There’s a new buzzword in the tech world that has taken the Internet by storm and has even sparked the curiosity of tech billionaires like Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who have shared their thoughts on Web3 on Twitter. While terms like Web3, Crypto and Blockchain have entered the everyday conversations around us, there is still a lack of clarity and understanding on what exactly these terms mean and how they change the entire spectrum of Internet, technology and connectivity. So, this poses questions like- what is Web3? Is it another buzzword or the future of the Internet? Why and how does it matter to us?
Origin of The Term Web3
Referred to as the third iteration of the Internet, Tim Bernes-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and one of the earliest predictors of Web3, called it the “Semantic Web” or the “read-write-execute” version of the web that will transform our internet experience and directly engage with users, devices, and systems in smart vehicles, homes and workplaces. In 1999, Lee described it as a web where computers will analyze all internet data, and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking with one another.
However, the term Web3 was coined in 2014 by computer scientist Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum blockchain, that presented his idea of Web3, a decentralized and more democratic version of the current Internet built around decentralized blockchain technology that is used by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, non-fungible tokens or NFTs and in the metaverse.
Woods told CNBC’s “Beyond the Valley” podcast that Web3 is an alternative vision of the web where a single service provider or data does not host the services and isn’t managed by a centralized service or authority but hosted by everybody. Describing it as a peer to peer network built on trust, Wood added that in Web3, no one has an advantage over anyone else anymore, like in the cases of Amazon, eBay or Facebook, where companies have the absolute power over providing the service.
What Does Decentralized Web Mean?
Described as a decentralized version of the current Internet, based on blockchain that comprises virtual metaverse, AI models, big data analytics for targeted marketing and cryptocurrency. Based on peer-to-peer technologies, it isn’t controlled by a handful of players like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon; hence, it has no central point of control. However, these same tech giants, from Microsoft to Twitter, are not only taking an interest in Web3 but investing too. Microsoft has recently invested in blockchain start-up ConsenSys, founded by Joseph Lubin in 2014, a co-founder of Ethereum.
As in the case of Web2 in the mid-2000s, where players like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Google ruled the Internet, the critics question who holds the power of the Internet. In Web3, users take back control of their data and content, eliminating middlemen on the Internet. Focused on user-created content, users would be responsible for their data, making it difficult to manipulate or censor content online and challenging the monopoly of a few tech giants by resting the data and power in users’ hands rather than tech companies. As no single entity owns the data, it becomes almost impossible to shut down the Internet as data is distributed across networks.
What Is Blockchain Technology?
The key technology behind Web3 is Blockchain which is often associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. In Web3, it will help achieve decentralized storage; hence, users can have independence over their data. Also considered the driving force behind Web3, blockchain, just like Web3, strives for openness and transparency. It renews the way data is stored online by organizing it as blocks with a cryptographic hash to keep it inalterable and secure that is collectively managed, therefore, almost difficult to breach.
Imagine it like a network of houses around the globe that one needs to break in to get information, but each with its security systems. Similarly, data is stored in multiple copies in the P2P network and introduces a universal state layer that runs on top of the current Internet, enabling P2P transactions by eliminating intermediaries.
Likewise, in the case of the Bitcoin blockchain, it is not controlled by a single entity or a person or a central authority but is a decentralized network maintained globally by a large group of people running specialized computers.
Experts believe and rightly so, Web3 isn’t just a buzzword but the future of the Internet, a new infrastructure layer that will power the next generation of computing innovation.
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