What is Web 3.0? A Complete Guide
Web 3.0 is the next evolution of the world wide web. And in the past few years, web 3.0-related terms like blockchain and cryptocurrency have become more popular. Similar to previous iterations of the web, it is important that brands and business owners fully understand what this new and evolved version of the web is if they want to keep up with their competition. So in this article, we will see what Web 3.0 is, how it works, its pros and cons, and current real-life applications.
Let’s get started.
What is Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 also known as Web 3, is a concept for the next generation of the World Wide Web. The vision for Web 3.0 is that it will be a version of the internet that is both open and decentralized.
Decentralization means that the internet isn’t controlled by a single body like the government but by a community of members. It is millions of devices linked together in an open network.
Dr. Jeremy Guilla in a quote to the University of Syracuse says – “The Decentralized Web is like the World Wide Web we have today, filled with amazing, interactive content and information — the only difference is that the underlying architecture is decentralized so that it becomes much harder for any one entity (whether through malicious censorship or accidental failure) to take down any single web page, website, or service.”
So compared to its first iterations – Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, Web 3 is defined by three main characteristics: decentralization, openness, and increased user utility.
Web 3.0 is built using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the semantic web. It uses all this to process and interpret information with human-like intelligence. And for security, Web 3.0 uses the blockchain security system to keep information secure.
Features of Web 3.0
Web 3.0 integrates several technologies and concepts. So giving it a simple definition will not do it justice. The best approach will be to look at the key features that define the Web 3 framework.
1. Trustless and permissionless
Since Web 3.0 uses open-source software and is decentralized, users won’t have to seek permission from any controlling authority before they can access things on the internet. Simply put, people will be able to use the internet securely without the involvement of intermediaries.
And without intermediaries, people won’t have to worry about their data getting exposed. For the private exchange of data, information is sent directly from the sender to the receiver.
Web 3.0 is called ‘open’ because it is created by a community of open-minded developers with open-source software and can be accessed by the general public.
An advantage of an open web is that it significantly limits the potential of censorship or control of what people do on the web because all information will be open and not kept in select locations or servers. The blockchain also ensures that all digital assets recorded on Web 3.0 are unchangeable.
3. Artificial intelligence
The combination of technologies – Semantic Web, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and machine learning – is used to help computers better understand information with human-like intelligence so they can provide results faster and more personalized.
For example, NLP has grown from just performing tasks like auto-complete or spell checks to being able to read, understand, and get meaning from words or phrases. Voice assistants like Alexa and Siri make use of this technology. This is what spam filters also use to fish out spam emails.
4. 3-D Graphics
Three-dimensional designs and environments such as the Metaverse will be a key element in Web 3.0. In web 3.0, 3-D graphics will be used to create new levels of immersion not just in the gaming industry but other sectors like real estate, e-commerce, and health.
5. Connectivity and Ubiquity
Ubiquity means that people will be able to access internet services and content anywhere at any time via any number of devices. And this is because, with web 3.0, semantic metadata ensures that information on the web is more connected.
Blockchain technology protects and encrypts user data and information on web 3.0. This will prevent organizations and third parties from having control or selling users’ personal data.
Difference Between Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0
The first generation of the Web, also referred to as Web 1.0 and was invented by Tim Berners-Lee. Web 1.0 was a read-only web where people could only read information online but could not contribute. Any conversations about what was read on the internet were done offline. The main technologies that made up web 1.0 were:
- HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
- HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)
- URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
There were also no search engines in web 1.0. So before you could access a site, you will have needed to know the exact website address (URL). With the emergence of web 2.0, it became a lot easier to browse the internet.
The time frame for web 1.0 was 1989 to 2005.
The web 2.0 era started in 1999 and lasted till 2012. The term “web 2.0” was first coined by Darcy DiNucci in her article “Fragmented Future”. Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty further popularized it at a 2004 conference.
Web 2.0 is a read-write web. People can read and write content on websites and applications. This version of the web was focused on increasing interaction and collaboration among internet users. People started to engage with each other via blogs, forums, and social media platforms.
The key innovations that occurred during the web 2.0 era are:
- Mobile computing allows users to be connected to the internet at all times.
- Social media encourages people to engage with each other and also create content.
- Cloud computing allows for increased accessibility and collaboration. Cloud computing allows anyone, anywhere in the world to access data stored on the cloud.
Web 3.0 on the other hand is a read-write-interact web. It is powered by artificial intelligence and allows people to read, write, and interact with content, including the Metaverse and 3D graphics on websites and applications.
One key difference between web 3.0 and its predecessors is its decentralized nature and the use of blockchain for security. With web 3.0, internet users will own their data. Users will be able to sell or trade their data without relying on third parties or risking their privacy.
The term web 3.0 was coined by New York Times reporter John Markoff in 2006. But it wasn’t until 2012 that people became more aware of web 3.0. This was at the point where customers began to worry about how big corporations like Google, Amazon, and Facebook were using their data. Security and data privacy issues are two of the main reasons why more people are advocating for the full implementation of web 3.0.
How does Web 3.0 work?
When browsing the internet or using an application with web 2.0, the user interacts with the front end. Whatever action the user takes is communicated to the backend which then communicates with the database before a result is shown to the user through an internet browser or app. The entire code is also stored on centralized servers that have moderators. And because the code is on centralized servers, they are more prone to data breaches and privacy issues.
Web 3.0 does not have centralized web servers or databases. The blockchain is the foundation of Web 3.0.
So what’s the blockchain?
A blockchain is a system of recording data and information that makes it impossible to be changed, deleted, or hacked. The data on the blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions duplicated and distributed to all the network of computer systems in the chain.
Whenever new digital information is added or a transaction is made on the blockchain, a record is added to the ledger of every participant in the network. This means that if one block in the chain is tampered with, everyone in the network will know about it. So the only way hackers can tamper with the blockchain will be to change all the blocks in the chain. This is almost impossible and allows web 3.0 to be very secure.
Apps on the blockchain are also built on a decentralized state machine and are maintained by anonymous nodes on the internet. So anyone can build a blockchain application and deploy their code to the decentralized state machine. The logic behind your application is defined by smart contracts and is deployed to the decentralized state machine.
“A state machine is any device storing the status of something at a given time. The status changes based on inputs, providing the resulting output for the implemented changes.” – techopedia
To better understand how web 3.0 works, you need to understand the architecture of web 3.0.
Web 3.0 Architecture
There are four main elements that makeup web 3.0 architecture. All these elements work together in ensuring that a web 3.0 application works.
1. Ethereum Blockchain
This is the foundation of web 3.0 architecture. The Ethereum blockchain are accessible and decentralized state machines. Anyone can access the blockchain and write to it but cannot update the existing data. The blockchain is also owned by the community (everyone in the network), rather than a single institution.
2. Smart Contracts
These are programs stored on the blockchain and are only activated when predetermined conditions are met. They follow “if/when, then…” statements that are written into the blockchain code. So actions on the web will only be executed when the predetermined conditions have been met.
An example of an action will be releasing funds to another party. And when the transaction is complete, the blockchain is then updated. A smart contract also ensures that only parties who have permission can see the results of the transaction.
You should note that businesses can currently use smart contracts. For instance, let’s look at how Wedia DAM customers can use smart contracts when working on influencer marketing.
One of the biggest challenges businesses face when doing influencer marketing is finding a way to easily contract influencers and content creators directly. Brands usually will have to spend a lot of time finding the right influencers. And after they do, they will have to negotiate terms and deals and also manage payments.
Don’t forget that most times, there will be third parties involved in the exchanges between the influencer and the brand. But by making use of smart contracts, brands can streamline and automate the partnership process. There will be no need for intermediaries.
Smart contracts allow Wedia clients (Brands) to directly source influencer and user-generated content securely on the blockchain. And by running these smart contracts on the blockchain, brands can create binding contracts with creators, reduce legal friction, and be more transparent with information. Smart contracts also ensure that influencers are paid accurately and timely.
Process of running influencer campaign on Wedia with a smart contract
First, the influencers upload media into Wedia’s DAM portal and connect their social media accounts. The brand’s social media manager will then enter information and terms related to the contracts. After the influencer’s content has been validated and authenticated as NFT in the blockchain, the right control is automated through smart contracts. And after the campaign is over, the influencer is paid through Wedia’s payment processor. Wedia also allows brands to track the view count and performance of the media produced by the influencers. Check out the solutions Wedia offers.
3. Ethereum Virtual Machines
EVM executes the logic behind smart contracts. It also processes the state changes that occur on the globally accessible state machines.
And unlike smart contracts that are written with high-level languages like Vyper and Yul, EVM is executed by compiling high-level languages into bytecode.
The front-end in web 3.0 is similar to that of web 2.0. The front-end defines the user interface logic and also communicates the application logic that is defined in the smart contracts.
Advantages of web 3.0
Now that we have defined what Web 3.0 is, its differences from its predecessors, and how it works, let’s look at some of the advantages of web 3.0.
1. Increased data privacy and control
Web 3.0 allows for end-to-end data encryption on the blockchain; data is sent directly from the sender to the receiver without any break in transmission. The blockchain’s encryption is also unhackable and will ensure that data is kept safe and secure.
Users will have complete ownership of their information so big organizations cannot use this data for their own interest.
2. Fewer intermediaries
Companies will be able to connect directly with customers on the blockchain. There will be no need for intermediaries that will take a share of revenue through electronic transactions. But note that even though transactions in web 3.0 are trustless and decentralized, there will still be rules and regulations in place to ensure fairness and protect law/order.
3. Personalized web browsing experience
The semantic web offers a more personalized browsing experience. Web 2.0 is advanced enough to understand what words and phrases mean, but web 3.0 understands context and is better suited to recognize our preferences using artificial intelligence. Also, the enhanced data processing power from AI gives businesses the ability to conduct client demand forecasting. This will come in handy when building marketing strategies.
4. Uninterrupted and seamless services
In web 3.0, data is stored on distributed nodes in the blockchain. And since data storage is decentralized, users will get access to data at any time. Even government organizations cannot block any website or service. So there will be fewer instances of account suspensions or denial of services. Users also get multiple backups so they don’t lose their data if there are server failures.
5. Single profile creation
Users do not have to create individual profiles for different platforms on web 3.0. A single profile is all you need and it will work on any platform. And without the owner’s permission, no organization can access your data or verify its accuracy. However, users can decide to sell their personal data to businesses and advertisers.
6. Users cannot be restricted on the network
The blockchain is decentralized and accessible to all. So users are not restricted on the network based on factors like geographical location, gender, or income. A benefit of this is that people will be able to quickly transfer assets and funds anywhere in the world.
Disadvantages of web 3.0
Just like web 1.0 and web 2.0, web 3.0 is not perfect. There are still several challenges associated with web 3.0. Let’s look at some of the disadvantages of implementing web 3.0.
1. Advanced devices will be required
Web 3.0 makes use of advanced technologies like machine learning, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. Everyday devices cannot access web 3.0. Most people will have to invest in more advanced devices to fully use web 3.0. And currently, only a small percentage of the global population can afford the required devices.
2. Difficult to understand
Most people are hesitant to use web 3.0 because they don’t know how it works. Not everyone knows what AI and blockchain are about. And coupled with the fact that you need advanced devices to handle web 3.0, it is not popular with people outside specialized industries like tech or crypto. Experts even estimate that it will take 5-10 years before web 3.0 is cost-efficient, scalable, and accessible.
3. Difficult to regulate
Due to its decentralized nature, it will be difficult for regulatory bodies to monitor and regulate web 3.0. And as a result of this, there could be an increase in cyber crimes and online abuse.
4. Easy access to users’ personal and public data
Web 3.0 is large and interconnected. So anybody in your blockchain network will have access to both the private and public information you provide on the internet.
Example of current Web 3.0 applications
Here are some examples of web 3.0 applications that already exist.
Steemit is a blockchain-based social media and blogging website. The platform encourages users to create content by rewarding them with cryptocurrency. Web 3.0 is crucial for this reward social media model as it allows the platform to reward its content creators in a secure environment.
Storj is one of the leading decentralized cloud storage solutions available. It is powered by blockchain technology so every file is encrypted and stored on a global network of nodes. Users of the platform can also sell their unused disk space and bandwidth.
STORJ is the native token and is used as the payment method on the network. It powers the entire Storj storage platform.
Ethlance is a web 3.0 remote job platform. The whole platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain and there is no central authority with control over it. Freelancers can get hired on Ethlance for the exchange of ether cryptocurrency.
Ethlance is part of the District0x Network. District 0x is a network of decentralized marketplaces and communities. Name Baazar is another platform in the network. It is a peer-to-peer marketplace for the exchange of Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain names.
Web 3.0 and the Metaverse
The concept of the Metaverse isn’t new, but it became more popular after Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta. During the announcement, the company said they plan to spend $10 billion in 2022 to build its vision of the Metaverse.
So what is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is the aggregation of all the virtual worlds built using blockchain technology. These worlds can be gaming planets, the digital portrayal of the world, NFT galleries, etc.
The Metaverse combines virtual and augmented reality to create digital spaces that are lifelike. Unlike in web 2.0 where people interact with each other via social media platforms and messaging, users in web 3.0 can have their own characters in a virtual environment and interact with people using 3D experiences. These 3D experiences make users feel like they are experiencing the moment in reality rather than just watching the content.
Right now, the Metaverse is still in its early stages. Web 3.0 and blockchain technology is needed to make the Metaverse a reality. Web 3.0 will also make the Metaverse easily accessible through a web browser.
In the coming years, web 3.0 and the Metaverse will be an integral part of the internet.
Using DAM to manage your content in the Metaverse
As new technologies emerge, businesses that want to succeed need to equip themselves with the right tool. For instance, brands will need to effectively manage and distribute branded content in the Metaverse. A DAM platform like Wedia will allow you to manage and distribute digital assets consistently between the physical and digital worlds.
The Digital Asset Management solution will also serve as a “ Single Source Of Truth” in your company. This means that all validated visual content will come directly from your solution, regardless of where it is shared. The Single Source of Truth also ensures that businesses avoid copyright infringement.
Typically, the Metaverse will require more resources to create a more immersive world that captivates and captures the users. For instance, you will require digital formats like 3D or 360° videos if you want to take users on a virtual tour. All these formats are supported by the Wedia DAM.
Wedia provides a SaaS solution for both Digital Asset Management and Digital Experience Management. We focus on omnichannel media management and distribution, so brands can deliver a more personalized experience to their customers across all communication channels. Learn more about our solutions.