Like the fervor accompanying the explosion of the internet in the late 90s, a new passion has swept over tech and non-tech enthusiasts alike. Promising a revolutionization of the world wide web (as shown by the significant increase in Web3 developers over the past year), Web3 is underway.
Web3 represents the third phase in the evolution of the internet in regards to its usage and user experience. The first phase of the internet (Web1) was characterized by clunky user interfaces created by tech aficionados. Those without skills could only read and browse the internet. Web2 introduced the ability for anyone and everyone to share their thoughts and opinions, mainly through social media. Companies providing free platforms capitalized on this activity by collecting and selling user data.
Web3 offers something unique from the previous two, a chance for web users to have greater control over their data, how it is used, and to who it is sold. This is made possible with the help of blockchain technology.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a shared database that is distributed among computers that run the network. Blockchains became popular when they became recognized as the technology on which cryptocurrencies can be built. The main innovation of blockchain is creating and maintaining a single database that every computer on the network has access to. The ledger behind every blockchain maintains and secures an immutable record of transactions. This means that data is recorded in a highly secure way, cutting out the need for a third party.
Although cryptocurrencies were the first use of blockchain, they are now used within decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens(NFTs). This shows how much the concept of blockchain has grown from when it was first proposed in 1982.
Blockchain differs from the traditional database as a result of how data is stored. The traditional database structures its data in tables, but the blockchain in keeping with its name, structures data into chunks known as blocks strung together to form a chain. Each block has certain storage limits and is added to pre-existing blocks to continue the chain. The information contained in each block is irreversible and imprinted in a decentralized nature. Each block is then given an exact timestamp of when it was added to the chain.
What is Web3?
Web3, also known as Web3.0, is a term that has gained buzz over the past year and has had enthusiasts approach it with either excitement, caution, confusion, or all three. It’s a new iteration in the revolution of the web, based on blockchain technology. The term was coined in 2014 by Ethereum co-founder, Gavin Wood, and gained popularity seven years later in 2021.
Experts have argued that Web3 presents an opportunity for web users to use the web with increased data security, scalability, and privacy. Web3 is positioned to allow users to take back control from larger tech companies in terms of data control, movement, and monetization within the web.
However, on the other end, a strong argument against Web3 brews. Others believe that a decentralized web will only lead to the proliferation of harmful content on the web. There are also concerns that privacy might be lost due to an expansion of data across the web. Whatever arguments for or against there might be, there is no denying that Web3 is gaining more traction with each passing day, and is quickly becoming a reality.
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