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Web 3 vs Metaverse, Difference and Future Together
People often use the terms Web 3 and metaverse in the same breath, under the impression that they are the same. This is a misconception, however, and far from reality. These are two distinct concepts though there is some overlapping space.
Before comprehending the differences and a common future together, let us first understand what these terms exactly mean.
What is Web 3
Web 3 is a sci-fi-sounding word referring to the decentralized Internet. This iteration of the web is based on distributed ledger technologies like blockchain and is governed by decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO). The ownership in Web 3 is decentralized, quite in contrast to centralized systems where power is centered in the hands of individuals or corporations owning servers.
The previous iterations of the web, Web 1 (World Wide Web) and Web 2 (user-generated web), were based on the server-browser model, where the entity or individual owning the server can restrict the browser from viewing content or interacting with it.
Thanks to inherent decentralization, Web 3 has a democratized set-up. The hardware, flow of information, and the data are owned by the users themselves, at least in theory, so no single person or corporation is able to pull the plug and obliterate a network. All changes in rules and regulations regarding governance occur via voting.
What is metaverse
Metaverse is a cool name for virtual worlds that enable users to interact with one another as they might do in the real world. They also enjoy much more immersive experience of engaging with apps and services.
As a term, ‘metaverse’ was first used in Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash for referring to a virtual reality world. Thanks to books and movies like The Matrix, the concept had already seeped into public imagination.
Today, science is developed enough to add new dimensions to the world depicted in those movies. Ericsson conducted a survey where seven out of ten respondents opined that by 2030, there will be online spaces that will mirror the real world. Already, games offering business enterprises an opportunity to build branded online worlds or hold virtual events are regarded into the sphere of metaverses.
Technologies that combine to create metaverses include virtual reality (creation of virtual worlds that are there even when you are not playing), augmented reality (blending aspects of the digital and physical worlds), blockchain (making participants owners and currency part), and artificial intelligence (analysis of footfalls in virtual properties or transactions) among others.
Metaverses today exist in silos, meaning they have a separate physical presence. In the coming years, however, metaverses are expected to be interoperable.
At this point, most companies developing their metaverses have a vague idea of what their creations will be. Meta is supposed to have virtual houses where you can invite all your friends to have a ball. Microsoft’s metaverse might have virtual meeting rooms for business enterprises. But it is all guesswork and it will take some time before things become clear.
Similarities and differences
The most striking similarity between the two is that, despite plenty of talks, most people are still unsure what these terms actually mean.
So many individuals and organizations today are busy constructing metaverses in line with their own vision. Meta, for instance, will likely be under the control of a corporation and quite different from your concept of a virtual world with decentralized ownership.
The extent to which you could separate Web 3 and metaverse depends on your own definition of the former. While most people take Web 3 as an identifier for the third major iteration of the Internet, there are some who describe Web 3 as ‘the immersive web’. In their opinion, it is the ‘immersiveness’ part that differentiates Web 3 from previous iterations of the Internet.
Technologies that create Web 3 and metaverses cross paths in more than one way. Three major components of Web 3 – distributed ledger, cryptocurrencies, and NFT – form the core of metaverses as well. Both Web 3 and metaverses can support activities like working, conducting business, earning, playing, shopping, socializing, learning, and more.
Role of cryptocurrencies in Web 3 and metaverses
Cryptocurrencies play a critical role in forming the monetary system in Web 3 as well as metaverses. These digital coins don’t require financial institutions, clearing houses, or brokerages to facilitate transactions. All they need is a wallet that the users or their avatars could use to transact. You need to factor in, though, that you can transact with fiat currencies in Web 3 but not on metaverses.
While Web 3 is a facilitator, it is the metaverse that quite resembles the real world. Here is a cliché though. On a metaverse, anyone who has set up a shop there might earn as much cryptocurrency as they want, but if they wish to change their coins into fiat, they have to visit an exchange, which is the part of the Web 3 ecosystem.
Role of NFTs in Web 3 and metaverses
All sorts of objects in Web 3 as well as metaverses such as yachts, shops, virtual land, in-game assets, etc. are NFTs aka non-fungible tokens. Most of such stuff is on both metaverses and Web3, enabling the creation of unique items in the virtual ecosystem. Like cryptocurrencies, which are fungible tokens, NFTs also reside on blockchains.
If you aren’t aware of what an NFT is, this quick drop-down might help. The term ‘non-fungible’ refers to the stuff that is one-of-a-kind, such as the Eiffel Tower. Cryptocurrencies are fungible tokens, meaning one token can be replaced with another. This, however, isn’t the case with NFTs as one unique painting cannot be possibly replaced with another.
An insight into the future
In the coming days, Web 3 and metaverses are likely to co-exist. As should be evident by now, the concepts like the immersive web and virtual worlds are all closely linked, and to imagine them as totally separate entities will be a mistake.
The very foundations’ the digital worlds of the future will be based on are the same. Web 3 and metaverses are both built on decentralized platforms. The user base for both entities is also the same.
What is missing though is the infrastructural support for the stakeholders on Web 3 and metaverses. Web 2 projects that are keen on moving to Web 3 might take months and spend plenty of resources. The story is the same for taking the shop to metaverses.
UnicusOne is a platform that rolls out Web 3 as a service enabling stakeholders quick transformation to the new web. Mild code philosophy UnicusOne provides for seamless integration of projects with the platform, resulting in quickfire transformation.