Web 3.0 is a forecast of the next internet era we’re about to jump in. Web 3.0 refers to an internet environment where internet privacy will peak, and users, will enjoy complete anonymity.
The digital presence of people would be separate from physical presence like using cryptocurrencies on the internet while credit cards in real life, users will be completely anonymous and free without any bounds or centralized restrictions. The internet organizations will be decentralized, with significant use of decentralized technologies like the Blockchain.
Since people believe the whole internet is moving towards the Web 3.0 era, it is important for us to understand it thoroughly and be prepared for the change and rise of new opportunities that may change the way we live right now completely!
What Is Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0?
To understand the trending term Web 3.0, you need to have a good grasp of web 1.0 and web 2.0 first.
Remember, the Web is not a product of any organization. There isn’t any big company called The Internet that is launching a new update of the Web called Web 3.0.
Web 1,0, 2.0, and 3.0 are merely environments of the internet.
People just use these terms to explain the ages the internet has gone through. Much like how population generations are defined as Gen X, Y, and Z
Web 1.0 was static pages in the first years of the internet, Web 2.0 was interactive web pages with social media websites and more, and Web 3.0 is the forecast of something newer and better.
What Is Web 1.0?
Web 1.0 relates to the early internet era with static passages. Much like a current Wikipedia page. Somewhat like this.
Web 1.0 is the first ever version of the world wide web that had been operating from the 1990s till 2005.
Web 1.0 is also known as a static web, because of its static nature. If you don’t understand the term static page, go to any website and from your browser, choose the read-only option. That is a static page. Limited to only text on website pages.
The websites cannot shift pages from one to another without interlinked pages. For most of Gen Z, this seems to be something that they have never seen in their lives.
Users found it very difficult to find the information they are seeking as there was very limited content and content creators available on Web 1.0.
The Web 1.0 age was also not found to be interactive with users. Every website page looked the same to everyone since there was no input from the users.
The whole of web 1.0 treated a user as a consumer. A coder (producer), codes a website and makes a page and the user i.e consumer was just able to view and read it.
Which meant every webpage looked exactly the same to every user.
But, with time, the internet got more and more popular. More companies started investing in the internet and hence got to the age that we call Web 2.0.
What Is Web 2.0?
Web 2.0 relates to the internet era we live in right now. With social media websites, streaming platforms, and e-commerce. Something like this.
Web 2.0 is the evolved version of Web 1.0 that we have seen over the years.
The main difference was user inputs. Web 2.0 websites now interact with the users to understand what we want and then supply according to that, making us the product instead of the consumer.
This meant companies fetching user data and analyzing them to give us better recommendations, webpages of our interests, and finding a way for a single website to be displayed in a different manner to each user.
Like when you click this, your youtube homepage would look much different from mine. Even though it’s the same website, according to our data inputs, Youtube recommends different videos than what it recommends to me.
Web 2.0 is also known as Social Web since it made a lot of things easy for users by providing interactive platforms with interlinked pages.
Web 2.0 is the reason we are using web-based services like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Since the development of Web 2.0, we have seen a lot of social networks and web platforms where a user can find the information they want.
Moreover, Web 2.0 allows information to be shared and managed by users which enables a flow of data to Web 2.0 platforms.
What Is Web 3.0?
However, that does not mean it’s not important.
Web 3.0 is the third generation of the web that we already know of which works on different parameters, mainly with evolutions to data security, peer-to-peer connection, deep learning, decentralization of internet organizations, use of digital currencies, and an overall Semantic world that provides open internet to users who could remain completely anonymous and protected, enjoying complete freedom without any regulations.
Web3 is the idea that we can have a decentralized, open Internet—one where users are in complete control of their data and where they have a say in how their data is used.
In this version of the Internet, we’d be able to transact directly and securely with each other without having to go through a centralized service like Apple Pay or PayPal.
This means the users of the internet would not be bound by any terms or conditions of the organizations that help us run the internet. We wouldn’t be accessing the internet through these centralized websites like Google nor would we be complying with their restrictions like Youtube having a restricted policy of what can be posted on their website.
In fact, Web 3.0 would build connections from users to users directly, without the need of a middleman i.e. a corporation like Youtube.
So if you want a cat video to watch, you wouldn’t ask the Youtube servers to fetch you a cat video another user posted. You could directly communicate with the users that have posted cat videos and not give any input to a website acting as the bridge.
This would also prevent any data from being shared by you with centralized corporations that could be misused.
Today, we see thousands of organizations showing promises to shift towards a Web 3.0 environment.
Studies conducted by the National Research Group, while around 54% of web users haven’t even heard of the term Web 3.0, 84% of people who have heard of it believe that Web 3.0 will positively impact their overall happiness and well-being.
Another study shows the global market for Web 3.0 to expect a CAGR growth of 45% till 2030, sizing around a valuation of $87 billion!
The Role Of Blockchain And Cryptocurrency in Web 3.0
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency are a significant part of Web 3.0.
Blockchain helps us understand how digital assets can be communicated with users through the internet without the need of an organization playing the middleman role offering storage and servers at the cost of regulations and data collection.
Like NFTs and cryptocurrencies, the Blockchain decentralized network is shared by users around the internet. This enables users to not only communicate with each other directly but also to store assets safely without the risk of sharing data with any third party while being completely anonymous and in control as well.
Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, share the same motive as Web 3.0 as well.
Cryptocurrencies not only help users make transactions on the internet but help users keep a separate digital presence from their real-life one.
Web 3.0 also stands for everyone to have a different digital presence, with different assets and currencies that are not shared by them in their real lives.
This also helps users be anonymous and safe on the internet.
No internet scammers can steal your debit card information if you’re anonymously making transactions through cryptocurrencies that are secure on a decentralized Blockchain network.
The Need For Web 3.0 – What does it solve that Web 2.0 can’t?
The need for Web 3.0 was given a rise mainly for 3 aspects that users want on the internet: data security, anonymity, and decentralization.
As time passes through the internet age, more and more users not only grew tired of how the internet is regulated by centralized organizations but also got worried about how their data is being used.
In Web 2.0, companies like Facebook and Youtube collect user data to analyze and give better outputs to the users in the face of personalized ads and content recommendations.
Millions of users and millions of data. This is more commonly referred to as Big Data.
However, users have little to no control over how their data would be used.
Many companies have gone through million-dollar lawsuits where they misused user data or even sold it to other companies.
User data is extremely valuable for companies as it shows user behavior and interests that could be used for personalized marketing. The other option to gather this would be market research which would cost hundreds and thousands of dollars more.
Even though companies shifted towards safer policies to protect user data, like the Whatsapp encryption policy, users are reluctant to believe it.
In addition to data security, users want to be anonymous on the internet. They don’t want a company snooping in their data, their searches, and their clicks, to figure our life out.
In Web 2.0, the internet knows everything there is about you. Your address, bank account, likes, dislikes, from what you like to eat on Sundays to what bedtime stories you read, and around everything else.
A study showed how the internet may know about your wife’s pregnancy before you do, or even maybe before you marry.
And the deeper you dig into this scandalous attempt of organizations to collect user data, the more creeped out you may feel about how transparent you are to their eyes.
This is why people now look for anonymity on the internet. To have cryptocurrencies where no one knows what their balance is, or assets secure on the blockchain network that is not known by any entity but you.
Now, if you look at where the problem lies, it is the centralized organizations that govern user data.
Now I’m not really saying Google is evil to collect data on you, the collection of user data does help it show you the most affordable ads to buy your favorite gaming keyboards. However, users argue if there were a better way out of this.
Like Youtube is popular for being an amazing Web 2.0 application that gives out great video recommendations, however, since it’s a centralized organization with its own rules and regulations, you’re not freedom to communicate with your Youtube audience (as a Youtuber) since you have to follow their Community Guidelines.
This limits user creativity and bounds us through centralized rules.
This is why internet users wish for the internet to not be run by centralized organizations, but on a decentralized platform where users can interact with other users without needing to comply with a platform’s regulations and aims for freedom when it comes to using the internet.
Web 3.0 Critics – Is Web 3.0 A Scam?
Till now, we’ve talked optimistically about how Web 3.0 will change the world for the better.
However, since it’s just a mere prospect, for now, are we sure it will be a good thing?
Crypto and NFTs
Until now, the only Web 3.0-type things to happen to the internet have been cryptocurrencies and NFTs which have been highly criticized upon.
Both of which have been claimed to be nothing but a bubble with fake currency valuations that will inevitably burst.
Even though, NFTs and cryptocurrencies have been getting popular with time, is there still any practicality to be seen?
Can we buy a mere fast food order through Bitcoin? Or even an online order made through cryptocurrency?
Data Security Practicalities
Moreover, the protest for data security and against user regulations may seem good from one perspective but is it really practical?
Without sharing user data, there wouldn’t be any Google search result pages, personalized ads that we actually use to buy stuff from, Youtube recommendations, Amazon lists, directions and reviews to our favorite places on Google maps, our most used adjectives on Gboard, and tons and tons of good things that happen which is a direct consequence of data collection.
Are we really ready, or even willing, to live in a world like that?
Thirdly, about complete anonymity, it’s always the user ourselves who wants to be anonymous, but are we really ready to live in a world where everyone is anonymous?
From criminals to stalkers, anonymously interacting with users all around the internet, that too WITHOUT needing to comply with any regulations or policies of a centralized organization.
Studies have shown complete anonymity and no control over criminal-minded people in a Web 3.0 environment would only bring a rise to cybercrime.
Even technologically sound personalities, like Elon Musk, call Web 3.0 nothing but a ‘marketing buzzword’ that is used by corporations to boost their own profits.
This could be shown by companies, like Polkadot, using the word Web 3,0 to sell their own cryptocurrency in a manner that could actually be argued to be following centralized Web 2.0 protocols.
Web 3.0 Applications That You Might Have Ignored:
There are many applications on the internet right now that share signs of the Web 3.0 environment.
Most of these applications are based around decentralization, dealing with cryptocurrencies or digital assets residing on the blockchain network.
Some popular applications of Web 3.0:
- Non Fungile Tokens (NFTs)
- Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
- Decentralized Applications (dApps)
- Cross Chain Bridges
Non Fungile Tokens (NFTs)
NFT is quite a popular term that you might have heard. NFTs is a Web 3.0 application that allows users to exchange their tokens through a decentralized system. Various NFT creation platforms like
- Axie Marketplace
- NBA Top Shot
These popular platforms are built over a Web 3.0 economy enabling them to offer a completely secure blockchain-based exchange.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi):
DeFi is a rapidly increasing use case of Web 3.0. DeFi offers a decentralized finance system other than our traditional banking system. DeFi allows users to perform their transactions on blockchain somehow same as cryptocurrencies did.
DeFi is an alternative to traditional banking systems where you can do your transaction with a peer-to-peer public blockchain. The DeFi market is worth around $38 billion. By 2024 global DeFi spending is about to reach $19 billion.
Some popular DeFi platforms include:
- PancakeSwap (CAKE)
- Uniswap (UNI)
- Osmosis (OSMO)
- Maiar DeFi Wallet
These popular platforms of DeFi are based on the Web 3.0 framework and blockchain.
Cryptocurrency is one of the most popular applications of Web 3.0. Cryptocurrency is based on the principle of providing a decentralized medium of exchange and store of value. Cryptocurrency is based on blockchain technology that is based on Web 3.0 applications.
Popular cryptocurrencies include:
Decentralized Applications (dApps):
As the whole idea of Web 3.0 is to remove the control of a single authority over data and regulation and bring it to users, applications or apps are major platforms that a lot of people use. To remove the hegemony of a single authority over applications and remove control of a single computer on it Web 3.0 technology is used to make it run by a decentralized system.
This is how dApps emerges, they run over peer-to-peer blockchain technology that enables them, users, to use decentralized application where blockchain controls the apps.
Popular dApps platforms include:
- BNB Chain
- Farmers World
- Gameta. Solana
Cross Chain Bridges:
Cross chain bridges are not like other applications of Web 3.0, it is a protocol that is been used to transfer one user asset from one to another blockchain. This works like a third-party service that allows you to link two blockchains to transfer a user port asset from one blockchain to another.
Some popular cross-chain bridges platform of Web 3.0 include:
- Portal Token Bridge (also known as Wormhole)
- Binance Bridge
- Avalanche Bridge
- Tezos Wrap Protocol Bridge
- Synapse Bridge
Conclusion – Is Web 3.0 The Future Of Web Technologies?
No matter what perspective you may share for Web 3,0, you will have to agree that a change is coming and the manner that we use the internet, for now, could soon be completely different.
However criticized cryptocurrencies and NFTs were, they’re only growing more and more popular with time. Could Web 3.0 follow the same pattern?
Or maybe, Web 3.0 could go through its own redemption, tackling the critics with practical approaches and finding its way into people’s hearts.
One thing’s for sure, the change wouldn’t really bring us more worry, since the whole concept of shifting from Web 2.0 is to help users do what they like better.
With that being said, the true reality of things will only be uncovered with time.