The Third Leap is in reference to the leap that we make from web 2.0 to web 3.0 - but one might ask: What is web 3.0? With web 1.0, you could publish a website and that was it - not many interactions to an active database. With web 2.0, you could push changes via databases - Facebook, craigslist etc.
With web 3.0 - you can own the piece of content you deploy. This is done by means of Smart Contracts.
A basic Blockchain network behaves much like a server you'd have - and that's because both the server and the Blockchain are essentially just computers. The difference comes in how the data is shared and how the data is appended to the "database". See, in a website such as Twitter, there is a database that can be altered by users - you Tweet and it gets appended to Twitter's massive database system. Twitter authenticates a logged in user to add this data.
However, in a Blockchain, when you try to append a data (such as Sally paid Bob 10 Dollars is a form of data), it gets sent to a pool of sorts where these potential candidates of datum are stored. A validator will pick up the data (can be something simple, like a .txt file) and adds it to a Block. This Block will have a bunch of transactions. The validator then validates the veracity of the Block, sends it for further verification and once everything is green-flagged, lets the network add the Block to the Network - sometimes also called a Chain, thus the term Block-chain.
There are hundreds of networks - Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cosmos, Solana - but they all share a few basic principles: Consensus, ownership and monetisation.
Consensus: Consensus is how we operate as a race. We're looking for consensus when making decisions - but we don't have programmable, distributed consensus. When a Facebook Engineer commits code to their repository, it goes through a bunch of checks - tests, pull requests and what not, before it gets added to Facebook.com's source code. There is certain consensus, even to a programmable degree, but it is not distributed - an Engineer from AirBnb cannot accept or deny the code, the decision is not in their court at all. As we go into Finance, this becomes even rarer. Deals happen behind closed doors - these are games mere mortals cannot even start to play. You have to be a box-checker: An ivy-league freshcut MBA with perfect GPA - connections in the industry help further. Cryptocurrency dismantles this credential-ism. You can be from Boise or Boston, it means jack-shit.
With Bitcoin, for example, transactions are laid open to public. You can peruse the transaction history (and other data points) for Bitcoin right here. You can download the Bitcoin mining software and become a part of Bitcoin's monetary system - you will be one of the people minting out Bitcoin. There are 21 Million mineable Bitcoins, no more. Once all of these are mined (or minted), there will be no more Bitcoin created. No more printing of Money when the Government whims it.
This programmable consensus opens up Cryptocurrencies to the world, you can download a wallet if you don't want to mine, but you can mine and become a part of the network (ergo: become the network itself) - you're your own bank. You own the money, no one owes it you, your money isn't pegged to another asset - your money is yours.
This consensus I talk about can differ from network to network: Proof of Work, proof of Stake, Tendermint-based - could be anything - but what they do is accumulate data, pack it into a Block, verify that all transactions are legit and ship the Block to the network.
Ownership: In Web 2.0, the idea of ownership is straightforward on the surface. It's your YouTube channel, it's your Twitter profile, it's your Facebook account - till it's not. Some of the biggest content creators have been attacked by their platforms. From false DMCA claims to personal bias leading to account bans. Your content is yours, but the platform isn't. Even your servers are at the mercy of someone else, were you to host your own website.
In Crypto, as long as your transaction is valid, no one can stop your content. You own your content: People can buy it from you, as NFTs, were you to sell it, but even then you have proof of previous ownership. For example, when I write an essay on Mirror and publish it as an NFT, I get to own the rights to my essay. When I upload my mini-art collection to OpenSea, I own the rights to it.
Ownership is imperative to Crypto. I'd highly suggest you to install Metamask for your system right now. Metamask is one of the many Cryptocurrency wallets. These wallets allow you to own your Cryptocurrencies. You can send, receive and use your money from your wallets. Go give it a try!
Monetization: You have most likely heard of the hundreds of coins out there: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Doge - they all serve a purpose. Sometimes, the coin are the base value proposition of the network, such as in the case of Bitcoin, sometimes it can double as a means of utility - such as in the case of Ethereum or Solana. The former is a case of store of value: much like Gold. The latter is a case similar to that of Petrol: Helps run the economy. These are very, very broad statements with much deeper nuances, but a good place to start.
You can monetize any on-chain asset: art, real estate deeds, stocks, tokens - anything. Asset is just a form of data, it has value because we believe it has value (and this holds true for non-Blockchain assets as well such as the US Dollar, Real Estate, Bonds - what have you).
This website is an attempt to introduce the masses to Crypto without overwhelming them with jargon, yet not watering it down to the point of making it condescending. We'll keep it formal and fast, yet have points where we sit and ponder. Do not be afraid to ask questions - just do it in the right places. There will be original essays, but the website will predominantly consist of outlinks to pieces that explain the technology better.
Homework: Install Metamask and set up your wallet (and remember to save your seed phrase securely).