What is Web 3.0?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a while, you must have seen (or heard) someone mention the buzzword “Web 3.0”. What’s also hard to miss is the fact that its most vocal proponents are from the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Why is this the case? And exactly what is Web 3.0?
To put it in the simplest form — Web 3.0 is the third season of the internet. Yes! The internet is an ongoing series, and we are currently functioning in season 2, which is also known as Web 2.0.
Looking Back at Web 1.0 and Web 2.0
Web 1.0 (or season 1) started in 1991, when the first websites went live as a collection of read-only pages with little scope for users to engage with each other. User inputs were limited to search engine queries and emails. Then came the old-school blogs and their subsequent rise in the new millennium. So naturally, technology evolved, and Web 1.0 was gradually phased out in the mid-aughts, when it was replaced by a more interactive version.
This marked the beginning of season 2, which is more commonly known as Web 2.0. It included huge corporations–like Facebook and Twitter–buying up online spaces for users to publicly micro-blog, post pictures and videos, as well as interact with one another on the new social web. The number of users multiplied at an unprecedented rate, because the requirement of being a coder or a blogger for comprehensively using the internet— was effectively removed.
However, it all inevitably fell prey to major corporate and governmental oversight in the form of micromanagement. Then came the issue of data collection. In fact, selling user data covers a huge chunk of the server cost for companies like Google and Facebook. You didn’t think that they would actually let you use their services for free, did you?
All of that is set to change with Web 3.0. Users are expected to have control over their data as well the option of voluntarily selling it. On top of that, the servers will not be hosted by large corporations, but by individuals spread across the world. They will be paid for this service using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Web 3.0 as Internet’s Decentralized Future?
The third generation of the internet is poised to be a fed-less system with no regulatory body, which will provide the freedom for financial transactions without any intermediaries. A lot of its digital infrastructure will be powered by blockchain protocols, which is why most of its proponents are from the crypto/blockchain community. Presently, any application which uses these protocols can be categorized as an element of Web 3.0. However, it is important to keep in mind that it’s still a work in progress and the entire transformation might take some years.
To sum it up, we’re watching the last few episodes of season 2 of the internet, while season 3 is still in the works. Season 1 was a relatively decentralized world of read-only folders, which was followed by the era of social media in Web 2.0. What happens after this with Web 3.0, will largely depend on how governments around the world react to its development. Will they clamp down on it, or will they end up accepting it as the future of the internet?