Blockchain, much like IoT and AI, is a buzzword among modern tech enthusiasts. A decentralized, permanent, public ledger system to record data, it is a revolutionary technology behind entities such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Because a blockchain offers robust security and has no central ownership of data, it is all set to lead the way for newly emerging trends in the technological field.
This article explores how blockchain is paving the way for a new version of the internet called Web 3.0 or simply Web 3. However, before we do that, let's discover what is a blockchain and Web 3.0.
The ‘Block’ and ‘Chain’ in Blockchain
David Chaum was amongst the first to envision a model for blockchain technology. However, it wasn’t until 2008 that blockchain gained much momentum, until Satoshi Nakamoto presented his whitepaper on the subject.
Put simply, a blockchain is a permanent database, consisting of blocks of information, one linked to the other. The information in these blocks is immutable, meaning that any modifications in the information in a particular block would result in the creation of a new one. Thus, information stored within a block remains unchanged. This new block, in turn, is linked to the previous one, forming a chain of blocks that record all modifications in the underlying data. As new transactions occur, new blocks keep getting added to the chain.
The data in a blockchain is decentralized, meaning that it is not under control of a single entity. Rather, all computers or nodes participating in blockchain transactions contribute to its safety and maintenance. It is precisely this non-tamperable and immutable security paradigm of blockchain technology which makes it a magical ingredient that technical chefs look forward to using in newer recipes.
Let's now explore how blockchain could birth a new version of the internet: Web 3.0.
The Way Toward Web 3.0
The internet is everyone’s go-to place. Filled with the most exciting and informational content, we all use the internet everyday. The first version of the internet, Web 1.0, came about in the early 1980s. It was far less nuanced than the current version of the internet and had a small user base that created content for many . The current avatar of the internet, Web 2.0 evolved directly from Web 1.0. It came with the added possibility that enables each user to be a participant in activities across the internet.
Web 3.0, a future version of the internet, would now spearhead a new revolution in the internet and aim to combat some of the shortcomings of Web 2.0. The keyword in this change is decentralization.
What is Web 3.0?
Web 3.0, also called the Semantic or decentralized web, is the next big thing in the evolution of the internet. Its vision is to overcome the shortcomings of Web 2.0 by utilizing the latest technologies to create a more intelligent, connected, and user-focused experience. Web 2.0 relies on centralized servers and entities to store user data. With data breaches appearing in the headlines frequently, one can never be sure if their data is truly secure. By envisaging a future where our data is no longer monopolized by centralized entities, Web 3.0, built upon blockchain technology could solve data and ownership issues synonymous with Web 2.0
Blockchain: Powering Up Web 3.0
Web 3.0 seeks to make the best use of blockchain's decentralization to shift control and ownership of data back to individuals from central entities and servers. By leveraging the decentralized nature of blockchain, Web 3.0 applications can guarantee data security and enable transparent peer-to-peer transactions without involving any middlemen. The most significant advantage that this merger holds is the potential to construct new infrastructure for the internet.
This not only safeguards users’ data but also empowers individuals. It, in a way, empowers users to decide how, when and with whom they share their data. No more will users have to depend on centralized data silos that auction off their information to the highest bidders. Web 3.0 would also usher in support for decentralized apps (dApps) that further follow the same principle. Such user-controlled and user-administered data repositories that Web 3.0 promises to create will reshape the way we interact with the digital landscape.
Another important aspect of blockchain integration into Web 3.0 is the rise of decentralized marketplaces. Here, users can carry out transactions directly with each other without needing an intermediate service. Removing third parties also removes the commission costs associated with the transactions. This will give rise to a peer-to-peer economy that promises greater efficiency, transparency, and inclusivity in various industries, ranging from finance and supply chain to content creation and intellectual property management.
Web 3.0 is posited to be a smarter version of the current internet, making greater use of cutting-edge technologies like AI and IoT. Once ready, it would work its magic across sectors that transcend finance. With clear control over data, it can transform the way users and businesses across sectors, such as healthcare, supply chain or banking handle data.
The road toward the actualization of Web 3.0 looks promising. However, one cannot ignore the possible concerns associated with such a version of the internet. One of such concerns is scalability and associated costs. Another is the risk of identity. Without a central governing agency, how are disputes between parties to be settled ? There are many more such questions to be asked.
However, with developers working hard to overcome such problems, we may see new activity in this domain sooner than we expect. If realized properly, the dream of Web 3 could shape up a much better reality.