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Web 2 vs Web 3: Unlocking the Evolution of the Internet

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

By Jaya Bijoor

The internet is evolving rapidly, and each major iteration creates new opportunities. Two significant phases in this evolution are Web 2 and Web 3. This article will explore the characteristics and key differences between Web 2 and Web 3.


Web 2, often called the read-write web, started in the early 2000s. It revolutionized the internet by introducing user-generated content. Some features of Web 2 are

  • Social Media: Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube let users create and share their content.

  • Interactive Web Applications: Web 2 allowed web applications that provided a more interactive and engaging user experience, such as Gmail and Google Maps.

  • Mobile Applications: Web 2 coincided with the rise of smartphones, so mobile apps and responsive web design became important for delivering content and services across multiple devices.

  • Data Personalization: With the increased amount of user generated data, websites and applications started giving content and recommendations based on user preferences.

Web 3, also known as the decentralized web, represents the next phase of the internet's evolution. It addresses some of the challenges faced by Web 2, particularly for data privacy, security, and centralized control. Some characteristics of Web 3 are:

  • Blockchain and Decentralization: Web 3 leverages blockchain technology to create decentralized applications. This allows peer to peer interactions, eliminates the need for intermediaries, and enhances transparency and security.

  • Smart Contracts and Tokenization: Web 3 has smart contracts, which are self-executing agreements coded on platforms such as Ethereum. Additionally, tokenization allows the representation of digital assets as tradable tokens.

  • More Privacy: Web 3 emphasizes user control and ownership of data. By using encryption, individuals can protect their personal information and decide who has access to it.

  • Linked Data: Web 3 focuses on creating a more interconnected web of data, where information from different sources can be linked and accessed easily.

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Web 3 combines AI and machine learning with decentralized data to enable more intelligent applications and personalized experiences, such as chatbots, virtual assistants, and predictive algorithms.

While Web 2 and Web 3 share some similarities, they differ in their principles and how they are built. Their differences are:

  1. Control and Ownership: In Web 2, centralized entities like social media and search engines have control over user data. In Web 3, individuals have more control and ownership of their data through encryption.

  2. Intermediaries: Web 2 relies on intermediaries for interactions, but Web 3 does not have intermediaries because it uses blockchain and smart contracts.

  3. Trust and Security: Web 2 means trust in centralized entities, but Web 3 utilizes cryptography to have trust and security without relying on a single authority.

  4. Data Monetization: Many Web 2 companies make money by selling user data to advertisers. In Web 3, individuals can directly monetize their data through tokenized ecosystems and decentralized marketplaces.

  5. Collaboration: Web 2 allowed collaboration and innovation through user-generated content. However, Web 3 allows decentralized collaboration and the creation of new economic ideas.

With Web 3, the internet is becoming more open and secure for individuals and innovation. As we continue to use Web 3, we will see new applications shape the future of the Internet.


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