This edition of the TechReg Chronicle focuses on the latest iteration of the Web: “Web 3.0,” or “Web3.”
The thinking behind the use of this term is that “Web3” incorporates concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics. Many technologists and journalists have contrasted it with the former term, Web 2.0, whereby data and content were allegedly centralized in a small group of companies sometimes referred to as “Big Tech.” The term “Web3” was coined in 2014 and gained particular interest as of 2021, from cryptocurrency enthusiasts, large technology companies, and venture capital firms. Indeed, as Carole Van Cleef outlines astutely, “Web3” is not “lawless territory.” It encapsulates a number of practices covered by regulations and norms that already apply, albeit not under the same “brand.”
The term is not without controversy. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with the instigation of the world-wide web in its first iteration, actively discourages the use of the term, claiming “Web3 is not the web at all.” Proponents, of the term, on the other hand, call out the merits of a decentralized vision of internet communications and commerce that would be more democratic than it is today; and not dominated by a handful of powerful players.
Leaving terminological debates aside, it is clear that the growing use of blockchain technologies in communications and commerce w...