The world is stepping into a new internet era, here’s how it’s going to look!
One of the technologies that has revolutionized the way we live is the Internet. Ever since it became accessible to the public in 1993, it has been evolving to meet the needs of its growing user base. As of this year, the average person spends 59 hours a week (or more than one-third of their life) on the Internet.
Let’s understand what Web 3.0 is and how it differs from the previous versions of the Internet.
Web 1.0 and 2.0
Before we look at the latest entry in the Internet’s evolution, we need to go back and understand what the previous versions of the Internet looked like. Here’s a quick summary of Web 1.0 and 2.0.
In its first version, known as Web 1.0, the Internet consisted of tools for publishing fact-checked information that was owned by specific organizations or people. Those who had the information could then share it with those who needed it. On top of this, the Internet’s next rendition, Web 2.0, progressed to highlight user-generated content. To put it simply, people no longer merely consume information delivered by authoritative sources, but everyone can create and share their own contents.
The lines between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 aren’t set in stone. So an authoritative source of information, like a news website (which would typically be seen as Web 1.0), could also have a section for readers to comment on their opinions.
So how does Web 3.0 differ from these two?
Both previous versions of the Internet relied on middlemen. Essentially, to access information on Web 1.0 and Web 2.9, you would have to depend on specific data repositories (like Google, Twitter or Facebook). Web 3.0 is an attempt to rid interactions on the Internet of these middlemen by using blockchain technology, which powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
No central authority
Blockchain technology removes middlemen from everyday internet interactions. This is made possible because the blockchain removes the need for a central authority. Much like cryptocurrency blockchains, information on Web 3.0’s blockchain is stored on various nodes or computers in the network instead of being centralized in the hands of a single authoritative organization. In this new rendition of the internet, all users will be issued tokens that can be used to vote on decisions for the network. To put it plainly, Web 3.0 could be best understood as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).
To some, the adoption of this radically free internet might seem like a far-away dream. However, as cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) (both of which are based on the blockchain) continue to gain prominence, this “far-away dream” doesn’t feel quite that distant. In November 2021, the global crypto market hit the US$ 3 trillion mark. As far as NFTs are concerned, not only have we seen celebrities and artists creating their own NFT artworks, but the technology has also been used to verify vaccine passports in San Marino.
The concept of Web 3.0 is particularly relevant when understood in the context of Facebook reading people’s private WhatsApp chats earlier this year. In a world where we continue to become disillusioned with the organizations who control our data, Web 3.0 is a reasonable next possible step.
It is also pertinent to note that this will not be the “final” evolution of the internet. There has been conversation surrounding Web 4.0 or a form of Internet that allows interactions between humans and machines (which could, in theory, make it possible to create mind-controlled interfaces).
For entrepreneurs, the new evolutions of the internet will bring in new opportunities. Web 3.0 will allow businesses to accelerate their production processes through effective supply chain management. This will be made possible by blockchain technology, which is not only transparent but also immutable. Naturally, other versions of the Internet will further facilitate business activities and thus, it is important to test the waters and give Web 3.0 a fair shot before declaring it a buzzword.
Header image courtesy of Freepik