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Welcome2Web3.com aka W2W3

Words from Geoffrey Huntley

👋 Welcome2Web3.com is an art project and critque on Web3 created by Geoffrey Huntley and an anonymous univeristy lecturer. The idea came into existence after a phone call after the lecturer sent me an email with his discoveries...

Why

Over the last couple of months there has been a lot of hype about a new World Wide Web (Web3) based on blockchains - a slow distributed, append only spreadsheet technology which is destroying the planet we live on.

Blockchain isn't new. It has been around for as long as the iPhone. Look how much the iPhone has changed the world. Blockchains one claim to fame in this period is the creation of $5.2B/year ransomware industry, societal damage in the form of gambling and the loss of irreplaceable photos.

Web3 is blockchain, once again, rebranded.

This hype of a new internet (which is a false narrative) is driven by over a billion dollars of venture capital of investment by people who can only see dollars (for them). They want to replace the internet we have today with one where it costs money to share a photo with friends or post a comment.

A internet with inequality baked in where you can only participate if you have money. We created this website so you can experience the 'future' (🤮) today...

The email

See also https://twitter.com/GeoffreyHuntley/status/1501365725180882944 for the twitter thread.

I am a software developer of 8 years now and I work as a lecturer. I primarily work creating web applications and hybrid mobile applications.

I have recently noticed all this Web 3 and NFT hype being forced on people. I have managed to somewhat ignore all of this crypto stuff until recently, however, now I am frequently questioned by colleagues and students about how this stuff works, whether they should invest and how is this going to change the internet.

The messaging I started seeing around Web 3.0 being the next step for the internet and seeing these crypto people speaking to the US congress about it is what pushed me to start looking into it.

I fell into this rabbit hole for weeks, I had a lot of trouble finding any resources which reflect the truth around any of this technology. Every time I felt I had an understanding of something, I would try to discuss it with people I perceived to be more knowledgeable (who ended up being 20 something year old’s who are gamblers role playing as investors). These characters would pummel me with more acronyms and concepts that I’d waste more time trying to unravel. At first I actually felt intimidated, like this was all super complicated but I learnt that this is a tactic these crypto people use to dismiss questions and validate themselves.

I ended up learning the most from reading the Ethereum documentation as well as that of projects which are attempting to build a web app with Web 3.0. (I really hate that they called it Web 3.0, and that they involve “Smart Contracts”)

I finally got to the point where I had an understanding of what Web 3.0 actually was and what a non-static, totally ‘on chain’ web app might look like. Turns out, if you wanted to make a twitter, everyone would have to pay GAS every time they do anything other than read tweets. Not to mention, even though the data is decentralised, the code base isn’t and will be controlled by individuals (DOA’s just seem like an obfuscation of this to me). The frontend also seems like it’d have to be hosted in a traditional way, unless you use something like IPFS which seems like it’d be impractical for maintaining.

There are so many other issues that I had which I never found adequate answers, for example: “Can’t you just change the URL within the metadata of an NFT after it’s minted?”, in which people shrugged off stating that I don’t understand what NFT’s are.

Today I stumbled upon the Coffeezilla video you were in, you verified everything that I had found, and spoke about things I hadn’t even considered.

I just wanted to say thanks, I am really frustrated with all this hype and it’s been hard to find honest people who, like you said, don’t have a reason to promote.

Please let me know if you need help with anything, I’d be happy to try get involved.

Words from the developer of W2W3

Why?

I have recently been bombarded with advertisements, promoted content and questions from colleagues regarding NFT's and Web 3.0. I have worked as a web based software developer for almost a decade and had no idea what Web 3.0 meant. When I attempted to learn about it, I was met with what I would later realise was lots of misinformation and ignorance. After researching the Web 3.0 code base, I was able to understand how applications built using Web 3.0 would work. Instead of attempting to explain my findings, I created this website.

What is Web 3.0

A typical Social Media website consists of two components, the front-end and the back-end. The front-end refers to the content you see when you visit a website, it's layout and how you can interact with it. The back-end refers to the computers which are responsible for processing and storing your data. For example, when you post a comment, it is sent from your computer to the back-end where it is stored within a database. The back-end is owned and controlled by the Social Media company, your data can be stored on one computer, or thousands, depending on the scale of the company. To Web 3.0 enthusiasts, this is referred to as a Centralized service.

Allowing companies to store and control our data can be problematic and Web 3.0 has been proposed in an attempt to solve those problems. The general idea behind Web 3.0 is to store user's data within a network that is not owned by an individual company. Instead, a large number of independent computers process and store data, this is referred as a Decentralized service.

There are a few catches which challenge the decentralization proposed by Web 3.0:

  • A web application is still owned and controlled by an individual company,
  • The underlying code for any application is centralized,
  • Storing data on a Blockchain can be very expensive so centralized data storage services are commonly used.

Web 3.0 does not have to be associated to a crypto currency or Blockchain technology. However, it is most commonly used to referrence websites that interact with the Ethereum Blockchain. In this case a Web 3.0 website works in the same way that websites work today (with a front and back-end), however, the back-end involves storing or accessing information from the Ethereum Blockchain.

Social Media on Web 3.0

The Social Media application Welcome2Web3 emulates works on the Ethereum Blockchain. Every time you like or comment on an image, your action needs to be stored in a database somewhere. Normally, you don't have to pay to like or post because the Social Media companies pay for this. However, using Web 3.0 you need to pay for your actions to be stored within the computers on the Ethereum Blockchain. The cost of storing information on the Blockchain is referred to as GAS and at the time of writting costs roughly $2 USD per 1kb of data. To put this into perspective, a high resolution photograph can be upwards of 4000kb, or $8,000.

Will Web 3.0 Always Cost?

The concept of Web 3.0 is still in the very early days. It most commonly refers to the applications built on the Ethereum Blockchain where Web 3.0 applications will always cost if they involve writing data. However, there are other frameworks which are being developed under the Web 3.0 label which will not require users to pay. Instead, these frameworks typically expect users to participate in storing eachothers data, which poses it's own set of risks and challenges.

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