To understand the meaning behind Web3, we must first unpack the former and current iterations.
The internet has been around for quite some time now. However, it wasn’t until around 1991 that we were officially introduced to the first website on the World Wide Web, courtesy of Tim Berners-Lee.
'Web1' (Read-Only: 1990 - 2004)
Often referred to as a ‘read-only web’.
Raw static HTML web pages.
Up until 1996, it was basically like a digital newspaper (until CSS brought a look and feel to the web).
Close to zero interaction between users and companies.
'Web2' (Read-Write: 2004 - present)
Emergence of blogging and social media websites.
Companies closely interact with users while tracking and storing our data.
Centralised databases, central source of power.
Users can create content, but do not own it.
Data & digital identity belongs to centralised entities.
Not to be monopolised by large tech companies.
Improved security & privacy.
Proposes and embraces decentralisation.
No sole entity responsible for the handling and verification of data.
Users own their data & digital identity.
Transparency, visibility & traceability.
Web3 seeks to combine the best aspects of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, such as the individual creativity of Web 1.0 and the social connectivity of Web 2.0, while also giving users ownership and control over their data and digital identity. The rise of decentralised, peer-to-peer networks promises a future internet that is more democratic and resilient to censorship.
Web3 Technologies and Principles:
Blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies play a significant role in Web3, enabling transparency and decentralisation.
Cryptocurrencies and tokens can enable new types of online economic systems.
Decentralised applications (DApps) run on peer-to-peer networks instead of centralised servers.
Smart contracts automate transactions and agreements, reducing the need for intermediaries.
Interoperability allows different networks and systems to work together seamlessly.
Open-source software and protocols allow anyone to contribute and benefit.
Use of AI and semantic web to improve search and discovery.
Usability and scalability are significant challenges, as blockchain and other decentralised technologies are often less user-friendly and slower than centralised alternatives.
Regulatory issues, as governments are still figuring out how to regulate cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and other Web3 technologies.
The digital divide could be exacerbated if access to Web3 technologies is unevenly distributed.
You will likely hear different interpretations of what Web3 is and should be. However, the end goal should still remain the same; A more decentralised web that allows users to own their own data & digital identity.
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