Discussions for Web 3.0 have been on the air since 2006. Today, digital content creators want an internet version that keeps their data/content secure, eliminating middlemen that control user data. The shift towards a new internet version built on a shared ledger (blockchain technology) started with the introduction of NFTs and cryptocurrencies. The keen interest people have in NFTs and cryptocurrencies shows that they are ready to welcome an internet version where users own their data. However, it won’t be possible to replace Web 2.0 completely and immediately because of its extensive usage; it will run alongside Web 3.0.
Now, let us understand what Web 3.0 is.
According to experts, Web 3.0 is the future of the internet with improved web interactions where users do not have data controllers above them. On the new web version, computers will host data on blockchain networks replacing the single server storage of tech giants. Additionally, people will receive more relevant results for their searches on Web 3.0.
Search results with more relevance
Currently, we extract keyword-based results on search engines; 3.0 will be smarter and the search results will make more sense than just keyword extraction. An interesting example is if you search for “Jaguar” on Google, it will not give you the results for the animal, it will direct you to the luxury vehicle brand. In fact, the Wiki result for Jaguar (animal) appears last on the first page. You may be searching for the animal, but the luxury brand shows up because it is more popular. The next version of the web will be more intuitive, discarding irrelevant searches and creating an immersive experience instead. Speculators say that search engines will inquire about users’ search before displaying results; for instance, you may be asked whether you are seeking information about the animal or the vehicle brand.
Keeping the security of user data in mind, Web 3.0 is built on the blockchain system. It is expected that in the coming years, most users will have ownership of their digital assets as tokens, and they can accrue real value for data exchange. Hence, the current practice where users share valuable data with firms, unaware of where the data is used, may eventually stop. No company will be able to own user data; instead, it will be shared over decentralsed networks, subject to collective management. Copy-protected files will be transferred without any intermediaries for peer to peer (P2P) transactions. Users can keep track of these transactions and material ownership of their digital asset in the form of digital certificates’ record stored on blockchain.0
We can already see the change coming with the arrival of Bitcoin. Bitcoin blockchain and other protocols together created networks enabling distributed nodes for data management. This means that a hacker would have to break into multiple nodes to access data in one node. Each native network contributed to network security and its maintenance.
Blockchain has already supported the governance layer where two unknown people can reach an agreement and settle transactions online. It is changing the backend of the internet completely to make Web 3.0 more secure. Till now, Ethereum is a more popular blockchain for the new internet version.
Many are using the terms Metaverse and Web 3.0 interchangeably, but here’s the difference – Web3 is a future internet concept, a decentralised web, where people will be able to control and transfer their data without the intervention of big corporations.
Whereas Metaverse is an intersection of Web 3.0, augmented reality (AR), and blockchain technology. Metaverse is not the same as Web3 but will introduce an embodied internet experience where users don’t just see the internet but are inside it.
With Facebook changing its name to Meta, we can already see big companies heading towards Metaverse. Experts support the Metaverse reality, where users can interact with a computer-generated environment. It means that to visit London, one need not travel, but do it virtually in real-time with Metaverse.
Creators to get more control on their digital data
Digital data ownership is encouraged in Web 3.0 for users to take back control, which they lost in the hands of tech giants in Web 2.0. The big tech companies collect user data and sell it to third parties. The purpose behind selling this data could be research, creating survey reports, showing highly targeted ads, etc.
Version 3 of the internet will be more transparent in terms of data transfer. The privacy policies will be understandable for users to help users decide whether to share information. Users can also monetise the data they share with corporations on Web 3.0. In fact, sharing data through forms or surveys can become a source of income for Web 3.0 users.
Distinction between Web 3.0 and Web 2.0
Web2 is the internet we all know and use today. It is dominated by big brands, content is centralised (stored in one place or on the servers of limited firms—the tech giants), which places power in the hands of brands. At present, Google collects most of the information as the entire business is based on collecting and providing data. Apart from that it also shares the collected data with publishers, advertisers, etc. Also, Facebook collects tons of personal information from users and sells it to a third party. Web 3.0 will give control to users whether or not they want to share data, or how they want to distribute it.
As an example, at present, Twitter can censor accounts and tweets. With Web 3.0, tweets would be uncensorable with decentralised control. Payment services are also controlled by organisations with Web 2.0: organisations can deny certain transactions they don’t feel right. However, on version 3 of the internet, payments will be made without intervening into personal data, and it cannot prevent payments.
While web 2.0 focused more on building interactions and sharing data by filling forms, sharing locations, age, phone number, etc. Web 3.0 will give users ownership of their digital data.
Expected pros and cons of Web 3.0
Web3 is still under development, but is much in discussion for the huge changes it will bring. Below are a few pros and cons that experts are talking about:
|Built on blockchain technology, Web3.0 is expected to be more secure than earlier internet versions. The data record will cryptographically live on distributed nodes. Hence, the record is nearly impossible to breach.
|Only the data record resides on blockchain. The data will still need a place to live on the internet, off the blockchain.
|Decentralised data records
|User-data will not belong to tech giants anymore. Instead, creators will have ownership of their data and any data transfer records will be stored over blockchain.
|Decentralisation doesn’t mean users will have 100% control of their data. The Web3.0 ownership will remain centralised.
|Web 3.0 is expected to offer an extensive personalised browsing experience. This will be done through understanding user-preferences closely with the help of AI.
|Users will take time to learn different aspects of Web 3.0. The technology is still under development and engineers are working on addressing the complexities for users. Also, users will need compatible phones/computer systems to operate on Web 3.0, which could mean upgrading their current devices or buying new ones.
|Sellers will be able to use artificial intelligence (AI) of Web 3.0 to recommend products that people would prefer buying, discarding irrelevant suggestions. One way could be through displaying relatable ads.
|Currently, Web 3.0 is not available to the masses. As it will grow popular, the website owners/sellers will be compelled to shift to the new technology. This will require investment.
A few contradictions also suggest that putting all the data on blockchains will remove several intermediaries, but will give the entire data control to one i.e., blockchain distributor. Hence, suggesting the importance of centralised data over fragmented data. For now, we can say that the next version of the internet will surely improve user experience, but will not knock out the tech giants completely. In addition, we also need appropriate legal regulations to abide by for a secure data flow on Web 3.0.