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What is Web 3.0 and Why Is it Very Important for You?

"Technology is best when it brings people together"

- Matt Mullenweg

Brief History of Web

Web as we know it, is a global computer network facilitating worldwide audio/video/text communications, access to data resources and exchange of information through interconnected networks.

What is Web 1.0?

Web 1.0

The first iteration of Web aka Web 1.0 was conceived with a vision of establishing a global communication network accessible instantly via World Wide Web (WWW). As the existing infrastructure had capacity limitations, Web 1.0 was just static via Content Delivery Network (read only). There were only a few content creators in Web 1.0. Personal web pages were common, consisting mainly of static pages displaying information. It was just like reading a notice board.

Web 1.0 was not participatory. Users’ opinions didn’t matter and there was not much data shared on the internet. The custody or ownership of data belonged to the owners of the website. It was the time when you could only send textual emails without having the ability of attaching and sharing files.

Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989, while working at one of the world’s largest and famed scientific research institutes, CERN. By October 1990, he had written the three fundamental technologies that became the foundation of the web, including the very first webpage editor/browser.

  1. HTML : Hypertext Markup Language, the markup or formatting language of the web
  2. URI or URL : Uniform Resource Identifier or Locator, a unique address used to identify each resource on the web
  3. HTTP : Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which allows for the retrieval of linked resources from across the web

The introduction of web browsers such as Netscape Navigator ushered in the era of Web 1.0. This was the age of static web pages retrieved from servers.

What is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0

Web 2.0, the successive iteration of Web 1.0, was technically enhanced. As the capacity of the network grew stronger, with the advent of Wave Division Multiplexing and rolling out of high-speed fiber optic cables, it had a revolutionary impact on Information & Technology, Culture, Entertainment, Business & Commerce. Web 2.0 made possible the rise of near instant communication by emails with attachments, instant messaging, Video calls, VOIP calls etc. It also gave rise to discussion forums, advanced blogs, social media platforms, and e-commerce.

Web 2.0 was a participatory dynamic network (read/write). User’s opinion mattered as users had the ability to write on the web and share feedback, opinions, etc. Web 2 made it possible for users to generate data which could be viewed by millions of people around the world, instantly. This created zettabytes of data. Tech giants offered infrastructure (servers) to store this data. The ownership of data (user’s data) was with big tech giants, i.e. centralization of data and hence, the power (data evolved to a point where was essentially the new oil).

To generate revenue, these tech giants sold users data stored on their servers to third parties. This data, with further processing and analysis, revealed the likes and dislikes of their users. This led to data manipulation which resulted in users spending more time on the web and spending money on buying things online promoted through effective digital marketing and online advertising techniques. Currently, internet users have become products through which few tech giants generate most of the revenue.

It is also pertinent to look at the positives to come out of Web 2. Below are some of the most commonly used web programming languages in the Web 2 ecosystem. When used for the right reasons, these programming languages were the cornerstones for enabling Web 2’s innovation and proliferation.

  1. HTML & CSS
  2. PHP
  3. Javascript
  4. C & C++
  5. Ruby
  6. SQL
  7. Java
  8. Python

What is Web 3.0?

Web 3.0

The next successive iteration of Web 2.0 gave birth to Web 3.0 – Decentralized Web (read/write/execute). Web 3 is built upon the core concepts of decentralization, openness, and greater user utility which ironically were the envisioned aims of Web 1.0. The data storage, processing and linking of data is not done by tech giants or central authorities but by a network of anonymous people (like you and me) who offer their machines/infrastructure & services in lieu of system generated rewards (like cryptocurrencies or stablecoins) upon successful completion of protocol based tasks.

Core features of Web 3, such as decentralization and permissionless systems, also give users greater control over their personal data and identity. Because it aims to be largely decentralized, Web 3 lends itself to applications & technologies, such as :

1. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) – Technological network & protocol which allows simultaneous access, verification, validation, storage & record updating in an immutable manner, anonymously, across the network spread across multiple entities or locations.

2. Cryptocurrencies (Crypto) – Digital or virtual currency used to transact on a P2P network without the need of any intermediary. Crypto has revolutionized the way money can be transferred between two entities irrespective of borders. One of the most important use of crypto or native token of a network is to incentivize nodes, developers and the community working to handle daily transactions and keep it secure.

3. Decentralized Apps (dApps) – Apps which run on P2P network free of interference of central controlling authority vastly improving privacy of users and eliminating censorship.

4. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) – Financial technology based on the secured DLT. DeFi enables P2P lending, borrowing and trading of virtual digital assets without discriminations and data/privacy abuse. Combined use of DeFi and smart contracts (explained below) increase security especially in complex financial transactions and eliminates human error. We are really talking about banking the unbanked and underbanked people at this point.

5. Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) – They are essentially P2P crypto trading exchanges using automated algorithms eliminating the need for a financial institution or an intermediary between buyer and seller, hence bringing down the cost of trading/transacting and settling the transactions instantly on a real time basis.

6. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) – Authenticated unique digital tokens (of art, music or any other content) which assigns right of ownership minimizing the risk of piracy and third party interferences. Use of NFTs largely ensures prompt monetization of content and royalty without any additional fee.

7. Smart Contracts – Automated self-executable contracts using DLT, running on predetermined conditions ensuring security, accuracy, speed with better efficiency.

8. GameFi – Play to Earn games which let players earn money just by engaging in and having fun while playing games.

Top Programming Languages used in Web 3.0

  1. TypeScript
  2. Node.js
  3. Solidity
  4. Rust
  5. Python
  6. C++
  7. Substrate
  8. Move

Distributed File Storage Systems in Web 3.0

  1. IPFS
  2. Arweave
  3. Filecoin
  4. BitTorrent
  5. Storj
  6. Sia
  7. Utopia

More on distributed/decentralized storage systems : Here

Data Oracles

An oracle, in the context of blockchains and smart contracts, are data feeds that finds, connects and verifies real-world occurrences and submits this information to a blockchain to be used by smart contracts.

  1. Chainlink
  2. Witnet
  3. Provable
  4. The Band Protocol
  5. Decentralized Information Asset (DIA)
  6. API3

Web 1 vs Web 2 vs Web 3

As Web 3.0 is a successive iteration of previous webs, it aims to solve the problems which were faced in Web 2.0 and Web 1.0. Following are the benefits of Web 3.0 over its predecessors.

Benefits of Web 3

1. Decentralization

As Web 3.0 is based on a network of decentralized blockchains, the data ownership is anonymous, hence, the power is spread across the network rather than few tech giants as is the case in Web 2.0.

2. Privacy

Bitcoin, the world’s first blockchain network, introduced decentralization in cryptography. 13 years since its origin, I can safely assume that my activities in Web 3 are protected with encryption and hash technologies with an extra layer of verification done by unrelated nodes/computer systems that goes a long way in protecting the privacy of users reasonably well.

3. Trustless

As the transactions are carried out on an anonymous network of participating validators or nodes based on predefined protocols which penalizes the participants for fraudulent transactions by slashing or depriving them of rewards, it helps to create a trustless network.

4. No Intermediaries

Trustless and permissionless network connects the users and participating nodes directly without the need of any central agency to monitor and adhere to the rules and regulations.

5. Transparency

Decentralized network helps users to track their data easily while the open source code helps the users access the code of platforms they decide to utilize. All the stakeholders are aware of the value and commerce of their association with minimal delta minus the need of any centralized agency permitting them to access this information.

6. Improved Web Surfing Experience

Whereas the search on Web 2.0 shows more relevant search results along with promoted search results, Web 3.0 enables users to search the most popular search results based on a user’s search requirement with the help of algorithms. Web 2.0 applications analyze user’s habits, usage, location and devices to influence users. Web 3.0 offers a more personalized experience not influenced by any intermediary.

7. Uninterrupted Services

In Web 3.0 the data processing and validation is done by the participating nodes or validators, who offer this service in exchange for a system generated rewards. Further as mentioned above, validators are incentivized to keep the network up and running 24x7x365. In many decentralized networks, there is a mechanism to penalize validators who go offline beyond permitted standards. Hence, service disruptions and account suspensions are less likely in Web 3.

8. Uncensored Information

As there are no intermediaries controlling the data ownership, the information available on Web 3.0 is uncensored and can be open to best practices adopted in Web 3 world like self-regulation with the help of community

9. Rewarding to all the stakeholders

The revenue generated from the utilization of content and network is distributed among the stakeholders without any intermediary taking a cut.

Conclusion

Web 3 is increasingly moving the control from tech giants and central authorities to consumers like us. Evolution of the web, with us being on the cusp of moving from centralized infrastructure to a decentralized one, is slowly restoring the benefits and power to the consumers. Adoption of Web 3 may now look like an option but will eventually be a necessity in the world we are in.

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Disclaimers : Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s). They do not necessarily purport to reflect the opinions or views of Shardeum Foundation.

About the Author(s) :

Vaijanath is into Crypto & Blockchain space since 2017. He is BUIDLer, Trader, Investor, Cryptopreneur and man of many trades. You can follow him on Twitter

Puneet RST is a pan world supply chain and advisory consultant across multiple industries who is now a full fledged blockchain and crypto enthusiast believing in the power of Web 3 to transform the society for good. You can follow him on Twitter

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