Web 3.0 is a notion for a new version of the World Wide Web-based on blockchain technology, with decentralization and the token-based economy as key features. Some journalists and engineers have compared it to Web 2.0, which claims that data and information are centralized in a small group of businesses known as “Big Tech.
” Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood coined the term in 2014, and cryptocurrency enthusiasts, huge technology corporations, and venture capital firms expressed interest in the concept in 2021.
Women, men, machines, and corporations will be able to transfer value, information, and collaborate with worldwide counterparts they don’t know or explicitly trust without the use of an intermediary thanks to Web 3.0.
The most significant change permitted by Web3.0 is the reduction of the level of trust necessary for global coordination. This represents a shift toward instinctively trusting all network constituents rather than expressly trusting each member and/or striving to obtain trust extrinsically.
Web 3.0 will significantly expand the breadth and scope of both human and machine interactions well beyond anything we can currently fathom. These interactions will be feasible with a much wider spectrum of potential counterparties, ranging from frictionless payments to richer information flows to trustworthy data transfers.
Web 3.0 will allow us to engage with any person or computer on the planet without having to pay a fee to a middleman. From global co-operatives to decentralized autonomous organizations and self-sovereign data marketplaces, this change will open up a whole new world of previously imagined firms and business models.
Web3 ideas vary, and the phrase has been dubbed “hazy” by Bloomberg, but they all revolve around the concept of decentralization and frequently involve blockchain technologies, such as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Web3 is a concept that “would incorporate financial assets, in the form of tokens, into the inner workings of nearly anything you do online,” according to Bloomberg.
The concept of decentralized autonomous organizations is important to some visions (DAOs). Another important notion is decentralized finance (DeFi), in which users exchange currency without the involvement of a bank or government.
Self-sovereign identity allows users to identify themselves without relying on an authentication system such as OAuth, in which a trusted party has to be reached in order to assess identity. Technology scholars have argued that Web3 would likely run in tandem with Web 2.0 sites, with Web 2.0 sites likely adopting Web3 technologies in order to keep their services relevant.
Web 3.0 will have far-reaching implications that go far beyond the first use case of cryptocurrency. Web 3.0 will cryptographically connect data from individuals, corporations, and machines with efficient machine learning algorithms, resulting in the emergence of fundamentally new markets and associated business models, thanks to the richness of interactions now possible and the global scope of counterparties available.
The upshot is something close to a “return to the global village” — daily immersion in the human-centric, highly individualized interactions that we used to enjoy, but now provided at the global scale of the internet and supporting an ever-increasing range of human and machine skills specialties.
Web 3.0 represents the next iteration or phase of the evolution of the web/internet and potentially could be as disruptive and represent as big a paradigm shift as Web 2.0. Web 3.0 is built upon the core concepts of decentralization, openness, and greater user utility.
Berners-Lee had expounded upon some of these key concepts back in the 1990s, as outlined below:
- Decentralization: “No permission is needed from a central authority to post anything on the web, there is no central controlling node, and so no single point of failure…and no ‘kill switch’! This also implies freedom from indiscriminate censorship and surveillance.”
- Bottom-up Design: “Instead of code being written and controlled by a small group of experts, it was developed in full view of everyone, encouraging maximum participation and experimentation.”
In a 2001 paper, Berners-Lee discussed the concept of what he referred to as the Semantic Web. Computers have no reliable way to process the semantics of the language.
Berners-Lee’s vision for the Semantic Web was to bring structure to the meaningful content of web pages and enable software that would carry out sophisticated tasks for users.
Web 3.0 has moved well beyond the original concept of the Semantic Web as conceptualized by Berners-Lee in 2001. This is partly because it is very expensive and monumentally difficult to convert human language—with all its subtle nuances and variations—into a format that can be readily understood by computers, and because Web 2.0 has already evolved substantially over the past two decades.
Features of Web 3.0
While there is as yet no standardized definition of Web 3.0, it does have a few defining features:
Decentralization: This is a core tenet of Web 3.0. In Web 2.0, computers use HTTP in the form of unique web addresses to find information, which is stored at a fixed location, generally on a single server. With Web 3.0, because the information would be found based on its content, it could be stored in multiple locations simultaneously and hence be decentralized.
This would break down the massive databases currently held by internet giants like Facebook (now Meta) and Google and would prevent their undue enrichment by handing greater control to users. With Web 3.0, the data generated by disparate and increasingly powerful computing resources, including mobile phones, desktops, appliances, vehicles, and sensors, will be sold by users through decentralized data networks, ensuring that users retain ownership control.
Trustless and permissionless: In addition to decentralization and being based upon open-source software, Web 3.0 will also be trustless (i.e., the network will allow participants to interact directly without going through a trusted intermediary) and permissionless (meaning that anyone can participate without authorization from a governing body).
As a result, Web 3.0 applications will run on blockchains or decentralized peer-to-peer networks, or a combination thereof—such decentralized apps are referred to as dApps.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning: In Web 3.0, computers will be able to understand information similarly to humans, through technologies based upon Semantic Web concepts and natural language processing. Web 3.0 will also use machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that uses data and algorithms to imitate how humans learn, gradually improving its accuracy.
These capabilities will enable computers to produce faster and more relevant results in a host of areas like drug development and new materials, as opposed to merely targeted advertising that forms the bulk of current efforts.
Connectivity and ubiquity: With Web 3.0, information and content are more connected and ubiquitous, accessed by multiple applications and with an increasing number of everyday devices connected to the web—an example being the Internet of Things.