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Web 3.0 Explained: Why It Matters for Our Future

The Internet could arguably be considered one of the most pivotal technological evolutions in the history of humankind. We are now on its third iteration, but what is Web 3.0?

Web 3.0 is the new buzzword making rounds in much of the tech world. Unlike the prior two web versions, this one is known as the decentralised web. Its decentralisation can be attributed to blockchain technology, which is often synonymous with Web 3.0.

What is Web 3.0?

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According to its proponents, Web 3.0 (also known as web3) will interconnect data in a decentralised way and is made to deliver a faster and more personalised user experience. The magic bullet for this improvement will be using the latest technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the semantic web. It will also feature the blockchain security system to keep your information safe and secure. Much of this is a significant deficiency in the current version of the Internet.

The History of Web 3.0

If we looked at the Internet five years ago, it was predicted that the next iteration of the Internet would be the Semantic Web, a web thought to be in which machines would humanly process content. Humans consume all data and understand it both contextually and conceptually.

This never got to fruition because the real AI technology developed for this, known as RDF (resource description framework), remained nearly impossible to implement. This is primarily because a machine couldn’t distinguish between a jaguar (the animal) and a Jaguar (the car). Even today’s AI cannot understand the difference according to the context in which it is being described.

To automate the process of connecting concepts and building taxonomies for every word was a huge task. It was so monumental that it never came to fruition despite spending billions on IBM’s Watson computer.

Despite the failure of the Semantic Web, Web 3.0 was envisioned to be something where no permission is needed from a central authority to post anything. There is no single point of failure and no “kill switch” without centralisation!

Web 3.0 Today

The most popular application of Web 3.0 today can be seen in the decentralised finance (DeFi) space. DeFi consists of decentralised applications (dApps) built on blockchain networks such as Ethereum. No one person controls Ethereum and anyone can build on it. There is a slew of financial services available to anyone with an internet connection. The decentralised nature of blockchains removes the need for invasive know-your-customer (KYC) processes, as trust is built into the nature of blockchains.

DeFi is already poised to revolutionise the existing financial landscape, and it is still very much a nascent space that has much iterating to do. As more people discover the benefits of decentralisation, the popularity of Web 3.0 grows.

The Future of Web 3.0

The popularity of distributed ledgers and storage on blockchain will lead to data decentralisation and create a transparent and secure environment, overtaking Web 2.0’s centralisation, surveillance, and exploitative advertising. Ideally, Web 3.0 will lead to decentralised infrastructure that will displace large central authorities. This allows individuals to own their data rightfully and provide more equitable access to various digital resources.

The hope for Web 3.0 then is to bring us a fairer internet by enabling the individual to be sovereign. This means owning and controlling who profits from one’s time and information. It is hoped that Web 3.0’s decentralised blockchain protocol will enable individuals to connect to an internet where they can own and be adequately compensated for their time and data.

How Is This Different From Web 2.0?

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When the World Wide Web started in the 1990s, the dot-com boom enabled easy access to information. But it was of little use because the information was disorganised and difficult to navigate. With the advent of Web 2.0 in the late 1990s, Google and MSN arrived. This brought about the organisation of online content and information became better sorted. Also, the reliability of the information improved via ranking of search results based on popularity. Web 2.0 enabled a more direct exchange of information among users on the Internet. However, grabbing onto user data led to the gradual shifting of power into the hands of a few large corporations.

Web 3.0 is expected to change that with the hopes of content creators reassuming power as well as personal data. It is also expected to open up the Internet to new search engines or social networks with the control over content not restricted to just a few companies.

How Will It All Work?

Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) enable computers to analyse data the same way humans do. This increasingly takes over the intelligent generation and distribution of quality content according to users’ specific needs.

The landmark differences between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 will be several, but decentralisation will be the key. Unlike Web 2.0, Web 3.0 developers will rarely create and deploy apps on a central server or store data in a single database.

Web 3.0 will debut apps built on blockchains, decentralised networks of numerous peer-to-peer nodes (servers), or a hybrid of the two. These dApps will be ubiquitous in Web 3.0. Web 3.0 developers will be rewarded for delivering the highest quality services to establish a stable and secure decentralised network.

The Future of the Internet

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The significant improvement over Web 2.0 will be that no intermediaries will be involved in Web 3.0. Big corporations will no longer control the user data. The positive impact of this will be freedom from government or corporate censorship. Furthermore, there will be no single point of failure as power will be distributed across communities. This will also give rise to a more equitable digital landscape. Overall, Web 3.0 looks very promising despite being in its infancy. It is up to the current participants in the space to build and shape the internet into the positive force that it has the potential to be.

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