Decentralized web, also referred to as Web 3.0 is a next generation internet built around the increasing common blockchain technology. The new web will be a peer to peer network where each of the users will own their data, storage and computing resources will be provided by end users in distributed networks, data will be portable, apps will run locally in user devices, and the computing platforms will be autonomous and decentralized. Several new technologies are moving us to the era of the next generation internet which include the rapid development and utilization of the blockchain technology, the Internet of Things, datafication and rapid growth of advanced analytics.
What of Web 1.0 and 2.0?
Web 1.0 was the first-generation World Wide Web created in the 1990s based on HTTP technology. The technology worked by linking documents from different computers and making it possible to access the documents on the internet. The documents were displaced by the use of HTML language and the documents viewed through a browser. The goals of Web 1.0 were to enable easy exchange of information that is why the name ‘information superhighway’ was coined. Unfortunately, at the time, there were just a few content creators. Majority of the people were consuming the content. The content was strict, and there was no interactivity.
Web 2.0 improved the passive content viewing in Web 1.0 by allowing internet users to interact, become content creators and collaborate in making information available on the internet. This development allowed people to read and write on the internet at the same time. This technology got synonymous with social media and digital marketing platforms, video sharing, blogging, YouTube, Facebook, and eBay among other platforms. The development of the server-side PHP scripting technology made it easier for web designers to create applications that allowed the users to write information to a set database and the information update automatically when the users refreshed their pages.
What are the shortcomings of these two technologies?
Both Web 1.0 and 2.0 are built on centralized internet n their current form. While the internet is not 100 percent centralized because data is stored all over the place, most physical servers are associated or operated by known companies. These servers are responsible for everything including social media, email and running individual web pages. This means that companies running the servers have control of what everyone can view on the internet. Centralization opens us to several vulnerabilities in the following ways:
• Servers can experience a downtime
Servers can go down due to several issues. They can be targeted by bad actors and malicious internet users and wreak havoc in most infrastructures of the economy, killing jobs reliant on digital advertising, and leading to massive losses to individuals and corporations.
• The problem of hacking is increasing by the day
The risk of hacking is real. Personal data and other information are getting leaked into unauthorized hands and creating losses, identity theft, and other ills in the internet.
• Companies can censor or throttle data
There has been an uproar over the loss of data neutrality in the last few years. Most large internet providers are not treating al the data the same. They determine what get into end user’s computers and charge more for more information.
• Companies collect and monetize user data
Most companies will make you sign long entry forms when creating your account. Unfortunately, most of the data ends up being sold to advertisers for digital advertising. A more recent case was that of Facebook where the social media giant was found to be collecting personal data illegally.
Web 3.0 solves these problems
Blockchain technology seems to be making strides across different sectors of the economy, including the internet and financial transactions. With Bitcoin being the first use case, the technology has enabled P2P transactions without the use of middlemen. This technology will help deal with the significant shortcomings of web 1.0 and 2.0 in the following ways.
It is redesigning data structures
In the early days' data used to be stored locally. If you wanted to share information, you would have to load it in a floppy disc and give to the user who needed it. The server then came into the picture where data was stored in one unit and shared with devices around the world. Unfortunately, centralized data structure has its limitations. In a decentralized data structure, there will be several points or nodes where data can be accessed. Eventually, the data will be distributed in a way that there will be no nodes where devices will connect to get data, but they will share data in a peer environment.
Datafication is the ability to capture data in as many aspects of our lives as possible especially those aspects which could not be quantified earlier. The process ends up with big data. These are vast amounts of data which is unstructured. Advanced data analytic technologies are then used to mine this data and give insight into various aspects of the world around the user.
This data is of great importance to the blockchain technology. First, a lot of personal data will be collected. Second, there will be a lot of value exchanged that has not been available in the past. Moreover, different players will be responsible for the given data. Third, the use of analytics will assist in discovering correlations and patterns within blocks of data. This will bring into light new ways of verifying data that is fed into the blockchain without working with centralized authorities to enhance data validation.
Things will get much smarter as machine learning, and advanced forms of cognitive computing will become available to nearly all applications. Therefore, most applications will be adaptive to the needs of the users, the internet will be responsive, and the information that users receive will be personalized as per their requirements and characteristics.
The internet of things
A combination of the Internet of things with Web 3.0 will allow seamless completion of processes across various systems. The open nature of systems will make it easier for machines to communicate and coordinate operations across multiple organizations, systems, and domains without the authorization delays. This will enhance interaction and coordination. Web 3.0 will make it possible to move from smart things to enhancing service processes.
Another exciting aspect of IoT and Web 3.0 will be the “servicization” of the economy. Most people will move from ownership to access services on demand. Here is an example, instead of buying a car, you will access a car-sharing service. Digital marketing will also become easier as information will be targeted depending on user characteristics.
There are interesting times ahead with Web 3.0. It enables greater data sharing, creation, and manipulation for enhanced benefits. Although web 1.0 and 2,.0 will not completely die out., they will be relegated to specific use cases. Most of the internet will run on blockchain technology.