A Basic Guide to Web3
The Internet is an ever-changing technology that is constantly evolving. Over the years, we have witnessed the emergence of Web 1.0 and 2.0, with much anticipation surrounding what is expected from Web3. In the past, Web 1.0 offered users a static experience with limited ability to create the content-rich sites that exist today. The introduction of Web 2.0 brought about social media and dynamic websites but at the cost of centralization.
Web3 aims to offer us control over our online information and create a semantic web that enables machines to read and process user-generated content with ease. Blockchain technology will provide the power required for decentralization, creating free digital identities with crypto wallets and open digital economies.
Users will be able to interact with the Internet in more immersive ways, including 3D options. This will lead to efficient browsing, relevant advertising, and improved customer support, among other benefits. Web3 technology is already widely used, with virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa and connected smart homes being some of the most popular examples.
The Internet has undergone significant changes in the last two decades, evolving from basic technologies like Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to advanced social media platforms and online banking services. In recent years, the emergence of technologies like crypto and blockchain has further revolutionized the internet. Today, the internet plays an essential role in human interactions and connectivity, and it continues to innovate. While we've already experienced Web 1.0 and 2.0, the big question is, what can we expect from Web3?
What Is Web3?
Web3 is a new era of internet technology that depends heavily on blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning. Unlike Web 2.0, where users produce content hosted on centralized sites, Web3 aims to provide users with greater control over their online data. This initiative strives to create intelligent, connected, open websites and web applications with an enhanced machine-based understanding of information. Decentralization and digital economies also play a crucial role in Web3 as they add value to content created online. Web3 is a changing concept without a single definition, with different interpretations and significance depending on the user.
How Does Web3 Work?
Through the utilization of advanced machine learning techniques and AI, Web3 aims to deliver personalized and relevant information quickly. Smart search algorithms and big data analytics will help machines intuitively understand and recommend content. In addition, Web3 will focus on user ownership of content and support for accessible digital economies.
Current websites generally offer static information or user-generated content, which doesn't cater to individual users' needs. While data can be published to the masses, a website should provide tailored information to each user, much like the dynamism of human communication. Unfortunately, with Web 2.0, once content is online, users lose control and ownership.
The founder of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, shared his vision of a future web in 1999. In it, he saw a "Semantic Web" where computers could analyze all the data on the internet, from content to links and transactions between people and machines. When this happens, machines could handle daily mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy, and our lives.
Gavin Wood's Web3 vision, which emphasizes user data control and decentralization, aligns with Berners-Lee's dream. Web3 will enable sites and apps to utilize decentralized information and interact with individual users meaningfully. Blockchain technology will play a significant role in managing online identity, data, and ownership in a fair manner.
A Brief on the History of the Web
Over the last 20 years, the Internet has undergone significant transformations. These changes have led to the development of the next generation of internet technology, Web3. To understand what Web3 is, we need to first examine how the internet has evolved from its early days.
Web 1.0 & Web 2.0
Looking at the development of Web3 requires an understanding of the progress made in previous decades. In the early 1990s, websites were simple and static, with HTML pages that provided only information, marking the start of what is now called Web 1.0. Social interactions were limited to chat messengers and forums. The term "Web 2.0" was coined in 1999 by Darci DiNucci, who distinguished it from the earlier version.
With the advent of Web 2.0 in the late 1990s, websites became more interactive, allowing users to interact with them through databases, server-side processing, forms, and social media. This brought an increased emphasis on user-generated content and interoperability between different sites and applications, and most websites made the transition to Web 2.0 by the mid-2000s. Web 2.0 was about participation, and big tech began building social networks and cloud-based services.
The evolution of the web has followed a path from static data presentation to dynamic user interaction and, now, to a semantically intelligent web. The next step, Web3, is not fully defined, but it may leverage peer-to-peer technologies like blockchain, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. Web3 also aims to make the Internet more open and decentralized, giving users back ownership of their data.
Algorithms will be used to personalize user experience further, as demonstrated by the success of algorithms on platforms like YouTube and Netflix. Currently, users rely on network and cellular providers for access to personal data, but distributed ledger technologies could change that in the future.
To compare the key features of Web 1.0, 2.0, and Web3, take a look at the table below:
|Web 1.0||Passive interaction for the user||HTML||Obtrusive (banners, etc.)||Stored on individual websites’ servers||Individual users|
|Web3||User-ownership for content creators||Blockchain, AI, machine learning||Targeted based on user behavior||Distributed across users||Interconnected users across multiple platforms and devices|
Main Features of Web3
While not yet widely adopted, the core concepts of Web3 have already been defined. The following four topics are considered the most important aspects of Web3's future:
- Semantic Markup: Machines have been improving at understanding the data and content humans create. However, a seamless experience where semantics are fully understood is still a long way off. AI is beginning to understand better what we write on the web and present it intuitively.
- Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies: Data ownership, online economies, and decentralization are important aspects of Web3. Blockchain provides a tried and tested system to reach many of these goals. The power for anyone to tokenize assets, put information on-chain, and create a digital identity is a huge innovation that lends itself to Web3.
- 3D Visualization and Interaction Presentation: The way the web looks will change significantly. We are already seeing a move towards 3D environments that even incorporate virtual reality. The fields of UI and UX also work towards presenting information in more intuitive ways for web users.
- Artificial Intelligence: AI is the key to turning human-created content into machine-readable data. AI can both present data to us and sort it, making it a versatile tool for Web3. It will learn and improve itself, reducing the work needed for human development in the future.
In general, these subjects are leading the way toward Web3, which will provide a more accessible, decentralized, and individualized Internet.
Why Is Web3 Better Than Its Predecessors?
Depending on the success of its underlying technology, Web3 could offer several advantages. These benefits are listed below:
- Decentralization: By eliminating intermediaries, user data will no longer be controlled by any central authority. This eliminates the risk of censorship by governments or corporations and reduces the effectiveness of Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks.
- Enhanced interconnectivity: With more devices being connected to the Internet, larger data sets can be analyzed by algorithms, which can deliver more accurate and personalized results for individual users.
- More efficient browsing: Web search engines have become better at finding semantically-relevant results based on search context and metadata over time, resulting in a more convenient browsing experience for users.
- Improved advertising and marketing: Web3 aims to improve advertising by using smarter AI systems to target specific audiences based on consumer data, resulting in more relevant and useful ads.
- Better customer support: By using intelligent chatbots that can communicate with multiple customers simultaneously, Web3 can provide better customer service and support, enhancing the overall user experience.
Web3 Use Cases
There are already some examples of Web3 applications in use today, even though the technology is still in development. Here are a few:
- Virtual assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, offer natural language processing and AI to better understand user commands. As people use these assistants more, their AI systems improve, making them great examples of semantically intelligent web applications that belong in the Web3 world.
- Web3's ubiquity feature allows users to access their data and online services across multiple devices, including smart homes. These homes can adjust utilities, such as heating and air conditioning, in an intelligent and connected way. By learning your preferences and habits, smart homes can create a personalized experience accessible from anywhere using your phone or other devices.
- Web3 can enhance gaming and virtual worlds, using 3D visualization and blockchain-powered economies. Players could own and trade their in-game assets, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurship and creativity.
- Decentralized social media platforms could be created with Web3, offering users ownership and control over their data, private connections with others, resistance to censorship, and increased value for creators.
- Web3 enables secure and decentralized digital identities that users can manage themselves, protecting against identity theft and giving users more control over their data.
Web3 is the next era of internet technology that aims to provide users with greater control over their online data while making the internet more open and decentralized. By leveraging blockchain, AI, and machine learning, Web3 will enable machines to better understand user-generated content and deliver personalized and relevant information quickly. While the technology is still in development, there are already some examples of Web3 applications in use today. Web3 has the potential to revolutionize the internet, providing users with more efficient browsing, more relevant advertising, better customer support, and more.