As per a recent report from Dove Metrics, 438 Web3 companies have raised over $4.5 billion in funding so far. But with the idea behind Web3 still somewhat vague, are these investments going to offer good results? Well, only time can tell. In the meanwhile, let us help you understand what Web3 really is and how it compares to Web 3.0.
If you are an active user of the world wide web, you must already know how the internet has changed over more than two decades to become how we know it today. Before we head to what is rightly called the talk of the town, Web3, let us first take some time to observe the timeline to find out what has led us here.
Web 1.0, the read-only web, comprised of static content that lacked any interactive design components. After Web 2.0 emerged in 2004, internet users were finally able to engage with the content they saw. Thanks to the social connectivity offered by Web 2.0, the world witnessed the formation and rise of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and every other name you can possibly come up with. From a ‘content delivery network’ in 1989 to ‘web as a platform’ in 2004, the change was massive and significant.
Now, that brings us to the next generation of the web, Web 3.0, also known as the semantic web. Web 3.0 is aimed at taking interconnectivity to an entirely new level by making everything on the internet interoperable. Sounds great, right? However, there’s a caveat – Web3. There are some tech experts that believe Web3 to be the evolution of Web 3.0, but that is not exactly true. Let us try to find out why.
What is Web3?
To clear the air around Web3, for starters, it is decentralized and open source blockchain technology. It can largely be described as a combination of three things – decentralization, community, and culture. While Web 2.0 was largely controlled by the internet giants such as Amazon and Google, the fundamental idea behind the creation of Web3 was to give the ultimate control back to the users through blockchain technology and decentralized storage.
Now, blockchain is an emerging system of recording information in a way that changing or modifying it without the user’s approval becomes next to impossible. Every transaction that takes place on the blockchain is synchronized across a decentralized network along with timestamps, making it hard to tamper with. Enterprise blockchain solutions & services, too, are on the rise.
The easiest way of understanding how Web3 works would be considering the example of a cryptocurrency wallet. Even though crypto wallets such as MetaMask and Rainbow among others engage with other blockchain apps on the internet, but still the data stored inside a wallet always remains secure. This security is courtesy of encryption. At the end of the day, every bit of your data is for you to manage.
Aren’t Web3 and Web 3.0 the same?
The striking difference between Web3 and Web 3.0 is that while the former prioritizes intelligence and efficiency through interconnectivity, the latter focuses on allowing the users to have complete control over their data on the internet.
In addition to having two evidently different motives, they both operate on different technology stacks even to serve their only common goal – data security. While Web3 uses blockchain technology, Web 3.0 operates on several data interchange technologies such as SPARQL, OWL, SKOs, and more.
Another significant difference between the two lies in the way data is modified on Web3 and Web 3.0. The interconnectivity in Web 3.0 makes modification and/or deletion of data somewhat difficult as compared to seamless control in Web3.
Is there any similarity between the two?
Other than their founders’ shared vision of creating a better version of the internet, Web3 and Web 3.0 have nothing in common. Here, it must be brought to the readers’ notice that while there are several ongoing discussions on how one may be better than the other, it might be too soon to take sides given both the versions of the internet are still undergoing various experiments. It only makes sense to wait until they are both implemented in full-blown form.
Despite all their differences, there are several people who believe Web3 and Web 3.0 are somewhat alike. A larger section of the group goes on to say that the future of the internet or the next version of the internet would more or less be an amalgamation of the two. It would be interesting to watch how far or close the next version of the internet takes us to the utopian vision.
Imagine all the vital elements of Web 3.0 such as machine-readability combined with the excellence of Web3 – blockchain, better navigation across the internet, metaverse, and whatnot. As Web3 gains more popularity, we might also witness increased demand for AI/ML services.
Even though Web 3.0 sounded more practical, it is surprising that it never received the kind of popularity and attention Web3 seems to enjoy now. The benefits of Web3 such as decentralization, NFTs (digital assets), smart contracts, and more, are keeping the curiosity around it alive. In any case, blockchain technology will continue to do wonders.