The internet is refining its status by developing new functions at a rapid pace. Web 2.0 is mostly governed by major tech companies which have a monopoly over the way we interact online. However, decentralized tech is challenging their hegemony.
Privacy and control over our own online data are paramount to creating a trusted environment online. As society converges with the digital medium, our digital identity becomes more important and will define the digital experience.
This all means that we need another, next web.
Web 3.0 brings about decentralization and a shift in control back to users through an internet where trust is guaranteed by a distributed system rather than a select few by being censorship-resistant. In sum, Web 3.0 is an integrated web experience primed by new digital experiences enabled by a trustless system.
To understand what is coming next, let’s take a look at the state of play right now.
The Web2 Standard
Web 2.0 is built on user data. The goal of companies in Web 2.0 is to source and distribute content with the scope of increasing online interactivity. As internet speeds grew and technology advanced rapidly, users’ demands have increased in tow with internet performance. Interactivity in Web 2.0 has centered around the collaborative digitization of users’ data without focusing too much on their privacy.
Established platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or Instagram have created the infrastructure allowing users to share common interests and incentivize the social web. But the social web has caused a behavioral shift in human interaction where users give away their privacy and data to internet giants. Web 2.0’s imbalance of power where FAGMA’s influence grows is perceived as flawed in the current state because it counters the new standard of digital ownership.
So what is Web 3.0 all about?
Essential Web 3.0 characteristics
The internet has never stopped evolving, and blockchain technology has expanded the possibilities of restructuring the new world wide web. Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, noted that Web 3.0 is “a series of combined applications” centered around artificial intelligence. In truth, Web 3.0 is not only achievable due to AI, but due to several complementary factors such as:
- Network interoperability
- The new net economy
- Semantic web
- Data privacy
Network interoperability is the primary example of how the new web will operate. In Web 2.0, interactions are grounded in a singular silo of unattainable and opaque data for other parties. Blockchain technology challenges old standards by creating a transparent and auditable network.
What’s more important is that every data source and input is immutable and cannot be altered by any party. Web 3.0 is therefore a trustless system, which can be made available across the network. Networks are open to any third party because they retain the original data sequence of each participant in the blockchain. As a result, any project developed in the same ecosystem can interact with data through decentralized connectors which makes data and resource convergence easier to achieve.
The new net economy is the shift from the rental economy to the ownership economy where digital assets become usable and actionable across the decentralized network. In Web 2.0, digital assets belong to the platform itself and aren’t transferable or valuable outside the scope of the platform. This means that funds spent on digital assets lose value.
Through blockchain, digital tokens can help design new digital economies, where digital assets are usable and store value because of their interoperability features, which makes their utility go beyond one platform. It makes assets owned directly by users, and these can be easily transferred between platforms and even networks via interchain communication protocols. For artists, this means becoming empowered via a new financial model where their work is rewarded. For example, OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace on Ethereum, made sales of $10 billion during Q3.
The semantic web is the extension of the world wide web, where data and machines can better filter and arrange data to create a more effective search engine. Moreover, the semantic web is the web of “integrated, linked meaningful data,” permitting machines to read and understand data and follow meaningful directions based on data.
The ability of machines to read and understand data in the new context of the internet will enable the growth of the Internet of Things, where each machinery will be connected through a decentralized network and will be able to communicate with each other. In Web 2.0, such actions are envisioned and partly actioned out but are only possible within an enclosed network. All these will just make it easier for machines to understand us humans.
Data privacy is the main flaw of the current Web 2.0. Users give up their data and privacy in exchange for gaining access to an interconnected digital experience. Therefore, Web 3.0, empowers users to retain ownership of their data and be properly compensated for their data. However, privacy cannot be enforced without a catalyzing agent such as blockchain, which ensures, everyone’s data is safely stored in a decentralized state, which cannot be altered.
How companies are joining the Web3 revolution
The Web3 revolution is a marathon, not a sprint. Companies that governed the Web 2.0 space are starting to acknowledge recent developments and their importance. The key to digital space hegemony is early adoption. Web 2.0 companies have the advantage of an established user base, which is a make or break for many upcoming platforms.
Companies are already testing out and implementing Web 3.0 features. Granted, Web 2.0 companies can better integrate new features and offer a seamless transition to the new way of the internet because users are already versed in their UI design.
Twitter is the most proactive incumbent as it’s incredibly bullish on the new decentralized web. For example, Twitter implemented tips to everyone, allowing users to reward their favorite creators using any form of currency, including crypto. What’s more, Twitter is planning to bring in a new verification feature for users to claim their NFT profile picture.
Facebook is drastically changing its strategy and betting big on the metaverse after it rebranded itself to Meta. However, the metaverse is not similar to Web 3.0, because it builds on distinct features without having to consider Web 3.0 applicability.
Facebook’s metaverse immersion has pushed the company to redefine its values. Even before the new shift, Facebook has dabbled with the idea of stablecoins by introducing Diem, a Facebook native stablecoin that generated a lot of unwanted negative discussion. Now Facebook has released Novi wallet to allow users to send Paxos stablecoins. Interestingly, the company has omitted Diem but chose to implement Paxos in a partnership with Coinbase.
Steemit has been presented as an alternative to established social media platforms as early as 2017 using a crypto-reward model. Steemit was the first decentralized open-source blog form, which rewarded users for their contributions. In short, it was similar to a Reddit bulletin board, where each post would earn STEEM tokens through common user consensus.
Protocols like DEIP take it to the next level by implementing a standalone protocol and blockchain for creators. DEIP provides a set of tools and economic models to automate rewards for creators and allow them to earn much more than on centralized platforms.
Reddit is tackling a new segment of the Web 3.0 network, specifically gaming. Job vacancies on Reddit emphasize that the platform is looking for specialists to help create and drive the new NFT marketplace. What’s more interesting is that Alexis Ohanian stressed that the company is striving to integrate and become a middleman for Blockchain game creators. For example, one of their job openings highlights B2B Marketing lead for blockchain gaming.
The advent of Web 3.0 offers new ways in which we can leverage technology to our advantage as society progresses towards a more digital-centric state. Web 2.0 established companies are starting to dabble with the idea of a new form of internet, some being more willing to change their business model to engage their users in new and meaningful ways.
Web 3.0 is the desired ideal and the progression towards which every digital platform should strive to achieve. Web 2.0 has failed because it concentrated most of the power in the hands of the few. Therefore, Web 3.0 developers and adherers should not make the same mistakes and accurately address and implement the current internet’s lackluster.