a secure and trustworthy online environment.

The Differences between Web2 and Web3

Centralization vs Decentralization

The key difference between Web2 and Web3 is the way data and information are stored, managed, and controlled. In Web2, the internet is dominated by a few large tech companies that have a significant amount of control over the data and information on the web. This centralization has led to various issues such as privacy concerns, security vulnerabilities, and concentration of power in the hands of a few companies.

On the other hand, Web3 aims to address these issues by being decentralized. Thus, users will have greater control and ownership over their data, which will be stored and managed through decentralized technology such as blockchain. In this model, data is stored across a network of computers rather than on a single central server, making it more secure and less susceptible to hacking or theft.

Security and Privacy

In the context of Web2, security has been a major challenge due to the prevalence of data breaches and hacking incidents. Centralized systems are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, which can result in the loss or theft of sensitive information. In Web2, privacy has been a growing concern, as companies have access to vast amounts of personal information that they use for various purposes, such as advertising and data analysis. Centralized systems also limit users’ control over their personal information, as they have limited options for managing and protecting their data.

In Web3, security and privacy are expected to be greatly enhanced due to the use of decentralized technology. Decentralized systems, such as blockchain, provide greater security for users’ data by allowing it to be stored in a secure and decentralized manner. This makes it difficult for cybercriminals to access or steal sensitive information. Additionally, decentralized technology gives users more control and ownership over their personal information, as they have greater options for managing and protecting their data. This can lead to a more secure and privacy-respecting online experience for all users.

User Control and Ownership of Data

In Web2, the control and ownership of user data are primarily in the hands of large tech companies. These companies have access to vast amounts of user data, which they store and manage for various purposes such as advertising and data mining. The user data can include sensitive information such as personal details, financial information, browsing history, and more. In this environment, users have limited control over their data, and their personal information is subject to misuse or exploitation by these tech companies.

In contrast, Web3 aims to empower users with complete control and ownership over their data. Decentralized technology, such as blockchain, is used to securely store and manage data, and eliminate the need for a central authority. This gives users greater privacy and control over their information, allowing them to choose how their data is used and shared. In Web3, users have complete control over their personal information and can choose to share it with others or keep it private.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

In Web2, AI and ML are primarily used for data analysis and advertising purposes. The algorithms are designed to analyze vast amounts of data and extract insights that can be used to personalize ads, improve the customer experience, and optimize marketing strategies. However, these technologies are centralized, thus, the data and algorithms used by AI and ML systems are controlled by large tech companies.

In Web3, AI and ML technologies are expected to become more advanced and integrated into various applications and services. Decentralized technology will also ensure that these technologies are not controlled by a few large companies but are instead distributed and accessible to all users. This will lead to more innovative and equitable uses of AI and ML, including the development of new applications and services that can benefit users, regardless of their access to technology or data. Additionally, Web3 AI and ML technologies are likely to be more transparent and accountable, as users will have greater control over their data and how it is used.

Possible Applications of Web3

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Decentralized Finance

Decentralized finance (DeFi) refers to the use of blockchain and other decentralized technologies to provide financial services that are not controlled by any single entity. DeFi applications include decentralized exchanges, peer-to-peer lending platforms, and stablecoins, which are cryptocurrencies pegged to a stable asset such as the US dollar. Decentralized finance has the potential to provide more secure, accessible, and transparent financial services, as well as increase financial inclusion by making it easier for people to access financial services even in areas where traditional banking is not available.

Some popular examples of DeFi applications include:

  • Uniswap, a decentralized exchange for trading cryptocurrency
  • Aave, is a decentralized lending platform that allows users to earn interest on their deposits, or borrow funds
  • MakerDAO, a decentralized platform that issues the stablecoin DAI, which is pegged to the value of the US dollar
  • Compound, is a decentralized lending platform that allows users to earn interest on their crypto holdings or borrow funds
  • yearn.finance, a platform that provides yield optimization for DeFi investments

Decentralized Identity

Decentralized identity refers to the use of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) to provide a secure and portable digital identity for individuals. This allows individuals to have greater control over their personal information, and have a single digital identity that can be used across multiple platforms and services. Decentralized identity has the potential to increase privacy and security, as well as make it easier for individuals to access services that require identity verification.

Some examples of decentralized identity projects include:

  • uPort: A self-sovereign identity platform that allows individuals to manage their own personal information and data.
  • Civic: A blockchain-based platform that enables individuals to securely store and manage their personal information, as well as use it to verify their identity across multiple platforms.
  • Sovrin: A decentralized, open-source platform that provides individuals with secure, portable digital identities that can be used across multiple services.
  • IDEX: A decentralized exchange that allows individuals to trade assets in a secure and transparent manner using their decentralized identities.
  • Evernym: A self-sovereign identity platform that allows individuals to manage their personal information and data, as well as use it to verify their identity across multiple platforms.

Decentralized Data Management

Decentralized data management refers to the use of blockchain and DLT to store, manage, and share data in a secure and transparent manner. This allows users to have more control over their personal data. Decentralized data management has the potential to increase privacy and security, as well as make it easier for individuals and organizations to share and access data in a secure and efficient manner.

Some examples of decentralized data management include:

  • IPFS (InterPlanetary File System): a decentralized file system that allows for the storage and distribution of large files and data across a network of nodes.
  • Ocean Protocol – a decentralized data exchange platform that allows organizations and individuals to securely share and monetize data.
  • DataWallet – a platform that allows users to control and monetize their personal data by connecting to various data sources and receiving rewards in return.
  • The Graph Protocol – a decentralized database that allows developers to build and query decentralized applications, while also ensuring data privacy and security.
  • GunDB – a decentralized database that provides real-time data storage and synchronization across multiple devices, without relying on a central server.

Decentralized Social Media

Decentralized social media refers to the creation of a more secure and transparent social media platform. This allows users to have greater control over their personal data and ensures that the content is not controlled by any single entity, which can use to monetize their business or for other purposes. Decentralized social media has the potential to increase privacy and security, as well as make it easier for individuals to express themselves freely, and access information in a more open and transparent manner.

Some examples of decentralized social media platforms are:

  • Mastodon: A decentralized and open-source social media platform that emphasizes user privacy and data ownership.
  • Steemit: A blockchain-based social media platform that rewards users for creating and curating content.
  • Minds: A decentralized social media platform that prioritizes free speech and privacy.
  • Diaspora: A decentralized, privacy-focused social network that allows users to host their own data.
  • Sola: A decentralized social platform that uses blockchain technology to reward users for creating and sharing content.

Other Possible Applications of Web3

There are many other possible applications of Web3, including decentralized marketplaces, decentralized voting systems, and decentralized governance. The potential for Web3 to provide secure, transparent, and equitable access to technology and information is vast, and as the technology develops, new and innovative uses are likely to emerge.

Examples of other Web3 applications include:

  • Decentralized marketplaces, such as OpenBazaar or Origin Protocol, allow individuals and businesses to buy and sell goods and services without the need for a central authority or intermediary.
  • Decentralized voting systems, such as Gnosis or Democracy Earth, use blockchain technology to provide a secure and transparent platform for voting and decision-making.
  • Decentralized governance, such as Aragon or DAOstack, allows organizations and communities to manage their operations and make decisions in a decentralized manner.
  • Decentralized storage and data sharing, such as IPFS or Storj, allow individuals and organizations to store and share data in a secure and transparent manner.
  • Decentralized prediction markets, such as Augur, allow individuals to make predictions about future events and outcomes.

Decentralized technologies have also led to the creation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and tokenized assets, which allow individuals to own unique digital assets such as art, music, or other collectibles. Tokens and NFTs are often used to represent ownership of real-world assets, such as property or stocks, or as in-game items in online games. This new form of ownership is made possible by the immutable and transparent nature of blockchain technology, which allows for the creation of digital assets that are unique and verifiable. As the use cases for NFTs and tokenized assets continue to grow and develop, it is likely that Web3 will play a key role in the development of these new digital assets and their underlying technologies.

Advantages of Web3

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Control over data ownership: Users have complete control over their data, and can share information according to their preferences.

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Ubiquitous access to data: Interconnectivity allows for seamless access to information, and IoT connectivity enables ubiquitous access to data.

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Freedom to interact: Web3 is built on a permissionless blockchain, implying that anyone can access web3 without a centralized authority controlling access. This allows for the fast, efficient, and unrestricted transfer of digital assets, wealth, or information.

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Advantages for creators: Creators have control over the ownership of their work, and can benefit from the creator economy and decentralized control over digital assets.

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Better security: Web3 is built on blockchain technology, which provides decentralization and cryptography to ensure better security for user data. The consensus mechanism and design of blockchain make it impervious to common security breaches, although there is still room for improvement in terms of security measures.

Limitations of Web2 and Web3

Web2 and Web3 each have their limitations that impact the user experience and potential applications of the technology.

Limitations of Web2

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Centralized control: One of the biggest limitations of Web2 is centralized control, as a small number of tech companies control a large portion of the data and algorithms used for various applications. This can lead to privacy and security concerns, as well as limiting innovation and competition in the market.

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Lack of privacy: Web2 has been criticized for its lack of privacy, as companies have access to vast amounts of personal information and use it for various purposes, such as advertising and data analysis. This can lead to privacy violations and make it difficult for individuals to control their personal information.

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Inefficient data management: Web2 relies on centralized data storage, which can be slow, inefficient, and vulnerable to cyberattacks. This can result in significant data breaches and loss of sensitive information.

Limitations of Web3

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Adoption and Scalability: Web3 is still in its early stages of development and has limited adoption, which can make it difficult for users to find applications and services that support the technology. Additionally, scalability remains a challenge for Web3, as the technology needs to be able to support a large number of users and transactions to be practical for everyday use.

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Interoperability: Another limitation of Web3 is interoperability, as different decentralized technologies can be incompatible with each other. This can make it difficult for users to access applications and services across different platforms, and can limit the potential for innovation.

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Complexity: The technology behind Web3 is complex and can be difficult for non-technical users to understand and use. This can limit the adoption of Web3 and make it challenging for developers to build applications and services that are user-friendly and accessible.

Despite these limitations, Web3 has significant potential to improve the online experience for users and address many of the challenges associated with Web2. As technology continues to evolve, it is likely that these limitations will be addressed and overcome.

Future Prospects

The future of web3 seems bright with a number of new and exciting projects in the pipeline. The combination of NFTs, DeFi, and play-to-earn games has opened up new possibilities for web3 applications and has attracted the attention of several mainstream organizations and investors. According to a recent report, the global blockchain market size is expected to reach $68.1 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 43.6% from 2021 to 2028.

Some of the web3 projects to watch out for in 2023 include:

Banger Games: Banger Games aims to offer a new hub for play-to-earn gaming in web3. It offers rewards for in-game and community activity in games, regardless of platform, game, or publisher. The project focuses on creating a shared economy and native currency for gamers, as well as offering opportunities for competition, and earning and trading in-game assets. Banger Games also includes features such as automated Smart Tournaments, Battle Pass, P2P cloud gaming, in-game achievements, and an anti-cheat client.

Derby Stars: Derby Stars is a metaverse game based on horse racing where players can breed, nurture, and build digital horses with distinct traits, and trade them on the platform. Players also assume the role of virtual jockeys and train their horses to win races. The game features a dual-token economy with a governance token and a utility token for rewards.

VulcanVerse: VulcanVerse is an open-world MMORPG game with storylines crafted by battle fantasy creators. Players can exercise ownership over in-game assets in the form of NFTs and participate in battles against other players. The game follows a dual-token economy and offers rewards for involvement in the Vulcan Forged ecosystem, including Vulcanites and land NFTs. The Vulcan Forged ecosystem also includes the Agora NFT art platform.

Affyn: Affyn is a blockchain-based metaverse for play-to-earn mobile gaming without initial investment. It includes geolocation and augmented reality capabilities, and has a team of over 40 industry experts from gaming companies such as Disney, Epic Games, and Square Enix. Affyn features unique in-game characters, Buddies that are NFTs with unique traits, and attributes that can be transferred to other games. Players have complete ownership over the Buddies in the NEXUS metaverse of Affyn.

Flare: Flare blockchain is an advanced web3 project aimed at delivering truly cross-chain functionality. It solves the problems of token bridges, which have been criticized for security issues and slow processing times, by providing a decentralized solution for cross-chain interoperability. Flare blockchain is an interesting crypto web3 project that offers better benefits than existing alternatives, and also features a comprehensive incentive program for developers to support the growth of the ecosystem. Additionally, it has a simple and coherent stack of applications that address various concerns for web3 developers, such as the State Connector, which allows dApps on the Flare blockchain to access information from external sources.


Web3 represents a new and exciting step forward in the development of the internet. By leveraging decentralized technology, Web3 seeks to address many of the limitations and challenges of Web2, such as centralized control and lack of privacy. With its focus on user empowerment and security, Web3 has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with the web, giving users more control over their personal information and online experiences.

As technology continues to mature and more applications and services are built on the Web3 platform, we can expect to see significant changes in the way we access and use the internet. Whether it’s through decentralized finance, decentralized identity, or decentralized data management, Web3 holds tremendous promise for a more open and trustworthy online experience. While it may take some time for Web3 to fully mature, and be widely adopted, it is clear that the future of the internet is headed in a decentralized direction.


What is Web3?

Web3 is the next generation of the internet, characterized by decentralized technology and a focus on user empowerment and privacy.

What is Web2?

Web2 is the second generation of the internet, characterized by increased user interactivity and the growth of social media, online communities, and cloud computing.

How is Web2 different from Web1?

Web1, also known as the “static web,” was limited in terms of interactivity and user-generated content. Web2, on the other hand, is more dynamic and allows users to interact with each other and contribute content in a more meaningful way

How is Web3 different from Web2?

Web3 seeks to address many of the limitations of Web2, such as centralized control and lack of privacy. It provides users with greater control over their personal information and online experiences through decentralized technology.

What are some of the key applications of Web3?

Web3 has numerous potential applications, including decentralized finance, decentralized identity, decentralized data management, and decentralized social media.

What are some of the limitations of Web3?

Some of the limitations of Web3 include low adoption and scalability, interoperability, and complexity. However, as the technology continues to mature, these limitations are expected to be addressed.

Vlad Hategan
Vlad Hategan - NFT Gaming Specialist
153 Articles

Vlad has been active in the crypto space since early 2013 with a hands-on approach since late 2017. His focus has always been being able to showcase the value crypto brings to our digital landscape. That's why he tried almost every possible category from mining to NFT and ICOs - back in the day. In short, he enjoys every part of the blockchain space, from the community to the nitty gritty technological details.

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Reviewed and Fact Checked by Eugene Abungana , Investment Analyst, Financial Analyst, and Institutional Trader