An invention has to make sense in the world it finishes in, not in the world it started. –Tim O’Reilly
When the term “Web3” emerged, it was heralded as the next evolution of the internet. The somewhat official definition for Web3 describes the next evolution of the World Wide Web, the user interface that provides access to documents, applications, and multimedia on the Internet. This is effectively a space where decentralized platforms and services offer individuals greater control, ownership, and transparency. At least, that is the hope. But as we know, hope is not a strategy, and a plan needs to be in place for mass adoption; that happens through buy-in.
As with any burgeoning technology, the excitement was often shrouded in buzzwords: NFTs, Crypto, DeFi, and more. For many, these terms became roadblocks rather than gateways to understanding. Today, as the landscape evolves, it’s worth noting that “Web3” – as a term – is on the decline, giving way to “3D Internet”. But why the shift? And how can we demystify the next phase of online evolution?
Buzzwords: Clouding the Vision
The tech world loves its jargon. When a novel concept emerges, it’s often accompanied by new terminology, which can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes, I imagine a collective, deep below the Earth, saying, “What can we do to make this a mystical technology that people will want to talk about at every cocktail event?”
On one hand, these terms encapsulate complex ideas, making them digestible for those in the know. But for the general populace, they can obscure the actual value and potential of the technology.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are a perfect example. While the tech community saw them as a revolutionary way to verify uniqueness and ownership in the digital realm, many outside this circle were left scratching their heads. “Why pay thousands for a digital image I can screenshot?” was a common sentiment. And why are NFTs limited to the world of art? However, that is actually not the case, but one would never know.
The Problem of Perception
The disconnect stems from more than unfamiliarity with terms but a lack of clarity on the real-world problems these technologies aim to solve. Every meaningful innovation arises from a problem meeting its solution. The personal computer, for instance, wasn’t just a fancy gadget—it was a solution to individual computing needs. The mobile phone wasn’t just a portable telephone—it solved the communication problem on the go. This goes back to the invention of the wheel, hence why we say “the greatest invention since the wheel.”
In the haze of “Web3” jargon, the underlying problems being addressed—and the revolutionary solutions being offered—were often overshadowed. Instead of illuminating the value of decentralized finance (DeFi) in democratizing finance or the role of NFTs in revolutionizing content ownership, discussions often spiraled into abstract debates, distancing the everyday user from the core innovations.
Enter the “3D Internet”
There’s been a conscious move towards more intuitive terminology in recognizing these barriers. “3D Internet” does away with the cryptic nature of “Web3” and paints a vivid picture. It suggests an immersive, expansive, and multi-dimensional space—concepts far more accessible for many to grasp.
But it’s not just about rebranding. It’s about reshaping the conversation to focus on these innovations’ tangible impacts on daily life. Instead of highlighting the intricacies of blockchain, discussions are leaning more toward its applications: decentralized voting systems, transparent supply chains, and peer-to-peer marketplaces that empower individuals.
As entrepreneur and LandVault executive John Kraski, a LinkedIn top Voice, recently stated, “The term web3 is dead.” He also noted what brands think – where the buy-in – the Holy Grail of sales – comes from, and they, according to John, “think it is Fortnite and Roblox.”
John also noted, “Customers frankly don’t care (about terminology). The underlying technology is still sound.” His advice is simple: “Find a problem that needs to be solved. Build a solution leveraging the technology.” As with most of his posts, it ends with “thank me later.” Take heed. This one struck a chord with me.
Bringing Substance to the Forefront
We must pivot our focus from jargon to journeys to bridge the gap between innovation and understanding. The time has come to highlight real stories. A digital artist gaining rightful ownership and fair compensation through NFTs or a farmer in a developing nation accessing global markets thanks to decentralized platforms are actual use cases that solve problems.
The individuals fueling these ideas, from developers to end-users, are the driving force. The customers, which are the end market, must require the products or services. Their problems, solutions, and stories are the essence of this new era and deserve the spotlight.
As we move deeper into the age of the “3D Internet”, it’s crucial to remember that our role isn’t just to innovate but to educate. By shedding the layers of confusing terminology and emphasizing real-world applications and stories, we can ensure that the future of the Internet is not just revolutionary but also inclusive and understandable for all.
Published First on Grit Daily. Read Here.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Artem Podrez; Pexels; Thank you!