Not too long ago, we introduced the subject of the Metaverse. Put simply, this is a combination of different technologies (e.g., augmented reality and virtual reality) which creates a virtual world for users to interact in. The Metaverse is often tied to the development of Web 3.0, which some believe will be the next iteration of the internet.
But what does Web 3.0 actually mean, and how is it expected to shape the future of the internet?
Next, came Web 2.0, which is the current state of the internet. It isn’t known exactly when the shift from Web 1.0 to 2.0 began, and it doesn’t refer to any specific technical upgrades. Rather, it refers to a change in how the internet was used. The main difference between the two is that Web 2.0 has more user-generated content and better usability, which has created a new way of connecting people and enabling collaboration. Web 2.0 was also the beginning of the rapid expansion of social media.
Now that we’ve looked at Web 1.0 and 2.0, what would Web 3.0 involve? While some see it as just a buzzword, others believe that it will be the future of the internet. Put simply, Web 3.0 is the upcoming third generation of the internet, in which websites and apps will be able to process information through certain technologies such as machine learning (ML), Big Data and decentralised ledger technology (DLT).
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, described Web 3.0 as the “Semantic Web”, with content creation and decision-making processes that involve both humans and machines.
However, the primary attraction of Web 3.0 is that it will be decentralised, which means that users will have the ability to own and govern sections of the internet. It will also be permissionless, which means that central authorities won’t have the power to decide who gets access to certain services.
So, how does crypto come into all this?
It all comes down to decentralisation. Web 3.0 strives for openness and transparency, much like blockchain technology does. Web 3.0 aims to provide a decentralised environment that will allow users to communicate without the worry of their data being observed by a centralised authority. Search results, social media platforms, marketplaces and other services will run on the blockchain and be enabled by cryptocurrency. This in turn will allow for many unique developments, such as uncensored content and automated transactions. Web 3.0 would be a huge step towards the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.
There are already a number of tokens that are tipped to be big players in Web 3.0. These include:
BitTorrent Token (BTT) – a peer-to-peer file sharing and hosting protocol which aims to create a token-based economy and allow token holders to control networking and storage of resources.
Basic Attention Token (BAT) – aims to streamline commerce between publishers, advertisers and consumers. Users are rewarded with BAT tokens for viewing ad content based on their online activity.
Chainlink (LINK) – links real-world, dependable data to smart contracts using blockchain oracles. It achieves this by utilising multiple data inputs to eliminate any single point of failure in a smart contract, allowing the network to securely connect smart contracts with external data sources.
Despite high anticipation, Web 3.0 is still very much a work in progress and it isn’t clear when it will be fully implemented.
However, it may be closer than you think. There are several Web 3.0 applications already impacting technology. For instance, Apple’s Siri assistant has advanced rapidly in intelligence and ability since its release. Today, it can perform complex and personalised commands, such as recommending restaurants or booking personal appointments.
Another example is Wolfram Alpha, a computational knowledge engine that answers questions directly through computation, rather than providing a list of webpages like search engines do. An article by CoinMarketCap compared Alpha to Google by searching “England vs Brazil”. They found that Google showed results from the World Cup, despite the search not mentioning football. Alpha, on the other hand, provided a detailed comparison of the two countries. Another significant difference between the two is that Alpha allows users to input specific mathematical problems, while Google does not.
While it may not be here just yet, there is already a great deal being done to initiate Web 3.0. With a growing number of ambitious start-ups, new blockchain projects and the general progression of technology as a whole, we could see the next generation of the internet by the end of the decade.