Web3 (also known as Web 3, Web 3.0) is the next generation of Internet technology that mainly relies on machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain technology. Web3 represents a serverless internet architecture, generally called a decentralized web, that aims to provide individuals control over data access and management rights rather than any centralized authority.
According to Web3 Foundation:
Web 3 is the vision of the serverless internet, the decentralized web. An internet where users are in control of their own data, identity, and destiny.
- The premise of 'Web 3.0' was coined by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood shortly after Ethereum launched in 2014.
- Web 3.0 is built upon the core concepts of decentralization, openness, and greater user utility.
- On Web3, users will have ownership of their data instead of central entities.
- A majority of Internet platforms in 2022 are controlled by only a handful of powerful companies, which profit from the data users generate.
- Top blockchain projects and services that employ the use of Web3 include Uniswap, Polygon, Axie Infinity, Frax Finance, Polkadot, and IQ.wiki.
In 2014, shortly after Ethereum's launch, Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum, came up with the concept of "Web 3.0". Gavin presented a solution to a concern shared by many early cryptocurrency adopters: the Web demanded too much trust. That is, most of the Web people know and use today relies on trusting a handful of private companies to act in the public's best interests. Web 3.0 aims to offer users control over the content they access online and also to create a semantic web.
Web3 is powered by technologies and concepts such as blockchain, self-sovereign identity, and decentralized storage systems, transforming the traditional concept of data ownership and giving authority to the users. Applications and solutions built on the web3 ecosystem are truly decentralized with features integrated such as enhanced security, functionality, no censorship, and data authenticity.
Web 3.0 is driven by four new layers of technological innovation:
- Edge Computing: Web 3.0 pushes the data center out to the edge (i.e., edge computing) and into its users' hands, unlike web 2.0, which altered present commoditized personal computer technology in data centers.
- Decentralized Data Network: On web 3.0, users will own their data because it is decentralized. Using decentralized data networks, many data producers can sell or share their data without giving up ownership or depending on intermediaries.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Algorithms for artificial intelligence and machine learning have developed to the point where they can now make predictions and take actions that are helpful and occasionally life-saving.
- Blockchain: Blockchain is a decentralized technology that uses smart contracts to execute transactions. These smart contracts define the semantics of a web 3.0 application. These smart contracts specify how a web 3.0 application should operate. As a result, the shared state machine is required for anyone who wants to create a dApp.
Web 1.0: Read-Only (1990-2004)
In 1990, Berners-Lee pioneered the early development of the internet as a computer scientist at European researcher CERN.2. As of October 1990, Berners-Lee had written the three fundamental technologies that became the foundation of the web, including the very first webpage editor/browser (WorldWideWeb.app):
- HTML: HyperText Markup Language, the markup or formatting language of the web
- URI or URL: Uniform Resource Identifier or Locator, a unique address used to identify each resource on the web
- HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol, which allows for the retrieval of linked resources from across the web3
The debut of web browsers like Netscape Navigator in the middle of the 1990s marked the beginning of the Web 1.0 era. Most internet users at that time were delighted by the novelty of features such as email and real-time news retrieval. Content creation was still in its inception, and users had little opportunity for interactive applications.
Web 2.0: Read-Write (2004-2022)
Web 2.0 highlights a paradigm shift in how people utilize the internet since 2004. The monotonous web pages of Web 1.0 have been totally overtaken by Web 2.0's interactivity, social connection, and user-generated content over the last 15 to 20 years. Web 2.0 makes it possible for user-generated content to be viewed by millions of people around the world virtually in an instant; this sort of content has accelerated in recent years due to its unrivaled reach.
Instead of a read-only, the web evolved to be read-write. Instead of companies providing content to users, they also began to provide platforms to share user-generated content and engage in user-to-user interactions. As more people came online, a number of top companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Meta began to control a disproportionate amount of the traffic and value generated on the web. Web3 also created a revenue model based on advertising. While users could create content, they didn't own it or benefit from its monetization.
Web 3.0: Read-Write-Own (2014-2022)
Web 3.0 seeks to decentralize and open up the Internet. Users of the internet in 2022 are dependent on network and cellular service providers who monitor the data passing through their systems. With blockchain technology, users can take ownership of their data. Web 3.0 represents the next phase of the web and the internet, and has the potential to usher in a significant paradigm shift as Web 2.0 did. The fundamental ideas of decentralization, openness and increased consumer usefulness form the foundation of Web 3.0.
While web3 has several advantages over web2, it also includes the following key features that have the potential to transform how the current state of the web:
Web3 represents a decentralized ecosystem powered by blockchain technology. Applications and solutions built on the web3 ecosystem are truly decentralized with capabilities such as increased security, functionality, no censorship, and data authenticity incorporated, applications and solutions created on the web3 ecosystem are genuinely decentralized.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
Web 3.0 makes it possible for machines to interpret information similarly to humans with the aid of the Semantic Web and technologies based on natural language processing. The web3's capacity to make internet data machine-readable is referred to as the semantic web. The concept of a semantic web also aims to make cross-chain data sharing possible between various applications and businesses. The semantic web distributes content, user data, and related information in this manner effortlessly. In addition, machine learning—a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that uses data and algorithms to simulate human learning and steadily increase accuracy—is incorporated into Web 3.0.
With Web3, content and information are now easier to access across applications, and with a rising number of everyday gadgets connected to the internet thanks to Web 3.0. The Internet of Things is one such example.
The web3 ecosystem supports hyper-realistic 3D spaces and graphical interfaces, helping Web 3 projects offer a more natural and vivid navigation user experience. Leveraging Web 3.0’s metaverse and 3D capabilities, immersive games, e-commerce shops, and NFT marketplaces can be designed based on enterprise demand.
Blockchain technology is used by decentralized applications, which are not owned or managed by a centralized authority. Web3 supports development that is advanced both in terms of features and usability. Web3 dApps include those for metaverse, DeFi, NFTs, DAOs, and gaming. dApps designed for web3 projects are truly decentralized and interoperable. However, dApps for the blockchain ecosystem do not necessarily need to be interoperable unless the project demands so.
With blockchain at its core, Web 3.0 enables a wide range of new apps and services, including the ones listed below:
- NFTs: Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) are tokens that are individually unique and are kept in a blockchain with a cryptographic hash. Some of the top Web3 NFT apps include Axie Marketplace, Decentraland, and OpenSea.
- DeFi: Decentralized finance (DeFi) utilizes decentralized blockchain technology as its foundation, a new use case for Web 3.0 that allows for the provision of financial services beyond the constraints of conventional centralized banking infrastructure. Examples of Web3 DeFi apps include Uniswap, Frax Finance, The Graph, and Chainlink.
- Cryptocurrency: A new universe of money that strives to be distinct from the traditional world of fiat cash is being created through Web 3.0 apps like cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Theta, Filecoin, and IQ token.
- dApp: Decentralized applications (dApps) are programs that run programmatically and are logged in an immutable ledger. They are built on top of the blockchain and use smart contracts to facilitate service delivery. Examples include MetaMask, Brave, Livepeer, and Magic.
- Chain-crossing bridges: In the Web 3.0 age, there are numerous blockchains and cross-chain bridges that provide some kind of connectivity between them such as Polkadot, Blocknet, Cosmos, and Wanchain.
- DAOs: DAOs are poised to potentially take on the role of Web 3.0's governing bodies, offering some structure and decentralized governance. Examples include BrainDAO, MakerDAO, OlympusDAO, and PieDAO.