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At the dawn of a new era for the Internet, here’s what you need to know about Web3


The rapid growth of non-fungible cryptocurrencies and tokens has been making headlines in recent years. But few people understand how these popular apps connect with each other as part of a larger concept, which some are touting as the next iteration of the internet: Web3.

There are many misconceptions surrounding this buzzy (and, truth be told, fuzzy) term, and there is confusion between the terms Web3 and Web 3.0. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Web3?

As Web3 is still under development, experts disagree on its definition. Basically, we perceive Web3 as a “decentralized web ecosystem”which allows users to bypass internet gatekeepers and retain ownership of their data.

This would be made possible thanks to the block chain. Rather than relying on single servers and centralized databases, Web3 would operate from public ledgers where data is stored on networks of interconnected computers.

A decentralized Web3 would fundamentally change the way the Internet works – we would no longer need financial institutions and technology companies as intermediaries for our online experiences.

Here is what it says a business journalist:

In a Web3 world, people control their data and navigate between social media, email, and online shopping through a single personalized account, creating a public record of all such activity on the blockchain.

Blockchain-based Web3 infrastructure would provide exciting possibilities in ushering in the era of“token economy”. The token economy would allow users to monetize their data by offering them tokens for their online interactions. These tokens could offer profits or benefits, including shares in content platforms or voting rights in online communities.

To better understand Web3, it’s worth stepping back to see how the Internet grew into what it is today.

Web 1.0: The “read-only” Web

Computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee is believed to have invented the World Wide Web in 1989 by allowing people to create hyperlinks to static pages information on websites accessible through browsers.

Berners-Lee wants to enable researchers from different institutions to share information. In 1991, he launched the first websitewhich provides instructions on using the Internet.

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Ottawa, May 2019.

These rudimentary “read-only” websites are maintained by webmasters responsible for updating users and managing information. In 1992, there is 10 websites. In 1994, after the Web entered the public domain, there were 3,000.

When Google was born in 1996, there were two million websites. Last year, there were 1.2 billion websitesalthough it is estimated that only 17% of them are still active.

Web 2.0: the social Web

The next major evolution of the Internet is to move from a “read-only web” to what we know today, which is a “read-write web”. Websites become dynamic and interactive. People are getting involved in content creation in droves through hosted services like Wikipedia, Blogger, Flickr, and Tumblr.

The concept of Web 2.0 is essential after Tim O’Reilly, publisher of technological works, popularized the term in 2004.

Later, social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram and the growth of mobile apps are providing unparalleled connectivity, but through separate platforms. These platforms are perceived as walled gardensbecause their parent companies heavily regulate what users can do, and competing services don’t exchange information with each other.

Tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple are deeply ingrained in every facet of our lives, from how we store and pay for our content, to the personal data we provide (sometimes without our knowledge) to use their products.

Web3 or Web 3.0

This brings us to the next phase of the Internet, in which many wish to regain control of data from the hands of entities that dominate today online life.

The terms Web3 and Web 3.0 are often used interchangeably, but they are different concepts.

Web3 is the evolution towards a blockchain-based decentralized internet. Web 3.0, on the other hand, refers to Berners-Lee’s original vision of an Internet consisting of a collection of websites connected to each other at the data level.

The current version of the Internet can be considered a gigantic repository of documents. Computers are able to retrieve information for us when we ask them, but they cannot understand the deeper meaning of our queries.

A hand holding a mobile phone displaying a group of social media platform icons
In a Web 3.0 world, users would be able to link personal information across social media platforms.

The information is stored in silos in separate servers. Advances in programming, natural language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence will allow computers to discern and process information in a more “human” way, which should result in content discovery, more efficient data sharing and analysis. This is called the “Semantic Web” or the “read-write-execute” Web.

In Berners-Lee’s Web 3.0 world, information would be stored in databases called Solid Podsowned by individual users. This approach, more centralized than that of Web3 which is based on the blockchain, would offer the possibility of modifying the data more quickly, since it would not be distributed between several places.

This system would, for example, link social media profiles of a user, so that updating the personal information of one of them would automatically update the others.

The future of the internet

Web3 and Web 3.0 are often confused, as the new era of the Internet will undoubtedly include elements of both – Semantic Web applications, linked data and a blockchain economy. It is therefore easy to understand why this space is the subject major investments.

However, we only see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to logistical issues and legal implications. Governments must develop new regulations for everything related to the taxation of sales of digital assets, consumer protection and the complex issues of privacy protection and hacking posed by the linked data economy.

Some critics claim that Web3, in particular, is just a simple image change of cryptocurrencies which will not democratize the Internet. While it is clear that we are on the threshold of a new era for the Internet, everyone wonders what will happen once we cross it.

The author of what'snew2day.com is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

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