What Are Web3 Communities, and Why Are They Such a Big Deal?
The Internet has been changing rapidly since it was first launched in 1983. Today, it feels natural for people to socialize, conduct business, and find entertainment online. The digital sphere has, in fact, become an avenue for all sorts of activities - and many different types of users.
Lately, however, the surge of cryptocurrencies, the rise of artificial intelligence, and the evolution of 3D graphics are marking the birth of a new digital generation. But what exactly is Web3, and how is it affecting the way we form and find communities? And more importantly, what does it mean for co-creation and social capital?
What is Web3?
Simply put, Web3 (or Web 3.0) is the third and latest generation of the Internet. What makes it unique is that it’s made up of more open and decentralized content that is both created and controlled by its users.
Web3 incorporates two things that separate it from its previous iterations. One is blockchain technology—the other is token-based economies (we will go through them in more detail soon). And, according to most, a more emphatic move toward data security, better privacy, and scalability.
We haven’t completely transitioned to Web3 yet. The technologies that this new generation is based on (AI, 3D graphics, blockchain) are still getting developed, so we’re looking at a rather unique, changing space. And one that, in consequence, is full of possibility.
Web3 and Decentralization
One of the most significant new directions we see with Web3 is a different distribution of power and authority. Thanks to the development of blockchain technology, this generation of the Internet encourages individual end-to-end interactions rather than centralized operations controlled by a single authority.
This is why many cryptocurrency transactions use blockchain; it can keep a transparent record of all exchanges while providing better data security. Decentralization is a key component of Web3, and it also plays a significant role in the development of its communities.
The Importance of Graphics and Intelligence for Web3
Aesthetics and graphics are also evolving rapidly in the context of Web3. On the one hand, we have better 3D graphics. On the other, virtual reality is finally becoming more mainstream, with new platforms, games, and services using it to improve their user experiences. The rise of the metaverse (or several metaverses, from what we can anticipate) is also quite dependent on better graphics.
Another vital factor for the development of Web3 is the growth of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Systems are getting more refined and efficient, no matter if we’re talking about using them for entertainment or monetary transactions.
What Are Online Communities Like in Web3?
Online communities have existed practically since the Internet was created. These common spaces have always brought together people from diverse backgrounds to connect over shared interests. This is no different with Web3, but now these interactions can be taken to a new level by providing more personalized, wholesome experiences. Even though currently most web3 communities are centered around Web2 apps like Discord, Git hub and many similar platforms and are still under the threat of censorship. However there are ongoing efforts to build Web3 based social networks, and even messenger tools for chat for people and DAOs waiting to get major global traction. So, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of this new iteration of the Internet.
Benefits of Web3 Communities
There are several benefits to user communities built in Web3. These include:
True Ownership: Many existing platforms (think, for example, Twitter or Facebook)actually own the content generated by their users. In Web3 communities, the shift is towards an ‘ownership economy’ that allows everyone to share in the benefits of their contributions.
Personalized Content: When the Internet was new, most content was created, published, and distributed by organizations. Web 2.0 saw the rise of users voicing their own discussions - sometimes in response to brands, others just as blogging about all sorts of topics. With Web3, content is generated and managed entirely by users and can belong solely to them.
Better Security: Web3 can provide better digital experiences that are also more secure. For instance, blockchain has made decentralized data the norm so that each node can offer more of it. And online communities can engage in different topics without worrying about data fraud or privacy infringement.
Autonomy and Efficiency: As Web3 gives users more power, they can create self-moderated communities more efficiently. User-sourced data is more critical, and it’s users themselves that take responsibility for the space’s welfare.
Web3 Communities and NFTs
The rise of decentralized and autonomous communities has been particularly important to the development of the NFT space. Fan communities, in particular, are usually committed and loyal to an NFT’s project and vision. Adopters also bring awareness to new NFT products and brands. Lastly, there are evangelists that promote different projects on social media
The Web3 ecosystem is perfect for bringing together fans, community members, and ambassadors that support the longevity of NFT plans.
Co-Creation and Social Capital in Web3
Decentralized Web3 communities are capable of maximizing capital and utility by engaging users in a more meaningful way. For example, creators can involve consumers in a co-creating process and, in some cases, even share the upsides with them. Thanks to native ownership and payment layers that can be built in, Web3 has the potential to deliver on people’s desires to be part of a passionate community while having direct contact with other active members and stakeholders.
A large portion of the value of a brand has to do with social capital. In Web3, belonging to a community can determine a person’s privileges within a group. If you are recognized within it, you can gain not just reputation but also access monetary benefits.
This is one of the most significant differences between Web3 and the previous iterations of the Internet. Before, a loyal user could be compensated with gamified badges. Now, they can be owners of smart contracts that recognize their contributions. Crypto-tokens, in particular, are a great way to offer something in exchange for someone’s participation. Especially if, alongside those tokens, come specific privileges such as voting rights and governance permissions.
Web3 aligns incentives between creators or leaders and a community. Token economics and smart contracts govern access to utility, while all stakeholders are also incentivised to co-create and develop the product. The result is a harnessing of the power of the collective that is based mainly on attention - the truly scarce currency of the new iteration of the Internet.