If you’re in tech, you can’t avoid frequent mentions of Web 3.0. From 2021’s $69m NFT sale to the Dogecoin hype cycle created by Elon Musk and the famed Los Angeles Staples Center becoming the Crypto.com arena, crypto went mass market and with it, Web 3.0.
Web 3.0 is the infrastructure, or more specifically the internet, behind cryptocurrency and NFTs. While Web 3.0 has its skeptics, usage and development on Web 3.0 continues to rise. Given how new Web 3.0 still is and the greenfield opportunity in the market, companies are recruiting developers to make it accessible to more people and to unlock more revenue.
Teams exploring Web 3.0 extend beyond crypto native companies like Coinbase and Crypto.com to companies including Spotify, Gamestop and YouTube. Traditional financial institutions are also focused on hiring Web 3.0 talent.
Says Elizabeth Campbell, Senior Technical Talent Partner, Strategy & Employer Engagement at ConsenSys,
“If you’re passionate about building the future of technology, we in Web 3.0 are in the early ‘dot com’ days of building where tech is going. Web 3.0’s solutions will positively enhance the way tech works, driving transparency across every industry on a global scale.”
Developers are making the switch, too. Electric Capital’s 2021 Developer Report found there were more than 18k monthly active developers in Web 3.0 in 2021.
So, what does this explosion of growth in Web 3.0 mean for hiring, especially for hiring technical talent? In this blog, we’ll break down:
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To understand Web 3.0, it’s helpful to look at it in comparison to Web 1.0, which we used at the dawn of the internet, and Web 2.0, the primary internet we use now.
Hired’s Partner Blockchain Training Alliance (BTA) Partner and Chief Learning Officer Kris Bennett explains,
“The history of the past half-century of technological development exemplifies decentralization. To properly understand decentralization, it’s helpful to first define its counterpart, centralization.
The definition of “centralization” is a pretty standardized and commonly understood one. When one speaks of centralization, one is typically referring to the act of placing of authority, power, trust, and cultural gatekeeping duties in the hands of a relatively small number of individuals, institutions, or participants.
By extension, “decentralization” may be the exact opposite of this definition. It places greater power and authority in the hands of the masses rather than in the hands of a few.
The era of modern technological decentralization began in the 1970’s with the Personal Computer (PC) Revolution. Prior to the advent of personal computers, computing was a centralized resource. Anyone who desired or needed any significant amount of computing power had to go to a centralized resource.
Got a lot of numbers to crunch? Want to run a simulation on a new prototype design? You had better know someone who works at a large company (large enough to own their own mainframe). Or, have a friend at a university who would be willing to rent you time on theirs.
The PC Revolution changed all this, and suddenly ordinary people could acquire this level of power right in their living room. A resource up to this point that had been highly centralized was now decentralized.”
Says Bennett, “the second wave of technological decentralization occurred with the arrival and mainstream adoption of the internet in the 1990’s. Advances in networking technologies enabled the creation of a truly global network. It also represented the decentralization of publishing.”
No longer dependent on book publishers or record labels, regular people could share their ideas and creations with the masses.
In Web 1.0, websites were the same for all users regardless of location or user identity until manually changed. Generally, the most personalization found was through elements like forms.
Web 1.0’s format gave users the ability to create simple static web pages including blogs (remember Geocities?), Altavista, the first search engine, and the 1996 Space Jam website.
Web 2 is a much more social web, enabling users to interact with each other through platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Web 2.0 is largely centralized with value received by large companies in control of the servers (or cloud instances) content is stored on. For example, when a creator uploads a video to YouTube, you’re giving them a license to monetize it.
“To compare, in Web 1.0, companies owned and curated the content whereas Web 2.0 content was more participatory,” explains Hired CTO Dave Walters.
Web 2.0 ushered in the “decentralization of communication,” continues Bennett. “It enabled two-way communications unavailable before. In a Web 1.0 world, if you wanted to send a message to the President of the United States, you needed a contact in the White House. Web 2.0 shattered this dynamic. Today you can Tweet directly to the President. Or tag your favorite artist and they may respond!”
That’s a long way from Judy Garland singing a “letter” to a screen idol. “Dear Mr. Gable, I am writing this to you,” indeed.
Web 3 removes intermediaries by using peer to peer networks to put ownership of content and data back into the hands of creators. Web 3.0 is a combination of blockchains; think Bitcoin and Ethereum. A blockchain is an open ledger that records all transactions on a given network. Blockchains are powered by a virtual currency called tokens.
Transactions on the blockchain are made with tokens through wallets, kind of like a fully transparent and crypto powered version of Venmo.
Computers on the network validate all transactions before they are accepted and recorded on the blockchain.
Web 3.0 offers the potential for transactions without middlemen, unprecedented accessibility and in turn inclusivity, simplified native payments and new ways to create businesses.
Related: Career Path: How to Become a Blockchain Engineer
Bennett continues, “As a continuation of the paradigm, Web 3.0 is the decentralization of trust, including commerce, transactions, and even tech infrastructure.”
So, are we less dependent on banks and brokerage houses, like authors on publishing houses?
“We’ll see,” says Bennett. “The arrival of Bitcoin in 2009 showed the world financial transactions are possible between two or more parties without the need for the bank’s centralized ledger. As described, Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies are built on a technological platform known as Blockchain.
A blockchain is a decentralized ledger; the ledger is stored, managed, and maintained by all the participants on the network. Large enterprises all around the world are exploring the possibilities of shared technological infrastructure versus owned by one particular participant.”
“Imagine you and I team up to design a new product. We’ll both be creating and contributing ideas and intellectual property to this new design. From a technical standpoint there’s nothing unique about the data we’ll be managing. From a purely technical view, there’s nothing to prevent us from storing all our design work and ideas in a traditional database.
However, taking this approach might introduce some non-technical concerns. Deciding who’s database this information should live in can be particularly problematic. Are you going to feel perfectly comfortable storing OUR shared work in MY database that I have full access and control over? Am I going to feel any better if we instead elect to store that data in YOUR database?
The problem here is that traditional databases are a centralized resource; databases always have an owner, they always have an administrator. In short there’s always someone with all the power and authority who gets to make decisions for everyone else.
In this case a much better fit would be a decentralized system. A system which isn’t mine or yours exclusively, but something we both own and manage together. Something which emerges when we put our respective halves of the puzzle together.”
Not exactly. The technologies support each other incredibly well, though. Web 3.0 is primarily about who will “own” and “control” the next generation of the internet. It favors a decentralized web. The Metaverse is a digital space and focuses on how users will interact with the internet next. Therefore, Web 3.0 could serve as the foundation for connectivity in the Metaverse.
To put it another way, Hired CTO Dave Walters says,
“Without Web 3.0, the Metaverse would be inherently limited in features and power. Web 3.0 is a core building block to the Metaverse, and the Metaverse is just one of many applications.”
Related: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Working in the Metaverse
“This represents a seismic change for the enterprise world. What new solutions, possibilities, opportunities, and even threats are now enabled under this radically different model? We’ve only begun to explore the answers to that question. This is why so many people are excited at the potential Web 3.0 is poised to unlock.”
ConsenSys Global Talent Acquisition Specialist Heidi Covarrubias adds,
“Working in Web 3.0 makes you a game changer. You’ll be considered a visionary by accelerating the acceptance and use of decentralized technology and infrastructure. In Web 3.0, you create a more equitable and empowering ecosystem where cooperation and demand supersede competition.”