The internet, as we know it, is evolving. The next generation of the internet is Web3, a decentralised version of the web. This new iteration of the internet incorporates decentralisation, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics, promising to revolutionise the way we interact with the digital world.
Understanding the Evolution: From Web1 to Web3
To appreciate the potential of Web3, it’s essential to understand the evolution of the internet. The first iteration, Web1, was a read-only platform where users could access information but had limited interaction. Then came Web2, the current state of the internet, which is read-write, allowing users to interact with web pages, upload content, and change the displayed information based on their preferences.
Web3, the next phase, is read-write-own. It’s about moving away from the centralised control of Big Tech companies or governments that verify identity, transactions, rights to publish content, and even basic access to the Web. Instead, Web3 places ownership of servers (or nodes) into the hands of independent parties rather than central authorities.
Core Principles of Web3
Web3 is guided by several core principles that set it apart from its predecessors.
At the heart of Web3 is decentralisation. This principle means that no single party has complete authority or control over the networks powering Web3. This shift from centralisation to decentralisation is both a technical and ideological difference that makes Web3 unique.
(b) Security and Privacy
Web3 offers enhanced security and privacy. Thanks to cryptography and the lack of centralised servers, there isn’t privileged access to data. This feature is a significant shift from Web2, where data privacy has been a major concern.
(c) Openness and Accessibility
Web3 is open and accessible. Everyone has equal access to participate and no one gets excluded. This openness is a stark contrast to the current internet model, where access and participation often require permission from central authorities.
(d) Native Payments
Web3 uses tokens like ETH for native payments, sending money directly in the browser without relying on banks or payment processors. This feature is a game-changer in the world of online transactions.
Potential of Web3
The potential of Web3 is more than just a technological advancement; it’s an ideological movement. It represents a new philosophy for how the internet should work, democratising it by putting its power back in the hands of users rather than big corporations or governments.
It is also sparking exciting technological innovation, particularly through blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, tokenisation, NFTs, and metaverse. Many industries stand to benefit from the streamlined automatic trustless systems, including finance, supply chain, healthcare, insurance, real estate, gaming, social media, among others.
Despite the potential of Web3 is not without its challenges. There are still concerns about decentralisation within the next generation of the internet due to significant control retained by founders and venture-capital funds. The user experience of Web3 is often clunky compared to established internet giants like Google and Facebook. Moreover, critics have raised concerns about the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
The next generation of the internet is a promising evolution, offering a more decentralised, secure, and user-centric digital experience. However, web3 is still in its early stages, and much work needs to be done to overcome its challenges. As we stand on the brink of this new era, it’s crucial to understand the technical aspects and its potential impact.