What is Web 3.0 and why is it important?

ThroughAlexander jones, international banker

IIt’s fair to say that the internet is an essential part of modern life. In fact, it would be difficult to understand our lives without it, especially in recent times with a global pandemic that has forced most of us to enter the online world – arguably, with greater urgency than ever before – for our professional, communicative and educational activities. , financial and recreational needs. Indeed, while our dependence on the web has grown over the past 30 years or so, the web itself has undergone seismic metamorphoses during that time. And the next step in its evolution is now in full view.

So far, we have experienced two major iterations of the Internet. The first, Web 1.0, represented the start of the Internet in the late 1980s, made up of static “read-only” web pages created by relatively few participants. Obviously, this was a major breakthrough, allowing anyone in the world to access published content. But while users could read and browse these web pages, they couldn’t interact with them much further than that. Also, with no search engines available during this iteration, browsing the World Wide Web (WWW) was not the simple practice we know today.

By 2000, however, Web 2.0 was operational. While the first iteration mainly involved a single flow of information from the Internet publisher to the Internet user, this new version allowed significantly greater user interaction and participation. Users could create their own accounts on various apps which meant they had their own unique identity in the online world. This opened up huge opportunities for businesses, especially e-commerce, as new internet companies could inexpensively market their products and services to a global base of potential consumers online. It also meant that anyone, anywhere in the world, could post content for a global audience, which in turn spawned the globally popular trend of blogging and fueled the sites published by. hugely successful users, such as Wikipedia. And, of course, one cannot forget the role of Web 2.0 in facilitating the rise of social media, first with sites such as Myspace, then more explosively with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as the user-generated content revolution has come full circle. . The development of web technologies such as JavaScript, HTML5 (HyperText Markup Language 5), and CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheets 3) during this period has been essential in the creation of these interactive web platforms.

Since around 2010, however, the Internet’s latest paradigm has continued to develop: Web 3.0. Also known as the Decentralized Web, Web 3.0 represents the latest generation of Internet applications and services powered by distributed ledger technology, the most common being blockchain. This is not a new concept, however. The inventor of the World Wide Web himself, Tim Berners-Lee, predicted that this version of the Internet, which he called the Semantic Web, would be more open, smarter and more autonomous.

This is because Web 3.0 primarily focuses on connecting data in a decentralized fashion, rather than storing it in centralized repositories, with computers capable of interpreting information as intelligently as humans. Thus, users and machines will be able to connect more seamlessly to data, which means that artificial intelligence (AI) will play a crucial role in making this version of the Internet smarter and more powerful in terms of the ability to process. information. Ultimately, this will allow machines to more granularly interpret the meaning of data – or its semantics – to deliver much smarter user experiences.

The development of Web 3.0 has, at least in part, been influenced by the shortcomings of Web 2.0 and Web 1.0 before it. Arguably, the build-up of power and control within centralized entities was the clearest example of these shortcomings – and, indeed, the rest to this day. “The global financial crisis of 2007-2008 had far-reaching impacts. It catalyzed an implosion of confidence in a number of institutions: the commercial banks whose business practices caused the crisis; central banks who never saw it coming; and governments that have failed to effectively address it or hold the most irresponsible and negligent individuals to account, “MakerDAO, creator of the popular stablecoin DAI, wrote in April 2020.” The downsides of centralized power are become more evident, as has the power of technology. “

With such concerns in mind, the decentralized architecture of Web 3.0 seeks to address the issues that have arisen from these issues, including user trust, privacy, and transparency. By using blockchain networks of decentralized nodes that can validate cryptographically secure transactions, there is no need to rely on a single centralized entity as the source of truth. Instead, self-executing smart contracts can be used to eliminate the requirement to involve third parties.

Of course, recognizing the pressing need for Web 3.0 requires recognizing how important decentralization has become. “As Web 3.0 networks will operate through decentralized protocols – the founding blocks of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology – we can expect to see strong convergence and a symbiotic relationship between these three technologies and other areas,” according to the popular cryptocurrency site CoinMarketCap. “They will be interoperable, seamlessly integrated, automated via smart contracts and used to power everything from micro-transactions in Africa, storing censorship-resistant P2P data files and sharing with apps like Filecoin, for a change. completely conducting each business and operating their business.

Many anticipate the transition from large, centralized entities providing services and access to their platforms in exchange for monetizing and exploiting users’ personal data under Web 2.0 to one involving decentralized applications allowing user participation without monetizing data. data under Web 3.0. Instead of the data being owned, it is then shared, with different applications and services showing different views for the same data. And, perhaps most importantly, users will once again regain ownership and control of their personal data.

Such benefits for users will have far-reaching implications for areas such as social media, where control of personal data has been repeatedly compromised. “Today’s Internet is an oligopolistic market. Existing social media giants not only make huge profits by monopolizing the social identities and social data of users, but can also change the rules of the game, losing the openness that the internet was originally intended for, ”Carl Huang, a member of the Follow group decentralized and autonomous organization – the first decentralized social protocol designed for Web 3.0, recently said the blockchain and cryptocurrency publication Co-telegraph. The blockchain-based social protocol of Follow aims to ensure that users have full control over their own identities and social data. “Openness and sharing are the fundamental principles of the Internet. Whether building Web 3.0 or developing a large-scale creator economy in the metaverse, new social infrastructures that embody the fundamental demands of the Internet are needed. The creation of the Follow protocol is an attempt based on this call.

Three-dimensional (3D) graphics will also be a crucial attribute of Web 3.0, with many expecting this version of the Internet to be a “spatial” Web, with digital information existing in space and becoming inseparable from the world. physical. The convergence of key technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, 5G networks, Internet of Things (IoT), AI (artificial intelligence) and blockchain will underpin this 3D Web which will eventually remove the boundaries between the digital content and the physical world. We are already seeing the first successful 3D designs in websites and apps through computer games, museum guides, and real estate property tours.

IoT will also be fundamental to making Web 3.0 ubiquitous, with a multitude of new smart devices connected to the web and thus accessing content. This could mean that eventually everyone has access to the Internet at all times, thanks to this vast network of devices connected to the Internet.

Of course, we are not quite at the stage of fully realizing this next generation internet, although it has been in development for over 10 years. The limitations that still exist, especially in data storage and data processing power, make scalability a relevant challenge for Web 3.0. Indeed, blockchain technology continues to face scalability issues, although it increasingly looks like it will be when rather than if it successfully overcomes these current obstacles.

Moreover, it seems highly unlikely that such giant, centralized entities such as governments and multinational corporations will simply relinquish their control over profit-generating data. In some cases, this data is their cornerstone, and as such, taking control of it from them will be far from easy.

Nonetheless, with the juggernaut of decentralization in full swing, it would appear that the opportunity for individuals to regain control of the few corporate juggernauts that have dominated the internet so far is closer than ever. And a fairer and more transparent online world awaits us all.

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