Let me begin with a conservative statement: Internet is really cool and incredibly useful.
Started back in 1969 as the project for the creation of a research network, the Internet has undergone several changes and evolutions before becoming what we know today. We now use Internet ubiquitously and it has become a necessity for modern living.
From the beginning, the Internet wasn’t meant to be controlled by few authorities, indeed the original plan was a distributed system of computer communicating directly with each others where every user made its contribution to the functioning of the network.
The coming of blockchain brought some fresh air in the sector providing a new and safe solution for peer-to-peer digital storage and exchange of data. At the same time, the progressive realization of new blockchain based services is setting a new ways of doing things.
This is an ongoing revolution, a new trend that aims to rethink the web and give ownership and control back to the individual users, while improving safety and privacy on the Internet.
While there is a lot of buzz around the Web 3.0, to clearly understand why it’s being developed right now and what it might bring, it is useful to go back and see what happened until today with Web 1.0 and 2.0.
A Little Bit of Internet History
At the beginning, the “World Wide Web” was a collection of static websites without any interactive content.
Today we take fast internet connection for granted, back then, in order to navigate those websites one had to go through hard times with slow internet connections.
On top of that, it was a completely new technology. The web was invented but there wasn’t mass digitalization among the majority of people and most of the services that we use nowadays were not even a thought.
As connection speed improved and businesses and people starting to figure out what to do with the Web, we saw a progressive evolution of Web 1.0. With the so-called Web 2.0, interactive contents showed up and the approach with websites completely changed: internet was about participating.
Information started to spread rapidly with social media, blogs, online communities and websites like Wikipedia.
The result of this trend, that is still in place today, has been the creation of an enormous amount of information. Soon corporations realized that all those data, especially about users, were an extremely valuable asset and began to accumulate them in their servers.
To easily access web services, users are prone to give away their identities, habits and every kind of information. If you read this sentence alone you may roll up your eyes, but let me ask you this: how many times do you read and carefully evaluate all the text of the licence agreement before tapping on the agree button?
We live into an era where information is money and users are giving away their information for free. While in the beginning no one really cared and the question was definitely underestimated, in the last few years raising awareness of privacy and data security has become a thing.
Why Do We Need Web 3.0?
People and web 2.0 exponents are envisioning a web that is fairer and more transparent, a web that doesn’t concentrate the data and the power in the hands of few big corporations, being more oriented towards the users and respectful owners of data.
While 15 years ago there were not the tools and the technology to materialize this view, now we have the technology and a sufficient motivation to create it.
The coming of internet and Web 2.0 was a revolution but the services build upon that infrastructure are largely monopolized and privatized by big companies and service providers. Most of the services that we are using today are private networks managed by private companies.
On one side that’s fine, they created those services. However, users have virtually no control over their personal data, the same data that are valuable for business.
The creation of Web 3.0 is an amazing and yet to explore opportunity to rebuild the web from its basics, safer and fairer and more user oriented. A kind of web that works thanks to everyone that participates and is owned by everyone instead of a privileged few.
In short, the antithesis of Web 2.0, Web 3.0 would be a network where multiple participants share value across an open network.
Blockchain offers a solution for peer-to-peer digital storage and the notion of distributed ledger can be applied to many areas with the aim of avoiding an over-centralized network (i.e. the one that we currently have), creating a user-centred internet.
This is the chance of getting it right from the user perspective. Although there is a number of challenges ahead to build a paradigm that works on every kind of device, there are many upsides for which it is worth it.
Advantages of Web 3.0
One of the greatest upsides of the Web 3.0 is the ownership of data. The ideas is that end users will have full control on their data and safety through encryption. The information can be shared, if and only if the user wants, on a case-by-case and permissioned basis.
For this to be true, there must be the absence of a central point of control. Blockchain allows to bypass middlemen providing a trustless platform with unbreakable rules and fully encrypted data. This, in turns should translate in less data breaches and hacks.
On top of that, without a central authority subject to law, encrypted information cannot be accessed by governments or other agencies.
The idea is the creation of a brand-new kind of infrastructure that guarantees high interoperability, that is not OS-specific and is capable of running on any kind of device.
A service that is always running on distributed nodes that ensure redundancy of the information that dramatically reduces the service interruption.
A permissionless blockchain where anyone can participate and interact with the network on a peer-to-peer basis. This is the foundation of Web 3.0, users that can join freely without any barrier.
What to Expect?
Like any new and emerging technology, the Web 3.0 is still being refined.
Probably it will remain similar to Web 2.0 from a visual and interaction point of view, however the underlying mechanism and functional logics would be radically different.
The Web 3.0 will be characterized by distributed app, or dApps, that work on a distributed basis (that is not owned by a single corporation on centralized servers but distributed on a peer-to-peer basis over a large number of nodes).
Here are just few examples of dApps that could replace commonly used services on the internet. Web 3.0 is about revolutionizing how internet is made, bringing an entire new structure.
The main difference is that, when compared to centralized and privately-owned services that we are used to, those solutions are open, distributed and they work because the user is taking active part, more like a piece of the puzzle rather than a customer.
Web 3.0 is an ongoing revolution that has started. Like Web 2.0 didn’t automatically replaced Web 1.0, the shift towards Web 3.0 will require time and needs to integrate with the existing infrastructure to carry on the transition.
The first Web 3.0 applications are like the first websites of the 90s, slow and not user friendly. As long as they are not extended to the average web user, they will remain tools for experts in the field. The shift will come when there will be what Peter Diamandis calls “user-interface moment”, when they become available to the average user because he can interact with the application in a very easy fashion.
Probably the decentralized services that we will be using in the near future are still to be developed and we have no idea of what comes next. What we know is that since blockchain showed up, the result was an extreme wave of innovation and experimentation in the field of distributed ledgers that has taken the evolution of the technology at an exponential rate.
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