Distributed trust and assets
First things first, Web 2.0 is the internet as we currently know it - interactive experiences and user-generated content, largely driven by three core layers of innovation: mobile, social and cloud - Uber, Airbnb, Facebook and Instagram.
"Web2 applications bundled data storage and application logic. The paradigmatic shift in Web3 is the unbundling of data and application logic. By unbundling what was previously bundled, data owners won’t need to trust application providers with their data."
Web3 is about self-sovereign ownership and control of data, enabled by networks which are now decentralized, without a central server that owns and controls user data.
Users own their own encrypted data on architecturally open networks like the Interplanetary Filesystem (IPFS), and interact with one another using cryptographically signed messages on smart contract platforms, an peer-to-peer distributed hypermedia protocol. IPFS acts as a combination of Kodemila, BitTorrent, and Git to create a distributed subsystem of the internet.
HTTP vs IPFS
Today, internet monopolies use consumer data against the best interest of their users (e.g. unauthorized sharing and selling of user data or pervasive web surveillance). Furthermore, data monopolies prevent innovation by limiting the types of applications that can be built on top of these valuable datasets. When users own their own data, data monopolies will crumble, and massive new opportunities emerge.
Cloud commoditized the production and maintenance of internet pages & applications mostly today within numerous, vast data centers located around the world. Companies could shift from buying and maintaining their own expensive and dedicated infrastructure upfront to renting storage, compute power and management tools on the go. Millions of entrepreneurial experiments did benefit from low-cost resources that scaled as their businesses grew.
Web 3.0 is an even more fundamental disruption:
‘Open’ in that they are built from open source software built by an open and accessible community of developers and executed in full view of the world
‘Trustless’ in that the network itself allows participants to interact publicly or privately without a trusted third party
‘Permissionless’ in that anyone, both users and suppliers, can participate without authorization from a governing body
Web 3.0 is built largely on three new layers of technological innovation: edge computing, decentralized data networks and artificial intelligence which enable unprecedented new features:
Semantic Web: Enhanced web where content is analyzed based on the meaning of words
Artificial Intelligence: Focuses on natural language processing where computers will understand the information more like human in order to provide faster and relevant results
3D Graphics: The Three-Dimensional design will be used in websites and services to provide a clear picture to the users. For instance: museum guides, computer games, etc.
Connectivity: Information is connected to meta-data which helps to users to fetch accurate information
Ubiquity: Every device around you will be connected with the web which means content will be accessible everywhere
While in Web 2.0 recently commoditized personal computer hardware was repurposed in data centers, the shift to Web 3.0 is spreading the data center out to the edge, and often right into users hands. Large legacy data centers are being supplemented by a multitude of powerful computing resources spread across phones, computers, appliances, sensors and vehicles which are forecast to produce and consume 160 times more data in 2025 as compared to 2010 (IDC).
"Decentralized data networks are making it possible for these data generators (from an individual’s personal health data, to a farmer’s crop data, or a car’s location & performance data) to sell or barter their data without losing ownership control, giving up privacy or reliance on third-party middlemen."
Artificial intelligence & Machine learning have become powerful enough to create useful, indeed sometimes life-saving, predictions and actions, far beyond targeted advertising into areas like precision materials, drug design and climate modelling.
Why all this matters:
Societies can become more efficient by disintermediating industries, reducing rent-seeking third parties and returning this value directly back to the users
Humans, enterprises and machines can share more data with more privacy & security assurances
We can future-proof entrepreneurial & investment activities by virtually eradicating the platform dependency risks we observe today
We can own our own data & digital footprints by using provable digital scarcity of data & tokenized digital assets
Through ‘modern mutual’ ownership and governance of these new decentralized systems of intelligence and sophisticated & dynamic economic incentives, network participants can collaborate to solve previously intractable or ‘thinly spread’ problems
"The forthcoming wave of Web 3.0 goes far beyond the initial use case of cryptocurrencies. Web 3.0 will cryptographically connect data from individuals, corporations and machines, leading to the rise of fundamentally new markets and associated business models."
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Sources: ConsenSys, International Data Corporation, Fabric Ventures, IWS FinTech