The internet as we know it is going through a significant evolution. This year alone, different platforms have come out with the promise of helping to ease our transition into Web3 – the next phase of the internet that focuses on user control and autonomy.
It’s understandable if you don’t even recognize how this evolution could affect you or what you stand to gain from it. For now, the current iteration of the internet is expected to be maintained for at least another decade or so. But, the change that is coming is inevitable. It might not happen now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not brewing.
After years of trusting and leaving our data in the hands of big corporations and centralized authorities, Web3 promises to grant users more freedom and autonomy to essentially do what they like. It is the first time in a while that many are having hope that the internet won’t eventually be turned into a tool for autocrats to run wild. So, given that Web3 is coming for us all, it is worth understanding what it is and how it could affect us.
The Introduction To Web3
Web3 was essentially a term coined by Gavin Wood – one of the co-founders of the Ethereum network – in 2014. At the time, Wood and other Web3 proponents claimed that the internet we know today suffers from excessive centralized control. Big tech platforms hold a vast majority of data, and they themselves remain obliged to abide by regulations from governments that aren’t necessarily equipped to hold and control the data that they’re overseeing.
Speaking in an interview with Wired Magazine, Wood explained that working with the current internet requires trusting centralized authorities. Sadly, these authorities haven’t been so great with accountability.
“Maybe companies tell the truth because they’re scared that their reputation will take a big hit if they don’t. But then, as we saw with some of the Snowden revelations, sometimes companies don’t get an opportunity to tell the truth,” Wood explained to the publication.
“Sometimes, security services can just install a box in their back office, and they’re told, ‘You don’t need to look at this box, you’re not allowed to say or do anything about this box, you just have to sit quietly,” he added.
For its proponents, Web3 is the version of the internet that doesn’t require us to give our personal information to big tech companies like Google and Facebook if we want to use their services. Instead, concepts like blockchain technology and artificial intelligence will power the internet and control the sharing and handling of information.
Besides data control, a Web3 infrastructure will also be permissionless. This means that anyone would be able to use these services without having to get permission from some service provider or the other.
Improving Security With Decentralization
The primary selling point of Web3 is the fact that people won’t need to trust centralized authorities with their data anymore. The innovation proposes switching to the blockchain – a ledger that keeps records of data and allows improved security across the board.
The aspect of data protection is one that many Web3 platforms are already exploring. A perfect example is the Super Protocol, which offers a combination of blockchain technology and cloud computing. The Super Protocol provides a much better alternative to centralized cloud computing services, which hold the majority of the data and can restrict users. With this tool, you get to control how your data is transferred.
The Super Protocol is community-driven and censorship-resistant. It also holds the value of data confidentiality paramount. Your data and applications are entirely in your control, and unauthorized access is impossible here.
Thanks to platforms like these, we’re seeing better applications for blockchain. It promotes confidential computing through its trustless and permissionless architecture. No one can have access to your most sensitive data without your express consent. In theory, the blockchain prevents any bad actors from misusing or abusing data since everyone knows what happens to a piece of data at every point.
We’ve already seen the perfect iteration of blockchain with cryptocurrencies. Just as digital asset blockchains are designed to prevent crimes like double-spending, a blockchain-focused internet would theoretically improve the ease and efficiency with which data is recorded while preventing manipulation.
Also, since data will be stored on decentralized networks, there won’t be gatekeepers. No entity will have control of your data, so they can’t restrict you from accessing the internet or some other service you need. Essentially, this will give a lot more people access to the internet than before.
Improved Tracking With Artificial Intelligence
There’s also the role of artificial intelligence, which enables devices to be smarter and operate better to achieve set goals. Thanks to artificial intelligence, websites will be better at curtailing malicious content and anything that is away from the goal of providing information. From bots and click-farm websites to other unnatural internet concepts, artificial intelligence is expected to reduce them all.
A good example of a Web3 application is a peer-to-peer payment system built on a blockchain. People can pay for a good or service using this platform, instead of going to a bank. Transactions are processed, verified on networks, and then added to a blockchain. This way, everyone can check the details of the transaction to ensure that there is no fraud.
A payment system such as this will be a benefit to people with low levels of financial inclusion or those who have been banned from certain payment service providers. It is an inclusive environment for everyone, and it will all be available through the use of Web3.
While it will take years for this evolution of the internet to come alive there is no doubt that it is here, and proponents are as excited as ever for what it could bring.