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What is Web 3.0 and How Will It Change the Internet?

Basics of Cryptocurrency
Last updated August 6, 2020
Estimated Reading Time:
7 minutes, 38 seconds

Communication technology seems to be the fastest field to evolve. And as we have passed from web 1.0 to web 2.0, naturally, we are already making a bolt towards web 3.0.

What we know today as the internet evolved over the second half of the 20th century. In those times, a computer would take up an entire room to fit, although it performed just some basic operations. 

The research on data communication for computer networks started in the ‘60s, and by 1974, the base concept of the internet, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), was defined by Vint Cerf, Yogen Dalal, and Carl Sunshine.

In 1993 the internet made up 1% of the global communication landscape. By 2000 it went up to 51%, and more than 97% of the telecommunicated information by 2007.

Nowadays, the internet stands at the core of modern civilization. It brings communication between people, companies, and companies and people to a superior level. And as it seems this isn’t even its final form.

Web 1.0 – 2.0 – 3.0

Evolution of internet

Web 1.0 comes into the picture

In the ‘90s internet, 1.0 entered the communication field as the ‘read-only web’. You could only search for websites and read them. The websites were built using static HTML pages that only had the ability to display information

At first, you would have to go through website directories. Only after 2000 you could make use of some search engines with basic functionalities.

Believe it or not, the web 1.0 ‘era’ is the time when Yahoo was the MVP and Google was only dreaming to become the next Yahoo.

When did web 2.0 begin?

A more interactive form of the internet started forming up at the end of the ‘90s.

CSS wasn’t a thing in the early 2000s, so developers had to write thousands of rows of PHP, HTML, MySQL, and JS to customize a website a little more.

However, when the first version of Flash was launched in 1996, it revolutionized website design, allowing developers to create various websites that contained complex media like web applications, all kinds of games, videos, and images

Flash did provide some missing functionalities for a while. But as the devices evolved, so did the notion of acceptable load time, so it started bringing little value to modern browsers. 

As more and more designers and developers realized the benefits of Web standards, HTML5 and CSS3 websites started replacing the Flash-driven websites.

But the appearance of Facebook in 2004 is the milestone where the transition between web 1.0 to web 2.0 is quite clear. And the major platform based on custom generated content like Reddit (2005) Twitter (2006) Youtube (2007) that appeared afterward, reinforced the ‘read-write web’ forever. 

The web wasn’t there only for businesses to show up on a website. The common internet user received a voice. Thus reviews and testimonials became essential for marketing purposes.

Even more, since the emergence of smartphones in 2007, more and more people have got a fully functioning internet-connected device in their pockets.

So now, in web 2.0 we create blogs, we share videos, we write reviews, and we make voice searches. Furthermore, we use the internet at its full capacity from a tiny mobile device as a social tool, as an encyclopedia, for buying and selling, or as a weapon against brands.

So what’s going on with Web 3.0?

As the internet evolved, scientists started to look forward to what the web can become. The first concept related to web 3.0 comes from Berners-Lee in 1999 as the ‘semantic web’.

“I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘semantic web’, which makes this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.”

But as time passes, web 3.0 starts going beyond just the ‘semantic web’, encompassing artificial intelligence, interoperability, decentralization, and other matters.

The Web 3.0 definition

The Web 3.0 definition

Truth be told, there is no absolute definition of what web 3.0 means.

The semantic web

As mentioned before, in 1999 Bernes-Lee came with the concept of a ‘semantic web’ which should be capable of analyzing all the data on the internet, allowing the machines to handle many tasks without human intervention.

The intelligent web

However, the web 3.0 denomination appeared for the first time in 2006. The term was introduced by John Markoff of the New York Times, and refers to a supposed third generation of Internet-based services that collectively comprise what might be called ‘the intelligent Web.’

Generally, web 3.0 is thought to have the next 5 characteristics:

  1. Semantic Web – Web 3.0 goes beyond focusing on keywords and numeric values, so that it understands content like photo, video, or audio, and more complex associations between products, locations, and certain behaviors.
  2. Artificial Intelligence – Artificial intelligence software is able to decrypt natural language and understand intention. It can also recognize real from fake and provide more reliable data.
  3. 3D Graphics – The third generation of the internet should integrate the use of 3D graphics and VR technologies to provide results regarding real-life places, diverse products, and objects of interest.
  4. Connectivity – Within web 3.0, information is more connected through semantic metadata, leveraging all the available information.
  5. Ubiquity – Data silos are eliminated. Every device should be connected to the network and content operable by different applications.

The decentralized web

As the free to use web platform started taking a big share of the programmatic internet advertising, users started to fear more and more for their personal data. And as the Blockchain and cryptocurrencies emerged, the desire for decentralization grew more and more.

Therefore, the blockchain community is envisioning a web 3.0 which has the 5 characteristics mentioned above, but more importantly, is a peer-to-peer decentralized network. The ‘decentralized web’ employs the power of the blockchain technology to dissolve the need of centralized operators, working only with immutable encrypted data. 

Currently, the closest blockchain platform to web 3.0 is considered to be the Ethereum platform.

Are we in Web 3.0?

Are we in Web 3.0

Big tech companies are already implementing software that can analyze complex data and associate diverse parameters. We are even able to go on Google Maps to street-view cities from the other side of the planet. And we keep getting the feeling that the advertisers are listening to our conversation through our devices.

But, now that most people are accustomed to a very social and interactive web, questions of whether or not we’ve completely shifted to web 3.0 have been arising for years.

However, there is no reason to believe that we have left the web 2.0 zone. 

So the short answer is ‘not yet’. 

The artificial intelligence research is yet to give out a product that can be used efficiently on the internet. Currently, many applications are limited to run only on one operating system (be it, iOS, Android, Windows, or others).

And although VR is getting more developments, it still has a long way to go before being largely used.

However, we are quite close to web 3.0.

Web 3.0 Blockchain

Web 3.0 Blockchain

Inside the blockchain community, web 3.0 finds quite a few projects that approached the idea of a decentralized internet backed by cryptocurrency. One of the most promising such projects is Elastos.

Web 3.0 example: Elastos

Elastos is a Web 3.0 Blockchain platform that utilizes a side chain structure for the blockchain. It is a merge-mind sidechain on top of Bitcoin, therefore the BTC miners can mine Elastos at the same time.

The platform scales through the sidechain architecture, creating a fully distributed computer:

  • IDs operate on a dedicated sidechain;
  • Tokens operate on another sidechain;
  • And smart contracts have their own sidechain as well.

This way, Elastos is avoiding network clogs, executing sidechains that work in conjunction, and creating a distributed supercomputer.

Elastos gives ownership for the IDs to every device that runs on it and every asset that is available on dapps powered by it.

The Elastos runtime can work on a host operating system (Android or iOS), being able to run any dapp coded in C++. It also disables HTTP and HTTPS calls, and network packets by default.

Data is carried through the Elastos carrier network which is authorized through the blockchain secured IDs.

Key takeaways

  • The internet evolved over the second half of the 20th century.
  • In 1993 the internet made up 1% of the global communication landscape. By 2000 it went up to 51%, and more than 97% of the telecommunicated information by 2007.
  • Web 1.0 entered the communication field in the ‘90s as the ‘read-only web’. You could only search for websites and read them.
  • The apparition of Facebook in 2004 is the milestone where the transition between web 1.0 to web 2.0 is quite clear. In the ‘read-write web’, users are able to write content on a website, not only read it.
  • Web 3.0 is the next step in the evolution of the internet and is thought to come soon. Its core characteristics are Semantic Web, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Graphics, Connectivity, and Ubiquity.
  • The blockchain community is envisioning a web 3.0 which has the 5 characteristics mentioned above, but more importantly, is a peer-to-peer decentralized network. The ‘decentralized web’ employs the power of the blockchain technology to dissolve the need of centralized operators, working only with immutable encrypted data.
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