As Web3 surfaces, we're seeing a new version of the internet emerge. It's increasingly more decentralized, user-focused, and immersive.
Transitioning from Web 2.0 to Web3
The internet is evolving from its current phase, commonly referred to as Web 2.0, into a new phase, called Web3. What's the difference?
Web 2.0 is oftentimes used by huge companies to endlessly feed our appetite for content consumption and sometimes sell user data to third parties. Third parties then use our data to target us with sophisticated marketing strategies and create more targeted content that may appeal to us. Web 2.0 was made possible by rich media and interactive user functionalities. Think of Web 1.0 as static (more text and images) and siloed, vs. Web 2.0, an interactive (more video and games) and interconnected internet with massive app stores dominated by large media and tech companies. This shift from people consuming static media to rich media made it possible for tech platforms to sell targeted media products and brands to run targeted marketing campaigns, essentially monetized audience data. Content consumption continues to be the primary usage of the internet today.
Web 2.0 also elevates centralization across industries, allowing for vulnerability via a single point of failure, making it possible to hack an entire platform from one entry point. This centralization encourages abuse of user data and access; a problem feature that Web3 is addressing.
The natural progression from Web 2.0 to Web3 is fueled by artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and demand for data autonomy. We believe Web3 will deliver a more seamless user experience, allowing for a more connected, open, and intelligent web. The ability for computers to discern and evaluate information using artificial intelligence delivers more relevant results meeting the needs of users. Interactions online stretch beyond 2D graphics as virtual and augmented reality become the norm. And developers are changing the way website user interaction occurs to catch up with the abilities of 3D digital possibilities. Meanwhile, data storage on blockchains preserves information integrity through distributed ledger technology, resolving many key issues rooted in Web 2.0 and encouraging the decentralized web: Web3.
The Semantic Web
World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee originally dubbed Web3 the “semantic web” as a more autonomous, open, and intelligent internet. The semantic web refers to the structure of data, its usage, and storage that allows for the reading and processing of information by computers and artificial intelligence entities. Many claim artificial intelligence and the semantic web as the cornerstones of Web3 that will usher in this new computing era of the internet.
Data Usage and Privacy Policies
One component of Web3, fueled by the desire to take power away from these giants ruling Web 2.0, delivers privacy and data ownership back into the hands of users through opt-in requirements and regulated data usage and storage policies. You start to see hints of this when websites are now required to provide privacy policies that enable users to determine how their data is captured, stored, and shared when captured and tracked by cookies. And in brands no longer being allowed to send marketing emails to addresses that have not volunteered to receive marketing via an opt-in process.
Artificial Intelligence & Web3
Another component of Web3 refers to the capabilities of machines and artificial intelligence to read and interact with content in a human-like manner. Recently, blockchain technology has focused attention on the ability of Web3 to authenticate and decentralize information. While there is no single definition for Web3, think of it as a fairer computing era seeking to enable sovereignty for the individual. The days of centralized repositories of data owned by digital giants profiting from your information will sunset with the expansion of Web3. A rise in seamless, 3D interactive, and intelligent computing will carry us to a fully realized Web3.
Blockchain & Web3
Blockchain serves as the foundation for Web3, granting users greater control and ownership over their data. Data transferred through blockchain networks is encrypted, heightening security. Many blockchain apps are collectively working to establish the foundation of Web3, with Ethereum often seen as the leader. Through the use of blockchain technology, Web3 ushers in a technological revolution built to empower the individual.