Teun Kerkhof - 29 September 2021

The Next Phase Of The Web

Introduction

If you have followed blockchain and crypto related news, you might have come across the concept “Web 3”. This suggests that we are in a third stage of the web, but you might be wondering what this stage exactly entails? 

This post will educate you on the history of the internet, from Web 1, to Web 2, and Web 3. Additionally, we will explain the importance of blockchain and decentralization in web 3. 

Web 1

The era of Web 1 spun from 1990 up until the 2000s. During this time there were very few internet users and they were limited in what they could do on the web. Commonly, people refer to Web 1 as the static web, or read-only web. Internet users could only view sites and the pages did not offer any interactive features like we know and love. Most of the content was directly stored in the website files and not in a separate database. 

Web 2

As people began exploring the possibilities of the internet, they were also inventing and innovating a lot of things from Web 1. After 2000, the internet gradually transitioned from a static web to a more dynamic web. Web 2 is often referred to as the read-write web, because users are now able to interact with sites and other users. Radically new applications were created on the Web 2 as opposed to Web 1, such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc. It really marked the birth of social media. On the technological side there was also a lot of innovation, like HTML5 and Javascript frameworks.  

Web 3

According to some, the next phase is Web 3 is almost here. Web 3 will be the read-write-execute web and refers to the evolution of web utilization and interaction. Many view this as the transition of the web to a database (blockchain). Another important aspect of Web 3 is the role of computers and machines as they now can interpret information like humans via Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (a good example is Siri). 

The aim of Web 3 is to make the internet a more user-centric experience in which decentralization plays an important role. Nowadays the companies are in control of your data, but with Web 3 users control their own data privacy and ownership. Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are the best examples of Web 3 development. They facilitate Peer-to-Peer activity through dApps (decentralized applications). These dApps are powered by smart contracts that run on a decentralized blockchain network. This system cuts out the middleman and thus creates a Peer-to-Peer environment. Additionally, because the blockchain is handled by a network of nodes, there is no central repository for all the data. Rather, it is shared on the blockchain and accessible for everyone. A good example is of course Ethereum, but there are other crypto projects trying to innovate existing products/services on the blockchain. 

Ocean Protocol builds a tokenized layer for businesses and individuals to exchange and monetize data and data-based services. This is done in a permissionless and decentralized manner, whilst also ensuring that data does not leave the hands of those who store it. Another great example is Syntropy that is revolutionizing and decentralizing the current internet framework. It enhances key features of the internet, such as security, privacy, governance, and performance. This is done through a network of nodes and the tech they developed over the years. These protocols, like Web 3, are still in development stages. 

Conclusion

There is no doubt that soon Web 3 will be reality. There is a demand for a more user-centric web that is not dependent on and controlled by large companies. However, now it is still fairly undefined and in development. Ethereum and other crypto related projects have proven that Web 3 is viable and usable, but now comes the hard part: adoption. When one says “I’m curious to see what Web 3 is like over 5 years”, you also say “how is crypto doing in 5 years”. Both go hand in hand together, and there is no doubt in our mind that both are here to stay.