What is Web 3.0, and why is it important?
What technology provides daily benefits to over 3 billion individuals for most of their waking hours? Web 2.0
Between 1999 and 2004, Web 2.0, popularised by O’Reilly and others, shifted the world away from static desktop websites built for information consumption and provided from expensive servers to interactive experiences and user-generated content, giving birth to Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, and Instagram. The advent of Web 2.0 was powered by three main layers of innovation: mobile, social, and cloud.
We shifted from calling up to the internet a few hours a day at home on our workstations to an “always connected” condition — the web browser, mobile apps, and personal alerts were now in everyone’s pocket with the advent of the iPhone in 2007.
The internet was mostly dark and anonymous until Friendster, MySpace, and later Facebook in 2004. From encouraging people to share images online with specific friend groups to surrendering our homes to unknown tourists on Airbnb, and even jumping into a stranger’s automobile with Uber, these social networks enticed users into good behaviour and content development, including recommendations and referrals.
The cloud commoditized the creation and maintenance of web pages and apps by aggregating and refining mass-produced personal computer hardware over a global network of massive data centres. Companies may opt to rent storage, computing power, and administration tools rather than purchase and maintain expensive and dedicated infrastructure. Low-cost resources that scaled as their company evolved may assist millions of entrepreneurial endeavours.
While the Web 2.0 craze is still going strong, we see the first signs of growth from the following major paradigm shift in online applications, aptly dubbed Web 3.0. Web 3.0 (termed the Semantic Web initially by Tim Berners-Lee, the Web’s original inventor) is an even more fundamental disruption, one that, over time, would cast everything else into the shade. Making the switch to open, trustless, and permissionless networks is a huge step forward.
- Open- is made up of open-source software developed by a worldwide community of developers and executed in full view of the public.
- Trustless— this system in this scenario allows users to interact openly or privately without needing a trusted intermediary.
- Permissionless in the sense that everyone, including users and suppliers, can participate without a governing body’s permission.
The ability to coordinate and encourage the long tail of job, service, data, and content providers that form the disenfranchised backdrop to many of the world’s most acute health crises, food, finance, and sustainability is the result of these new open, trustless, and permissionless networks.
Mobile, social, and cloud technologies propelled Web 2.0 forward. Web 3.0 is made up of three new layers of technical innovation: edge computing, decentralized data networks, and artificial intelligence.
Web 3.0 is moving the data centre out to the perimeter, often right into our hands, while Web 2.0 recycled recently commoditized personal computer technology in cloud services. Large historical data centres are supplemented by a plethora of sophisticated computing resources scattered among phones, laptops, appliances, sensors, and automobiles, which are predicted to produce and consume 160 times more data in 2025 than they did in 2010.
These data generators (ranging from a person’s health data to a farmer’s crop data or a car’s location and performance data) may now sell or barter their data without sacrificing ownership control, privacy, or dependency on third-party go-betweens thanks to decentralized data networks. Consequently, decentralized distributed networks have the opportunity to include the complete long tail of data generators in the developing economy.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms have progressed to the point that they can now make valuable and perhaps life-saving predictions and actions. When placed on top of new decentralized data processes that allow access to a cornucopia of data that would make today’s IT behemoths envious, the possible uses expand far beyond targeted advertising into fields like precision materials, drug production, and climate modelling.
Thanks to Web 3.0, scattered persons and computers will be able to engage with data, value, and other counterparties without the intervention of third parties in the future. As a result, the next wave of the web will have a composable human-centric and privacy-preserving computing fabric.
So much for technology, but how will it affect people and society as a whole? And how may this have an even more significant impact on our families, businesses, and governments than today’s applications? One of the characteristics that distinguish humanity is our ability to organize ourselves in the pursuit of a shared purpose. As a result, looking back in time/history to identify four significant social & technological stages in human collaboration is highly instructive:
People in Villages could trade value, information and work with a small group of known counterparties – their selection of counterparties was limited by geographic proximity and personal trust bonds. People frequently performed multiple tasks in society due to their small sizes, such as farmers, firemen, warriors, and fathers. As a result, transactions were primarily centred on food, security, and recreation, with little coordination outside of largely self-sufficient families.
The number of counterparties with whom people may barter value, information, and work rose dramatically in urbanized cities. It became economically possible to start new specialized firms, produce accounting at that level, and rely on others to provide the rest of the goods and services that the city’s inhabitants required. While some geographical constraints remained, the wider spatial playing field and higher population density resulted in more thorough skill coordination among people.
Individuals and organizations could trade discounts, information and work with geographically scattered counterparties they didn’t necessarily know via trusted intermediaries thanks to Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, which drastically reduced the latency and value at which they could do so. Truly global companies began to form because the reach of counterparties expanded by some orders of magnitude.
The internet supports global coordination through numerous mediators, from Facebook to Airbnb and eBay, providing a digital social confidence level that allows strangers to interact. Unfortunately, we’ve become overly captivated by these platforms. When they go from “appeal” to “remove,” their consumers pay greater fees or face platform risk (the platform has the facility to destroy your business running on it).
While today’s interactions might magically and reliably happen globally, it’s predominantly the $200Bn digital advertising business with ‘we the users’ because of the product, which fuels this machine. It’s now universally acknowledged that these ‘post truth’ forums have produced comment boards within which unfiltered and unapologetically populist or even false claims bounce and support each other — occasionally, with terrible results.
Individuals, machines, and corporations can now transfer value, information and work with worldwide counterparties they don’t know or explicitly trust without the need for an intermediary thanks to Web 3.0. The most critical change facilitated by Web 3.0 is the deterioration of the trust required for international coordination. This marks a move towards relying upon all network constituents implicitly instead of desirous of counting each individual explicitly and seeking to realize trust extrinsically.
This web will dramatically broaden the dimensions and range of human and machine interactions far beyond anything we currently envisage. These interactions will be feasible with a substantially grown variety of potential counterparties, ranging from frictionless payments to richer information, flows, and trustworthy data transfers. Web 3.0 will allow us to communicate with anyone, wherever in the globe, without having to go through fee-based intermediaries. This transformation will enable an entirely new wave of previously unimagined enterprises and business structures, ranging from global co-operatives to decentralized autonomous organizations and self-sovereign data marketplaces.
This is significant because:
- Disintermediating businesses, eliminating tenant third parties, and transferring value directly to users and suppliers in the same network might help communities become more productive.;
- Since their new mesh of more adaptive peer-to-peer communication and governance linkages between people involved, organizations are naturally more robust to change.
- Individuals, businesses, and machines may now share more data while maintaining greater privacy and security.
- By practically eliminating the platform reliance concerns we see today, we can future-proof entrepreneurial and investment activity.
- Using a verifiable digital shortage of information and tokenized digital assets, we may own our data and digital footprints.
- Through’ modern mutual’ ownership and governance of those new decentralized systems of intelligence and complex & dynamic economic incentives, network participants can collaborate to unravel previously intractable or ‘thinly spread’ problems.
Web 3.0 will have far-reaching repercussions that go far beyond cryptocurrency’s main use point. Web 3.0 will use efficient machine learning algorithms to connect data from individuals, organizations cryptographically, and machines, resulting in radically new markets and business models. The richness of interactions is now possible and, therefore, the global scope of counterparties available. The result’s like a “return to the world village” — daily immersion within the human-centric & highly personalized interactions from which we want to benefit. It is now offered globally via the internet, supporting a growing number of human and machine skill specialities.