Web 3.0 is a concept of the next generation of the internet. It is seen as improvement over Web 2.0, which is the current version of the internet. Web 3.0 represents the move away from centralized organisations, big tech and the traditional financial system.
Web 3.0 is a long way off but there are elements of it that exist already. This piece will discuss the key features of Web 3.0, give examples of some Web 3.0 applications and explain the role blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies will play in its development.
What is Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 is built upon the concept of decentralization and promises to be a human centric, owner-controlled internet. The free applications we use today have come at the cost of forfeiting our right to privacy and giving up control of our personal data. Web 3.0 will flip this imbalance. People will no longer be the product. They will be the creators and owners of the new decentralized web.
The internet we have today is dominated by centralized organisations. Big tech companies such as Facebook and Google have monopolised control over our data and have profited handsomely from how they have used that data. The large-scale collection of customer information has allowed corporations to create brand profiling for more successful targeted advertising campaigns. Usually in the real world, participants would be compensated for the time, information and valuable feedback they provide to marketing research groups. Web 3.0 aims to address this issue by giving individuals back ownership and control of their private data and reward them for their participation on the web.
Did You Know?
With Web 3.0, internet users will have a unique online ID stored in an identity wallet, along with other verified digitized personal documents, it will allow access to different platforms and services without needing to create separate logins. You will be able to access the internet on many different devices, from anywhere, for free.
The history of the web
In the beginning there was Web 1.0 It was the “read-only” era of the internet. Web pages of the early 90s were nothing more than Static desktop web pages of text on a computer screen. Websites had little or no images and were basically just digital online representations of printed documents. Computers and internet speeds were painfully slow and pages took an exceptionally long time to load.
Web 3.0 is the future vision of the internet which promises to give power back to the people. It is the “read-write-own” version. Creators will become owners and be financially rewarded in crypto tokens for their participation and contribution to the ecosystem. Users can benefit from the time and value they add to the online community for content creation such as: writing articles, playing games or just interacting on different platforms. Using NFTs, individuals will have full ownership control over their digital data. With a new decentralized backend, Web 3.0 will be facilitated by blockchain networks and cryptocurrencies to make user interaction more intuitive. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) will replace centralized platforms.
A main characteristic of Web 3.0 is that it will be inherently smarter. The two cornerstones of Web 3.0 are Semantic Web and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Semantic Web makes data machine-readable so that large volumes of information can be processed and understood. Intelligent Web 3.0 search engines and browsers will allow for an enhanced user experience that is highly personalised.
Key features of Web 3.0
Web 3.0 was originally envisioned by world wide web inventor Tim Berners-Lee in 2001. He coined the term ‘Semantic Web’ which was aimed at being an open internet with more autonomy and intelligence. Semantic means the ability to recognise, understand, perceive, and then respond accordingly. The Semantic Web will enable computers to analyse huge volumes of data that exist online and decipher what the content means. Machine Learning (ML) machines can understand and interpret the context of data to serve up the best content possible and allow for a better user experience for humans.
The internet now contains over 30 years’ worth of information. The goal of the Semantic Web is to allow machines to understand the information on the web and make sense of it all. The Web 3.0 concept has actually moved well past the original Semantic Web concept conceived by Berner-Lee over two decades ago.
The role of AI in Web 3.0 is to sort through all the information that is accessible online and deliver a filtered and unbiased search result, providing us with the highest quality and most relevant information possible. For example, Apple’s Siri is a Web 3.0 application (although a centralized one). “She” uses advanced machine learning web technologies to function.
As Web 3.0 evolves and ML improves, apps like Siri will be able to serve us with better information. AI will become smarter and be able to understand more complex search queries. It will “learn” about our individual preferences and will know what content is specifically relevant to us and deliver highly personalised results. For example, you could say: “I want to go to a movie and then get some dinner”. The machine will already know if you like horror movies or if you are a vegetarian. The more it learns about you the less specific you could be.
Web 3.0 will connect the internet to everyone from anywhere and be accessible at any time. It is not only our computers and mobile phones that are connected to the internet anymore. The last stages of Web 2.0 brought us the Internet of Things (IoT). There are now billions of devices that are connected to the internet. Web 3.0 will enable the intercommunication between devices in a users’ environment through embedded processing in everyday objects.
Web 3.0 will use 3D graphics to bring the physical world into the online digital world through the metaverse. The travel industry, real estate, retail and many more industries will all incorporate realistic high quality 3D graphics, to bring you into the space and make for a better interactive experience.
When will we see Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 is still a while away. Applications do exist already and are operating on Web 2.0, however for Web 3.0 to be realised all these applications need to be interconnected through a decentralized network, and that will take some time to build. It won’t be truly Web 3.0 until Decentralized Applications (dApps) have replaced centralized applications (Apps).
In the crypto space, there are many examples of different dApps that could eventually be connected and create the Web 3.0 network. Projects such as Web3 Foundation, Ethereum Network and Polkadot are all currently working on different projects aimed at bringing Web 3.0 to life.
Web 3.0 and cryptocurrency
Decentralization and the adoption of token-based economics is the core component of Web 3.0. Blockchain technology will be the foundational protocol to support peer-to-peer transactions that entirely trustless and permissionless. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and Cryptocurrency will provide the payment system for Web 3.0, while NFTs will be the tool for proof of ownership over digital assets.
Here are some examples of Web 3.0 decentralized applications or dApps that already exist and are being used.
Decentralized money. Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency. It allows for permissionless financial transactions on the web. Bitcoin is used for exchanging money online in a fully decentralized way. Users can buy and sell goods and services without the need for traditional financial institutions acting as middlemen.
Akash Network is the world’s first open-source cloud platform for Web 3.0 apps. It’s like the “Airbnb for Cloud Computing”. Censorship-resistant, permissionless, and self-sovereign. Akash provides a fast, efficient and low-cost application deployment solution. Developers can access cloud computing for up to three times cheaper than the cost of centralized cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.
An open-source web browser with built-in crypto ecosystem. Brave boasts speeds of three times faster than Google Chrome and proudly offers “better protection from Google and Big Tech”. Brave does not track you or keep cookies. Ads are an opt-in feature and can be turned off at any time. If users choose to allow them, they are rewarded with BAT (Basic Attention Token) tokens for doing so.
Sia leverages blockchain technology to create a decentralized data storage marketplace that competes with traditional cloud storage providers (I.e iCloud and Google Drive) for a fraction of the cost. No outside company or third party can access or control the files stored on Sia, unlike traditional cloud storage providers. Users control their private encryption keys and own their data.
A decentralized peer-to-peer video streaming blockchain powered by users. Content creators earn more on Theta network thanks to lower streaming costs as compared to YouTube. Viewers are also rewarded for participating in the network, sharing excess bandwidth and resources.
Criticism of Web 3.0
What will be fundamentally different about Web 3.0 is the backend. Currently with Web 2.0, data is stored on centralized servers and is controlled by the companies who own them. With Web 3.0 data will be interconnected and stored on a digitally distributed, decentralized, public ledger built on the blockchain. Data will be immutable, trustless and transparent. This all sounds amazing however in reality this is a very big task and will take a while to achieve. At this stage it is going to be very difficult to build a system that can scale to the point that it replaces the existing infrastructure of the web we have today.
There is also the question over whether or not a truly decentralized internet is even possible, although it is a noble vision. The world in which we exist today is financed by large, centralized corporations and Venture Capitalists (VCs). Critics argue that Web 3.0 will never be completely decentralized because of the vested interests of the rich.
Important to Remember
One of the main issues Web 3.0 faces is scalability. To build a fully decentralized network large enough to host all the data of the entire web will be a huge challenge.
The ultimate goal of Web 3.0 is to create more open, intelligent, and interconnected platforms across the web in a decentralized way. While there are many services crossing over to become blockchain-based dApps, we are still at the beginning of realising a truly decentralized blockchain-powered web overall. For more great content about cryptocurrency and blockchain continue exploring Swyftx Learn!