Is Web3 Really the Future of Web? Privacy or Paradox? [Updated 2022]
About 33 years ago, British scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web (WWW). It was initially found to fulfill the demand for automated information sharing among scientists in different universities and other institutes. As time passed, the use of the World Wide Web increased, and it became popular over time.
Nowadays, it is used in different areas, and we cannot imagine our lives without it. Due to our dependency on the Internet, some tech giants dominate the industry, owning our personal information in exchange for providing us with Internet-related services. But, according to some blockchain enthusiasts, Web3 will change this forever, and these giants will no longer dominate the industry. So, let's see what Web3 is and will it actually provide us some privacy or is it just a paradox?
What is Web3?
Web3 is the next generation of the Internet, focused on decentralization and shifting the power from the big tech companies to the individual users. It is aimed to decentralize the power held by big companies such as Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, etc., as they hold more power than needed. It can also be called as "read/write/own" phase of the Internet, where the user will not only be the customer or the product but will be the shareholder. In Web3, the services are available in the form of DAPPS (Decentralized Applications) that run on the blockchain.
However, what I am trying to say is that what happens on the decentralized Internet is decided by the blockchain members, and what happens on the leading Internet today is decided by big companies like Twitter, Google, Facebook, etc. So, how did these companies become the owner of the Internet? Here is a brief history!
History of Web:
Since its foundation, the World Wide Web has evolved a lot, and we all have seen the impacts of this evolution on our daily lives. Let's learn about how it all started:
In 1993, Tim Berners-Lee released the first-ever web browser for people to access the World Wide Web while working at CERN. It was called Web 1.0 and consisted of only some web pages with text-based information or images. Web 1.0 lasted for about 13 years, i.e., from 1991 to 2004. In those days, the websites were all static, there were no interactive interfaces, all the information presented was static, and no databases were maintained at the backend. The developers of those websites created the content. Most users could only access the content and hence were the consumers. It can also be thought of as a read-only web.
With the arrival of Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other similar sites, Web 2.0 came into existence, also known as the interactive or social web. In Web 2.0, you can be a content creator without being a web developer. Many applications that you use today are built upon the Web 2.0 model that allows you to share a thought, record a video and let millions of people see, react and interact with it or share a beautiful image you captured. With the help of Web 2.0, more and more people are becoming creators.
What Led to Web3?
Although Web 2.0 is remarkable in its current form, some things need to be improved, which led to the foundation of Web3. Here are some of those factors:
- Monetization: In Web 2.0, the leading companies gather their users' data and use it to show them personalized ads to increase their revenue advertisements. These companies also sell users' data to other advertisers and political campaigns.
- Security and Privacy: In Web 2.0, security and privacy are also the major concerns due to centralized systems. The applications built upon Web 2.0 architecture experience security breaches rapidly. Some tech giants even gather their user's data without their consent. They have complete control over it, and they use your data in whatever way they want. Once they own your data, you have no more control over it. In this way, you do lose all control over your privacy. As a result, certain government bodies can intrude into your privacy and block you from availing of some services.
The Web3 is intended to tackle these shortcomings of Web 2.0 and provide you with a decentralized web where the users have complete control over what they will share with other companies or applications.
Is Web 3.0 the Future?
According to Web3 enthusiasts, decentralized services are essential, and blockchain's non-censorable nature can achieve it. Along with recovering from the shortcomings of Web 2.0, Web3 has the following characteristics:
Usually, the developers do not build and develop applications that rely on a single server. In Web 3.0, the applications are hosted on blockchains, decentralized networks with many peer-to-peer nodes, or cryptoeconomic protocols formed by both.
How Web 3.0 Works?
In Web3, the users have the power to control how certain applications collect their data and how it is stored. For this purpose, Web 3.0 protocols work around a token-based economy. These tokens are called cryptocurrencies and are held by the users who want to govern the platform and become the shareholders of the platform's success. Anyone entering the Web 3.0 protocols via its cryptocurrencies autonomously becomes a stakeholder. Web 3.0 lets the creators claim ownership of their content and can monetize it without any third-party intervention.
Although it sounds good that you will have privacy and power in Web 3.0 but here are some drawbacks and challenges that come with Web3:
The Permanence of Web3 Content
If you have ever learned about the blockchain, you must know that anything uploaded on the blockchain is permanent and cannot be changed or deleted by anyone over the network or outside the network. In Web 2.0, a website can be taken down, restricted, or blocked for any reason, and the posts can be removed, but on Web 3.0, once something is uploaded, it stays there forever. This brings in the first challenge for Web 3.0, as hate speech and ill-advised rants will stay there forever, and even the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will not be able to take the undesired content down.
Waste of Energy
According to some experts, blockchain is the worst way of using computing power. The cryptocurrency mining process requires racks of computers stringed together, which is an irresponsible waste of energy when the world is already facing a dire climate crisis.
Increased Scams and Frauds
Some industry professionals also believe that Web 3.0 may give more chances to scammers and may lead to an increase in fraudulent activities. Web3 is full of incompetence, costly flaws and scams, such as the projects that vanish once the organizers have collected the money from you.
Web 3.0, in its current state, is not so user-friendly that it makes it less usable. Not many people can understand a complex system like blockchain.
Some other drawbacks
Because Web 3.0 fully supports the decentralization of the services, there is not much strategy for consumer protection. Moreover, the blockchains exist in silos, and it is difficult to swap from one blockchain to another. The transaction speed in the blockchain is also slow, and the transaction fee sometimes exceeds thousands of dollars.
Is Web3 a Real Solution?
Unless some technology does not overcome the issues mentioned above, a decentralized Web cannot be formed. Along with decentralization, people want fast, slick, secure and intuitive systems, and Web3 does not provide that. So, from this discussion, we can conclude that this debate will continue in the future as Web 3.0 may take over the web but it will not revolutionize the world as Web 1.0, and Web 2.0 did.