I Don’t Understand Web 3.0

Web3 is probably not what you think

Lance Ulanoff
OneZero
Published in
4 min readDec 20, 2021

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Photo by Shubham Dhage on Unsplash

You can thank Kara Swisher for this post. She’s started asking questions on Twitter about Web 3.0, or Web3 (for a post of her own, I believe). In response, I offered a bit of commentary. This triggered a torrent of responses raining down on me like so much cryptocurrency, and making it clear I do not understand Web 3.0.

Having been online since the dawn of the modern web, I’ve seen all the iterations, from sea changes to Web interfaces and browsers to the HTML building blocks that created it. Before we started numbering the “Web” as a whole, we fixated on HTML versions. The last one of significance was HTML5. It was the one that was supposed to change the face of mobile, until everyone realized it was better to build native mobile apps.

The last big Web iteration, Web 2.0, was the kind of change I could get my arms around. There is some disagreement about the definition of Web 2.0. “It’s about the cloud and UGC (user-generated content),” insist some. Others define Web 2.0 as a shift to a more dynamic and interactive web, enabled by new tools, the cloud, and especially ubiquitous broadband, which arrived at roughly the turn of the century but didn’t take root until a few years later.

On Twitter, I argued that Web 2.0 was a “foundational change,” since it dealt…

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Lance Ulanoff
OneZero

Tech expert, journalist, social media commentator, amateur cartoonist and robotics fan.