Innovation Monitor: The Wide World of Web3

NYC Media Lab
5 min readDec 10, 2021


Innovation Monitor: The Wide World of Web3

View this email in your browser

Welcome to this week’s Innovation Monitor.

Last week, we began exploring Web3 and the implications of this new decentralized network that’s built on the blockchain. We raised that the network, distributed by design, offers new ways to reconsider user data, control and ownership of such data, and offer interoperability that runs counter to the way platforms and major companies design for marketshare.

We continue the theme this week, and we’ll begin with considering new players and interesting activities taking place to advance Web3. We’ll then go into how Web3 differs from its previous iterations — Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 — and conclude with an overview of Web3’s potential and possibilites.

Thank you for reading. As always, if you were forwarded this email, you can easily sign up here.

All best,
Erica Matsumoto Emerging Web3 Players
To begin, let’s start by spotlighting the exciting new players working to scale, transform, and build a bridge to Web3.

Web3 Foundation: Provides funding for teams who are researching and developing Web3, and supports these teams through funding, advocacy, research, and collaborations. Examples of projects include:

  • XCMP: A decentralized messaging protocol that emphasizes privacy and security
  • Polkadot: A platform for Web 3.0

Polygon: A protocol and framework for building and connecting Ethereum compatible blockchain networks. It recently launched the PolygonLeap2021 accelerator for teams with a new and novel blockchain or Web 3.0 idea.

Islands: A Web3 startup that officially launched in November 2021 and has raised $3.5M, Islands’ goal is to help get more people into Web3 by creating infrastructure for the community economy.

According to this Forbes article, Islands co-founder Tiffany Zhong explains:
“We’re building economic infrastructure for the community economy,” says Zhong, who just turned 25, says. One way to do that: bridge talent, this time, from Web2 internet companies (think the traditional giants like Facebook and Google) over to Web3’s crypto, NFT, and other creator-focused projects. “Our goal is to help get more people into Web3, because clearly it’s so nascent and early.”
A Web1.0 and Web 2.0 Primer Pulled from the excellent web browser Brave and

1.0: “Read-only” web.

Web 1.0 was the internet we all used from the beginning until approximately 2005. It was considered “read-only” because its contents were static and was served from a static file rather than from a database. There was minimal interactivity and interaction amongst internet users. Content creation from individuals was also minimal. Most content published on Web 1.0 was by companies and organizations for users to read.

2.0: “Social” web.

Web 2.0 is the version of the internet most of us are currently using. Most websites are served from databases rather than from static files, content is rarely static, and most sites have dynamic HTML. Individuals can easily create and publish their own content and interact with other users through social media, websites, and platforms. Apps were also developed on Web 2.0, allowing users to log in to certain organization’s platforms for any number of purposes, such as banking or ridesharing.

Web 2.0 apps often monetize their services by collecting personal data about their users and sell highly targeted ad space to online advertisers. Because of this practice, Big Tech is often targeted by hackers who are looking for sensitive information such as credit card numbers or social security numbers. Usually, users have no control over who is collecting what information and how they are then using that information.

Web 2.0 is controlled by major players such as Big Tech and Wall Street, as they (and others) can determine who can publish what content, authorize online payments, validate user identities, and more. In the Web 2.0 system of centralized authority, individual users have comparatively far few rights. Potential and Promise of Web3 The way Web 3.0 is set up as trust-less and self-governing, using blockchain technology, holds within it an incredible potential to address the above issues with Web 2.0.

Overall, the exciting possibilities Web 3.0 may bring us is increased control over our own data, increased privacy, access to unbiased data, and more rights when engaging with the internet.

Web 3.0 would make heavy use of AI technology to help determine what is real and what is fake data. The intent is to be able to provide users with the most accurate and unbiased data available.

This article cites 4 core defining components and features of Web3:

  • The Semantic Web
  • Decentralized Tech
  • Immersive, 3D Interactions
  • The Social Web (rebooted)

In 2001, Tim Berners-Lee (internet pioneer) wrote a paper about the semantic web, a concept in which machines could figure out the actual context in which a word or phrase is being used. Web 3 has moved beyond this idea, in part because we are still advancing and evolving the landscape of computational language generation and understanding, and more specifically, conversational AI.

It’s important to consider the current challenges to scale for Web3. First and foremost, Web3 can be very difficult to understand, can be resource intensive, and require massive amounts of energy to power. Web3 is also still open to fraud; if all entries within a ledger are deliberately false, it could ruin the accuracy of the entire blockchain.

A shortcoming of Web3’s is that the decentralization it centers on will make it more difficult to police cybercrime, misinformation, and hate speech due to a lack of central control. There will be many questions surrounding regulation and enforcement, such as which country’s laws would apply to a specific website whose content is hosted in numerous nations? This Week in Innovation History

December 9, 1968: Douglas Englebart Demos the “Mouse”

Douglas Englebert and his team of researchers present a 90-minute public technology demonstration including such innovations as hypertext, video conferencing, but most famously, the computer mouse. This is the first public demonstration of the mouse, witnessed by about 1,000 computer professionals in attendance.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this? unsubscribe from this list update subscription preferences
NYC Media Lab · 370 Jay Street, 3rd floor · Brooklyn, New York 11201 · USA



NYC Media Lab

NYC Media Lab connects university researchers and NYC’s media tech companies to create a new community of digital media & tech innovators in New York City.