Have you noticed how Google Maps predicts the estimated time of your arrival more and more precisely? How has Siri become better and better at understanding your requests? Have you ever bought Cryptocurrency or NFT? Maybe you know someone who has. All these technologies are a small glimpse of the upcoming Web 3.0 – the newest iteration of the Web based on technologies such as blockchain and machine learning.
The web is standing for “World Wide Web,” which is the primary information retrieval mechanism on the internet. Terms the Web and the Internet can often be used interchangeably. In the history of the Internet, we had 2 phases of its evolution. The original Web 1.0. was the very first version of the Internet that lasted from 1991 till 2004. Web 2.0. is the current version of the Web that we all are familiar with. Web 3 or Web 3.0 is the next step in the evolution of the Internet. Let’s take a deeper dive into the Web’s history to get a better understanding of what’s to come next and look at the opportunities and challenges that Web 3.0 creates.
Web 1.0 is often referred to as a “read-only Internet”. All its content was created by webmasters. Users could not interact with the content or add content themselves. The Internet had useful information but there was no reason for users to return to the web page after consuming the data. This iteration of the web lasted from 1991 to 2004.
In the age of Web 2.0, the Internet became interactive. More and more websites allowed users to communicate with each other. Users started creating content and receiving feedback from other users through likes, comments etc. This engagement keeps users coming back to the same page again and again. Web 2.0 is also known as the Social Web.
In Web 2.0, not only users can read information from the websites, but the websites can collect information from the users. Centralized companies collect and keep information about us and use this data to serve better content and show targeted advertising. Recommendation algorithms become a core of Web 2.0.
Web 2.0 led to a big jump in technology development and innovation. It changes the way we work, socialize, create and share information and ideas. It accelerated economic growth. At the same time, Web 2.0 brought in some challenges we haven’t seen before.
With centralized companies collecting and storing our data, we face the challenge of data privacy and data security. We are willingly giving up information about us to these companies in exchange for convenient web services. But we don’t own this information and can not control where this information will be transferred and who will be accessing this information.
In Web 2.0, while users can create content, they don’t own it and cannot control it. The platforms can easily block or remove the content without the permission of the creator.
Web 3.0 – is a concept of a new generation of the Internet, based on decentralized technologies and tokenomics. In contrast to Web 2.0, where most of the data is stored in corporations, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, etc. (aka “Big Tech”), Web 3.0 data will be decentralized and distributed. Web 3.0 will create platforms that nobody controls but everyone can verify. This will be achieved with the help of new technologies such as blockchain and machine learning.
Main concepts of Web 3.0:
- Decentralization. With Web 3.0, end-users will take full ownership of the data by using blockchain. The data that is sent over the network is encrypted. Users can choose what information they want to share with businesses and advertising companies and make money from it.
- Native Payments. Web 3.0 uses tokenomics and cryptocurrency for online transactions instead of relying on the outdated infrastructure of traditional banks.
- Trustless and Permissionless. Doesn’t require the support of a trusted 3d party. Anyone can join and participate in the network, and no one gets excluded
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning. In Web 2.0, when users perform keyword searches they often get unrelated results. The AI of Web 3.0 will provide more accurate results by better comprehending what users are searching for.
Why Web 3.0 Is Important
Centralized Institutions help record and regulate relationships, and the data that they store can be used to validate one’s judgments. But all these “records” can still be subjective. It can be the object of bias and manipulation.
To achieve objectivity, it is worth eliminating the human intermediary from the chain and instead implementing the blockchain. It is a public decentralized digital ledger of who owns what on the network. Whether it’s money, ownership, or medical records. Each new entry in this registry will refer to the previous one, so all of them will be connected as a chain, and they cannot be faked.
Thanks to the blockchain, users do not have to check the records themselves – this will be done by completely unfamiliar and unbiased network participants.
Web 3.0 will impact the internet in an unprecedented way. It will be more transparent and user-centric. Let’s see what important changes we may expect:
- No third party is required. Third-party service providers are eliminated by decentralized applications, blockchain, and smart contracts. For instance, the use of cryptocurrencies eliminates the need for banks because all financial transactions take place directly between the two parties using cryptocurrency. No need to pay interest to a third party for transactions.
- Improved security. Web 3.0 will make it much more difficult for hackers to access sensitive information. There is no single point of failure with blockchain technology since it is decentralized and distributed. Blockchain data cannot be changed or manipulated.
- Improved customer relations. Web 3.0 makes businesses directly accountable to their consumers by recording every transaction in a decentralized ledger that is visible to all parties. Businesses may exploit this openness to their consumers to develop relationships of trust and loyalty. Customers may trust that the information is accurate and legitimate since data saved on blockchains cannot be changed.
- Improved regulation compliance. Blockchain is a public ledger of transactions that cannot be altered. Preserving openness makes it simple for businesses to adhere to their governance responsibilities.
- Freedom. Censorship on the Internet will be gone. Everyone will have the ability to post any information on the Web, and the community, not corporations, will perform moderation.
- It’s cheaper. The distributed nature of Web 3.0 means applications don’t require pricey servers and data centres. Instead, they can be operated on a network of end users’ devices.
- Less fake news and fabricated stories. Disreputable news sources won’t need to be checked by a third-party source, which may itself be unreliable. Users may validate a news source through its blockchain using Web 3.0 apps
The supporters of Web 3.0 say that the new Internet promises to build a “global village” – a world focused on people and interpersonal interaction, which will contribute both to the development of technology and business, and the promotion of private initiatives.
What Are Its Drawbacks?
The concepts of Web 3.0. often get criticized. Let’s take a look at some disadvantages of Web 3.0 that are often publicly scrutinized.
- Outdated, less powerful gadgets may not work with Web 3.0. So it will require all web users to transition to new types of gadgets that will be powerful enough to create new blocks in blockchains and distribute them to all the users of the network.
- New technologies are difficult to comprehend by a regular user. This may require some time for users to adapt.
- Many laws need to be created and changed to regulate Web 3.0. The legal system needs to adapt as well. It may require multiple iterations of even a single law change and multiple precedents before closing all the gaps in the legislation.
- Not environment friendly. Current blockchain and machine learning technologies require significant computing power that leaves a carbon footprint on our planet. To make Web 3.0 more eco-friendly, these technologies should be improved.
- No guarantee for data security. Cybersecurity principles of Web 2.0 are based on experience. And so far developers have little of it with Web 3.0. It may take time before all the rules and principles of cybersecurity are settled for Web 3.0.
One more thing: Will this new iteration of the Internet be owned by Big Tech as Web 2.0 is or not? Big Tech may find a way to monopolize it regardless of all Web 3.0 decentralized principles. Only time will show us if Web 3.0 will be truly decentralized and independent as it’s intended to be.
When Is It Likely To Arrive, if Ever?
The principles of Web 3.0 are still in development. Transition to a new generation of the Web will be very gradual. It will probably take decades. At the same time, there are already products based on Web 3.0 technologies. Cryptocurrencies use blockchain for decentralization and verification of the owner of the token. Apple Siri uses machine learning and AI to answer any tricky question and even show a bit of personality.
Recently two platforms Midjourny and Dall-E launched beta testing of AI that can generate an image from text. Some of the examples are jaw-dropping. This is an example of Web 3.0 technologies that are already here.
But in contrast with Web 2.0, the transition to the next generation won’t happen in one year. No one can predict how long it will take to fully migrate to Web 3.0, but what we can say, the evolution has already started.
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