The decentralized internet, otherwise known as decentralized web, Web 3.0 or Dweb is an abstract concept of a network with a user-based, peer-to-peer interaction system that enables users to have full control over data usage and storage.
This means there is a transfer of control over stored information from centralized authorities(tech organizations, governments, private individuals) to the users of the internet network. Decentralization as a blockchain concept has been applied to cryptocurrency mobile wallets, decentralized apps(DApps), etc. However, the concept of a decentralized internet is quite novel and intriguing because of the many benefits it promises to provide.
You can think of the decentralized internet as an opportunity for you to use a network with less monitoring, more censorship resistance and more privacy. Decentralized internet gives you and other users the power over the internet, not the tech companies or the programmers.
The internet was not initially designed to be centralized: it started off as a project by the United States Department of Defense. This project involved establishing a data communications network that would enable the department to withstand unforeseen events and disasters like war.
With the launch of ARPANET on October 29, 1969 there was a change in the scheme of things. The first successful message was sent from a computer in UCLA to another computer or Node at the Stanford Research Institute.
November 21,1969, saw the first connection between UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute. On the 5th of December that year, the University of California and the University of Utah joined ARPANET as founding members. In the early 1970s, ARPANET grew and more universities joined the network.
The National Science Foundation Network(NSFNet) replaced ARPANET in 1986 and other networks became more significant in the 1980s. NSFNet was a wide area network designed by the National Science Foundation to be the main network linking the government and research facilities. NSFNet made high speed networking available to national computer centers and interlinked regional networks until it was dismantled in 1995 and replaced with more commercialized Internet.
In the 1990s to the 2000s, Web 1.0 or Read-only Web existed as the earliest form of commercialized internet. Then Web 2.0 which you are currently using followed: it provides more user-generated content and encourages collaboration and self-expression with collaboration. Web 3.0 or the Semantic web is a futuristic concept for a network that will enable users and machines to interact with data, value and other parties through peer-to-peer networks on a decentralized platform. Web 3.0 is unique in the fact that it is built on three layers of technological innovation: edge computing, decentralized data networks and artificial intelligence.
The decentralized Internet is a futuristic concept: hence the speculations on the applications of the novel network are numerous. The Web3 network is designed to be trustless, permissionless and verifiable. The decentralized internet is also supposed to allow native inbuilt payments on the cryptocurrency blockchain.
In Web 3, the applications either run on blockchains, nodes or on both blockchains and nodes. These applications are known as decentralized Apps or dAPPs. Examples of these dAPPs are Bit Torrent, Popcorn Time, Bit Message, etc. The developers can then be given rewards for stability and competition on who will build the most secure networks.
A large proportion of the global population amounting to 4.8 billion makes use of the Internet. This is roughly two-thirds of the world population: interestingly, four main organizations store the world's data. Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud hold up to 1200 petabytes of data. With the decentralized internet, there will be reduced privacy and security concerns for users. In addition, users can report problems, correct some problems and create new tools that will make the internet better for all.
Tokenization is one of the benefits that the decentralized internet will provide for users: Web 3 tokens are digital assets associated with the decentralized Internet. They will be used to provide services such as computation, bandwidth, storage, identification, hosting and other services previously provided by cloud services.
The Spatial Web will provide a more realistic three-dimensional world for Internet users. Websites, Games, The Real Estate Market and other online facilities will possess three-dimensional designs. In addition, the artificial intelligence property of the decentralized internet helps users to give reviews that are subsequently verified. The artificial intelligence features will enable users to distinguish between good and bad data, providing a better internet experience.
Every good thing has its disadvantages, so it is not surprising that the decentralized Internet has its demerits. In January 2017, when Olaf Carson-Wee of TechCrunch predicted that the internet would soon be fully decentralized, it was to come with reduced censorship. If terrorists, fraudsters and users of the dark web had no monitoring of their activities, there could be many consequences for internet users all over the globe.
Another disadvantage of the decentralized internet is the increased demand on available resources: setting up a decentralized network requires more systems to make communication faster and in the long run it is more expensive. The decentralized internet also prolongs decision-making by relinquishing power from a few authority figures as in centralization to a large number of users on the internet. The voting process on the protocol can be cumbersome before a final decision is made.
Web 3 has the ability to consume large amounts of energy. This is because the more users there are, the more energy is required to perform tasks. Decentralized networks require large amounts of electricity to keep running and when there are too many transactions on the network, network failures can occur.
The decentralized internet is an interesting concept that has been the trending topic for discussion for many Internet users because of its foreseen ability to provide user privacy and reduce government control over the internet.
Web 3 is designed to enable users to have control over their data and eliminate tech giants from the picture while working hand in hand with blockchain technology. Users like you will benefit from the knowledge that privacy is guaranteed online and that users can express their opinion on the internet.
Nonetheless, there are numerous reservations about the decentralized internet in terms of cost, feasibility and the possibility of increased criminal activities on the blockchain. However, I believe that the decentralized internet would be good for internet users if solutions to these challenges are proposed and incorporated into what would become DWeb for us all. The only constant thing is change, so why not try the Decentralized Internet?