Web 1.0 was the earliest version of the web – which was over 20 years ago. Great as that beginning was, it was hard to imagine content creators, extensive communication, and dynamic web pages since the technology was basically used for merely displaying information that was generally created by businesses and consumed by the users. Then came Web 2.0 – the current version of the web that we are all familiar with. It allows users to create content and interact on a much better scale than was previously possible with Web 1. Web 2.0 has mostly been data-centric, thanks to the colossal amount of data that gets generated every day in terms of videos, texts, audio, social media content, and blogs.
So, what’s Web3 or Web 3.0?
It’s the next step – and a leap in terms of technology since it’s been primarily designed on blockchain technology.
It is a decentralized version of the clunky web that we are so used to or have seen over the past couple of decades. Web3 promises to be more AI-centered and provide a robust user experience, thanks to the decentralization of the nodes involved in the technology. What it means is that it can allow users to control their own data and provide them personalized content based on their interests and choices. Currently, most of the web is controlled by a few large establishments including Google, Amazon, Facebook or Meta, and Apple. This large-scale monopoly over data could change with the decentralization that Web3 puts offers.
Web3’s fundamental aim is to address the problems related to ownership and control over one’s data.
The blockchain age
Blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs are set to take center stage when Web3 becomes a reality. In fact, blockchain technology, together with powerful AI systems can create intuitive processes and facilitate decentralized payments. We have seen many people make money out of these processes – selling NFTs, play-to-earn games, mining, and even offering other online services. This is precisely the outcome that Web3 aims to achieve – minus the overt control that is exerted by big tech. The advantages are manifold. No one can be banned on the Internet, servers won’t fail, transactions cannot be terminated by another entity, and private data is inaccessible to third parties.
Web3 enables collaboration rather than competition through its peer-to-peer, indiscriminate, and interoperable nature. It could allow consumers to become “shareholders” of the web by being able to participate in governance and operations. These shares are generally in the form of tokens or cryptocurrencies, that represent one’s ownership in “blockchains”, a collection of blocks. For example, if you want to see a design change in a game, you could invest in the game and vote for that change directly! People could become immutable owners of NFTs that they have purchased as part of games or others and this could even become their identity.