If you follow the business or finance news outlets, or even more so if you follow the tech news outlets or hang out on Tech Twitter, it’s virtually impossible not to hear about Web 3.0.
But the what the heck does “Web 3.0″ mean anyway?
Let’s first break down the history and the difference between Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0:
Web 1.0 — This refers to the era of the Internet where most websites built were static. Static means that the content was mostly written by the website’s owners, web developers and web designers. It didn’t change unless the website creator changed it. Similar to a book, the website was built, visitors read the content on the site and the content remained unchanged. This was the most prevalent type of website from the beginning of the internet boom around 1995 to around 2005, when social media changed that forever.
Web 2.0 — This refers to the era where we are in now — most websites are dynamic. Meaning the majority of content on the website is entered by users. The most prevalent form of this is in social media websites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Medium, Twitch and LinkedIn. Other messaging sites like WhatsApp, Telegram, Discord and WeChat have adopted similar formats, expanding from simply a messaging service into a social media site.
Search engines like Google, eCommerce websites like Amazon and entertainment streaming sites like Netflix and Disney Plus have also developed in a similar dynamic fashion, where the content is based tailored to the user.
This is made possibly through the collection of tremendous volumes of data. These volumes of data are a massive asset to companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon and these companies have used the data to make billions. They are centralized data banks and can remove anyone from their platform.
There has been a lot of protest over these facts. While many users enjoy the user experience of connecting with billions of other users online, many have asked, is there a better way? Can data privacy and sovereignty exist? Is there a a better way?
Web 3.0 — This leads us to Web 3.0. The vision of Web 3.0 is to take the best parts of Web 2.0 but decentralize them. Instead of a central corporation as the gatekeeper — build out social media networks where individuals control their own data and following.
This biggest barrier to implementing Web 3.0 is that it is difficult to implement in practice. The largest, most profitable corporations in the history of Earth control Web 2.0. They also employ the largest and best network of computer programmers.
So while they might not exactly be excited to give up control, all is not lost.
Why Decentralize Web 2.0?
Here are some benefits of Web 3.0 and differences between centralized systems and decentralized systems:
- Data Privacy. Centralized systems such as Facebook, Google, Twitter or even Amazon store massive amounts of personal data. Decentralized system could allow users to use the system without providing personal data.
- Data Sovereignty. Similar to data privacy, this covers the concept of who owns your personal data. While you might be willing to share your private information online for the benefit of opting into a great user experience, most were unpleasantly surprised to learn that companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon make billions selling your personal information. Decentralized systems would allow the user to sell their own data and make income off their own data. One example is the Brave browser, which rewards users in BAT tokens, a cryptocurrency token built on Ethereum.
- Censorship from Gatekeepers. Over the past year, a number of social media platforms have censored, de-platformed or demonetized creators based on their political beliefs. Or even worse some instances seem to have been accidental or purely arbitrary. One famous influencer, Anthony Pompliano who hosts show on YouTube called the Best Business Show, investigated this recently. He did an interview where the subjects of Bitcoin and inflation were discussed. The episode was removed and labeled as “dangerous content”. He was threatened to have his channel closed down completely, which has over 300,000 subscribers. He took to Twitter and complained loud enough that numerous US government officials supported his calls for help. When YouTube finally explained the situation to him, it appeared that it was a mistake. A random employee pushed a button labelling the content as dangerous. It was not based on any published company policy, did not have to be approved by any official or public official of the company. Creators can literally have their livelihoods removed — for a specific reason or possibly no reason at all, just an accident. Most creators would prefer not to have an unknown person with or without authority or reason simply be able to turn a light switch on and off and cut off their livelihood. Decentralized systems could have set out programmed rules that would be enforced by computer code and decided on by the community.
- Increase Network Security. A major benefit to the network itself is increased security. The most famous example of a decentralized computer network is Bitcoin. It has better security than a centralized computer network, because a centralized network has a single point of failure. To hack a company’s servers requires hacking one location. To hack the Bitcoin network would require hacking 51% of the network which is locations in countless locations across the planet, connected on the Internet.
Web 3.0 Projects
There are numerous Web 3.0 projects. Based on the fact that cryptocurrency was the first massive global use case of a decentralized computer network, Web 3.0 is closely tied to cryptocurrencies. As you just learned they are not necessarily the same, but one can envision how easily a decentralized data network, financial network and social network could dovetail easily.
Many projects are out there working to build Web 3.0 directly on blockchain networks. And many are hiring web developers.
The decentralized world of Web 3.0 is wide open to you!
Credits – @alexandre_lores
Published By : Medium