What's the fuss about Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 is a term you'll hear more and more in the coming years, but what does it mean exactly? Technology is continuously advancing, impacting our daily lives and the way we interact with devices and the internet. In this blog, we dive into the basics of Web 3.0 and go a little deeper into the specific consequences this shift will bring along.
What is Web 3.0?
First things first: what do we mean when we talk about Web 3.0? Well, that answer requires a bit of a background story. After all, before Web 3.0, there must have been a Web 2.0 and even a Web 1.0.
Web 1.0: 1991 - 2004
The first generation of the World Wide Web is referred to as "Web 1.0." During Web 1.0's emergence, content creation was limited to a small subset of users, while the vast majority served primarily as consumers. After all, back then the number of internet users was nothing compared to nowadays. Only a few could create content, and the main function was based on information consumption, like a digital encyclopedia. While nowadays, we're spammed with advertisements based on our browsing behavior, back in the day, ads were close to non-existing. The main mission of Web 1.0 was the provision of a pleasant experience for users, rather than making a profit. The first stages of the internet were solely based on creating a space of freedom and independence, where users could easily access information without anything standing in their way.
Web 1.0 consisted of the following core elements:
Internet consisted of mainly informative static pages.
Pages were built using Server Side Includes (SSI) or Common Gateway Interface (CGI).
Frames and Tables were utilised to structure and align the elements on a webpage.
Web 2.0: 2005
The term "Web 2.0" describes a new generation of the World Wide Web that places an emphasis on user participation, ease of navigation, and compatibility between different platforms. Whereas Web 1.0 was mainly built for consumption, Web 2.0 added the element of production and creation. In other words, Web 2.0 is the social and interactive web where users actively participate. It's necessarily related to changing technological standards, but rather with altering the structure and function of websites to free the way for interactivity. Web 2.0 facilitates communication and cooperation amongst users of a virtual community through social media as producers of user-generated content.
We can define five main characteristics of Web 2.0:
Users are able to freely obtain and use data without restriction.
Interactivity and participation form a core principle.
Feedback and online comments facilitate two-way communication between the website's owner and its audience.
Internet usage becomes a ubiquitous part of our private and work life.
The communication exchange within Web 2.0 runs on community/social media platforms. In Web 2.0, the end-user is not merely a user of the internet, but a fully involved participant.
The shift from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 doesn't happen from one day to the other. On the contrary, it's been happening for a couple of years already. But whereas the shift from 1.0 to 2.0 had a more clear distinction, the shift from 2.0 to 3.0 is more difficult to put a finger on. This is because Web 3.0 still obtains a lot of characteristics of Web 2.0. The main difference between the two is the emergence of decentralized technologies like blockchain.
In the image above, you can see three types of networks: centralized, decentralized, and distributed. A centralized network consists of a single server that processes and stores all of the network's data and user information. Client nodes can establish a connection to the hub server, where they can send data requests. Almost all online services, such as video-sharing websites, app stores, and financial accounts, are managed by a single entity, which means that all data transfers within these systems must be authenticated by a trusted third party. Both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are characterized by centralized networks.
A decentralized network does not rely on a single server but rather spreads data tasks over several nodes. All devices work together as a decentralized network's "central nervous system," communicating and coordinating with each other. This means that, if one of the main nodes fails or is compromised, the other servers can keep the data accessible and the network can keep running with minimal or no downtime. Web 3.0 represents the shift from a centralized to a decentralized & distributed network as it's built on peer-to-peer interactions, without a clear central hierarchy. You can see this lack of hierarchy in technologies like blockchain, which is a distributed ledger that records and stores data transactions in such a way that no one can meddle with its contents. Once a transaction is made, the data of that transaction is connected to the previous transaction by a specific code that represents the content of that transaction, which eventually creates a chain of transactions. If someone tries to change the data of a specific transaction, the code would not fit to the previous and next block anymore.
The future of Web 3.0
Web 3.0 is all about decentralized decision-making, peer-to-peer interactions, and scalability. But there is much more to it than distributed blockchains.
With the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Web 3.0 can process information just like humans do, resulting in faster and more relevant results and user experience. Thanks to AI, user data is being processed in such a way that a website can filter through this data and provide personalized content that the user will appreciate.
The Metaverse is an entirely new way for people to connect with the internet that changes it from two to three-dimensional, allowing users to view and interact with it in a more immersive way. Interactive 3D spaces are built where users can move around, chat with other users, and play games as their Metaverse avatars, using virtual reality technologies.
With the help of Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), we can have a nearly impossible to hack database. Using this technology, we can experience a more trustworthy and independent process of, for example, signing contracts. These "smart contracts" do not require a middleman and are recorded on the blockchain for no one to meddle with.
NFTs & Cryptocurrency
The digitization of assets via tokenization is a core element of Web 3.0. Tokenization is the process of transforming assets and rights into a digital representation, or token, on a blockchain network. Cryptocurrency and fungible tokens are digital currencies that can be easily transferred across networks, enabling a new business model that democratizes money and commerce. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are data units that represent unique assets such as avatars, digital art, or collectibles and can be held and monetized by users.
Are you ready for Web 3.0?
All in all, Web 3.0 proves to be a promising advancement where we, as Internet users, will regain our power and influence as both content consumers and producers. By getting rid of the middleman through decentralized and distributed technologies, we gain control over what happens to our data.
Do you want to know more about the potential of Web 3.0 and NFTs? Or are you an artist interested in exploring digital spheres and concurring the market with your own NFT collection? Get in touch with us, and we gladly help you on your way.