Technology professionals and software developers say Web 3.0 is just an overused buzzword, while others believe it will revolutionize the internet. Web 3.0 is real, but understanding it takes a steep learning curve.
From Web 1.0 to 2.0
The idea of the internet was always to allow people to interact directly and globally. With Web 1.0, through the 1990s, the internet was mainly for the tech-savvy, struggling past read-only web pages and the growing use of email.
It took over a decade for the internet to grow into something that millions of people use every day. In the early 2000s, Web 2.0 came to define a read-and-write upgrade to Web 1.0.
The catalyst for Web 2.0, the same web we use today, was faster wifi speeds and the smartphone. Now, the internet followed us on the go, and the popularity of social media introduced new, multi-billion dollar companies like Facebook.
Microsoft and Apple doubled their value year after year, eBay proved that garage sales could go digital, and giants like Amazon started replacing brick and mortar markets. The internet came alive with streaming movies and disruptive new tech-based businesses like Airbnb and Uber.
Web 3.0: Fixing What’s Broken
At its core, Web 3.0, or web3, is about the challenges it’s meant to resolve. The promised revolution of direct interaction, connectivity, and global commerce has arrived. Still, perhaps instead of freeing us, it created powerful, centralized entities that control our access to one another and the need for a new upgrade.
Privacy, security, and centralization have become serious concerns, with companies like Facebook earning billions of dollars gathering and selling data about our daily activities and interactions with friends and family. It seems that “free” comes at a serious cost.
Many corporations have become more powerful than some nation-states by selling our data, which is then used as surveillance, studying our thoughts and beliefs, and political leanings. We face serious threats to our fundamental right to privacy through censorship.
Web 3.0 is about decentralizing the internet, taking today’s server farms and cloud computing complexes, and spreading that computation and data storage across a global network of our computers. Decentralization replaces trust in central intermediary platforms, like online banks and social media companies, with a trustless model built upon transparent, open-source software.
Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, and Tokenization
Web 3.0 is attributed to Gavin Woods, co-founder of Ethereum, the cryptocurrency organization developing much of the prominent Web 3.0 technology. Web 3.0 will use blockchain technology as a public, immutable ledger, using cryptographic security to instantly transact data and digital payments across an autonomous network.
We regain control of our data privacy or choose to sell some data to third parties in trade for cryptocurrency payments. This ideology of data linked directly to digital payments over a distributed network is called tokenization.
Financial fairness in using data on Web 3.0 becomes built directly into the code.
DeFi, NFTs, and the Metaverse
Decentralized finance (DeFi) is Web 3.0’s replacement of traditional banking and lending systems through a new business model: Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs).
With blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and tokenization, Web 3.0 is a fundamentally new economic system, placing equal value on intellectual rights, privacy, and decentralizing the things we use each day online, from social media to streaming video services. This combination of decentralized money, networks, and intellectual property have already started defining the Web 3.0 net economy.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) represent Web 3.0 commerce, where ownership of digitized artwork and other tokenized items is permanently recorded on public blockchains. The popularity of this trend has grown for years. In 2022, it’s gone mainstream.
The metaverse is the convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, and Virtual Reality (VR), creating 3D virtual worlds connecting us to the subsequent phases of social media, commerce, and industry.
Think of how remote work and telemedicine use the current internet, and you can imagine how Web 3.0 will revolutionize a 3D representation of ourselves online.
Time Will Tell
While many aspects of Web 3.0 have already arrived, they have yet to be entirely accepted by the masses.
The promise of bold changes is real, but the question remains whether Web 3.0 will truly bring us the decentralization most people hope for, or will it simply replace those in power with new tools with which to rule and reign? Either way, the future is upon us, and it is called Web 3.0.