Why are we moving to Web3? What are the challenges of Web2 that bring the necessary need of redefining the World Wide Web? To answer these questions reasonably, lets have a brief retrospective of the Web.
With the emerging WWW in 1991, Tim Berners-Lee introduced the new standard that enabled the creation of visually appealing websites with few lines of code, and the ability to surf the Internet through links, rather than using command-line interfaces.
During the first era, most people didn’t have the knowledge and skill set of creating user-friendly websites as well as the ease of access to acquire that knowledge. It would take a decade to figure out how to make practical and effective use of webpages beyond the extent of online directories. The emergence of Web2 brought consumers and producers closer than ever, revolutionizing social interactions.
After the Internet’s mass adoption run of thirty years, the architectures of data transfer are still based on the concept of storing and managing data on centralized servers.
Centralization ≠ Trust
With each interaction that we make on the web, copies of our data are sent to servers of services providers. Therefore, even though we are living in an increasingly connected world, our data is mostly disconnected from our control. Furthermore, the data, in some sense, is given away for free and, in some occasions, even without our consent.
All of this brings up issues of trust between institutions and the end user. Current centralized data structures raise concerns regarding the security and control of personal data, as well as producing numerous inefficiencies along the supply chain of goods/services.
The roots of these issues date back to the early days of the Internet. The most elemental fact here is that the Internet was built around the idea of a stand-alone computer – storing and managing data in centralized entities acting as the third party between consumers and producers.
The Web2 era may have broadened the scope of changing the everyday course of the human for the better, though there was always a middleman involved – a trusted platform acting as the intermediary. These platforms led to the creation of a peer-to-peer (P2P) economy at a global scale. Meanwhile, they were the ones that were dictating all the rules and controlling all of their users’ data.
Moving to Web3 = Redefining Governance
If we compare our current period to the early days of the Web, we are at a very similar stage of transition regarding the understanding and acknowledgement of what we can achieve with cryptographically secured blockchain networks that power Web3 infrastructure.
The potential of transforming many industries as well as governmental institutions is on the cards with the upcoming stage.
Rebuilding the infrastructure of governance itself is the one key prospect that makes Web3 very appealing. This initiative is tackling many problems of today’s Internet, mainly:
- The lack of transparency regarding the supply chain of goods, services and payments.
- The lack of an inherent payment settlement layer for the Internet. (This forces us to rely on third-party platforms such as Amazon or Airbnb)
- The fact that we have no adequate knowledge and control over what happens with our private data.
A key element of Web2 was its front-end revolution of the Internet, and now Web3 reinvents the backend. Web3 enables collaborative data management by a P2P network of computers. These protocols ensure the settlement of agreements by people who do not know or trust each other over the Web.
An attempt to manipulate data on a centralized server resembles breaking into a house. Web3 takes this task’s difficulty and magnifies it. It now requires you to break into multiple houses around the globe at the same time. This is possible in theory but stupidly expensive by design.
So why are we moving to Web3? This new Web fundamentally changes the underlying structure of the Internet.
Assuming that the World Wide Web revolutionized the channeling of information, and Web2 revolutionized the interaction of the Internet, then Web3 puts forward the potential of revolutionizing the conduction of agreements and value exchange.