With the recent hype and noise from the web 3.0 quarters, you might just think this is yet another “What is Web 3.0?” article. This is different, this is a journey, one focused on demystifying concepts, clearing doubts and boosting your confidence to understand what the noise has been about.
In this piece or series, we would be explaining web 3.0 from the developer’s stand point, what it is all about, the stack, the architectures and building blocks or whatever consist of the whole philosophy called web 3.0.
Getting down to the preliminary, web 3.0 is simply the era of the internet where users have control over their data, where blockchain and decentralisation sit at the helm of data collation and the key to those data resides with the users of the web.
Consider this pictorial illustration that represent the core features of web 3.0:
Now let’s look at Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 in brief, before we understand how Web 3.0 will be different.
The World Wide Web was designed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990. The internet was highly specialised at the time, mainly used by researchers and scientists. As browsers developed, the World Wide Web became more accessible to the general public. And thus Web 1.0 was born. Web 1.0 was the first version of the World Wide Web from the mid-1990s to 2004. At that time, the web was mostly static. Many of the websites had static web pages that provided information. Most users didn't create any content and there were some users who created personal web pages, but they couldn't leave comments for other readers.The functionalities were limited. Additionally, all data was stored in the server's file system, not in a database. Therefore, the web was decentralised. It was powered by a personal computer of Berners Lee. It was accessible by all and it does require a lot of technical expertise to use it. To make the internet accessible and easy-to-use for everyone, new sites and platforms appeared around the year 2000. These platforms made the internet truly accessible to everyone around the world.
A new version of the web called Web 2.0 emerged sometime around 2004-2005. We are still using this iteration of the web to this day.
How was Web 2.0 different from Web 1.0?
Unlike Web 1.0, where information was gained, Web 2.0 is more about exchanging information. The internet became easier to use, more accessible to the common man, and supported multiple platforms after smartphones appeared. As websites like Google, Amazon, and Facebook emerged, the internet became more interactive and social. The internet gave people the ability to exchange stories and connect to each other around the world.
Also with the development of smartphones and tablets, mobile internet access was available to people. Now the internet was full of user-generated content. Anyone could share information because the internet had become easy. This was possible due to the centralization of data. Earlier, during the time of Web 1.0, the web data was stored on personal server filesystems. Because of the sheer volume of internet users, the data became too large to maintain, so a central database was created. So every post and profile on Facebook was now stored on Facebook's central server, where it became both more organised and more dynamic. This means that people could easily interact with the web by commenting, sharing, liking, and poking.
Additionally, it became more accessible. Be it a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, users could access various social media platforms, websites, and apps. The Web 2.0 revolution turned users into creators. Visitors could post videos or make vines. Today there are millions of apps and websites, each vying for dominance.
Quite simply, Web 3.0 is the third version or iteration of the internet. Basically, it is a collection of ideas and principles that make the internet's data accessible to everyone. Decentralisation, transparency, and user utility are driving forces behind the third iteration of the web.
To understand web 3.0, let’s look at these core features:
The main feature of web 3.0 is decentralisation. Data will be decentralised unlike now (Web 2.0) where we have our databases and applications hosted on centralised servers. Blockchain and its technologies will see to the new era of the web where data is shared across decentralised servers and there is no central ownership by any authorities. Users' information, privacy and security are key here. Users of the web have the ultimate power to do with their data whatever it pleases them to do.
Trustless and Permissionless
Blockchain is a fundamental feature of Web 3.0. This technology will enable developers to create open and transparent data stores, which will lead to the dawn of the third generation of the internet. Using blockchain, all data exchanges and transactions are secure and transparent. There will be copies of the data store on each system (PC) in the decentralised network. This means that anyone on the network can access and modify the data. The access to your data does not require authorization from a central party. The data will be free of any obstruction by a single organisation or bias towards users.
Web 3.0 will be more connective and ubiquitous. Meaning the web will be everywhere. Smart devices will keep the people constantly connected and accessible to the internet. This is already a possibility with the Internet of Things (IoT) giving us smartwatches and driverless cars. But Web 3.0 aims to connect to everyone across the world without any software or hardware limitations.
The internet of today understands the syntax rules. But in Web 3.0, the internet would understand semantic rules too. This would be possible through advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Semantic web was the original idea of Web 3.0. The ability to understand human languages, process the context, the emotion, the implications, and the slang that makes up a human language are all we expect from Web 3.0 technologies.
Moving forward in this series, we will be dissecting the web stack for the new kid in the block, Web 3.0. We will get to know what technologies are involved, how they fit into the qualities of a decentralised web and how the interaction happens from user to product and vice versa. This pictorial chart below will help us to know the Web 3.0 technologies discussed in the series following this prelude.