Keep an eye on the horizon, it’s coming!
Back in 2014, the term ‘Web 3.0’ was coined by computer scientist and co-founder of Ethereum Gavin Wood, a term describing his vision of a version of the internet that wasn’t controlled by large corporations or single entities.
So, what makes this third iteration of the internet you ask? Well, simply put, the first version of the world wide web is classified as the early stages of the internet, where there weren’t content creators everywhere and most users were simply consumers. This period of time can roughly be estimated as occurring from 1991 to 2004, before sites like YouTube took off. You know, that period of time where websites were static pages and you had to disconnect your landline to go on the internet.
The second iteration of the internet or Web 2.0 is the current era that we know right now where users could collaborate with each other, contribute to websites, create content (videos, websites podcasts etc), and of course social media emerged, which has continuously evolved over the last two decades. It has been during the time we saw the meteoric rise of corporations such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft.
Now that we’re up to date on the history of the internet and its various incarnations, let’s loop back to Web3. What is being developed here is a brand new version of the web that isn’t controlled by large corporations like Google or Meta (Facebook). This new ecosystem will, in essence, work like a cryptocurrency where the entire system is decentralised and based on blockchain technology.
Think about websites such as amazon where the company has absolute control over what they do and the service that they provide. With Web3, in essence, all participants contribute a small piece of the overall service. The beauty of this means greater control for individual users, and because it’s built on blockchain technology, less chance of identity theft. What we’re referring to here is identity verification required with the blockchain. This would then mean for example that users would be able to prove whether or not a social media post was made by them or a fake account due to cryptographic proof.
Speaking of crypto, due to Web3 being built with blockchain technology, cryptocurrency will have its place. If you consider sites now where you use actual currency to purchase items, websites on Web3 will use cryptocurrencies to pay for services on their sites. Say for example if a site was built on the ethereum blockchain, then it would use that digital currency for transactions.
Enemy at the gate! Just because large corporations won’t be in control of Web3, doesn’t mean they can’t be involved in some capacity. In fact, Google has been forming a new team focused on blockchain technology. This team came about in response to the growing interest of NFT’s with Google CEO Sundar Pichai explaining that the company is looking at Web3 and the blockchain with plans for supporting the technology.
The thing to remember regarding a decentralised iteration of the world wide web is that it will provide a much more democratic environment. It was mentioned earlier that the key difference between the current internet and the 3rd edition is the lack of control by major players. However, what this also entails is an increase in transparency due to the publicly visible ledgers that can be viewed by anyone. The main goal of Web3 is all about trust, where users can feel safe and not at the whim of a corporation. The term ‘locking the web open’ has been thrown around, initially emerging from creator of the Internet Archive, Brewster Kahle.
What does locking the web open mean? Simply put, websites such as Instagram and Facebook own the data that you share with their platforms under their protection. Web3 gives the user complete control over their data as it lives on a blockchain and isn’t stored on a central server, the users take their data with them. As the websites never own the data they are unable to erect walls around it, allowing users to keep it under their protection with a cryptographic key only they have access to.
As Web3 is very much still in its infancy and planning stages, there will be more news and more advancements to come. Right now the biggest player in the Web3 game seems to be Ethereum due to the fact it supports both cryptocurrency and an NFT system.
It will be interesting to watch the Web3 Revolution unfold. Watch this space to stay informed!