Permissionless, Decentralized Web– Revisiting the Basics of Web3
Web 3.0 has sparked much debate since its emergence. While it is considered an improved version of the internet, most proponents agree that Web 3.0 will be a decentralized technology that will provide us with a decentralized amount of data dissemination than we currently have. This is similar to what Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, described Web3 as.
Web 3.0, according to Berners-Lee, is the Semantic Web, implying a more autonomous, intelligent, and open internet that outperforms not only Web 2.0 but also addresses issues like centralization. For example, a large pool of the world’s data is currently controlled by centralized entities, allowing for manipulation.
Comparing Different Versions of the Web
Web 3.0 proposes a decentralized internet ruled by AI and machine learning (ML), substantially improving on Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Web 1.0, often known as the Static Web, ran from 1989 to 2005 and provided minimal information with little or no room for user involvement. It was difficult to search web pages and narrow them down to important information in the Web 1.0 era.
Web 2.0 expanded the internet’s scope and allowed users to interact using platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and others. As a result, data distribution became easier, and user-generated content grew in popularity.
Web 3 has started emerging, and according to CoinMarketCap, it will be distinguished by the following characteristics: ubiquity, artificial intelligence, and 3D visuals. Web 3.0 will make the internet available to everyone, not only IoT-enabled devices like smartphones and laptops. In addition, Web3 will improve data storage and distribution.
Data Storage: Web3 and Blockchain Technology
Blockchain is a Web 3.0 technology because it allows for decentralized data storage, a quality Web 2.0 lacks. In Web2, centralized organizations could impose restrictions when their interest is threatened. However, Web3, like blockchain, will decentralize data control and storage, allowing creators full ownership of their contents.
In recent years, we have seen signs of Web3 technology in artificial intelligence breakthroughs. For example, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa can carry out complicated and personalized commands. These developments, however, do not adequately represent Web3 because it supports full ownership and decentralization.
As the internet becomes more integrated into our daily lives through smart devices and virtual worlds — Metaverse — we will begin to see Web3 in its full-fledged form.
The emergence of Web 3 was not coincidental. It was the product of Web 2’s inefficiencies. Above all, Web 3 is the next generation of the internet, focusing on smooth user interaction on websites and social networks. Web 3 also introduces user sovereignty, meaning users would be responsible for their own data. Google, Facebook, and other Web2 platforms wield excessive control in relation to data management.
Data sovereignty is enabled via Web 3’s decentralized infrastructure, allowing consumers to choose who benefits from their time and data. Web 3.0 is essentially the decentralized web. Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are centralized webs.
Web3 also represents decentralized access for content creators to a large pool of audiences. Facebook currently has over 200 million businesses on its platform. Many content creators also depend on Instagram and other Web2 platforms for reaching out to their audience. However, they are exposed to risks of downtime and account restrictions, which could also affect access to the audience they have worked hard to grow.
Most Web2 platforms are hosted on centralized servers. But web3 allows a website to be hosted on multiple servers, on the blockchain network, eliminating downtime risks. With this, content creators have unrestricted access to their audience. Additionally, they are adequately compensated for their time and efforts, unlike in Web2, where the hosting platform claims a chunk of the revenue generated.
Other Web3 Primitives
While the Web3 economy has yet to reach its full potential, it has sparked a flurry of trends that are now catching on in the mainstream world. NFTs and the metaverse are examples of these trends. Experts expect that these primitives will accelerate the growth and adoption of Web 3.0 based on the level of interest they have generated.
Several brands have expressed strong interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs). While they first appeared in 2017, it wasn’t until 2021 that digital artist Mike Winklemann (also known as Beeple) auctioned one of his pieces for a record $69.3 million, that they became a sensation. The value of NFTs sold in the first half of 2021 is $2.5 billion.
NFTs are non-fungible because they cannot be exchanged for other assets. If you have a five-dollar note, you can easily exchange it for another five-dollar note. This is not the case with NFTs, because no two fungible tokens are the same.
Apart from proving ownership, non-fungible tokens have other applications. In the Web3 economy, NFTs have become a marketing tool. Individual and corporate companies now employ NFTs for storytelling and audience involvement to raise product awareness. Artists can also use NFTs to connect with their audience and earn more money from their work. The use cases are growing.
The metaverse can be traced back to Neal Stephenson’s popular science fiction novel Snow Crash. In the novel, Stephenson imagined the metaverse as a shared virtual place that uses the internet and augmented reality to connect all virtual worlds. The metaverse is a new technology that aims to improve internet users’ digital experiences.
Currently, Web3 is still a growing idea. However, we have witnessed sneak peeks of what such an innovation promises. Data composability will be one of the pillars of the Web3 economy, such that users’ data can persist across different platforms. Each user will also be in control of their data and can decide who to give access.
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