The internet has evolved dramatically in the past twenty years and Web3(also known as Web 3.0) is a term that has been garnering much of the online world’s attention lately. But before we delve into what the web3 concept is all about, it will come in handy to have a cursory look of how we got here. An overview of the journey from web1.0 to web3.
This phase of the internet evolution is also referred to as the ‘read-only’ web. Coined in 1999 by author and web designer – Darci DiNucci when distinguishing between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, Web1.0 is the first stage of the World Wide Web evolution and where the internet we know started. Here, websites were purely information-based and made up entirely of static content. Web pages linked together only with hyperlinks and contained no interactive content or any element of design. In a nutshell, In the era of Web 1.0 (from 1991 to 2004), users on the internet were consumers of content created by content creators. Now to the next phase of the internet’s evolution.
Web 2.0(from 2004 till now) is the second stage of the World Wide Web evolution. It is usually referred to as ‘read-write’ web. Web 2.0 is the internet of communication and convenience. Many people own smartphones and the web technology allows developers to build websites that are fully accessible for everyone.
Emphasis was given to user-generated content, ease of use, participatory culture and interoperability. Some of the early platforms based on web 2.0 are YouTube, Facebook, Amazon and so on.
Due to technologies such as WordPress, blogging and creating an ecommerce shop became extremely popular. Web 2.0 brought about a fundamental shift, where people could share their perspectives, opinions, thoughts, and experiences through a variety of online tools and platforms.
The ‘defects’ inherent in Web 2.0 led to the advent of the concept known as web3. To put this in perspective, in web2.0, large amounts of data are stored on centralized servers and controlled by the a few companies. Facebook, Google, and Twitter began storing users data in their servers in order to serve better content through machine learning. This in turn would make users stay on their websites longer, therefore providing more ad revenue for them. The companies eventually started selling the information to advertisers, the goal of which was to drive up revenue.
In the long run, people began to realize that their personal data was being harvested by tech giants (often without their consent) to create advertisements and marketing campaigns. Facebook(now known as Meta) in 2019, was hit with a US$5 billion fine – the largest penalty ever issued — by the Federal Trade Commission.
So the idea of Web3 brought by Wood is indirectly indicating that there is a massive failure of technology in the current Web 2.0, including failure of governance and regulation as well as policies surrounding competition.
Web3 (semantic web) was coined by Gavin Wood, a co-founder of the Ethereum Blockchain. The concept aims to create a decentralized, but secure internet in which people can securely exchange money and information, without the need for middlemen or big tech companies. Unlike Web 2.0 where data is stored in a single database or on a cloud provider, Web3 applications either run on the blockchain technology or peer to peer nodes(servers).
In contrast to Web 2.0, where users are the product, people predict that in Web3, users will be the content owners. According to Web3 proponents, the corporation will be run by a decentralized group known as a DAO(Decentralized Autonomous Organization), removing the need of CEO’s and upper management in a company.
Blockchain technology and the Web3 concept are interwoven. Both blockchain and Web3 strive for transparency and openness. Blockchain alongside cryptography aims at keeping insights organized as blocks to make them immutable and secure. While blockchain creates a path for a more ‘democratic’ form of the Internet,
it would come down to Smart Contracts and dApps to automate specific processes. Applications on Web 3.0 are often based on Ethereum, Polkadot, Filecoin and Tezos.
Statistics revealed that NFTs, digital currencies, and other blockchain entities would be important to Web 3.0. For instance, Reddit is presently making Web 3.0 inroads by using cryptocurrency tokens to allow every user to own portions of the communities they take part in. Users use tokens earned by posting on a certain subreddit, they are known as ‘community points’. In the Web3 concept, they can function as voting shares, tolerating owners who have made valued contributions to own more when it comes to decisions. NFTs are another keystone of Web3. They are one-of-a-kind cryptocurrency tokens because they are unique. The digital scarcity symbolized by NFTs will allow users to exchange everything from video-game to medical records.