The advent of the World Wide Web transformed the way we went about our lives. We could access millions of web pages and check our email at any time of our convenience, and consume live news 24×7. Then, we discovered that this was just Web 1.0, and it was soon to be overshadowed by Web 2.0. The latter saw web pages turn into interactive social platforms and user-generated content explode with the emergence of powerful mobile devices and social networks.
Now we are on the verge of Web 3.0—possibly the most disruptive version. With it, we are getting closer to the future of the internet. Built on blockchain technology, the third version of the internet is set to reinvent cyberspace. And this article tells you how.
Web 3.0: What it’s all about
Web 3.0 is still shaping up, and as such, there is no single definition of what it means for us. But here are some characteristics that stand out:
- Decentralization: Web 3.0 connects unique web addresses from multiple locations. Powered by advanced computers, blockchains, and energy, Web 3.0 supports networks that are sustainable without a centralized authority. There’s no need for approval from the government or other authorities. It also disintegrates the control of internet giants such as Google and gives users more power.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning: Web 3.0 relies on advanced technology. It is governed by powerful computers operating with algorithms that understand human behavior. AI and machines power this new shift. They help grow applications relevant to multiple areas, such as product development and logistics.
- Connectivity and ubiquity: Web 3.0 makes it possible for content to be synchronously shared and accessed across diverse devices and applications. With Web 3.0, computational intelligence makes the smart world a reality.
The Evolution of Web 3.0
Before we try to grapple with trying to understand the future potential of Web 3.0, it’s important to understand the various stages of its development in some depth.
Web 1.0: The term “Web 1.0” was first coined by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. Back then, the Web was “static” in the sense that it didn’t allow user interaction. It was mainly a repository for online catalogs from publishers and service producers that were accessible to all. Web 1.0 remained a one-way street as customers or users couldn’t interact with content or give feedback. It was read-only.
Web 2.0: The term “Web 2.0” was coined by web pioneers Dale Dougherty and O’Reilly VP in 2004. Web 2.0 tapped into the potential of the internet and consumers. For consumers, Web 2.0 makes interaction possible, establishing a participatory model. In this phase, user-generated content such as video sharing, chatting, and social media interaction became possible. At this stage, the Web became “read and write.”
Web 3.0: Web 3.0 is also known as the “Semantic Web,” drawing on a concept introduced by Tim Berners-Lee. The Semantic Web is best understood as a way to add great new features to the Web. Data on the Web is made more accessible, by creating interlinks between global databases. And machines play a vital role in bringing in desirable additional features. For instance, web applications and other infrastructure is put to use to reduce human error and efforts.
Web 3.0 and blockchains
Blockchain technology paved the way for Web 3.0. The tech was used to create decentralized networks that expanded the functionalities of the Web. Blockchains make it possible for multiple copies of data to be held across a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, thus enhancing data management and security.
For Web 3.0, blockchain technology ensures that participants operate on a consensus, taking full advantage of peer-peer connections. With experts predicting that Web 3.0 will support exploits in a virtual world, blockchain provides a foundation that can facilitate the decentralization of data and storage.
Web 3.0 and IoT
Web 3.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) are closely related. Together, they will drive the next stage of digital transformation.
And as Web 3.0 democratizes the Internet by making it decentralized, the IoT creates connections between devices and technologies. IoT essentially enforces the interoperability features of Web 3.0 by connecting smart devices (and their troves of data) to the Internet. Through IoT, the barriers between the physical and the virtual worlds will be reduced to create seamless connections and symbiosis.
Web 3.0 and the metaverse
The metaverse is a 3D virtual reality platform. Participants in a metaverse can interact in its computer-generated world. They can assume avatars and will be able to work or play with others.
Web 3.0 can help people connect to/enter the metaverse. Since Web 3.0 is open and accessible to all, the infrastructure it supports will make it possible for people to access the metaverse.
Web 3.0 and the metaverse can come together to create a brand new financial world where decentralization is a major characteristic. In this brave new world, people wouldn’t need banks or other exchanges to invest. As we have seen with Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), all people will need are avatars and a Web 3.0 environment to participate.
Web 3.0 and the DAO
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are special organizations where members have collective rights. In a DAO, no single party is meant to hold power over others. There is no central figure or body of authority, so the authorities are fair.
DAO is a great business model for the Web 3.0 era. In turn, Web 3.0 empowers DAOs by enabling:
- Decentralized leadership (members form a community and decision-making is collective)
- Safe collaboration between members
- The protection of funds (meant for collective work) through smart contracts
With the integration of Web 3.0 and DAOs, companies can implement new governance models that prioritize inclusion and transparency.
Web 3.0 applications
Web 3.0 has influenced various creations that have changed technology and its applications. Some popular Web 3.0 applications include:
- Voice assistants: Today, voice recognition software is more advanced than ever and is often powered by Web 3.0. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and speech recognition software, Web 3.0 has made data an asset for users and companies. Examples of voice assistants that use Web 3.0 capabilities are Siri and Alexa.
- Wolfram Alpha: Computing solutions like Wolfram Alpha reduce the time taken to explore online databases and present solutions to users. Wolfram Alpha is a popular platform for students and scholarly professionals. They use it to investigate scientific questions during research, presenting solutions to match user needs.
- Bondex: Bondex, a talent network and marketplace, uses Web 3.0. On Bondex, decentralization facilitates the sharing of revenue between the talent pool and companies seeking new hires. Such decentralized applications make financial technology solutions possible.
There are many other Web 3.0 applications in addition to the ones discussed above. If you want to read up about a few more, you could look up 3D Graphics, Flickr, and Meta (Facebook).
Web 3.0 use cases
Web 3.0 has empowered users over service providers, creating a world where collaboration is a reality. Some common examples are services that provide utility to users by tapping into decentralized connectivity and the blockchain. Such as Bitcoin, NFT marketplace OpenSea, decentralized trading platform Augur, blogging and social platform Steemit, and blockchain supply chain and authentication platform Everledger.