Web3 vs. Metaverse: The Differences and Connections

Many people think the metaverse and web3 are the same thing. While there are web3 iterations of the metaverse, there are important differences.

After reading this, you'll understand:

  • Web 3.0 is a concept for a decentralized version of the world wide web.

  • The "metaverse" refers to virtual worlds that enable online social interaction using digital avatars.

  • As each one develops, we are likely to see more metaverse environments incorporate web3 technology.

After reading this, you'll understand:

  • Web 3.0 is a concept for a decentralized version of the world wide web.

  • The "metaverse" refers to virtual worlds that enable online social interaction using digital avatars.

  • As each one develops, we are likely to see more metaverse environments incorporate web3 technology.

As technology evolves, certain concepts overlap and become conflated. For example, many associate the metaverse with web3. While there are web3 iterations of the metaverse, they aren't one and the same.

In this article, we will define these two concepts — web3 vs. metaverse — comparing and contrasting them.

Definition of web3

Web 3.0 is a concept for a decentralized version of the world wide web. This version of the web would incorporate blockchain technology to store information on a decentralized network of computers. The current web iteration, web2, uses a client-server architecture where internet users access information through a central server.

A decentralized web offers various benefits, including enhanced privacy, security, and transparency. Web3 could give users more data ownership, because they could use decentralized identity systems. These systems let users manage and control their personal identifiable information (PII) rather than relying on a centralized third party.

Blockchain technology, the foundation of this future internet concept, provides enhanced transparency because all records can be stored on a publicly-viewable ledger. The blockchain's encrypted nature ensures individuals and businesses benefit from secure transactions when interacting online. This immutable, secure technology makes it ideal for storing sensitive data and powering decentralized applications.

Still, web3 isn't a perfect concept. As critics have pointed out, what we've seen of web3 so far is nearly as centralized as web2. According to ethernodes.org, Amazon provides nearly 70% of the cloud hosting services for the Ethereum network, more than all other cloud providers combined.

The influx of investments from VCs and corporations has shifted the power dynamic in the cryptocurrency space. According to BitInfoCharts, the 116 wealthiest Bitcoin wallets own nearly 20% of all BTC in circulation. It's important to note there is no evidence VCs or corporations own these wallets. Nonetheless, this concentration of crypto wealth indicates that a decentralized internet will be difficult to create when wealthy investors are involved, especially within DAOs that use wallet size to determine voting power.

Definition of the metaverse

The term "metaverse" refers to virtual worlds that enable online social interaction, often by using digital avatars. These digital environments sometimes incorporate virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) technology to create an immersive experience. Users don a virtual reality headset to play games and explore their virtual worlds.

Early examples of metaverse games include Second Life, Minecraft and Roblox. Pokemon Go is a popular example of AR technology used alongside metaverse elements. Projects like Decentraland and Sandbox bridged the gap between web3 and the metaverse by using blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens. Still, many metaverse projects rely on web2 technology.

In recent years, tech giants like Facebook have begun using the metaverse or creating their own. In 2022, Facebook officially renamed itself Meta as part of its commitment to becoming a leader in metaverse development.

Whether owned by a small group of developers or a large corporation, metaverse projects have a defining feature — their vast environments. Unlike traditional video games, which are typically contained within a single setting, the metaverse is a sprawling, interconnected network of virtual spaces users can explore endlessly. Often, users can create their own environments or games within the metaverse for others to explore.

Web3 vs. Metaverse

Now that we understand these two concepts, let's explore their similarities and differences.

Applications and functions

Web3 is generally viewed through the lens of decentralized finance (DeFi). While it's true that blockchain technology enables seamless global payments and enhanced financial security, web3 has many applications. In theory, anything you can do with web2, you should be able to do with web3. The blockchain is well-suited to enhance visibility within supply chains, and it can be used for gaming and social media. Projects like Audius have proven it's suitable for music streaming services.

The metaverse is primarily used for gaming and social interaction. But, in the age of virtual work and endless Zoom calls, the metaverse also offers a new way for virtual co-workers to collaborate.


Both web3 and the metaverse have scalability hurdles to overcome. Web3's hurdles are often referred to as the blockchain trilemma. This concept relates to the fact that blockchain must balance decentralization with scalability and security. When a blockchain chooses to prioritize one of these three aspects, it’s often at the expense of one of the other two.

In the case of the metaverse, scalability issues are caused by technological limitations. It will require significant advancements in networking infrastructure for a virtual world to encompass what the physical world can offer and more.

User experiences

The web3 user experience varies, as it has countless applications. At its core, the web3 user experience should inspire trust and transparency, a feeling of partial ownership, and enhanced security. For web3 to achieve its ideal state, developers must figure out how to handle bad actors in a decentralized manner while addressing crucial concerns about web3 scalability.

The metaverse user experience often incorporates mixed reality or virtual reality technology. Users can interact online in an immersive digital world. Like web3, metaverse developers must devise ways to reduce the number of bad actors. Some reports suggest various players have been exposed to sexual harassment and other poor behavior that diminishes the user experience.


Web3 technologies can be used to create a tamper-proof distributed network for metaverse environments. Centralized metaverse projects store in-game items, digital assets, and currencies on centralized servers, leaving them vulnerable to hacking or theft. Incorporating blockchain technology lets metaverse projects keep these virtual items on a secure decentralized network.

Projects like Decentraland have shown us the power of using NFTs to verify ownership of virtual land and items. In the future, we'll likely see more metaverse environments incorporate web3 technology.

The best of both worlds

The metaverse and web3 aren't mutually exclusive, but web3 technology can enhance the metaverse experience. Still, there are numerous hurdles to overcome before either technology reaches its ideal state. Hedera is committed to advancing web3 and the metaverse.

In 2022, the Hedera Foundation awarded 195 grants to metaverse projects, helping them build the next generation of virtual worlds using the Hedera network. Hedera's Hashgraph network offers a faster, more secure alternative to blockchain. It is EVM-compatible and utilizes common languages like Java, JavaScript, Go, and .NET, making it an ideal solution for web3 developers.