“Web3 isn’t another buzzword or jargon which can be written off. It is the future of the internet. This is the new infrastructure layer which will power the next generation of computing innovation,”
- Sharat Chandra, an emerging tech evangelist, and a blockchain expert.
First, we had web1- it refers to the first stage of the World Wide Web evolution, in which individuals were just given information via web pages without their participation. According to Berners-Lee, it is the “read-only web”. There was very little in the way of user interaction or content generation. Then there’s web2, which is preceded by the introduction of social media. It is also called the participative social web.
Now, we have web3 (sometimes, web 3.0)-a trending topic. Let’s take a look at what exactly it is?
Web 2.0 has yet to bear fruit, but we are also witnessing the emergence of the next large paradigm shift in internet applications, logically called Web 3.0. Despite its apparent complexity, Web 3.0 (originally coined the Semantic Web by Tim Berners-Lee, the Web’s pioneer) represents a more profound disruption, one that in time will surpass all that has preceded it. It is currently a work-in-progress and isn’t exactly defined yet. However, the main principle is that it will be decentralized — instead of controlled by governments and corporations, as is the case with today’s internet — and, to some extent, connected to the concept of the “metaverse.”
What is the decentralization web?
Let’s look at decentralization first. All the infrastructure we use to access popular sites is owned by corporations and to some extent, regulated and controlled by the government. You can call it one of the easiest ways to build network infrastructure- a defined command chain, reduced costs, and quick decision implementation.
Today, we have other options, and in particular, we have blockchain technology. Blockchain is a relatively new method of storing data online, it is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. It encompasses two core concepts: encryption and distributed computing.
Encryption means that the data stored on a blockchain can only be accessed by people who have the permission to do so, even if the data happens to be stored on a computer belonging to someone else, like a government or some corporation.
Distributed Computing means that the file is shared across many computers or servers. It is a technique of linking together multiple computer servers over a network into a cluster, to share data and coordinate processing power. If one particular file does not match with all the other copies, then the data isn’t valid. This adds up an extra layer of protection, meaning no one other than whoever is in control of the data can access or change it without the permission of either the person who owns it or the entire distributed network.
If we sum this up, it is possible to store data in such a way that its control remains with the owner of the data, regardless of whether the data resides on a server owned by an organization or under government control. Data can never be accessed by the owner or the government unless they possess the keys to encryption that prove their ownership. Moreover, even if they shut down or remove their server, the data will still be available via the hundreds of computers that it is stored on.
Some other concepts that revolve around the technical infrastructure of web 3.0 are that It is a leap forward to open, trustless and permissionless networks.
‘Open ‘ in that they are built from open-source software built by an open and accessible community of developers and executed in full view of the world.
‘ Trustless ‘ in that the network itself allows participants to interact publicly or privately without a trusted third party.
A good example of web3 trustless transactions would be sending Bitcoin directly to another person — not via an online exchange or wallet stored on a centralized server. The entire process of making the transaction is controlled by the blockchain algorithm and encryption, and there is close to zero chances of anyone stepping in or disrupting it.
‘ Permissionless ‘ in that anyone, both users and suppliers, can participate without authorization from a governing body.
Well, by now you might be thinking that this talk of avoiding government interference sounds a bit unruly and anarchistic, then you are not alone! Despite lack of oversight and control, there are still major questions to be answered about safety and legality.
Artificial Intelligence and Web 3.0… Friends???
A lot of people believe that AI will play a vital role in web3.0. Possibly, that’s due to the heavy reliance on machine-to-machine communication and decision-making that will be required for many web3 applications to function.
Artificial intelligence& Machine learning algorithms have become powerful enough to create useful, indeed sometimes life-saving, predictions and actions. When layered on top of new decentralized data structures giving access to a wealth of data that would be the envy of today’s tech giants, the potential applications go far beyond targeted advertising into areas like precision materials, drug design, and climate modeling.
Does that mean Metaverse is a part of web 3.0?
The metaverse is the final key web3 topic that we must discuss. In relation to web3, the term “metaverse” covers the next iteration of the internet’s front-end — the user interface through which we interact with the online world, communicate with other users, and manipulate data.
In case you missed the buzz, the metaverse is envisioned as a much more immersive, social, and persistent version of the internet that we all know and love. It will use virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies to entice us in, allowing us to interact with the digital domain in more natural and immersive ways — for example, by using virtual hands to pick up and manipulate objects and our voices to give instructions to machines or converse with other people. The metaverse can be viewed as the interface through which people will interact with web3 tools and apps in numerous ways.
It’s possible to create web3 applications without the metaverse being involved — Bitcoin is one example — but it’s thought that metaverse technology and experiences will play a big part in the way many of these applications will interact with our lives.
Everything sounds wonderful, so everyone must like it, right?
The answer is, no.
It’s worth noting that web3 has been the target of a lot of high-profile criticism. Former Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, on the other hand, has questioned whether it will be as free and open as many hope. He said, “ You don’t own web3. The VCs and their LPs do. It will never escape their incentives. It’s ultimately a centralized entity with a different label. “
Elon Musk has made several comments, including stating that it “ seems more like a marketing buzzword than a reality right now” and tweeting, “ Has anyone seen web3? I can’t find it. “
Others don’t like many of the current proposals for web3 due to the fact that they are built on blockchain, which can sometimes be very energy-intensive, contributing to carbon emissions and climate change. For example, the Bitcoin blockchain is estimated to consume almost the same amount of energy as Finland. Other blockchains, such as those based on proof-of-stake rather than proof-of-work algorithms, are less energy-intensive.
Let’s look at some examples of web3 in practice:
Bitcoin — The original cryptocurrency has been around for more than ten years, and the protocol itself is decentralized, although not all of its ecosystem is.
Diaspora — Non-profit, decentralized social network
Steemit — Blockchain-based blogging and social platform
OpenSea — A marketplace for buying and selling NFTs, itself built on the Ethereum blockchain
Sapien — Another decentralized social network, built on the Ethereum blockchain
Basic Definitions: Web 1.0, Web. 2.0, Web 3.0 — By PracticalEcommerce
What Is Web 3.0 & Why It Matters — Published in Fabric Ventures, Written by Max Mersch and Richard Muirhead
What Is Web3 All About? An Easy Explanation With Examples — Published in Forbes, Written by Bernard Marr
Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 with their difference — By GeeksforGeeks
Web3 imagines a decentralised web: Here’s what it wants to achieve — By The Indian Express