What is the difference between Web3 and Web 3.0? Educational program from Vladimir Menaskop

The debate about what is considered Web3 and what is Web 3.0 has been going on for years. And increasingly, the difference between them is becoming increasingly blurred.

On the one hand, these are just terms, the comparison of which may seem like an empty juggling of words. On the other hand, these are such basic concepts that they must be clearly distinguished, otherwise we will soon have nothing to oppose to the coming era of totalitarian CBCDs.

Speaking about the differences between Web 3.0 and Web3, first of all it is worth highlighting three basic points:

  1. Chronology of appearance.
  2. Impulse to create.
  3. Content.

Now let’s try to deal with each aspect separately.


If we turn to open sources, it will become clear that the concept of Web 3.0 originated in 2006, that is, before the advent of blockchain. It experienced its rebirth approximately 7–10 years later, when it became clear that the first tool that automates the transfer of value in an untrusted environment changed the world forever.

Thus, Web 3.0 is primary in relation to Web3, since the latter term appeared precisely in the context of blockchain in 2014, and received general recognition even later.

As for the creators, here, too, differentiation is noticeable to the naked eye.

Who came up with this?

One of the creators of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee, around 2006, described the semantic web as part of Web 3.0. After this, the concept of grading the content part appeared:

  • Web 1.0 is a static web, where feedback from the user is possible only in a limited format: forms on the site, correspondence by email, etc.;
  • Web 2.0 is a semi-dynamic web where the user can create content (especially on blogs and social networks), but it can only be monetized through centralized solutions;
  • Web 3.0 is a dynamic web where a user can not only generate content, but unite to jointly create and distribute it (for example, through a DAO) and receive income for it (Steem, Golos, Hive, Mirror, etc.).

Of course, this gradation can be approached with a greater degree of detail, but the essence is clear. Let’s try to consider a much more important aspect.

Part and whole

So, the term Web 3.0 was not only primary, but also broader in content. Let us recall once again: “The concept Web3 invented by Polkadot founder and Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood in 2014talking about a “decentralized online ecosystem” blockchain based“”.

Web 3.0 can be built without blockchain, but in the modern sense it is extremely difficult. For example, DAG solutions are still too crude, and decentralized services outside the blockchain are largely outdated. But when all the tools are used at the same time, it looks both neat and effective.

The basic relationship between Web 3.0 and Web3 can be depicted as follows:

What is the difference between Web3 and Web 3.0?  Educational program from Vladimir Menaskop

Let me explain the diagram above:

  1. Web3 expanded the understanding of Web 3.0 and crystallized it at the same time.
  2. Web 3.0 contains more tools than Web3, but without the Web3 vector, Web 3.0 loses—quite a lot.
  3. Web3 adds dynamism to Web 3.0, and therefore the dashed line represents conditional content.

There is, however, one problem with all this, which we will discuss below.

Where is Web2?

When Gavin introduced the concept of Web3, he clearly did not ask the question: between just Web and Web3, shouldn’t there be Web2? Obviously yes.

Now let’s turn to the concept of the Web. This is how the Russian-language Wikipedia defines it: “A system for accessing interconnected documents on various computers connected to the Internet.”

Based on this definition, the concept of Web2 can be roughly formulated as follows: a system for accessing interconnected documents on various computers not connected to the Internet. And today there are such: direct nodes Ethereum, Bitcoin, IPFS. In the future, global local networks will be added to this list.

But this raises an obvious question: if Web2 is still young and small, then how did Web3 come about? The answer is simple: no way.

Web3 still exists only in potential and as a marketing term. No more. And it exists, oddly enough, in the form and form of Web2.

The problem is that in recent years everything has become mixed up in the house of the web. Web 2.0 has become synonymous with Web2, and Web3, on the contrary, has replaced Web 3.0. But what is good for the average user is death for the crypto enthusiast.

This is especially noticeable if we highlight at least some aspects of Web 3.0, which I will now try to demonstrate.

Web 3.0. Meanings we know

Web 3.0 as a multinet. This would be the lowest level of the new generation of the Internet if its main development followed the OSI model. Multiweb is not just a term, but a critical element that makes Web 3.0 fault-tolerant and censorship-resistant. We wrote more about this here. For now, we only note that the OSI model, precisely because of its multi-network nature, can have only limited use.

Web 3.0 how Open Source 2.0. If you look at the latest achievements of ChatGPT, no/low-code development services and how decentralized approvals of changes in repositories (via DAOs) are evolving, it is worth recognizing that they provide us with a completely different level of open source software. And that means the web itself, which consists of it. It’s no wonder that corporations have become so concerned about this aspect in recent years. Suffice it to recall how IBM and Microsoft bought Red Hat and Github for the purpose of acquisition.

Web 3.0 is also a GDS. That is, global distributed networks, which are not simply decentralized “machines” like Ethereum, but a collection of different abstraction layers connected for a unified operation. The construction of a GDS thanks to services such as Fleek has been completed, but it certainly cannot be considered widespread. Therefore, in the coming years we should expect the development of Filecoin, Chia, Storj, Arweave, Golem, SONM, Akasha and the like. Full-fledged distributed operational networks are just around the corner.

Web 3.0 is XR from a space-time perspective. You can visualize it like this:

What is the difference between Web3 and Web 3.0?  Educational program from Vladimir Menaskop

But it is much more important to realize that the emergence, along with the “offline-online” gradation, of the “on-chain-off-chain” division is one of the first steps towards the merging of real reality (RR), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), as well as other types (OR), which ultimately gives the formula: XR = RR + VR + AR + MR + OR.

What is the difference between Web3 and Web 3.0?  Educational program from Vladimir Menaskop

Web 3.0 from a formal point of view — also a set of principles of Decentralization, Anonymity and Openness (D.A.O.), united by confinement. This is where the main property of Web 3.0 is born – interoperability (its derivative, for example, is the self-nesting property of dapps). Therefore, for example, cross-chain is not just a step in the development of multi-chain, but its transformation into a full-fledged toolkit.

There are other aspects, but these are enough to conclude that Web3 is significantly less than Web 3.0.

Web3 fully develops only the aspect of the network and its derivatives, and the rest – partially. Let’s say the economy of action existed long before the blockchain: only tokenization became an important addition in the era of Web3.

But there is one more important point.

Decentralized and open Web – what is it?

Web 3.0 is needed to understand Web3 also because there are concepts such as:

  • semantic web;
  • decentralized web;
  • open web.

The Semantic Web was originally part of Web 3.0. As for the decentralized web, it is made up of DeepNet (60%), DarkWeb (10%) and other constituent elements (20%).

The open web does not include many global local or private P2P networks, and therefore, by definition, is less content than Web 3.0. Therefore, the anonymous web (DarkNet), the open web, the decentralized web – all these are already parts of Web 3.0:

And the principle of D.A.O. (Decentralization, Anonymity and Openness) here is the best explanation and rationale. Let’s go into a little more detail.

Decentralization without openness allows you to manipulate anything: just look at L1 solutions or large DAOs, where one or two beneficiaries are hidden behind a pool of thousands of addresses.

Openness without decentralization leads to total control. And anonymity without decentralization and openness leads to irresponsibility. And this is easy to verify through constant hacking and the work of hacker groups.

Perhaps the only (albeit still incomplete) synonym for Web 3.0 can be called the Great Web, which appears in the publications of a number of crypto enthusiasts. But what exactly is hidden behind it usually remains behind a veil of secrecy.


If we summarize all of the above, we can get the following diagram:

What is the difference between Web3 and Web 3.0?  Educational program from Vladimir Menaskop

Web 3.0, therefore, consists of Web 3.0 version one (1), when there was no blockchain at all, and version two (2), when the blockchain appeared, which, of course, brings its share of confusion, but quite accurately and simply explains the essence of the differences between Web3 and Web 3.0.

Why differentiate these categories at all? There are many answers, but here are three that seem most important:

  1. Blockchain is far from the only tool for the development of Web3. Outside of blockchain solutions, there were and are services that may well play a role in the evolution of Web 3.0, which means these will be parallel processes, each of which will have an impact on the other.
  2. Centralized solutions are introducing more and more substitutions: CBDC instead of cryptocurrencies, DLT instead of blockchain. They are followed by a double substitution: simulacra like “closed” blockchains appear. Therefore, it is important to understand exactly how Web 3.0 can and should evolve: as a multinetwork, as a GDS, etc.
  3. Finally, Web3 is easy to write as a hashtag and therefore substitutions are inevitable. But for netstalkers, crypto enthusiasts and all those who do not approach their business as an inert consumer, it is important to understand the context and share it with others.

Even if these three aspects are not important to you, there is one an empirical thesis that affects everyone: Web 3.0 provides a variety of possible development vectors for decentralization, openness, and anonymity. And in the era of total digital control, this is not a question of ideology, but of survival. It is enough to look at examples of illegitimate sanctions to understand the possible scale of tectonic changes.

Author: Vladimir Menskop

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