A Greek Philosopher once said, “The Only Constant in Life Is Change.” Yet, throughout the course of history, human beings are always resistant to change. Whether it’s Galileo being prosecuted for proving the sun as the centre of the solar system, not the earth or cryptocurrencies being criticised as an alternative to the global monetary system.
I have no doubt assuming the first person to ride a bicycle or tie a watch on his wrist rather than putting it in pocket was ridiculed at great length. Yet, the change was inevitable.
Today, I want to talk about something that is not only an integral part of our lives, but also shaping it as we know it. We spend over 60% of our waking hours interacting with it, yet unaware of its problems and shortcomings. Yes, you guessed it right, I’m talking about the internet and why it needs to be fixed.
What comes to your mind when you hear about web 3.0? Is it some new version of the internet or yet another hype among tech bros? Or maybe we should leave it to techies to figure it out and focus on doomsday scrolling on Instagram & Twitter.
Well, let’s go back a decade or two. Remember those days when our parents thought smartphones were just a menace and we’re wasting our lives away staring at the screens. Who would have thought, back in those days, that the internet will not only be an integral part of our lives, but also shape it.
Coming back to the current times, our parents are more addicted to smartphones than we ever were. We’re spending over 60% of our waking hours either binge watching on Netflix, scrolling through social media, chatting with coworkers on Slack, reading a blog post about Web 3.0, watching music videos on Youtube, or texting friends on messaging apps.
The point I’m trying to make here – it’s an established fact that the internet is an integral part of our collective lives. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye, or participate if we can, to look at its shortcomings and come together to build a better one. That’s why you need to understand what web 3.0 stands for and why we need it.
To understand web 3.0, first of all, we need to scroll the history pages of the internet and get ourselves acquainted with the generations of internet. So, let’s start, shall we?
History of Web
Let’s have a look at the history of the web and figure out how it has changed throughout the course of time and how it will look like in the future.
Web 1.0 or the static web can be said to be the first generation of the internet. Web 1.0 can be credited for opening the gates of interconnected computer systems to the public. Gone were the days when the internet was only to be used by scientists or engineers.
In the year 1994, Netscape launched its web browser, email became an emerging mode of communication, and a range of services and portals as the likes of Yahoo, AOL, e-commerce websites flooded the market. Thus leading to the dot-com bubble, browser wars, and whatnot.
Yet, the access to computers and the internet was still limited to a small-minority of people living in the developed nations. The vast majority of the population living in the developing world were unaware of these new developments. However, that changed with the advent of web 2.0.
The year is 2007, a man known for his tech-presentations, comes on to the stage with a black turtleneck and changes the course of tech history with a remarkable device called iPhone. With this one genius stroke, the world was set on an unprecedented path of mobile internet. Gone were the days of dial-up internet and big-bulky devices. Thus starting an era of mobile internet – web-browser, mobile-apps, real-time GPS, social networking, AirBnB, Uber, and whatnot.
Even though social media platforms such as Facebook and MySpace were already there since 2004, the mass adoption catched up only after the rise of mobile internet. We finally achieved the “always connected” or “internet in our pocket” state. The current state of the internet at large is said to be the web 2.0.
If we look closely at the development of web 2.0, it can be accredited to three main sectors – mobile, social, and cloud. Where mobile and social enabled us to stay connected and interact with each other across the globe, cloud computing and storage enabled the tech builders to maintain internet pages and applications with vast data centres while reducing the cost.
However, in the last few years, we started noticing the short-comings of the web 2.0. Whether a president of a country being deplatformed, the current tussle between a social media platform and the world’s largest democracy, user-privacy issues, or data-leaks, it’s time we realize that the tech platforms are getting too powerful and we need to fix it. Therefore, let’s have a look at the issues with the current state of the internet at large.
Problems with Web 2.0
Even though web 2.0 opened the path to mass user-created content through the means of social media posts, blogs, videos and made the legacy retail, media, advertising, and publishing platforms absolute. Yet we replaced those arbiters of truth with new ones. As a saying goes in India – “we replaced the white colonizers with the brown ones” pointing towards the Indian governments after gaining independence.
Same happened with the big-tech companies and centralized entities holding too much power as we became overly dependent on these platforms. As the data became the world’s most-sought-after commodity replacing the oil, we, as users, became the products to these new rent-seeking intermediaries.
The internet as it was envisioned to be open with a level-playing ground for everyone to participate and interact is in danger. These tech monopolies and centralized platforms have rapidly outpaced the capabilities of open protocols. The rules of the game are being changed every day and the users don’t have any say in it anymore.
Therefore, it’s time, we take the power back and do away with these value-leaching intermediaries. That’s why – Web 3.0.
Web 3.0 – A Brave New World
So far we discussed the history of the web, its generations, and most importantly, the inherent problems with the current state of matter. So how do we fix it? Well, here’s how:
The three pillars of web 3.0 are:
The web 3.0 will be built on open source softwares and in a trustless manner without having a trusted third party and will be accessible to everyone without a governing body or centralized entity through a permissionless model. Web 3.0 is not just a next generation of internet, but it is a leap forward, a fundamental disruption.
And, it is already happening. Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized currency, is just the first step towards this future. Ethereum, yet another innovation is paving the path for decentralized finance. Terra – programmable money for the internet. Ocean Protocol – unlocking the power of data as a new asset class. Filecoin – a decentralized storage network. And many more to come.
Web 3.0 envisions a world where societies can become more connected and efficient by removing the rent-seeking entities and distributing the value back to the users. A world without platform dependencies and intrinsically more resilient with peer-to-peer communication. A world where we own our data and are able to share it with assured privacy and top-notch security. A brave new world.