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Web3 or Web 3.0 is the future of the internet, the third avatar of the pathbreaking communication, content and transaction technology, which has put the world on its head, as early as it gained global currency. It has kept on adding strength to strength with every passing day and today literally nothing can be done without the worldwide web. The pandemic added wings to it and made it a staple of human existence. The gap between physical and virtual nearly got eliminated.  Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 primarily refers to the history of the world wide web as it kept on evolving through various technologies and formats. The age of Web 1.0 can broadly be called between 1991 to 2004, where most of the websites were static web pages. The other defining component was that most of the users were consumers of content and not its producers.

Moving further as it stands today, we are in the age of Web 2.0. The web transformed into what we experience today, ”the web as platform.’ The core differentiator from the earlier phase was that the user became the content creator. User created content was being uploaded to social media and networking services, blogs, wikis and other similar services. This is supposed to have started in 2004 and continues to this day. The changing nature of technologies assisted this convergence of a nature which created IT behemoths, literally ruling the world. Unassailable power. The data and content were thus controlled by a small group of these IT behemoths or tech giants including Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Google. Data became their biggest asset with near total control by Big Tech to be harvested for their benefit.

The fate of your data unknown, privacy and total centralization, declaring themselves as trust machines, marked Web 2.0. Courtesy Nakamoto Satoshi blockchain technology came to life, bitcoin implementing the first blockchain. This is the genesis of Web 3.0, which intends to transform the world way beyond what Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, but necessarily, one could not have reached this stage without this journey.”Web3 is an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchain, which incorporates concepts including decentralization and token based economies.” The idea is not as recent as it is thought out to be, it was coined by 2014 by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood.

After a hiatus of around seven years the idea gained interest in 2021 primarily from cryptocurrency enthusiasts, large technology companies and venture capital firms. With large number of experiments in blockchain technology being successful, it is now presumed to be a doable technology. Might be this can also provide a solution to the regulation of the web, which policy makers have been grappling with for long. Tim Berners-Lee described the Semantic Web as a component of Web 2.0. It would be a decentralized trust machine. It is the passage of the World Wide Web from an exchange of information to an exchange of value. Starting from cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens it can proceed to decentralized autonomous organizations, decentralized finance and even self-sovereign identity. It would be possible to get over centralization of the web by a few Big Tech companies. Web3 is likely to improve data security, scalability and privacy.


Sanjay Sahay

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