- Web 3.0 is the next generation of the Internet that includes blockchain technology as a building block of its underlying infrastructure.
- The goal of Web 3.0 is for it to be a more autonomous, intelligent, and open internet.
- The integration of blockchain technology enables Web 3.0 to have a built-in payment infrastructure that can conduct secure transactions and data transfers.
- The key features that set Web 3.0 apart are ubiquity, Semantic Web, Artificial Intelligence, and 3D Graphics.
The Internet has been one of the most transformative inventions ever to grace mainstream society as it has connected the globe and brought the breadth of human knowledge to the average person’s fingertips.
As technology continues to evolve amid a new era of smart devices, the Internet must expand to incorporate new forms of media and a growing number of humans connecting to the World Wide Web.
The growing reach of blockchain technology has put the world on the cusp of the next major Internet upgrade. Some refer to this massive change as Web 3.0. While it is more of a concept than a widespread reality, it won’t be long before the new Internet is fully embedded in the global web infrastructure.
Web 3.0 Defined
The evolution of the Internet is often referred to in generations. The current iteration most are familiar with is considered the second generation of the Internet, or Web 2.0. Technological developments and increases in computing capabilities have evolved to the point where websites and applications can harness machine learning, big data, and distributed ledger technology to process information similar to humans.
Falling largely in line with the original ethos of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency movement, the ideal goal for Web 3.0, according to World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee is for it to be a more autonomous, intelligent, and open Internet.
A more expanded view of what Web 3.0 will be is an interconnected web of data that operates in a decentralized manner. This model is a vast improvement over the Web 2.0 design of centralized data repositories. Both people and machines will be able to interact with this data thanks in large part to advancements related to artificial intelligence (AI)
Web 3.0 vs Web 2.0 vs. Web 1.0
It might seem confusing to keep track of where Web 2.0 ends and Web 3.0 ‘begins.’ And what about Web 1.0?
Decentralization is the key difference between Web 2.0 vs Web 3.0, ensuring users in the next Internet iteration can own their data and have control over their digital profile. Additionally, Web 3.0 focuses on content creation, while Web 2.0 emphasizes reading and writing content.
Web 1.0 represents the pioneering early development of the Internet that emerged in the 1990s. This era featured static web pages retrieved from servers and represented a time when content creation and user interaction were rare. The transition to Web 2.0 ushered in new eras of digital interaction and connections.
How Blockchain Technology Fits In With Web 3.0
The main feature that separates Web 2.0 vs. Web 3.0 is that the next generation of the Internet will operate through decentralized protocols made possible by integrating blockchain and cryptocurrency technology.
Once Web 3.0 is fully rolled out, the vast majority of the population won’t even realize that they are utilizing blockchain technology as it will be seamlessly integrated into the web's infrastructure and automated with smart contracts.
This enables basic payment capabilities and secure data transfers to become standards of a global Internet capable of powering micro-transactions all the way to confidential file sharing.
Key Features of Web 3.0
Four critical features set Web 3.0 apart from the previous interactions of the Internet: Ubiquity, Semantic Web, Artificial Intelligence, and 3D Graphics.
A basic definition of Ubiquity is the capacity to be everywhere simultaneously. While Web 2.0 could already be considered ubiquitous from some viewpoints, Web 3.0 is looking to take its reach even further thanks to Internet of Things (IoT) technology that will expand the number of web-connected smart devices to take the Internet beyond the confines of computers and smartphones.
2. Semantic Web
This enables computers to understand the relationship between words and symbols better to better analyze vast data quantities on the Web, including content, transactions, and links between individuals. The application of semantics on the web enables machines to decode meaning and emotions by analyzing data to provide a better user experience.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Building upon the idea that Web 3.0 machines can translate the meaning and emotions conveyed in a set of data, the concept of intelligent machines begins to become more clear. This can help deal with one of the major pitfalls of Web 2.0, namely corrupt behaviors like rigged ratings and falsified data that will be filtered out by AI. As the technology behind AI advances, it will eventually be able to deliver filtered and unbiased data to users.
4. 3D Graphics and Spatial Web
Web 3.0 is often referred to as the Spatial Web as it seeks to blur the boundary between the physical and digital worlds by revolutionizing graphics technology to create three-dimensional (3D) virtual worlds. 3D offers a new level of immersion that has far-reaching applications in various fields, including real estate, health, e-commerce, and gaming.
What Are Examples of Web 3.0?
Decentralized Apps (dApps)
These tools are similar to traditional applications but run decentralized, thanks to the power of blockchain technology and smart contracts. dApps are open-source, unable to be controlled by a single entity, and feature public data and records while relying on a cryptographic token for network security. dApps remain popular as they are censorship-resistant, can still function even if a portion of the network goes down, and are a unique way to get involved with the crypto world. Many dApps run on Ethereum, with popular options including Uniswap, Compound, and Decentraland. Many of these platforms also feature their own Web 3.0 cryptocurrencies.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)
These entities feature no central leadership and instead operate on a system where community members make decisions and organize around rules enforced by blockchain and smart contracts. DAOs are Internet-native organizations that can be used to help pool funds to pay workers, approve donations to a charity, and even engage in collective venture capital. Notable DAOs include MakerDAO and Yearn Finance, which also have their own Web 3.0 cryptocurrency.
VC investor Matthew Ball describes the concept as a “3D version of the Internet and computing at large.” Metaverse users can immerse themselves in a virtual space that’s interactive, hyper-realistic, and filled with custom avatars and digital assets with real-world equivalence. So far, Web 3.0 applications with a metaverse focus, like Decentraland, Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, and Roblox, offer users different access points into the metaverse to game, engage in virtual work, and participate in live entertainment.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
Another Web 3.0 example, NFTs, are unique cryptographic tokens based on blockchain that can represent real-world assets. As they cannot be replicated, NFTs can also function to embody someone’s identity and specific legal rights. They have been heralded as a tool to promote market efficiency by removing intermediaries when transforming a physical asset into a digital one. Popular Web 3.0 crypto projects focusing on NFTs include Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoKitties, and CryptoPunks.