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A Brief History Of Web3 - Cryptocurrencies To Metaverse Of Madness

A Brief History Of Web3 - Cryptocurrencies To Metaverse Of Madness

Understanding Web3 and its evolution through the eyes of a lay person. A one stop guide for all the terms and technologies associated with Web 3.0.

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Amoghavarsha
·May 20, 2022·

29 min read

Table of contents

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C. Clarke

In 1984, the same year in which Mark Zuckerberg was born and Elon Musk wrote his first game at the age of twelve; what if someone told you that one day you could access thousands of books at your fingertip, or you could transfer hundreds of high definition photos to your friend living abroad within minutes!

Probably you would have anticipated the possibility, if you were a huge fan of the sci-fi genre. Or maybe you'd have shrugged Bill Gates's words off like in from David Letterman Show.

Pre Web

The history of the internet has its origin in information theory and an effort was made to build and interconnect computer networks across borders. Further along the line, it became an era of innovation built on top of information theory, programmers wrote their first program on special forms called coding sheets and instructions to mainframe computers were fed through punch cards. Later ARPANET was built along with TCP/IP. Both technologies became the foundation The Internet.

So the Internet and Web(www) are the same thing? Not exactly. The Internet is a global network of networks while Web(www) is a collection of information that could be accessed via the Internet. Tim Berners-Lee is the inventor of WWW. Another way to look at it is that the Internet is an infrastructure that powers the Web. The modern day Web has become wireless, where the information could be transmitted with gigabit speed in seconds!

Web 1.0

The World Wide Web is a system of interconnected hypertext documents that could be accessed by the power of the Internet. To simplify, an era of the Web where you could only find static information on a website. You couldn't do anything on that website apart from viewing the read-only information. So Web 1.0 is also known as the Web of documents or Read-only Web.

Even though the Web was invented around 1989, it became mainstream around 1995-1996. People and businesses started realizing the true potential of the Web. The timeline of Web 1.0 was from 1996-2004. You might have heard a phrase somewhere as The dot com bubble - This was around the same time period when Web 1.0 was happening. Everyone was amazed by this new way of communication and businesses moving online. Web 1.0 included core web protocols such as HTML, HTTP and URI, they still serve as the backbone of the Internet.

Characteristics Of Web 1.0

  • It had read-only content.
  • It was made up of static web pages, mostly made up of Hypertext Mark-up Language.
  • Businesses and institutions used it to build their online presence, that is, making their information available for anyone to access via the Internet.
  • It helped people to communicate effectively through emails and IRC groups rather than postcards.

Limitations Of Web 1.0

  • The biggest limitation of Web 1.0 was the lack of dynamic representation. The static pages couldn't do more, other than displaying the information.
  • The content on the website could only be modified by the system administrator(Webmaster), any new information took a significant amount of time to get updated.

Web 2.0

In 2004, a twenty year old student from Harvard created a website where people could share photos and update their bio and it was known as Facebook. It's one of the best examples for representing Web 2.0. Unlike Web 1.0, it made the websites dynamic and interactive, where people could not only read information, but also write information. So it's also known Read-Write Web. The major achievement of Web 2.0 was dynamic representation. And it revolutionized the Internet. It made the Web so convenient that anyone could upload photos, chat to their loved ones via texts, make audio or video calls, make bank payments, shopping online, ordering food online, getting likes, comments and feedback from other people and much more. If you are reading this amazing article, and want to like and comment below, all thanks to Web 2.0. The core competency of Web 2.0 is that it could take in user generated data and empower users to interact with a website wholesomely. It is also called as Web of People. Social media companies hold a major part in the success of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is not going anywhere soon, it's here to stay!

Impact Of Web 2.0

  • There was a drastic increase in Internet-based startups.
  • Service sectors moved their businesses to online, where they could provide their services world wide.
  • Social media companies boomed, which gave rise to new businesses. Careers in art, entertainment and content creation flourished online.
  • Almost every discipline in the world got digitized. From Tele medicine to space exploration, everything got powered by Web 2.0.

Now the question arises; If Web 2.0 is already doing the job of an ideal Web, what's the need for Web 3?

Limitations Of Web 2.0

  • As Web 2.0 gave more accessibility to people, the risk of security also increased. It paved a way for black hat hackers to find security flaws in the feature rich websites and exploit them for their benefit. This became a problem for both the customers and the service providers.
  • Even though social media companies are praised as demigods of Web 2.0, it came with a cost of end users' privacy. Big corporations started providing numerous products and services to consumers free of cost, but in exchange for their data/metadata. So data became the new oil of the 21st century. As the saying goes, "If you don't pay for the product, you are the product."
  • As more power was centralized among corporate entities and governments, it became easy for them to censor, surveil or ban the people of dissent.

Web 3.0

Have you ever imagined a world where whatever you create that'll have a value and that cannot be destroyed easily? A world where a corporate entity or a government cannot take down your content at their will. It sounds like a utopia right? Well, this utopia might be in action already.

If you search for Web3 on the Internet, you can't get a proper definition. There could be various explanations based on the implementation. Because there is no official body or a corporate entity who holds the key to Web3. But there's something known as Web3 Foundation, whose mission is to nurture cutting-edge applications for decentralized web software protocols. As a matter of fact, the concept of Web3 was also envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee, the same man who gave us Web(WWW). Web3 is an idea that encompasses various terms and concepts that are based on decentralization.

What Is Decentralization

De-Centralization is something that doesn't have a central authority. Your government is a central authority, Facebook is a central authority, Amazon is a central authority - Why? Because all these entities control your data or your region through governance. All the decisions made by the central authority would be final or the law of the land. Centralization causes problems when it comes to decision making and individual freedom.

For instance, a law made by your central government would be applied to all citizens of the country, but did each and every citizen of the country agree to the law passed by the government? Obviously not. Some elected representatives made a decision about what they thought was good for you or the country. This limits your power as a citizen in choosing what you really want. Likewise, let's say you own a Facebook account, all your information would be stored in centralized servers of Facebook. They could do whatever they want with your data, sell your metadata to third-parties or they could ban you if you don't comply with their rules and regulations.

Unlike centralized apps, decentralized applications give you more control over your data and they help you to choose where and how your data should be stored or handled. Instead of sending your data to a single company's servers, they send your data to decentralized networks. It means, they give you the power to choose the servers of your choice or they give you a platform to host your own instance. Where you are in control of your data and there's no worry that some central entity would sell off your data or shadow ban you without your knowledge.

What Are dApps

dApps or Decentralized Apps are the applications which reports back to the blockchain instead of reporting back to a centralized server. Interesting thing to note is, dApps could only be built on smart contract networks. This means a blockchain like Bitcoin cannot utilize dApps. Bitcoin was designed to only allow sending its native coins. Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum could utilize dApps to their fullest potential. Don't worry, if you don't understand the italicized terms, just keep reading, let's go!

Advantages Of dApps

Smart contracts are the agreements written in code(programmed) by two parties, where the terms and conditions of the contract could not be changed once set.

Let's say, you make a contract with your roommate that everyday you'd cook the food and they'd clean the room. If you are friends, then there is no need for paperwork, and you'd be flexible in your terms. But what if you guys are not friends and want to comply with a strict agreement? And you'd sign a contract.

In both cases, the chances are either of you might break the agreement anytime or not comply with the predefined agreement. You might become lazy and encourage or insist your roomie to eat outside or your roomie might get lazy and hoodwink you to do the cleaning by quoting health issues! Anything could happen, after all we are all humans.

Whereas in smart contracts, this could not happen. Once the contract is programmed and agreed upon by the members who are the stakeholders of the contract, then there is no way to alter the contract whatsoever. Even the governments cannot alter or take down your smart contract. Because the contract is hard-coded. So dApps could be built on this technology, which makes them reliable. And also there is no necessity to trust any third party or a regulatory authority, simply you could trust the code.

dApps are open source, it means the code used to write the smart contracts or to build the application is publicly available for anyone to read. This makes them trustworthy. Whereas in centralized apps like Facebook or Amazon, you don't know anything about what goes in the background or on what basis Facebook is suggesting you friends or amazon is recommending your products; simply because they are not open source.

dApps are also censorship resistant, it means corporates, governments or any other power player cannot take down the application. Once the program is set and triggered, it just does the job what it was made for. This has a great potential in the financial sectors because no one could cheat during the financial transactions or modify it. No governments could control or regulate your money.

dApps could never go offline. Because of the fact that they are not interacting with a centralized server, instead they are run by thousands of computers that are powering the blockchain. YouTube could go down, but it's hard to take down Odysee!

Applications Of dApps

Gaming dApps: Gaming industry is a huge contributor to Web 3.0. Since the boom of Web 3.0, developers are constantly building dApps that could provide some financial benefits to the gamers. Gaming has changed a lot since last decade, which was once seen as a hobby could now be a potential career option. Today, Gamers are making more money than an average IT employee!

Gaming industry is one of the firsts that encouraged crypto payments in exchange of gems or nuggets. CryptoKitties is a dApp where you could cute little kittens, technically they are NFTs. Interestingly, you could buy a few kittens and breed them. You could also rent your kittens to breed with others' kittens and make a passive income. How cool is that!

Zed Run is an online horse racing app, where you can buy horses and bet on them. All the races are recorded in the blockchain and you could review them. Gambling dApps are becoming more famous nowadays as it could bring both money and security to the table.

Marketplaces: Just like Amazon or ebay, there are numerous dApp marketplaces where you could buy digital assets like NFTs. Rerible and OpenSea are the two well known market places where you could create, buy and sell NFTs.

There are many other areas where dApps are being built. Especially, in the DEFI (Decentralized Finance) sector, where you could trade your money with crypto, get loans or borrow crypto assets and so on. Aave is a platform where you could earn interest, borrow assets, and build applications.

What Is NFT

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Tokens. As the name suggests NFT is a digital asset that cannot be changed(non-fungible). An NFT could be anything, a digital art, a video, your profile picture etc. So what makes NFT different? Anyone could just download that image or video from the Internet!

When you create an NFT, a token(composed of a bunch of random characters) will be generated and that's like a license that you hold for your NFT. And that token doesn't change throughout time. If you sell that NFT for some money that license will be transferred to the person who bought it. There could also be some extra economics around it, something like getting royalty for your work depending on the platform.

To make a bit more sense, an NFT is a piece of data that would be residing on an address (URL), if you have a password to that address you own that piece of data. This data could be bought and sold for different addresses that would be verified on a blockchain.

What Makes An NFT Valuable

  • Ownership history
  • First of its kind
  • Uniqueness
  • Utility
  • Trend

What Is Blockchain

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Imagine you own a ledger to keep track of all your financial records. And this ledger is available for public viewing! Worry not, interestingly the public could only view the transactions, but they cannot know who you are! They could only see the address(unique strings of characters) and the name that you've given to your address. And you could also view other people's transactions, but you cannot know who they are.

Blockchain is a distributed database of digital records called blocks, that are shared among numerous computer nodes, that are securely linked by cryptographic techniques.

What Is A Block

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A block is just a bunch of data. The data could be anything. A block could be a collection of records. What records? Well, that depends on the implementation. But in most cases it would be financial records. Blockchain technology is widely harnessed by cryptocurrencies. You might have heard of Bitcoin. It's one of the first cryptocurrencies that utilized the blockchain technology and today it's world's number one cryptocurrency.

A key difference between a normal database and a block is the way how it's structured. A blockchain collects data in groups called blocks, whereas a normal database structures its data into tables.

A block has a certain storage capacity, when the maximum limit is reached, the block gets closed and links to the previously filled block, forming a chain of data known as the blockchain. All new data that follows that freshly added block is compiled into a newly formed block that will then also be added to the blockchain once filled. Once the data is structured, its timeline is irreversible. Each block in the chain is given an exact time stamp when it is added to the blockchain. This makes blockchain technology powerful. It guarantees the fidelity and security of a record of data and generates trust without the need for a trusted third party.

Typically a blockchain transaction looks like the following.

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You can read a small snippet about history of blockchain here.

Blockchain vs Bitcoin

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By now, you'd have got the hint that blockchain and Bitcoin are two different things. I'm adding this section in the article because when I first started learning about blockchain and cryptocurrencies, every time I searched for blockchain, search engines would show me bitcoin images all over. It created an ambiguity between the two terms. So it's really necessary to understand that Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that's built upon blockchain technology. As it was one of the first cryptocurrencies to utilize blockchain technology, maybe it became kind of ubiquitous and blockchain and Bitcoin terms became sort of interoperable. I hope now you know the difference and you are ready to learn about Bitcoins.

What Is Bitcoin

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A bank is a financial institution where you keep your money. It's a third party that assures you to keep your money safe and also in return it gives you some interest on money that you've entrusted to them. With the banking system you could send your money to your friend living in another city, you could withdraw your money anytime by going to nearby ATMs. Sounds convenient right?

Think about it, even though, bank assures you to keep your money safe, sometimes it could also go bankrupt where your money is involved and all your hard earned money would go in vain. Or some black hat hacker might find a security vulnerability in your banking website and steal all users' money.

What if there was a financial system where you don't want to trust any third party to hold your money, and you could transfer money to your friend directly peer-to-peer? That's where cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin comes into play.

What Is A Cryptocurrency

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A Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that cannot be touched or felt like a fiat currency. The face value of the currency is determined by an electronically identifiable digital fingerprint stored in a crypto wallet.

To simplify, you might have played some games where you had to earn some virtual coins or gems to buy weapons or boosters. So what are those coins? Could you touch them? Obviously no. Cryptocurrencies are something similar, but they are way more complicated in the back end as they involve financial value. In fact, in many online games they allow you to buy these gems using crypto currencies.

Cryptocurrencies have their own value and blockchain. Based on the simple supply-demand mechanism. Cryptocurrencies could be created, mined and traded. Crypto trading is one of the booming industries lately. Multinational companies buying cryptocurrencies suggests that crypto could be the future. By the advent of digital assets like NFTs and Metaverse, the crypto industry is attracting more investors to invest in the space and calling out developers to build apps that could facilitate the market.

Bitcoin is one such cryptocurrency. It was invented by an unknown entity named Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. They released a white paper explaining this new financial system that could be built on blockchain technology. Fascinating thing about Bitcoin is, only 21 Million bitcoin could be mined. After that a new block has to be added to the bitcoin blockchain.

What Is Mining

Have you ever played ‘Musical chair'? Imagine the music plays only once, and you got a thousand people running around to sit on the chair when the music stops! Need another simple analogy? Imagine if you are running a race and if you reach the finish line first, you'll be awarded. There's no second or third prize. And there's no chance for you to cheat in either case as the whole crowd would be watching you. If you cheat, they would know!

Bitcoin mining is a process of generating new bitcoin by solving puzzles. As Bitcoin is decentralized, many miners will be trying to solve the puzzles, if you are the first one to solve the puzzle and add data to the block then you'll be credited with some amount of bitcoin for your hard work as a fee. Mining requires a large computing power, in other words processing power, with systems equipped with specialized chips and hardware. But how does everyone know that you are the one who solved the puzzle first?

Proof Of Work

In a centralized database, the system admin is the only person who could create, read, update and delete data from the database. Whereas in bitcoin blockchain, the public would validate the work through consensus. Through consensus mechanism, each transaction would be validated in a reliable manner.

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When a transaction is initiated, miners compete to solve the puzzle by guessing the hash. Bitcoin uses SHA-256 hash, no one would know the input.

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When the proper hash is guessed, it would be validated as your proof-of-work, then you would broadcast a new block to the network, then it's verified by the miners in the network, then the process restarts and eventually a transaction would be made. All this work doesn't happen in a split second, a bitcoin transaction takes up to 15-20 minutes. As a miner you would be awarded a small chuck of Bitcoin as a fee.

Along with Bitcoin, Monero, Litecoin, Zcash are the major cryptocurrencies that use PoW (Proof-of-work) as a verification method.

Advantages Of Proof-Of-Work

Proof-of-work solves the problem of double spending. This was the intent why Nakamoto implemented PoW in the first place. Double spending is when someone tries to send the same or different amount of Bitcoin for two or more people with insufficient funds. As you already know, Bitcoin is a digital currency, it means you cannot see or touch the money, so people might try to steal or try to mint an extra coin. Technically, it's like trying to add an extra block to the chain by malpractice.

Imagine you have 10 bitcoins, and you try to send them to Bob, and also try to send 10 Bitcoins to Alice at the same time. So you are trying to double spend the same amount of money, even though you only have 10 Bitcoins.

While making a transaction, the 10 Bitcoins to Bob is sent from the transaction pool, and the 10 Bitcoin transaction to Alice would be removed from the transaction pool and rejected. No one could double spend and change the previous block, if they want to change a record, they want to change the records of entire blockchain, technically it's quite hard to do, unless if someone controls 51% power of the entire blockchain, which is less likely to happen as it requires billions of dollars to get that amount of power source. So Bitcoin's blockchain is immutable, reliable and transparent.

Disadvantages Of Proof-Of-Work

  • While mining, as everyone's in a race with each other to solve the puzzle first, an enormous amount of power is spent. According to a few BBC's reports, Bitcoin mining uses as much as energy that a whole country could afford. And it also affects the environment as more and more coal would be burnt. A year ago, Tesla also suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin due to climate change concerns.
  • PoW would also give an edge to the miners or mining facilities with large computing power. More the processing speed, the easier it becomes to solve the puzzle. This could be unfair for other miners with less capacity. So how could we solve it?

Proof-Of-Stake

Unlike Proof-Of-Work, in Proof-Of-Stake(PoS), only one miner would be picked to solve the puzzle. So when there is a transaction there would not be a race among miners, this would exponentially reduce the power consumption. But how do the blockchain network pick who has to mine?

Staking

In the PoS system of a blockchain network, you should first deposit some of the cryptocurrency of that network. Then only you would be eligible to mine on that network. Some PoS systems choose miners based on their age, which means since how many days or months or years an individual is mining on the network, it kind of proves the interest and capability of the miner. Or it could be on the basis of the highest amount of money deposited, that proves the miner is serious with their money. And some systems also choose the miners based on randomness to make it fair. Sometimes it might be the combination of all. But what happens if the miner is unable to solve the puzzle?

Slashing

An amount would be deducted from the deposit of a miner who fails to solve the puzzle as a fine. Then the other miner would fill their place and solve the problem.

Disadvantages Of Proof-Of-Stake

  • Locking period: Once you stake up your coins, you cannot take out the coins to trade for a month or year.
  • Rewards Duration: Your mining rewards might be held up some times for a longer time depending on the platform.
  • Technical knowledge: Even though PoS makes it easier for anyone to mine with minimal computing power, setting up the network has to be done correctly. If it's misconfigured, you might not be able to use the blockchain.

Ethereum is one of the well known cryptocurrencies. Ethereum uses smart contracts to power its blockchain. Along with Ethereum, Tezos, Cardano are some of the platforms that offers PoS rewards.

Ethereum

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Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. In late 2013, Vitalik Buterin released a whitepaper on Ethereum, in which he quotes Ethereum is a next-generation smart contract and decentralized application platform. In January 2014, Ethereum was formally announced by Buterin at the The North American Bitcoin Conference. Today, we have two Ethereum networks: Ethereum Classic and Ethereum.

Ethereum Classic is the original Ethereum created with the help of The DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization, consisted of around 11,000 investors who had invested $150,000,000. But in an unprecedented course of events, a hacker found a bug in the smart contract and stole $50,000,000. And this hack infamously called as The DAO hack. The hacker even wrote a letter saying that he didn't do anything wrong and he just used smart contracts as it was written with some extra code that benefited him. As you already know smart contracts cannot be changed once written, so it's important for developers to write secure smart contract code.

Buterin thought to undo the hack, he asked the community that he would add some extra code snippets to the original smart contract and make the money stolen unusable to the hacker. But the community didn't want Buterin make hard fork in the early stages. So Buterin suggested what if they rollback the blockchain and reverse the hack like it never happened and they could also fix the bug and avoid future attacks. Everyone agreed for this proposal. In simple terms, a rollback is downgrading a network by controlling 51% of the blockchain, which is also a kind of attack on the blockchain. But in this case, the community agreed to do that and the money was given back to the investors. So the blockchain was changed. The forked version is today's Ethereum which you hear often. And the people who truly believed in decentralization where they adhered to Ethereum's original form is what came to be known as Ethereum Classic. Ethereum Classic uses PoW and Ethereum uses PoS for the verification process.

Decentralized Autonomous Organization

It's a decentralized organization which is built on code and agreed upon by a group of people. The code runs the organization, there would be no CEOs. All the decisions would be made by the code, based on criteria and pre written rules. So DAOs are self sustainable.

DAOs could also be improved as the time goes on, it would be done through a voting mechanism. DAOs might launch few million tokens. Every token is considered as a vote. Whoever holds more tokens has more votes. These tokens also have a price and also a use case. It helps in the improvement of DAO as the world changes. This includes hiring new developers, voting on a salary and so on.

Advantages Of DAO

  • Decentralized
  • Open Source
  • Trustless (You don't want to trust any CEO)
  • Can't be shut down as it runs on a blockchain

Disadvantages

  • As the code is open source anyone could read the code and they might find a vulnerability and exploit the system.
  • There would be no business secrets.
  • As the number of tokens is equal to the number of votes, the people with more tokens may have a slight edge over policy making.

Gitcoin, Dash, Aragon, Metacartel are some notable DAOs.

Forks: Hard Fork And Soft Fork

In programming terms, a fork is generally referred to as taking source code from an open source software and developing a new application. For example, Forkgram is the fork of the official Telegram app. If you have ever used Github, you could see an option at the right hand side named fork.

In the crypto world, a soft fork is a fork where you don't have to update anything from the user side when your application is updated. That means if some code snippet is added to your application in the back end, you could just use the app as you were using it earlier.

Whereas in hard fork, you have to update your application or software and make the necessary changes recommended by the developers to run your application smoothly as earlier.

But to make a hard fork or a soft fork, first everyone in the blockchain network should agree to it. In some cases, the community might just stick to the original application. Ethereum Classic is a best example.

Which fork is the best? It really depends on the situation and use cases why an application has to be forked. Many argue that hard forks are dangerous as they involve end users changing or updating a few configurations. Vitalik Buterin says the soft forks are a bit dangerous. At the end of the day, it depends.

Coins vs Tokens

Coins have their own blockchain network, where they could store data and also verify the data(records and transactions). Whereas, tokens utilize someone else's blockchain infrastructure. It's like renting a home rather than buying a home.

For instance, there is a token called ERC20 token which is built by using Ethereum's blockchain. If you have used Brave Browser, you could opt for ad reward program where you could earn something called BAT(Basic Attention Tokens). BAT is an ERC20 token that's powered by Ethereum's network.

If you want to create your own cryptocurrency, starting out with a token might be a good idea because you'll always have the flexibility to move from tokens to coins if you feel like your network is growing. You could only focus on building tokens rather than worrying about creating a blockchain that powers your network. A caveat here is, you cannot convert a token into a coin by itself. Instead, create the coin that functions in a similar way as your tokens and create a bridge, where your users could swap out tokens with coins.

Coins like Leocoin are powered by multiple networks such as Ethereum, Hive, and Binance Smart Chain.

Sometimes coins could also be represented as a token in other networks. This could be done to avoid transaction fees when you are sending or receiving coins.

Uniswap, xDai, BAT are some places where you could get or swap tokens.

Private Cryptocurrencies

Many people have this false notion that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are untraceable. But it's not completely true. Of course, they provide you with maximum security, and also mask your real identity. But, they are public ledgers. It means anyone in the world could take a look at all the transactions. With the help of tools, investigators might be able to trace back to the real identity. If you want to learn about Bitcoin investigations, go through these threads on Twitter and give me a heart or follow!

Are there any cryptocurrencies that are truly anonymous? Fortunately, yes. If you are someone who prefers privacy and true anonymity, you could use Monero and Zcash.

Monero is the number one cryptocurrency when it comes to private coins. Monero is an Esperanto word for coin. Monero uses an application layer open source protocol called Cryptonote. This makes Monero nearly impossible to trace. It generates lot of keys and stealth signatures when sending or receiving money. It also uses something called ring signatures that masks your transactions within the pool of thousands of other users. Monero uses PoW for verification like Bitcoin. But Monero is more decentralized than Bitcoin, as it allows its users to mine through their CPU. Whereas in cryptos like Bitcoin you need ASICs or large mining facilities to earn more reward.

Crypto Wallets

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Crypto wallets are the digital wallets where you could store your cryptocurrencies. As simple as that. You could store multiple cryptocurrencies in a single wallet. You could also use multiple addresses for your transactions. Crypto wallets use asymmetric encryption to store your currencies. Asymmetric encryption or Public Key cryptography is a widely used encryption standard which consists of two keys: public key and private key. To simplify, a public key is something which you could share with the public, that could be kind of your wallet address and private key should be kept private and only you could have access to it. All these complex processes are taken care of by your crypto wallets in the background.

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Electrum, Exodus, Metamask are some notable wallets.

Note: Apart from the notable mentions, I would encourage all of you to explore more on the Internet.

Metaverse

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Imagine if you could get transported to another world at the comfort of your home. Don't worry you would not be transported physically, but through experience just by wearing a glass! If you have watched the movie Ready Player One, you would have already guessed what I am talking about.

The term Metaverse was coined in Neal Stephenson's 1992 science fiction novel called Snow Crash, where humans are programmable avatars in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world.

Well, technically that's how it is! Metaverse is a next generation computer evolution where people could meet others in a virtual space or virtual lands, they could buy land in the virtual space, even create their own amusement park and rent out to generate income, they could watch concerts of their favorite pop stars, they could also buy a home next to their favorite celebrities just to brag with their friends. Phew, the possibilities are limitless.

Metaverse technology could be leveraged through the combination of Augmented Reality(AR), Virtual Reality(VR) and high speed internet. AR is an extended version of the real physical world that could be achieved through digital elements, sounds and effects.

AR could be powered by hologram technology to create a virtual element. Few years back, a mobile game called Pokemon Go went viral which used augmented reality. In that game, you could just walk around your streets holding your phone and capture a Pokemon if it appears before you. Well, that game was not fully AR as the Pokemons appeared on your screen unlike appearing before you with a 3D hologram like in Star War movies. If you have watched the final season of The Silicion Valley, you could find some cool visualization of AR.

On the other hand, VR is more of a transporter that could transport you to another world of your choice, not physically of course. Until now, VR was vastly leveraged by the gaming industry to enhance their users' gaming experience. Hopefully, by the advent of Metaverse more sectors would start using VR. Recently, Fortnite was played through VR.

The High Speed Internet

To fully utilize the power of Metaverse, low latency(in simple terms, quick loading, zero buffering) high speed internet is a must. As Metaverse is an entirely new digital world that's separated from the physical world, it requires a huge amount of bandwidth to fetch data and provide you a seamless experience. With the advent of 5G and 6G technologies soon that would be possible.

Doubts About Metaverse

  • Metaverse is still in its budding stage. In terms of development, market and auxiliary technologies(like 6G) associated with it.
  • Many critics argue that, why would someone want to meet somebody in another virtual world rather than placing them a video call through their, which is more easy, portable and time saving. So if Metaverse wants to capture the market, they have to mainly focus on affordability, portability and solid user experience. Current day VR glasses and its auxiliaries are a bit heavy.
  • It's a common psychology that everyone tries to look and feel better on social media than their original self. Metaverse gives more power to people in terms of customization where people could create their own avatars of choice. So the worry is, what if people start preferring their virtual mascots or looks than their real identity.
  • With a lot of data flowing to and fro of Metaverse, the risks of privacy and security increases. Even though it could be decentralized, what if a large MNC creates a monopoly overtime and all users' data would be centralized. And the risk of hacking is inevitable.

Is Meta(Formerly Facebook) Metaverse?

The straight answer is no. Many people confuse this because recently Facebook rebranded itself to Meta. Metaverse is a concept, and currently there are monopolies or some company that holds the key to the entire Metaverse. On websites like Decentraland, land, estates etc and it isn't owned by Meta.

Bottomline

Web 3.0 and Metaverse could be game changers. Like every other emerging technology they have their own pros and cons. Web 3.0 promises decentralization, privacy and freedom. Metaverse promises a virtual world with infinite possibilities. Together they promise new opportunities. Generations might come and go, futuristic technologies are inevitable. Could all these be viable? Only time knows the answer.

Further reading

Web 4.0

There is no bound to human curiosity and imagination. What after Web 3.0? Ideally where all the web is decentralized and more, everyone owns their data, a cashless society becomes mainstream and so on. Web 4.0 is considered to be a web of ultra intelligent human-machine interface, a symbiotic web, an ubiquitous web, where humans and machines come together. To simplify, human brains would be connected to the internet. It would be the age of WebOS, where the whole web would be a giant operating system interconnected to human consciousness.

Sounds like science fiction right?

Isn't all sufficiently advanced technologies indistinguishable from magic?

 
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