Intermediate Series

What Is Web3?

The web is continually evolving. What started as a way to post information online, has become a way for billions of people to interact with each other. Now, the internet is evolving once again.

Web3 brings decentralisation and native internet money to your browser, with censorship resistant apps, permissionless financial platforms, and social media platforms that don’t sell your personal information.

Essentially, web3 merges the best of the current web with the best of cryptocurrencies. It will create a fully decentralised version of the web that can’t be corrupted, controlled or manipulated. This is a major step forward for the internet.

Contents

  • The evolution of the internet
  • The advantages of web3
  • The future of web3

The evolution of the internet

1. The Static Web: Web 1.0 (1989-2005)

The first version of the web was mostly static web pages such as blog posts. There were few ways to shop online, communicate with friends, or even comment on an article. It was much like reading a book, where the information went only one way.

There were also no tools like Google to help you find the right information. Instead, there were a few directories that pointed to certain web pages, although there were not that many websites to explore.

2. The Interactive Web: Web 2.0 (2005-present)

The web came alive with web 2.0. Thanks to technologies like Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3, developers could build interactive platforms that let users interact with each other. This built huge communities that relied on user-generated content, such as Instagram, Reddit, Wikipedia and YouTube. This created dynamic and thriving platforms, however, user’s personal information was owned, controlled, and sold by private companies.

3. The Decentralised Web: Web 3.0 (present)

The next generation of the internet will be decentralized and have a native currency. As it's decentralised, new platforms will emerge to connect people without owning their personal information. And as cryptocurrencies will be native to these platforms, the internet will have a native financial system that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere in the world.

The advantages of web3

1. Protect your data

Web 2 has led to big tech companies like Google and Facebook collecting our personal data and selling it to advertisers. Also, the servers where they keep your info have become a honeypot for hackers who want to steal that data. In contrast, because web3 is decentralised, no single entity controls your personal data. That gives you control over your data and lets you protect your information from hackers.

2. Native internet money

In web 2, you must rely on fiat currencies controlled by governments. Web3 makes cryptocurrencies an internet money that is instant, global and completely permissions. As it gives birth to micropayments, this also opens opportunities for new business models.

3. No single point of failure

On web 2.0, malicious hackers may successfully take down your website by targeting the servers. Websites are also susceptible to governments shutting them down. In contrast, web3 has no single point of failure as websites can still function even if a large number of participant nodes are attacked, as nodes are distributed across the globe by thousands of different entities.

4. Censorship resistant and no gatekeepers

The decentralised nature of web3 also means that nobody can be censored or removed from the internet. Information on web3 can propagate across the network easily, so central authorities cannot censor data and cut off users from the network. Anyone can access a platform as there are no ‘gatekeepers’ to keep you out.

The future of web3

At this point in history, web3 has proven itself as a reliable way for millions of participants to connect and transmit value across a decentralised network. Of course, the current internet has billions of users, not millions. For web3 to have the impact that proponents believe it can, it must find ways to scale.

Scaling solutions are much of the focus for current technologists. Ethereum is introducing ETH 2.0 to help it scale, while multiple Ethereum co-founders are working on other projects to help blockchain scale, including Gavin Woord who launched the Web3 foundation and subsequently launched Polkadot.

Moreover, as the internet has led to significant cultural changes, it’s likely that web3 will have a similar impact, giving people across the globe access to reliable information and the digital economy.