What is "Web 3.0" and what is meant by decentralization?

8 min read
Wouter Kloosterman

What is Web 3.0?

Now that a large part of our data is in the hands of tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter, web 3.0 and decentralization are seen as a solution to regain control of your own data. In the article we take a closer look at what these terms really mean and what contribution NFTs can make in web 3.0.

Web 1.0

To understand what Web 3.0 means, we must first discuss Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Web 1.0 is the period from 1991-2004, which consisted mainly of static pages. This was often described as a "read-only" page of information and there was hardly any interaction as you see on pages today. For example, you could not log in, there was no interaction on your new blog post and you had no data analytics tools to see if your website was getting many visitors.

In addition, during web 1.0 there were no profits from ads. It was basically a kind of large Wikipedia with information linked together by hyperlinks. During web 1.0 the users of the internet were the consumers, they used the internet to retrieve information.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 took place in the period between 2004 and the present. One of the biggest changes was the interaction on the Internet. Not only did we get information from different pages, but the large and centralized internet companies such as YouTube and Facebook collected information from users.

Because centralized internet companies collect your data, they know exactly where your interests lie which enables them to display messages that match your historic online behaviour. The goal of these companies is that you stay on their website as long as possible, which in the end earns them more money. The collected data is sold to companies so they can target advertising on various platforms. This is how the revenue model of Web 2.0 was born.

The Social Dilemma

Web 2.0 is seen as the time of targeted advertising with a lack of privacy for the user. If you want to know more about this I recommend you to watch the Netflix documentary "The Social Dilemma". In this documentary, specialists, activists and former employees of major technology companies from Silicon Valley in California give a glimpse of the truth behind the scenes. They sound the alarm about some of their inventions and explain how media addictions are caused and are destabilizing democracies around the globe.

In web 2.0, it is possible to open the Facebook App with a friend at the same time and see two completely different news feeds. The content on your feed is a collection of data that Facebook has collected from you by looking, for example, at the likes you have given out or how long you have watched a particular video. The ads you see are largely based on data you didn't know you released. You went to try on shoes at the Nike store yesterday? Facebook knows! You drop your kids off at school every day at 8 a.m. except on Fridays? Facebook knows!

"One centralized company controlling massive amounts of data is terrifying."

Web 3.0 en decentralization

Web 3.0 is the next evolution of the Internet. It uses blockchain technology and decentralization. In web 2.0, you are the product since you use social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In web 3.0, you are again the owner of the content you post online. It is said that in web 3.0 you regain full control over your own data.


Web 1.0 vs web 2.0 vs web 3.0


An example of a decentralized company that takes users' privacy into account is the Dutch company Crowny. A survey showed that 68% of respondents are fine with receiving content from companies, as long as this content is relevant (VIEO Design, 2018). But unfortunately, many users on today's social media platforms experience that the vast majority of content is currently irrelevant.

Crowny offers a solution for both parties: consumers want to receive relevant content and companies want to be able to deliver targeted content for low costs. Crowny is a platform that connects users with their favorite brands, in addition, they ensure that companies reach the right audience, while protecting user privacy. Users receive relevant content and offers based on their chosen preferences and in addition they also earn Crowny tokens ($CRWNY) and loyalty points, both of which are built on the Solana blockchain. This is the reward that the user receives for using the application. These rewards play a big role on Crowny's platform. Tokens can eventually be converted into different digital currencies, which can be used to buy products, or just to save in your wallet.

So in this way, consumers choose to receive content from brands they are interested in. This solution is a great step towards regaining control of your own data.


Experts say that in Web 3.0 we will reach a point where every company is managed by a decentralized group called a DAO. DAO stands for "Decentralized Autonomous Organization." Very briefly, a DAO means that there is no CEO within an organization. The people who hold the most tokens can vote on changes within the company. As a result, companies are not limited by government or family tradition. In web 3.0, there will be no censorship by large companies such as Twitter or Facebook.

Digital identity

Finally, it is important to note that in Web 3.0, your digital identity is not 100% connected to your identity in the real world. This means that you are able to view pages, download files and make purchases without your real identity being traced.

Web 3.0 and NFTs

Until recently, a digital work of art could be shared with anyone without the artist making a profit. NFTs have solved the lack of digital scarcity. In my previous blog I told What is an NFT and why do they have value? This new technology makes it possible to assign ownership to digital items such as a digital object, image or video.

Many people see NFTs as hype and are only familiar with the JPEGs that sell for millions like the Cryptopunks but it offers so much more than that. NFTs offer a new decentralized revenue model in web 3.0 where everyone keeps access and control over their own data. For example, artists no longer have to rely on middlemen, such as record companies or large technology companies like Spotify or YouTube. Artists can sell content directly to fans as an NFT. NFTs can also be linked to DAOs by giving the owners of an NFT voting rights within an organization.


The Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger raised money for the music industry by releasing a new song as an NFT and offering it at a 24-hour auction.

As you can see, NFTs offer many possibilities and can contribute to a new revenue model in web 3.0. Can web 3.0 bring an end to the centralized system where the big technology companies hold all the power? I wonder what you think, please leave it in comments!

ALSO READ: Wat is een NFT en waarom hebben ze waarde? ALSO VIEW: What is Web 3.0? (Explained with animation)

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With web 3.0 the world is starting to move from pages to places. Therefore, we have to change the way we look at art.

Wouter Kloosterman
Wouter Kloosterman
CEO, Authic