Our world is becoming more digital daily, which means more of our lives are online and on computers and mobile devices. We upload pictures of ourselves onto social media platforms, socialise with others, learn new information, and even do our finances online. Millions around the globe have taken advantage of this revolutionary innovation.
Does this mean we’ll soon become global citizens online, where we socialise and do our finances there? What will it be like to have freedom, democracy, and ownership in our own digital wallets? How is South Africa tech changing in the road to Web3? We’re here to answer those questions when we define Web3 and discuss South Africa’s role in it.
What is Web3?
Coined by computer scientist and Ethereum co-creator Gavin Wood on his blog “Insights into a Modern World”, Web3 is meant to be a decentralised version of the internet running on blockchain energy. Wood dubbed this a “post-Snowden” internet because Web3 is intended to give us data privacy and pseudonymity. In other words, Web3 gives users “online democracy” by taking ownership and decision-making away from powerful moderators and giving it to the online community.
How this works is simple to explain. Unlike websites like Facebook and YouTube, which collect and monetise data, Web3 will store our data in our crypto wallets.
Wallets and Gaming
Through these wallets, we can engage with apps and communities and take our data with us when we log off. That means we can search how to choose safe new live casinos without any corporations collecting and selling our data.
What’s also built into our crypto wallets is our identity, or rather, our pseudonymity. That’s because our wallets are our identities, which don’t connect us to our real ones.
While we can see activities from someone’s wallet, we won’t know whose wallet it is. Some services will link users to their wallets in cases of criminality, but our identities will be obscured for daily uses.
Apps on Web3 will be run by decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs), which gives users decisions to make. To make these decisions, we’ll need governance tokens we can receive by maintaining decentralised apps or buying tokens.
Traditional companies let shareholders and a CEO decide and install changes. DAOs let token holders vote on proposed changes and give everyone access to the DAO’s source code. This is what many users call democracy.
What’s the Difference Between Web3 and Web1 and Web2?
The internet is still a new technology, so it’s unlikely to see Web3 completely replace Web2. However, for those who don’t know the differences between the three, we’re glad to explain.
Web1 consists of static read-only websites. This is how the internet started. We couldn’t interact with pages, and creating a web page took a long time and loads of technology knowledge.
Web2, the version we’re currently using, lets us “write” on web pages. We can see how popular our posts are via clicks and comments. This is how social media and content creation became widespread and accessible. Despite this, Web2 takes our data and monetises it via adverts. We’re not just consumers; we’re products.
Criticism of Web3
While Web3 sounds like a great idea, many users have voiced their complaints. Some claim that governance tokens can be bought up by one person, which creates a power imbalance.
Proof of stakes (PoS), Web3’s validation method, is energy-efficient but gives validators with the most money the most power. This works by staking cryptocurrency we own as collateral when new information is updated on the blockchain. The more we stake, the more we can update the blockchain and earn more money.
Others have complained about the DAO’s source codes being publicly available. Public availability can bring risks of cyber attacks. Web3 is still in its early stages, so it’ll hopefully install cyber security measures targeting fraud.
South Africa’s Role
Almost every country has stepped into the digital world, and countries like South Africa are making significant impacts on Web3, which is booming in this country. So, what’s South Africa’s role in Web3?
According to Chainanaylis, the African crypto market’s value increased by over 1,200 per cent between July 2020 and June 2021. Many African countries, like Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and South Africa, lead to these high adoption rates. During that period, Africa had the third-fastest growing crypto economy worldwide.
Better than that, Africa is also the world leader in overall shares from crypto transaction volume (peer-by-peer). This means African consumers in crypto-unfriendly countries are finding loopholes in these bans.
South Africa’s one of the richest in Africa and has loads of cryptocurrencies. With that knowledge, it’s clear that South Africa may lead the world to technological advances in Web3.