We live in the age of Web 2.0. But the next version of the World Wide Web - decentralized web 3.0 - is not far off. Or is Web3 utopia? Why Web3 will change everything? What does Web3 mean for the future of work? Will Web3 fail? Let's find out.
To date, there is no one correct opinion on the Internet about the already acclaimed Web3. To get at least a rough idea of the concept, we must first deal with its "predecessors" in the face of Web2 and Web1.
It is believed that Web1 is what was before Web2. The very concept of it was born just after the transition to the next stage of the Internet.
The first Internet was a peer-to-peer network consisting of several computers at American universities. In America, it was called the ARPANET in 1966.
There were similar networks in other parts of the world. Figuratively speaking, the Internet at that time was many different villages that knew nothing about each other. They could not communicate because they spoke "different languages". That all changed in the 1970s, thanks to the introduction of TCP/IP.
TCP/IP is an Internet protocol that sets standards for structuring web addresses. Interoperability was then possible, but it was still challenging to find each other. Tim Berners-Lee proposed a unique solution for navigating the Web in 1989 to display content on web pages.
Because of the inability of users to change the content of websites, the Web 1.0 era is called "read-only". Users could only navigate the Internet by searching web pages. A compelling reason also to move the development of the Web was the monopoly on ownership of website domain names: addresses were leased, not bought.
Until about 2004, the Internet was a set of pages with loaded information on them. Interaction with the content was one-way and did not imply any feedback. Web1 also can be compared to a large library, where you can read books added by the room's owner. At this point, the "old Internet" functionality was limited. The exception at the time was Amazon, which was one of the first to add the ability to publish reviews.
Web2 was the next stage in the development of the Internet and brought us social networks, online stores, and other platforms with the possibilities of interaction. Now the Internet is not just a "library" but a vast field for sharing, discussion, and entertainment.
Social networks have turned the Internet from read-only to read-write. The Internet has gone from static to dynamic. And the main product of this era is our attention. And here, the main problem of Web 2.0 is the collection and use of our personal data.
The social network Facebook presented its financial report for 2020. The company's total revenue was $85.96 billion, with advertising accounting for $84.17 billion. It's not just about Facebook because all the websites collect cookies, click information, and all the things that seem to be private but are already public.
With the advent of Web2, we also began to change our habits: we began to share personal information, shop online, and react to events in the world or in the backyard of our homes. Website owners use this information about us and try to give us the content we are interested in to stay on a particular platform longer or make target action.
It is no secret that on today's Internet, you and I are not protected, and the existing Client-Server architecture cannot provide the proper amount of privacy.
Enthusiasts decided that the existing version of the Internet again needed an upgrade. And so, the concept of Web3 was born.
The first thing worth mentioning is that the concept of Web3 is still in its formative stages. We can assume that Web3 will actively use blockchain technology, DAO capabilities, and even NFT. However, no one can say exactly how the Internet will develop further.
Web 3.0 is the Internet of a new generation, based on the principles of decentralization of information and resources, which will help redistribute them among users.
A cryptocurrency or its legalization is the primary tool for implementing and functioning the new Internet paradigm. This will require a massive restructuring of technology and tools under the new rules. Cryptocurrency can give content creators a guarantee of fairer pay and will connect them directly with the audience.
In the Web 3.0 generation, the Internet will no longer be controlled by a small group of techno giants. This will solve at least two problems: it will preserve privacy and make users the owners of their data, which they will be able to sell if they wish.
Today's main Web3 technical problem is the interoperability of blockchains: the ability to transfer assets from one blockchain to another, from one platform to another. Until this problem is solved, we cannot talk about the full development of Web 3.0.
Projects such as Polkadot (DOT), KUSAMA (KSM), COSMOS (ATOM), and other companies developing bridges between blockchains are working on cross-chain solutions that allow any blockchain to interact with each other.
Web 3.0 is in its infancy and has a very fragmented structure. Even those applications that are considered decentralized today do not actually store all the data in blockchain yet. This is a technology that, in addition to forming a register of transactions of various cryptocurrencies, is used in financial operations, user identification, and cybersecurity. It looks like a database in the form of a chain of blocks of information distributed between different computer network nodes and connected in such a way that it is impossible to secretly fake individual pieces of information. If you make changes in one block, all changes will also have to be made in all subsequent blocks in the chain.
Web 3.0 is the era when the server side of the Internet will be modernized after a decade of focusing on the front end. Web 3.0 will allow disconnecting from individual servers, which stand in a particular place and belong to specific people or companies. At the same time, modern blockchains allow everyone to deploy and manage nodes.
Several key technologies will be widely used, chief among them RDF and technologies of the nascent Semantic Web, although Web 3.0 will not be synonymous with it.
Cryptocurrencies will be needed to automate transactions and create transparency in the functioning of the new age Internet. They are all decentralized and will support Web 3.0, using smart contracts to automate transactions over the Internet. This means that data control will no longer be locked into centralized organizations.
Based primarily on the lack of privacy and centralized nature of all processes, the arrival of Web3 can change even the existing interaction of the Internet with the physical world. With the currently available information, we can try to define the main features of the "new Internet" and identify Web3 key differences from Web2.
Web3 will not exist on centralized servers, as it is now, but as a distributed database where anyone can become part of the chain. No company would be able to unilaterally delete someone else's content because copies would be stored by thousands of other participants in the network.
Bitcoin is an excellent example of Web3. It is not stored in a particular repository but is distributed in the form of tens of thousands of computers. Therefore, it simply cannot be banned or frozen.
Existing services like Facebook can unilaterally restrict specific content or block entire accounts. You don't have to go far to find an example. This topic has become especially relevant in the current geopolitical crisis, as corporations and states have started actively blocking various materials and profiles.
Decentralized applications will simply "reject" the attempt to close something from others, as this action will conflict with the rest of the nodes.
All data on the network (including your content) will likely be tokenized in a manner similar to existing NFTs. The blockchain will always confirm this authenticity.
All large companies have a CEO, a board of directors, and so on. Web3 concept assumes that companies of the future will be a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), where there are almost no attributes of conventional governance. But there are users who manage all the processes, from the editorial policy to the value of rewards.
In Web3, it may be possible to make a single authorization method for any service. The difference between Web3 and Web3 will be that due to encryption, no one will be able to find out who exactly is behind, for example, the purchase of any product or the commission of a specific action.
At the moment, speculation about a complete transition of the Internet to Web3 is perceived more as fantasies and dreams of blockchain technology fans and crypto-enthusiasts.
Indeed, the transition to Web3 is a very long, complex, and even expensive process. It will take a long time. No one can say exactly how long.
But the prospect of Web evolution is likely to give users more freedom and opportunities. Then the Internet can really become the World Wide Web, but without barriers and centralized restrictions.
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