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Web3 – How Far Has the World Wide Web Evolved?

If you’re wondering what Web3 means, you’re not alone. With over a billion keyword searches in the past six months alone, Web3 is quickly becoming one of the buzzwords besides the NFTs and Metaverse, that everyone wants to learn more about. Moreover, #web3 is trending on all major social media platforms. Thankfully, unlike the name of Elon Musk’s daughter X Æ A-12, it is not hard to decipher the meaning of Web3.

Web 3, in simple terms, is the next step in the evolution of the World Wide Web. While a majority of Web 1.0 was about the sharing of information, Web 2.0 focused more on user-generated content. And the latest iteration, namely Web3 seeks to bring out decentralization in the web space.

Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

Web 1.0

This was the first version of the Web. Tim Berners-Lee conceptualized and created it to enable sharing of data to a global audience. This version consists of static interconnected pages and was a database of content available digitally. A few people created web pages and it was available to a large audience. Instead of the huge volumes of an encyclopedia, that were heavy and expensive, the Internet made it possible for users to get information for free. It was an information-sharing platform.

Although users could view information using the Internet, they could not react to it. This led to the evolution of the web into Web 2.0.

Web 2.0

These days, the most widely used version of the web is Web 2.0. It is an interactive version of the earlier Web 1.0. Users are now able to create their content and share it online. They can also interact with the content using various tools. With the availability of mediums like social media, blogs, video blogs (or vlogs) podcasts, and more, users are now active participants on the web. Hence, it creates huge volumes of data.

The downside of this is that this user-generated data is owned and controlled by the platform where this content is generated. Moreover, these platforms collect additional information from users for their database. This has led to various incidents of security threats and data manipulation in the past.  The Facebook-Cambridge Analytical data scandal, Project Nightingale, and IBM’s Photo-Scraping scandal are prime examples of this. Security breaches are constantly monitored by organizations like Have I Been Pwned. These scandals have given rise to the need for an internet where data privacy is important and control is given to users, as opposed to organizations.
web1, web2, and web3

Is Web3 the same as Web 3.0?

Even though a lot of people also refer to Web3 as Web 3.0, they are in fact different. Though both refer to the next iteration of the world wide web, they have different visions. And they will utilize different technologies to achieve these visions.

Gavin Wood – the co-founder of Ethereum first introduced the concept of Web3 in 2014. The principle is the decentralization of the world wide web. So, Web3 is the ‘Decentralized Web’. Moreover, the purpose is to take the power and control away from the big tech companies like Google (also known as Alphabet), Meta (formerly called Facebook), Apple, and Amazon. Consequently, users will have more control over their data, and be able to profit from it.

Whereas, Web 3.0 aims more toward a comprehensive interconnected web, i.e. the ‘Semantic web’. Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web, introduced it as a concept of efficient and intelligent use of data. By using Artificial Intelligence or AI, Web 3.0 aims to make the internet smarter in in data processing and handling.

Even then, a lot of people believe that ‍the next iteration of the Internet will most likely be a combination of Web3 and Web 3.0, and hence they consider it as one.

Proposed features of Web3

  1. Decentralization:

    The basis for this is Distributed Ledger Technology, in which the data is shared and synchronized across multiple nodes. A prime example of this is Blockchain technology, although other technologies like Tangle and Hashgraph also exist.

  2. Edge Computing:

    Edge computing refers to an architecture in which computation happens closer to the source of data as opposed to a centralized server. Consequently, the data storage is also closer to the source, hence improving the response time.

  3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

    AI and ML will enable data processing in systems with human-like intelligence, to provide quicker and more relevant results.

  4. 3D Graphics

    With the advent of the Metaverse, 3D designs have become even more popular.

  5. Connectivity and Ubiquity

    Semantic data ensures that information is more connected. For example, currently, you have to update information like a job change on all the platforms that you use. However, the Web3 connectivity will ensure that your data is replicated all across the platforms you use.

Conclusion

There are some platforms that are still in development that utilize these features. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations or DAOs are an important aspect of Web3 interaction. DAOs offer transparency, unlike the platforms available today. This ensures that all the participating users can see and weigh on decisions that impact the network, thereby reinforcing that Web3 platforms give more power to users. SocialFi platforms that use these concepts to an extent are already being built. But they are still in the early stages. Apart from generating the content, users can also monetize it, using DeFi.

Please note that this article is an opinion, and does not represent financial advice by IN4X Global.

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