Talk about Metaverse, NFT’s or Internet of things (IoT), another keyword which is creating quite a stir in the silicon valley is Web 3.
Globally acclaimed tech analyst Packy McCormick defines Web 3 as ‘the internet owned by the builders and users, orchestrated with tokens.’ The term was coined by Gavin Wood in 2014, the founder of blockchain infrastructure company Parity Technologies.
But before we delve deep into Web 3, let’s take a look at how the internet has evolved from Web 1 to Web 3.
The Web 1 version was the pioneer iteration of the web in which internet users were passive consumers of content. On the other hand, creators were developers who coded websites comprising information majorly in text or image format.
Static content was the cornerstone of Web 1 and no database was used in the process. In essence, sites were one way flow of information from developers to consumers and didn’t have interactivity. We can say that companies used their webpages as some sort of newspaper in digital format.
Thus we can dare to say that Web 1 was the read-only web which lasted approximately from 1990s till early 2000s.
You are reading this website on Web 2. I am not a developer but the Apps have allowed me to create this website which is its striking feature.
Moreover, you can now pick up your phone, record a video and upload it anywhere and be declared content creator, without knowing any programming language. At the same time big social media networks are using your content to make shitload of money and are also controlling the content distribution in this Web 2.
The most important aspect of Web 2 is monetization. We see that companies launch an Application or a website, lure in users in millions and eventually have to lift the lid off generating revenue through monetization. Two things take place at this point in any App:
- User data is sold
- Personalized advertisements are shown
Giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Amazon are all doing this. At one end, they have been alleged of selling the user data while on the other hand it is a proven fact that they show us the advertisements tailored to our needs.
This gives rise to the debate that centralization and exploitation of user data is in place in Web 2. This can also be seen in the backdrop of Cambridge Analytica scandal as well which made it to the US Congress and put Mark Zuckerberg in a fix as well. The period starting from 2005 can be declared as an era of Web 2.
The next big thing Web 3 basically means decentralization of database in which instead of a central overarching authority controlling data, the control will be available to individuals. As web3 applications run on blockchains, decentralized networks serve them and these apps are often referred to as dapps (decentralized apps).
For example, currently, Facebook can censor your post based on its policy but in Web 3 as the control is decentralized, this censorship would not happen. Same goes for payments which cannot be prevented on Web 3 in a stark contrast to Web 2 because the former runs on cryptocurrency. Moreover, the users would be having a share in monetisation on Web 3.
Let’s explain this through the example:
A web3 version of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook could allow netizens to monetize their own content or earn crypto ‘tips’ from other users for gripping posts. Remember that Twitter has already started this ‘tips’ option for users on its platform.
In web 2, the servers can go down and prevent the users from doing virtually any job on the internet; however, the servers in Web 3 are based on block chain technology and so they have 24/7 connectivity.
As far as the security is concerned, Web 3 offers advantage over Web 2. In the former, network can function even if a sizeable majority of participants are attacked but in Web 2 due to central authority network can be put to halt easily.
Another striking feature of Web 3 is that it is enabled with payments through cryptocurrencies which means that now users will be able to readjust finances based on block chain technology instead of paper or plastic currency. In Web 2 companies like PayPal were harnessed for payments but they were not available everywhere on earth. For instance some countries in Asia don’t have PayPal for payments even in 2022.
In Web3, automation powered by Artificial Intelligence will be the part of Web 3 and analysts are hooked and convinced that it would be the smartest version of the web considering the advancement in Artificial Intelligence.
It is worth mentioning that we are currently using Web 2. As far as the difference between current Web 2 and Web 3 is concerned, the former was based on user-generated content for end users and same was used by Apps and websites; however, in Web 3, machine learning and Artificial intelligence are harnessed to provide relevant content for each user in contrast to showing the content other end users have provided.
Currently, user data is somewhat monetised and companies provide us data in return for that monetisation but in Web 3 this monetisation is shared and users will be getting the share as well.
In Web 2, users had a say in contributing to the content but the same job would now be done by semantic web and AI technologies. By Semantic Web we mean that it can enable the data to be connected to other data and can be read by computer for performing very sophisticated tasks.
Web 3 Example
There is a videogame developed on Web 3 and is named Axie Infinity which uses Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies and rewards players with real money after they achieve in-game objectives.
Though people are making money through the game, it is vulnerable at the same time because it relies on crypto and players can lose money if token value drops.
Best Web 3 cryptocurrencies
The Web 3 hype has given impetus to the question as to what could be the best cryptocurrencies. We do not suggest buying or selling any crypto based on this article but we present you the list of the currencies poised to win the race. But, above all, make the decision on your own. Here is the list (without any order):
Ocean Protocol (OCEAN)
The Graph (GRT)
Limitations of Web 3
There are certain limitations attached to the new brand of internet. First and the most important one is regarding the deregulation. Countries like North Korea and China are feared not to allow any deregulation that takes the control away from them. The authoritarian regimes are keeping an eye on the digital content now a days and states ruled by autocrats might not like the deregulation which is a central tenant of Web 3.
Another factor which might delay the execution of Web 3 is the fact that blockchains might not be able to handle the amount of data that giants like Amazon, Uber, Facebook or YouTube use daily.
Moreover, the cryptocurrency payment is not in use as of now and the recent bust cycle of crypto has stirred panic amongst the masses which raises questions whether the public would be interested in making payments based on such a volatile currency.
The diffusion of innovation theory suggests that people do adapt to technological advancements with time, same can be said about Web 3. Initially, the companies as well as the users might be reluctant but just as we transitioned from Web 1 to Web 2, we might be getting to the era of Web 3 anytime soon.