Web3 or Web3.0 is the third iteration of the internet which is decentralized and runs on blockchain technology.
To understand Web3 better, we got to go back to the past, during the early internet days.
The early ’90s and 2000s websites were mostly static pages, it was read-only. They were mostly like newspapers, users could only read the content. Users were mere consumers only, they could not write anything on the internet. To be a content writer back then required a good amount of technical skill to create websites and web pages. So it was mainly a one-way communication. Here are a couple of tools – Wayback Machine and OldWeb Today go back to the past and see the older versions of the websites.
This phase started in the early 2000s when social media just started. The arrival of Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Orkut, and MySpace made it happen that users could easily contribute to the internet.
Users are no more just consumers they are also the creator of the content. Anyone can post a video, write a post or article, or post a picture on the internet. The other users can comment on videos or posts or pictures etc.
Web 2 is where users can interact and get real-time experience. With the rise of more platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest, Whatsapp, etc, user experience has just gone to the next level, and the arrival of Smartphones just made it better, making everything available at the fingertips. Users don’t need to have much technical knowledge to be content creators. This era is known as Web 2 which we are in currently. Web 2 is centralized.
Web3 or Web 3.0
Web3 is all about decentralization, which means no single entity controls the internet. It aims to give users more control over their content. Web3 is going to be an era where users can read, write and own as well. Gavin Wood the co-founder of Ethereum first coined the term in 2014.
Let’s try to understand the problem that experts or technologists are seeing in Web 2. Though Web 2 provides users to write content on the internet, but in the vast majority of cases, the content is not owned by the creators, it’s big giant platforms that own the content. The content that users create resides in their data centers or databases. So all data that creators create is owned by these platforms. Platforms later use this data to show ads. The creators don’t have control over what type of ads to be shown on their content.
This is where Web3 comes in, it tries to address some of these problems. Imagine you being the content creator owning your content, this gives a much-added advantage to creators. The creators get an opportunity to have a maximum benefit of ad revenues and also have control over what type of ads to display on their content.
But the one important thing to understand here is, all this is not going to happen over-the-night, it’s not a kind of switch that when turned on immediately internet is going to run on Web3. It’s going to be a slow evolutionary path, the transition is going to take some time.
Do we have any platforms currently that run on Web3?
Yes, we have platforms and applications currently running on Web3.
1. Odysee – A video-sharing platform that is mostly like YouTube and is popularly referred to as YouTube alternative on Web3. It is built on blockchain.
2. Bitcoin – The most popular cryptocurrency which has been around for more than 10 years now. It’s based on blockchain technology.
3. OpenSea – It’s a blockchain-based marketplace to buy and sell NFTs.
4. Taki – A social site that is token-powered. This social site rewards both content creators and its user for participating in community conversations. The reward is in terms of crypto tokens. Taki is built on the Solana blockchain.
5. Diamond – It’s a platform for creators and their audience to build engaging communities. It’s mostly referred to as the Twitter alternative on Web3.
6. Web3 Browsers – Brave Browser, Osiris Browser, Opera Web3 Browser, and Beaker Browser to name a few.
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So far we have seen the benefits of Web3, how amazing it is, and the problems that it’s trying to solve. But there is another side too. People also have a few concerns.
Regulation Issues – When the internet gets decentralized how do we handle and address regulation issues? It’s quite possible that cybercrime may increase. It may not be easy to catch cyber criminals as it’s a distributed network especially when things are completely anonymous.
Censorship – Suppose a post or video is uploaded and needs to be taken down, it can’t be done immediately, as the post or video would technically be on thousands of servers (computers). There will be a risk of hateful or illegal content floating around till the time some authority decides to take it down across the servers.
However, Web3 experts say that to address this, a decentralized group known as DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) will be established. Individuals with more tokens are allowed to get into a voting system, where collectively a decision can be made.
Web3 Vulnerabilities – There have been reports of hacks and exploits on Web3. Hackers can also target smart contracts. It’s crucial to make sure the complete Web3 ecosystem is safe and secure.
Need for Upgrade – Existing apps and platforms may need to upgrade both in terms of software and hardware.
To Wrap Up
Web3 looks promising but at the same time, it also has a few shortcomings. It’s just the beginning phase of Web3, and it’s still very young. And maybe it’s too early to take right or wrong sides. But one thing is for sure, the kind of pace that it has picked up we are most likely to see a lot of advancement and development in the Web3 world.