What is Web 3.0? What do I need to know?
Web 3.0 is the emerging idea of a revised internet that is entirely decentralized. To put it simply, it is creating a new internet in the way of decentralized networks hosting information by way of blockchains.
While the concepts of neither a decentralized internet nor blockchains are not new, they function in the same way as bitcoin does today. The goal is to remove the power of technology companies and other sites from the hands of a few large corporations and put it into the hands of the masses.
Keep reading to learn more about Web 3.0, the concerns that have arisen, and what the future of the internet may look like if the idea continues to gain traction.
What is Web 3.0?
In the world of tech, cryptocurrencies, and venture capital, a buzzword seems to pop up everywhere lately: Web 3.0.
It is a term for ideas that all point to eliminating the big intermediaries on the internet. In today’s era, browsing the web no longer means logging on to Facebook, Google, and Twitter.
In the early days of the internet, during the Web 1.0 period, the internet was viewed as giving free and democratized access to information. But there were not any good ways of doing that beyond going to someone’s Angelfire page.
After that era came Web 2.0. This is where the emergence of Google, Facebook, and Twitter came to life, along with the promise of bringing everyone together in one place. However, critics argue that those megacorporations exacerbated the situation.
The Web 3.0 vision is to go back to a “simpler” time and decentralize everything again including finance, also known as DeFi.
Examples of Web 3.0 applications
The most recognizable example of a Web 3.0 application is Bitcoin. Created in 2009, Bitcoin is a decentralized currency that uses a decentralized ledger to keep financial records instead of a traditional banking system.
Bitcoin uses cryptography to keep everything secure but is not insured by any government entity. As a result, the rise in popularity of the cryptocurrency gave way to many other forms, aptly called “altcoins.”
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
Another example of Web 3.0 applications is non-fungible tokens, called NFTs. Put simply, NFTs are pieces of digital artwork that can be sold and traded over the internet. A song, clip art, and stickers are examples of NFTs that have fetched millions of dollars recently.
Supporters of NFTs compare the files to those of actual art collecting. Like in art collecting, the valuation of a piece is constantly changing and is only worth what someone will pay for it. However, critics will argue that NFTs can easily be copied, and there is not just one, so they are not worth it.
While digital NFTs aren’t genuinely unique in that anyone can right-click and download a copy, people are still spending tons of money to own what they believe is a worthwhile investment.
Like the Mona Lisa, NFTs tend to degrade over time, so the jury is still out whether this trend will stick around. But, if anything, it gives those who enjoy trading cryptocurrency something else to do.
Web 3.0 has a surprising number of apps currently powered on the blockchain, and sites like e-Chat, Obsidian, and Riot will be the destination for messaging services.
Users of Web 3.0 will stay away from traditional iMessage, Google Messages, and other chats connected to big tech companies and instead keep their data on these platforms.
While not as popular as cryptocurrencies and NFTs, some of these apps may have a future moving forward.
Does Web 3.0 work?
If you ask if Web 3.0 works, your answer may depend on who you ask. If the idea is to decentralize the internet again, processes like blockchains will not be the solution.
With a blockchain, the concept is to store all your data in one place and then take it with you across the internet. Think one log-in and profile photo for every site you visit. Images would be stored on the blockchain that you can use on multiple social media sites.
While the theory seems like a good idea on the surface, a blockchain houses your data in one place still, which is the exact thing that Web 3.0 is trying to replace.
Those in favor of Web 3.0 will tell you that, yes, your data is stored in one place on the blockchain, but only you have access to it and not giant tech companies.
Will Web 3.0 replace Web 2.0?
While Web 3.0 is poised to take over Web 2.0, especially with all the buzz around bitcoin and other blockchain currencies, it is unlikely that Web 3.0 will completely replace Web 2.0.
Even if opposed to true believers of the idea, the reality is that while Web 3.0 is a good idea, there is not an excellent way to get everyone on board. Too many people rely on big tech companies like Google and Facebook to conduct everyday business.
The best that proponents of Web 3.0 could hope for is for it to run alongside Web 2.0 in the future. But unfortunately, giants like Google and Facebook have become too big to fail without taking down a significant portion of our economy with it.