It is unsurprising that conversations regarding the future of technology and the internet are occurring. Perhaps the most notable example is the heightened curiosity surrounding the metaverse, which has been further amplified following Facebook’s name change to ‘Meta’ to encapsulate its vision for the internet’s future.
There is much discussion surrounding the concept of Web3, with many people debating its potential to shape the future of the internet. This idea has proven to be both fascinating and controversial in equal measure.
Just What Is This Mysterious Web3?
Web3 is a term used to refer to the third generation of the internet, which suggests a new approach to the production and distribution of content across the web. It is believed to indicate a significant shift in the way people view the internet.
The World Wide Web first appeared in the early 1990s, with websites primarily consisting of static content and minimal user interaction. These websites usually featured text and low-resolution graphics, which was all that users could access at the time. This network is now known as Web1.
At the turn of the century, Web2 (or Web 2.0) began to emerge, bringing more user-friendly, interactive features to websites. The advent of social media at this time saw a major shift in how people used the internet, as users became more active in creating and sharing their own content through blogs, message boards and social media.
Despite being over two decades old, we are still making use of the same version of the internet. Contemporary cloud-based applications and platforms have seen significant improvements in comparison to their pre-cloud counterparts; yet, the core values of the internet, such as collaboration, social interaction, and the importance of content, have remained the same.
It is understandable why some people are so passionate about transitioning to Web3. With numerous issues, such as the spread of misinformation and criminality, currently facing the Internet, it is clear that drastic changes are needed. Therefore, when I suggest that we need to take radical steps to improve our online environment, it is not out of naivety.
Experts have voiced their support for Web3 due to its potential to enhance internet security and stability for general users. Web3 is more than just the third version of the internet, as previously suggested. It is an advanced distributed web architecture which gives more control to internet users.
Web3 has the potential to remove centralized control due to its decentralized design, which links together networks of independent nodes. This could, in theory, allow Web3 users to interact directly with each other, by sharing and reusing their social content (including complete “avatars”) across multiple platforms without the need for a third-party.
Next Steps in a Protracted Process
Web3 has immense potential, yet its widespread adoption is still some time away. Challenges that the web of the future will have to overcome, such as connectivity and agreement on protocol and standards, must be addressed before any smart contracts can be implemented. These difficulties need to be addressed in order to provide the necessary infrastructure for the success of Web3.
Furthermore, the internet may take various other courses in the future. Thanks to the backing of key technology firms, the metaverse is now a major rival. Nonetheless, Web3 and the metaverse do not have to be seen as mutually exclusive concepts.
Furthermore, the metaverse and Web3 share a salient feature: the capacity to maintain a single online identity across multiple platforms. Regardless of where your avatar visits in the metaverse – be it a Facebook virtual club, an online casino, or a virtual performance of your favorite band – its characteristics must remain consistent. This is what Web3 is striving to achieve, as each user’s identity will be stored locally instead of residing on a remote server, in contrast to the current situation of having multiple profiles across websites and platforms.
As we have a shared understanding of this concept, it is possible to envisage a future in which the metaverse is constructed on a Web3 platform. However, the question remains whether the largest tech firms will be willing to relinquish their roles as gatekeepers and proprietors. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, has expressed the ambition of the company to “create for the metaverse”, suggesting they wish to be part of a larger collective. Nevertheless, there is still some doubt.
Your limited experience with Web3 has certainly demonstrated that it is a fascinating concept worth exploring further. To date, it has acted as a demonstration of what could be achieved in the future with the web, showcasing many appealing features and advantages. However, with numerous variables and stakeholders involved, it is dangerous to assume that this paradigm shift will occur in the near future.
It is evident that Web3 has the potential to be a revolutionary concept, yet a significant amount of effort from Internet companies, software engineers, consumers, organizations, and governments is required to realize its potential.