Web3 & Web 3.0: Different Concepts or Two Sides of One Coin? 

What’s the Difference Between Web3 and Web 3.0?

Have you ever wondered what the difference between Web3 and Web 3.0 is? The vast majority of today’s media and all sorts of experts seem to believe these are different ways of referring to the same phenomenon. CP Media also thought that Web3 and Web 3.0 were the same things until recently. However, eventually, this proved to be wrong (in part), although this opinion didn’t appear out of thin air. 

There are several factors here to blame: 

  1. A lack of a single commonly accepted terminological base. 
  2. The weak theoretical background of the vast majority of people involved directly in the Web3 industry or those who write about it (of course, this isn’t about us, we strive to get to the bottom of things, that’s why such columns appear). 
  3. Misleading information circulating online. 

Terminology and its commonly accepted definitions are formed in different ways. For example, as a result of academic or scientific discourse, in the process of standard-setting or the creation of normative standards, or by fixing specific wordings in dictionaries. All these processes haven’t yet touched the Web3 and Web 3.0 terms used within professional communities, whose members can understand what they’re talking about by context and therefore don’t need precise formulations. 

The belief that Web3 and Web 3.0 are synonymous is so widespread that even ChatGPT considers them as such. And in case you didn’t know, it summarizes the data and language most commonly used online. An educational article written by Binance Academy is quite revealing in this regard, explicitly pointing out the identity of the terms Web3 and Web 3.0. Interestingly, the wording varies slightly between different language versions of the article, however, the general context shows that Web3 and Web 3.0 are supposedly identical. No wonder government officials, such as the Japanese Ministry of Economy, also don’t separate Web3 and Web 3.0. Even CNBC journalists who research the topic don’t see a difference. And even the English version of Wikipedia says “Web3 (also known as Web 3.0),” even though its Russian-language version has a definite separation between Web3 and Web 3.0, and the encyclopedia explicitly suggests that these terms shouldn’t be confused.

Web3 and Web 3.0: What’s the Difference? 

What’s the Difference Between Web3 and Web 3.0?

Web3 and Web 3.0 are both Internet concepts, each describing slightly different images of the global network’s future. Web 3.0 implies global automation of routine processes, increasing the usability of user interfaces and personalization of content and enhancing the value of unique individual experiences, skills, and talents. In turn, Web3 is built around the decentralization of the global network. Yet, there’s no “correct” formulation because any definition at the moment is an attempt to summarize different opinions into a coherent one, isolating their essence.

The author of the Web 3.0 concept is believed to be Jason Calacanis, an American investor and Internet entrepreneur. He outlined his vision of the third generation of the Internet in his article “Web 3.0, the ‘official’ definition.” He ironically emphasizes the fact that his definition shouldn’t be taken as official. It’s widely believed that he introduced the term Web 3.0. 

In the modern view, the concept of Web 3.0 suggests that the development of technologies such as the Semantic Web, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, neural networks, and other artificial intelligence stuff will lead to the fact that the interaction between computer systems will become easier and more efficient, allowing content on the Internet to be more personalized, and interfaces — simple and understandable. It’ll also automate many routine processes of content creation and information infrastructure support. Against this background, creativity, as well as individual skills and talents, will gain manifold value. Calacanis described Web 3.0 as “the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform.” 

By the way, Tim O’Reilly, one of the creators of the World Wide Web and the author of the Web 2.0 concept, defines Web 3.0 as “the interaction of the Internet with the physical world.” He also criticizes Calacanis’ definition and argues against the widespread identification of the Semantic Web with Web 3.0, as the vast majority of web “experts” do today. Are you starting to understand how the confusion of terms arises? 

A common belief is that the Web3 concept was formulated in 2014 by Gavin Wood, Co-Founder of Ethereum and many other famous blockchain projects. However, the article in question uses the term Web 3.0, so this is another perspective on the future of the global network. It’s merely Wood’s vision that the third generation of the Internet should be primarily decentralized and based on blockchain, which is what his definition of Web 3.0 emphasizes.

The acronym Web3 most likely originated just within the professional community, since that same year, 2014, the Web3.js development kit was introduced, a JavaScript library that enables the creation of smart contracts on the Ethereum network using the Solidity programming language. Gavin Wood was among the key developers. When and who first credited him with the “Web3 concept” remains unknown, but this opinion caught on and became widespread across the network.

All in all, it seems that the difference between Web3 and Web 3.0 isn’t so essential, all the more so if we talk about the broad understanding of these terms and their use by non-specialists. However, we are in the know when it comes to the subject, so let’s specify that when we move to decentralized technologies, this is Web3; when we’re dealing with a more global image of the future development of the Internet, this is Web 3.0.

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