- Is There A Need For Web 3.0?
In today’s article we would like to explore Web 3.0 through the eyes of the legendary Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum and creator of Polkadot.
In our previous articles we’ve talked quite a bit about Web 3.0 and how it would affect our future and present. We’ve covered the evolution of Web 3.0, the reason it’s not creating mass adoption just yet, and its core features.
However, today we’re going to discuss other aspects of Web 3.0 from Gavin’s stance and see if there is a true need for the technology or is it just a bunch of fuss.
When talking about Ethereum and blockchain technology in general Gavin admits that there’s definitely room for improvement in scalability and compatibility, sometimes he’s even doubtful if the solution is there.
“These days, with key components still missing or dysfunctional, with scalability still wanting, and many projects suffering from compatibility problems, I don’t always find it easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or how we will get there. But the important points are unchanged from before: Centralization is not socially tenable long-term, and the government is too clumsy to fix things.”
We definitely agree on this point, and believe that it’s not in the government’s best interests to introduce a safer and a better Internet for its users, rather the opposite, to control privacy, information, and violate our security.
“What precisely is wrong with the web today?” Gavin asks. “In short, it’s a big baby. It has grown old without growing up. While connecting the far corners of the globe with a packet-switching network and hypertext platform is an incredible achievement, the web has become corrupted from its own success.”
We’ve talked numerous times about how NDN Link’s technology can address these issues with its data naming mechanism that replaces TCP/IP, an outdated protocol that in its core is creating most of the privacy, scalability, and speed problems that Web 2.0 is experiencing. Be sure to check out our early works on this topic here.
“Rewind to the 1990s and the internet was a very different place. Google was still a .org domain, open-source software was being described as “cancer” by one of the fiercest monopolists of all time [Steve Ballmer], and “information superhighway” and “internet addict” were gaining traction as terms for the newly anointed.”
Yes, that is true, payments were not yet available because e-commerce came later in the 2000’s, an era that is described as Web 2.0. Social media was also not around. The Internet was a place with a bunch of static pages with very little interaction. Most of the interaction started happening closer to the end of the 90’s with the appearance of Instant Messaging.
“Take how we pay for things online. On Web 2.0, you are not empowered to make payments per se. In reality, you must contact your financial institution to do it on your behalf. You are not trusted to do something as innocuous as pay your water bill. You are treated like a child appealing to a parent. If you wish to contact your friend online, then likely you will need to appeal to Facebook to relay your message.”
This holds true to this very day. Unfortunately, we put a lot of trust into third-parties and intermediaries that control not only information flow, but our finances. Gavin goes on explaining how in a split second those very intermediaries can cut us off and leave us stranded…
“Look at Wikileaks. In 2010, a broadly respected set of journalists that publishes information generally in the public interest was targeted and cut off by major financial institutions like PayPal and Visa without any legal grounds. If you wanted to give a perfectly legal charitable donation to Wikileaks, you effectively couldn’t.”
However, even though it may seem that we are helpless in these situations as Gavin described, we are, in fact, not.
“Web 3.0 is an inclusive set of protocols to provide building blocks for application makers. These building blocks take the place of traditional web technologies like HTTP, AJAX and MySQL, but present a whole new way of creating applications. These technologies give the user strong and verifiable guarantees about the information they are receiving, what information they are giving away, and what they are paying and what they are receiving in return.”
Web 3.0 is a wider range of technologies, tightly connected to blockchain. Bitcoin paved the way and made it possible. Stemming from Bitcoin, we’ve received a plethora of opportunities to introduce decentralization, distribution, trustless-permissions and many other concepts that were not available before. Ethereum, that Gavin co-founded, was the second phase that took the blockchain to a whole different level and made Web 3.0 more of a reality than a dream.
“If society does not adopt the principles of Web 3.0 for its digital platform, it runs the risk of continued corruption and eventual failure, just as medieval feudal systems and Soviet-style communism proved untenable in a world of modern democracies.”
“The adoption of Web 3.0 will be neither fast nor clean. With entrenched interests controlling much of our digital lifestyles, and interests often aligned between lawmakers, government and technology monopolists, some jurisdictions may even attempt to make components of the new web illegal.”
We can attest to that. There is plenty of statistical evidence showing how reluctant and oftentimes hostile the governments could be towards the concept of blockchain, Web 3.0, and especially cryptocurrency. Passing on legislations that prohibit the use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, filing lawsuits against various blockchain initiatives, etc.
“Aspects of this new system, including bitcoin or the InterPlanetary File System, will gain traction first, probably in niche areas, much as Linux found traction “under the radar” in server backrooms. As technology matures, and traditional firms inevitably slow their innovation and treat their products as cash-cows (see Microsoft), the advantages of Web 3.0 will grow.”
It is our belief that in order to achieve that kind of scenario, Web 3.0 must present ordinary folks with alternative options for products and services than the ones present in Web 2.0. They should not only be alternatives, but better solutions. Solutions that would disrupt Web 2.0 and create a binding relationship with its users to the point where they wouldn’t want to go back to the old ways of doing things. Kind of like Facebook and MySpace, or Google and AltaVista, you get it :)
“From a user’s point of view, Web 3.0 will look barely different from Web 2.0, at least initially. We’ll see the same display technologies: HTML5, CSS, and so on. On the back-end, technologies like Polkadot — Parity’s inter-chain blockchain protocol — will connect different technological threads into a single economy and “movement.”
Previously, we’ve been mentioning that Web 2.0 was a front-end revolution where we went from less appealing interfaces to modern and slick designs. However, Web 3.0 is a backend revolution where most of the action is happening behind the scenes that is not visible to the eye of the user.
“We’ll use web browsers, but they might be called “wallets” or “key stores.” Browsers (and components like hardware wallets) will represent a person’s assets and identity online, allowing us to pay for something, or prove who we are, without needing to appeal to a bank or identity service. There will still be room for trusted parties, insurance outfits, backup-services and so forth. But their tasks will be commoditized and their activity verifiable. As these service providers are forced to compete in a global, open and transparent market, web users will be relieved of price-gouging and rent-seeking.”
The blockchain industry has been introducing wallets, exchanges and other tools that have been replacing traditional financial tools and services. These tools provide us with more security because we control complete access to our funds with private keys, our data is not stored on centralized servers, and the rules of the network are agreed by the consensus of the majority rather than the dictation of rules by monopolists.
“Web 3.0 will engender a new global digital economy, creating new business models and markets to go with them, busting platform monopolies like Google and Facebook, and giving rise to vast levels of bottom-up innovation. Cheap government attacks on our privacy and liberty like widespread data trawling, censorship and propaganda, will become more difficult.
To be sure, we can’t predict the first successful use-cases of this new platform and when they might appear. As with the development of the internet before it, the timeline could be measured in decades rather than months. But when Web 3.0 emerges, it will bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “the Digital Age.”
And we say amen to that :) It’s going to be a bumpy ride, but it’s going to be a fun one. Blockchain and Web 3.0 are only getting started, so it’s never to get your ideas out there and start building the New Digital Age together.
- Date of publication:
- Thu, 01/14/2021 - 01:42
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