Whether you’re a digital native or only use your computer to check your emails, you’ve probably heard whisperings about a concept called Web 3. If you’re in the latter camp, you’re probably wondering what on earth Web 3 even means. Rest assured, Web 3 is far less complicated than you might expect, and we’re here to give you the lowdown on what it all means – and how it’ll help you.
The simplest explanation is that Web 3 is a brand new age of the internet. Ushered in by a newfound reliance on blockchain technology, decentralisation and accountability, Web 3 is the internet upgraded to its optimum model. If we think of the internet as a human, Web 1 was its childhood, Web 2 was its teenage years, and now Web 3 is its adulthood and prime.
To understand Web 3, we must delve into the Internet’s history. In its early days, the internet we refer to as Web 1 was incredibly basic. This is the internet’s childhood: We’d Ask Jeeves to search for answers to basic questions and read blogs. It certainly wasn’t the all-encompassing force it is now, with nary Buzzfeed quizzes insight. While this was useful at the time, much like children and their first clothes, we quickly outgrew those needs.
In the internet’s teenage years, or Web 2, it was all about self-expression, actualisation and user-generated content. As teenagers do, Web 2 pushed the boundaries. We, as users, became the drivers for content, riding the wave of social media and online communication. Suddenly everyone had an opinion, a take, a meme to participate in the discourse. And we’ve been coasting along that wave for a long time now, but it’s time to usher in a new era—the era of Web 3.
It’s important to note that it’s not a replacement – it’s added layers of growth and development. Web 3 takes all the things we know and love about the existing web and gives it improved structure and processes by integrating it into blockchain technology. And it has a bevy of benefits.
The distinguishing feature of the Web 3 era is transparency. Not only is the new level of the internet going to hold people accountable, but it’s also going to ensure that no one corporation or government can dictate it. Web 3 functions and is managed on the blockchain, which means inherent transparency and permanency to everything we create. Whatever each user uploads is managed across all systems without being tied to a particular platform, and any changes are visible to everyone for accountability.
It’s also not going to be at the mercy of corporations like Meta, Twitter and Google. New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose says, “Web 3, the story goes, will replace these centralised, corporate platforms with open protocols and decentralised, community-run networks, combining the open infrastructure of web1 with the public participation of web 2.”
The two elements vital to ensuring the continued success of Web 3 hinge on open protocols and smart contracts. In terms of blockchain and Web 3, open protocols are protocols that aren’t restricted to one company or company’s products. Facebook, for instance, is a closed protocol with limited cross-platform useability. But with Web 3, there is more capacity for cross-platform interplay.
Then we have smart contracts. These are automated processes that run when a set of terms is reached. For example, suppose one person wants to purchase an item. In that case, a smart contract automatically sets up and executes the motion, so both buyer and seller know immediately that the sale has gone through and the item has been transferred. Web 3 relies on smart contracts for transparency and open protocols for accessibility, making it one of the most open but accessible eras the internet has ever seen.
So what does all this mean for you, as a consumer or business owner? The short answer is that it puts the power back into your own hands. The long answer is twofold: Web 3’s decentralisation makes a massive difference when it comes to financial dealings, and with increased user ownership in Web 3, corporate censorship or blockages online will be a thing of the past.
With Web 3, the most significant benefit for all dealings is that it effectively cuts out the middleman. Say, for instance, if you have all your money in the bank. In order to make or receive any payments, you have to coordinate via the bank as your middleman. On Web 3, this is a thing of the past. Instead, you liaise directly with the people you’re doing business with on the blockchain, enabling you to cut out the middleman entirely and waive unnecessary fees and time constraints.
Not only that, but the decentralisation of platforms means that you can do so from any one platform to another seamlessly. Through the use of smart contracts, you can do business with anyone, anywhere, without having to navigate cross-platform permissions. This eliminates waste, increases efficiency and – above all – puts the power back in your hands.
Decentralisation on Web 3 also means that you have the capacity to monetise your own data. Where once Facebook or Twitter could monetise your data for advertisement purposes, now the onus is on you to use it however you see fit. Your entire online identity and holdings are in your control – which can be a blessing when managed correctly.
When it comes down to it, the most important takeaway for Web 3 is that it’s a revolutionary breakthrough technology that has substantial untapped potential, whether for business or personal use. Within the next five to ten years, the face of the internet is set to change.
Because with the integration of Web 3, a brand new layer of internet growth is upon us. We’ll see it in the blogs of Web 1. We’ll see it in the cross-platform possibilities on the social media sites that characterise Web 2. With Web 3, we’ll see just what we’re capable of when we put the control back in the hands of users.
The bottom line is that there’s no reason to be afraid to take the leap and embrace Web 3. With the help of a blockchain development company, you can embrace this brand new, innovative technology with open arms. Trust us when we say: Once you go decentralised, you won’t go back.
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