The rapid advancement of crypto and blockchain technology has driven the development of Web3, which is often referred to as "the future of the internet." Although concepts such as Web3 itself were born a long time ago, we have only seen their real use in recent years through various applications of crypto projects. Then, what is Web 3.0? Why is it important and how can we take advantage of it? This article will explain Web3 in full.
🌐 Web3 is the third generation of internet networks where users and applications are connected in a decentralized ecosystem. In this ecosystem, user interaction will rely on computer algorithms without the need for a third-party intermediary (thrustless) and does not require permission from certain authorities (permissionless) so that user data is protected.
💻 What distinguishes Web3 from the previous internet era is that it gives full authority to the individuals who use it. Unlike the current internet era or the Web 2.0 era, which are mostly run by large corporations such as Google and Facebook. Web3 develops user involvement to have ownership in certain parts of the internet.
🔍 The characteristics of Web3 are thrustless and permissionless, self-governance, and data ownership. These four characteristics of Web3 play an important role in creating a secure decentralized ecosystem. It is also a Web3 solution to many of the problems we face today in Web 2.0.
What Is Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 is the third generation of internet networks where users and applications are connected in a decentralized ecosystem. The Web3 concept focuses on a thrustless and permissionless internet ecosystem. In this ecosystem, user interaction will rely on computer algorithms without the need for a third-party intermediary (thrustless) and does not require permission from certain authorities (permissionless) so that user data is protected.
Of course, the concept of web 3.0 itself did not appear suddenly, it is part of the development of the internet and technology. The first person to mention the concept of Web 3.0 was Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum. Gavin spoke of the principle behind Web 3.0 being "less trust, more truth." Gavin's principle refers to Web 3.0 which will release control of the internet from the hands of big companies like Google and Amazon and return it to the user.
The concept of Web 3.0 itself at this time must still sound abstract and difficult to understand. Therefore, to understand why Web 3.0 is important and why we need it, we need to know the history of its development.
Evolution of the Internet and Web3.0
Web 1.0 (1990-2004)
Interaction on Web 1.0 was one-way.
The concept of the internet was originally born as a US government project under the name ARPANET, or Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, in 1968. It was a small network that connected government agencies and professors at a few universities such as MIT. Even so, the concept of the world wide web itself was born by a computer scientist named Tim Berners-Lee. The team wanted to create a protocol that would allow the transfer of information from all over the world. However, as we know, this could only happen a decade later.
Web 1.0 is an internet network that contains information and content created by several companies which can then be accessed by users. We may still be debating the word 'access' because the interactions that can be carried out by internet users are very limited. Web 1.0 was still rigid, static, and contained read-only interactions. Most users in this era can only use the internet to read and search for information. However, Web 1.0 laid an important foundation for the next Internet era.
Web 2.0 (2004-present)
Interactions that occur on the web2 network.
Web 2.0 is an internet network that was born with the arrival of the social media era. Facebook and Myspace are two social media that started the era of social interaction between users. Google, Napster, and YouTube then developed the concept of providing, sharing, and seeking information on their respective platforms. Web 2.0 creates various platforms where all users can read, provide, and share information quickly which can be accessed by anyone. This internet era facilitates read and write interactions where users can provide feedback.
This era gave birth to a variety of new internet-based jobs and industries such as digital media, digital markets, and the profession of specialized content creators that we usually call influencers.
However, Web 2.0 created a few new problems. Although the internet provides millions of sites that provide information, most people only use a few of the same sites. According to SEMrush, the amount of traffic from Google, Amazon, YouTube, and Facebook is more than all sites ranked 5-20 combined. Our internet is centralized in several companies that monopolize content and access to information on the internet.
Web 3.0 (2014-future)
Web3 network interactions are peer-to-peer or between users.
In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto created a whitepaper on Bitcoin, an alternative payment system based on cryptographic code and blockchain technology. Bitcoin allows the creation of a decentralized payment system. Then, Vitalik Buterin and several other Ethereum founders created the technology that became the foundation of Web 3.0: smart contracts. Bitcoin and blockchain enable decentralized transactions to occur and smart contracts create a decentralized network that is interconnected.
Blockchain technology and cryptography are changing the interactions between users and platforms providing various services. In the Web 2.0 era, the platform provider is responsible for being a third party that stores personal data and funds owned by its users. In the Web 3.0 ecosystem, we don't need to trust the platform to secure our data and funds because everything is regulated by algorithms and smart contract programs.
Blockchain technology stores and regulates all data storage processes that occur confidentially but transparently. The cryptographic process of crypto assets facilitates the security of the funds we receive and send. Everyone can directly transact with each other without any third party allowing and storing user personal data.
In addition, users are not only consumers and creators of the internet network but can also participate in its management. In addition, applications on the Web3 network have no control over their users and do not interact hierarchically.
Characteristics of Web 3.0
Thrustless and Permissionless
As already explained, the main characteristics of the Web3 internet era are thrustless and permissionless. For most people, the impact of these two principles will go unnoticed. Most of the development that Web3 brings about happens behind the scenes, at the programming and code level behind each application.
The very first thing that users will notice when using the Web3 application is the use of crypto assets as currency in every transaction. Then, applications on Web3 are connected to each other and users only must move their assets to make transactions. Most Web3 platforms have interoperability with various other platforms.
The Internet in the Web 3.0 era is marked by the concept of self-governance in which various platforms and applications implement the DAO system. The DAO system allows users to participate in determining platform policies. This self-governance model is an attempt by various Web3 platforms to decentralize and move away from the centralized model used by Amazon, Google, and other Web2.0 companies.
An important characteristic of the Web3 era is data ownership. The Web 2.0 era is characterized by large companies that have a monopoly on the personal data of their users without any controls to protect it. In fact, user data is treated like a commodity and 'traded' for advertising purposes.
Blockchain technology and crypto assets enable anonymity when transacting by hiding users' personal data behind an encryption that can only be read by computers. With this, platforms, and companies on Web3 do not have access to personal data of their users.
All the characteristics of Web3 above are efforts made to protect users and support a more democratic and open internet ecosystem.
Why is Web 3.0 Important?
Differences in content consumption between the three generations of the internet.
🏡 Ownership: The Web3 Ecosystem ensures that everyone who participates has ownership of the various assets owned. All assets, data and works owned within the Web3 platform are fully controlled by their creators. This can happen because it uses blockchain technology and decentralized crypto assets.
🌐 Openness: Web3 applications and platforms have open-source programming languages and application code where anyone can use them. In addition, applications on Web3 also do not control and limit user access.
💵 Payment System: The web3 internet economy runs on a crypto asset system. Crypto assets provide an alternative financial system based on blockchain and cryptography. This makes transactions through cryptocurrencies decentralized, not controlled by third parties, and secure.
🕵️♂️ Control Over Personal Data: Unlike in the Web 2.0 era, the Web3 era does not monetize the personal data of its users. Platforms and applications do not know or store personal data of their users.
Weaknesses and Limitations Web3
Education and Understanding
The Web3 internet era brought many changes and different principles that were not recognized by many users. Just like the move from the Web 1.0 to 2.0 era, this transition will take a long time. Web3 introduces principles, technologies, and models of interaction that are very different from the internet as we know it today. Communities need time to process and understand these differences. In addition, as in the early days of the internet, many critics and experts are skeptical of this new era of technology and it is only natural. Therefore, Web3 proponents and pioneers such as Ethereum and the Web3 Foundation are intensifying education about the new internet era.
User Experience / User Experience
The majority of Web3 platforms and applications are still difficult for most people to use. Barriers to using these applications are still high because users need to understand many technical terms. In the process of making transactions, users must understand various concepts to avoid fraud and other criminal acts. This prevents many Web3 platforms from being used by many people.
The Web3 Ecosystem is still in its infancy. Many developments in various aspects that can change the direction and technology. Today, many Web3 platforms and applications still use a centralized Web 2.0 infrastructure (Google, AWS, Twitter, Discord). However, we know that many new Web3 projects are working to fill this infrastructure void such as Chainlink. The process of integrating a new trusted and secure infrastructure will take some time. This is still a Web3 weakness that is often criticized by many experts.
The Web 3.0 era focuses on the concept of decentralization where users have an important role to participate. However, we need to ask how many people are willing and able to participate actively to help the development of the platform? As well as requiring an in-depth understanding of the platform, participating users will need to spend time and effort on the platform they are using. This is a unique aspect that can be a barrier at the same time because not everyone can and wants to set aside time to participate. Lack of participation can hinder the development of a platform.