In this article we explain what Web 3.0 is and what role cryptocurrencies could play in this new Internet. A new interaction with the internet in a more decentralized way where users will be the owners of their data.
Introduction to Web 3.0
It is a future version of the internet that is based on public and permissionless blockchains. The most prominent feature of Web 3.0 is decentralization. It eliminates managers or central authorities from deciding who can or cannot access certain services. It also eliminates the element of trust on the part of those who control the network. It removes the need for intermediaries to manage the shares.
Currently, most of the services on the Internet are paid for with our data. We cede our privacy to companies that make millions by selling or manipulating us with this data. Web 3.0 greatly protects users’ privacy.
Decentralized finance, or DeFi, will be a fundamental part of Web 3.0. We will be able to conduct financial transactions within a blockchain without the need for banks, governments, or other centralized organizations. While this is happening, prominent companies and venture capital firms are trying to position themselves in Web 3.0. This could ultimately lead to some centralization.
Background: Web 1.0 and Web 2.0
Thanks to the World Wide Web we have an enormous interconnection between people. Billions of user’s exchange, read and write information. It is also important in interpersonal communication, and even more so in these times of COVID-19. But the Internet as we know it today has very little to do with the beginnings of this technology. We will look at the three stages of the web in this section.
What is Web 1.0
It is the first version of the Internet, also known as the syntactic or read-only web. Users accessed the Internet to consume content, they were not content creators. There were several content creators, mostly web developers, who generated content in text or graphic format. We could date Web 1.0 between 1991 and 2004.
Web pages offered static content based on HTML language. This language was the basis of Web 1.0. All data and content were provided from a static file system. Databases did not exist, so interaction with these web pages was limited.
What is Web 2.0
It would be the internet or the web as we know it today, where social and interaction components are added. We went from a web with practically no interaction to a web with a great interaction. Users in Web 2.0 can participate and are often content creators. Currently, applications and websites are developed to generate as much interaction as possible.
Anyone can share their thoughts or experiences and share them with everyone. Elements such as videos are added, accessible to any user. Users can watch this content, interact with it and share it. Some examples would be Facebook, Twitch, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and others, would be some of the Web 2.0 applications.
What is Web 3.0
It is the next iteration or evolution of what we know today as web pages. It has quite a significant disruptive potential, on a par with Web 2.0. Web 3.0 is based on decentralization, accessibility, and user usability.
Tim Berners-Lee, known as the father of the World Wide Web, in 1990 already described some of the elements of this new Internet:
- Decentralization: “You don’t need permission from a central authority to publish anything on the web, there is no central control node, so there is no single point of failure… no ‘off switch’! This also means freedom from censorship and indiscriminate surveillance.”
- Bottom-up design: “Instead of the code being written and controlled by a small group of experts, it was developed in full view of everyone, encouraging maximum participation and experimentation”
In addition, Berners-Lee, in a 2001 article, already wielded the concept of the Semantic Web, which would now be Web 3.0. Computers do not yet have the capacity for semantic language processing. Berners-Lee for the Semantic Web talks about an important content structure in web pages and adding software that performs sophisticated tasks for users.
The concept of Web 3.0 has moved beyond Semantic Web theorizing. Such a move is since it is costly and very complex to convert human language. Human language has many nuances and subtle variations. Transforming it all into a language that can be easily understood by computers is difficult. It should be noted that Web 2.0 has made great advances in this field.
Characteristics of Web 3.0
There is no definition of the characteristics and elements of Web 3.0. But there are certain characteristics and technologies on which this new Internet will be based.
- Decentralization: Possibly the most important characteristic. Web 2.0 will be based on the HTTP protocol that generates unique web addresses to access information. All data will be stored in physical and centralized servers. But within Web 3.0, information can be stored in multiple locations simultaneously, and therefore decentralized. This eliminates the centralization of data by companies such as Facebook or Google, among others. We will move from a system where companies make money at the expense of user data. Users will now sell the data generated by disparate and increasingly powerful computing resources. The user will always be always in control of ownership.
- Untrusted and permissionless: Removing trusted elements means that we will not need a third party to gain access. In addition, it will be without permission, so there will be no company, organization, or state to allow us to participate or not. The idea is that Web 3.0 will run within blockchains or decentralized P2P networks, or a combination of both. An example of this would be decentralized applications or dApps.
- AI and Deep Learning: Theoretically, computational systems will have information understanding capabilities like people. This will be possible thanks to the concepts of Semantic Web and natural language processing. Deep Learning, a branch of AI based on data and algorithms that seeks to imitate human learning, will also be implemented. This technology will gradually improve its accuracy. This will enable computers to deliver faster and more relevant results, such as the development of new drugs or new materials.
- Connectivity: Information and content are more connected and ubiquitous. Access is through multiple applications and with a greater number of devices connected to the web.
- Ubiquitous: This refers to the idea of existing or being present at multiple points simultaneously (omnipresence). We can see this in Web 2.0, such as in social networks like Instagram. Any user shares a photo, and it is available to any user of the social network, wherever they are. The Web 3.0 experience will be accessible anywhere, anytime. Everything around us will be connected to the network (Internet of Things) and Web 3.0 will become a network of everything and everywhere.
- 3D Graphics: We will move from a two-dimensional Internet to a more realistic three-dimensional space. Web sites and services such as e-commerce, online games and real estate will exploit this design the most. Above all, this is focused on the metaverses that are coming soon.
Cryptocurrencies and Web 3.0
Cryptocurrencies are often mentioned quite a lot when we talk about this new internet. The reason is that many Web 3.0 protocols will depend on the blockchain technology inherent in cryptocurrencies. Thanks to these protocols, we will be able to access services such as computing, bandwidth, storage, digital identification, and many other services.
An incentive in the form of tokens will be offered to users to create, govern, contribute, and improve projects. These tokens would be associated with the creation of a more decentralized internet.
It will allow users to earn revenue by participating in different protocols in different ways, whether technical or non-technical. This new mechanism eliminates the need to pay to use a protocol and instead receive compensation for participating. Since there are no intermediaries, we will no longer have to pay for using different services.
Web 3.0 will rely on cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology and other elements such as non-fungible tokens or NFT. Reddit is already working on moving towards this new internet with the design of a mechanism for the use of tokens. It will allow users to control parts of the community of the sites they participate in. Users earn tokens based on votes for or against their post.
These tokens could mean voting power on network shares. Larger contributors will have more say in changes. This is essentially what is known as a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization).
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