Since its creation, the Internet has undergone significant changes, both in its operation and objectives. The first websites were purely informative and did not allow interaction with users. The rise of social networks and the birth of sites such as Amazon and Wikipedia ushered a new era in internet’s history: Web 2.0.
Today, with the explosion of new technologies, we witness the birth of a new concept: Web 3.0. The first person to talk about this concept was Tim Berners Lee in 2001. He called it the Semantic Web, and it was aimed at adding information to the web so that not only people could read its contents but also machines, implementing mechanisms such as metadata languages and information structuring to simplify it. All this was accomplished with advances in artificial intelligence, which, thanks to the efficiency of natural language processing and learning algorithms, have led us to a web where machines effectively already “understand.”
Here are some specific points that can help to understand Web3 better and how it helps users to navigate in a faster, more efficient way.
Characteristics of Web3
Web 3.0 seeks to create a new system for classifying web pages closely linked to the needs and characteristics of users. Thus, users can enjoy a much more personalized platform by connecting to the Internet.
The Evolution of Social Networks
Social communities on the web are growing, both in number and in their complexity level. The ways of connecting to these networks are also increasing.A good example to explain why they are more complex is Discord; a free video, voice and text chat app that is used by millions of people ages 13+ to talk, hang out and create communities about specialized topics.
Although it was originally designed for gaming, today it is used for artistic projects, NFTs drops, and even school. It is MySpace, but heightened; not only it serves a space for connection, but for 24/7 discussion about specific topics with handpicked guests in a digital space that allows not only text but voice recordings and live video chats.
The new functionalities of Web 3.0 require a much faster Internet. The leading telecommunications operators have implemented broadband connections to guarantee a more satisfactory user experience in response to this.
Connectivity Through More Devices
Web 3.0 improves the possibilities for users to connect through desktop computers, laptops and cell phones, tablets, watches, and more devices.
Free software and Creative Commons licenses are much more common in Web 3.0. Also, in Web3 there are open source protocols on which new decentralized applications are built.
Users can access new ways of visualizing the web with three-dimensional spaces. A clear example of this is Google Earth. A more current example, and one of the crypto world key spaces, are metaverses, which are 3D virtual worlds that focus on social connection.
Users can access information available on the web-based on their geographic location.
Ease of Navigation
New design trends seek to establish certain standardizations that make the user’s browsing experience more accessible and create spaces that can be modified and personalized by users.
With the creation of new storage spaces, not only for data but also for programs, the web becomes an executable space in the form of a universal computer.
More and more information services can aggregate data from other sources to unify the answers they offer to users.
Web3, Blockchain, and Decentralization
All Web3 enthusiasts point to the promise: it will be a more democratic, more open web, where decentralization of services means that anyone can be an owner. Moreover, it will be more transparent because blockchain data is entirely open and public, so participants can see what is happening.
To analyze the changes that Web3 will bring to users, a distinction must be made between the front and backend. At first glance, users will hardly notice any changes, as this new technology will have practically no impact on the front end of websites. However, what happens behind the scenes, i.e., on the backend, changes radically with Web3. Centralized servers will no longer be responsible for providing Web pages and applications. Instead, at the center of provisioning would be blockchain-based providers.
Currently, Web3 aims to decentralize the Internet with the help of the blockchain. This would mean that the Internet would no longer be controlled by large technology companies, banks, or governments but managed exclusively by the users. The blockchain is necessary for this: since data is stored on different computers, there is no longer any need for a central body to provide the necessary data and check the authenticity of a transaction.
Identity and privacy on this web will be different as well. Identity will be linked to the wallet or digital wallet of the user who participates in it. While in web 2.0, authentication methods such as OAuth or email plus password almost always require the user to hand over private and personal data, Web3 digital wallets are completely anonymous unless the user decides to link them to their identity publicly. However, at the same time, Web3 is a model where you must own tokens or digital assets to participate.
The activation of entirely new markets is also possible in Web3. For example, in recent years, the NFT market has witnessed a real boom. NFTs are non-fungible tokens, that is, certificates of authenticity for unique virtual goods: digital works of art or unique video game items stored on the blockchain. In addition, certain domains are gaining popularity on Web3, such as blockchain domains. There are numerous Web3 domain extensions, such as .bitcoin or .crypto. For NFT domains, there is also the .nft extension.
Compared to conventional domains, blockchain-based domains have several advantages. On one hand, the registration on any blockchain domain offers greater anonymity. On the other hand, domain administration is decentralized, as is usual in blockchain, which reduces the risk of a “Single Point of Failure”.
It is also possible to purchase domains permanently, avoiding the ongoing costs associated with conventional domains. Acquisition prices for blockchain domains range from $40 to $80. And although there is a significant disadvantage: conventional Web 2.0 browsers cannot yet process Web3 domain extensions, it’s just a matter of time for this technology to be more accessible.
What Applications Are Based on Web3?
Currently, there are several applications that are based on essential Web3 technologies. In addition to the various cryptocurrencies (perhaps the most prominent example), there are also the NFTs mentioned above. However, new concepts, such as decentralized autonomous organizations or video games on the Ethereum blockchain, can also be found in Web3 applications.
Decentralized autonomous organizations
Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are communities that use blockchain-based tokens. With these tokens, members of the organizations can participate in decision-making processes designed to be democratic. Thus, a token can be considered as a vote. How tokens are distributed in DAOs depends on the organization. For example, tokens can be earned through organizing events.
An example of a DAO is the metaverse Decentraland. Decentraland is a 3D VR platform based on the Ethereum blockchain. It allows you to buy with the MANA cryptocurrency virtual land and real estate stored as NFT. The more land a user owns, the more tokens they receive. Users can use these to participate in decision-making in the digital world.
From a particular perspective, however, DAOs can be seen as a possibility to ensure the transparent organization of companies or administrative bodies.
Also, in gaming, some applications are based on Web3 technologies. A popular game based on the Ethereum blockchain is CryptoKitties. Similar to analog Tamagotchis, users can breed digital cats with CryptoKitties. NFTs are used again in this case: each cat is unique and stored as an NFT on the blockchain, allowing users to sell their cats to other players. For this, the cryptocurrency Ether is used. In 2018, the most expensive CryptoKitty known to date was sold for $180.000.
Although the change will not be immediate, it is becoming more and more urgent to have a more equal and equitable Internet.
This new Semantic Web is still at a very early stage, in the construction phase, but in 2021 it was already possible to see its growth with the rise of NFTs and metaverses. Crucial changes are expected in 2022 with the expansion of these technologies, which are nothing other than the Web itself, which, undoubtedly, represent the future of the Internet, where users operate in a decentralized manner rather than relying on large private companies or centralized government agencies.