Good things come in threes, or so they say.
With trust in the tech industry at an all-time low, some are declaring that the era of Big Tech domination is coming to a close. Technology is moving fast, and there is a sense that blockchain, crypto, the metaverse, and AI are bringing us to a new era for the internet… called Web3.
To its proponents, Web3 promises far more than just “Facebook with 3D glasses”. It’s being heralded as a total revolution in how we interact with the World Wide Web. But what exactly is it?
A Brief History of the Web(s)
The story begins with the birth of the internet. From 1989 to around 2005, the web was mainly a collection of static documents users were able to view in “Read Only” format. This was Web 1.0.
Around 2005, the internet changed as more interaction became possible. Facilitated by faster internet speeds and new programming capabilities, social media platforms enabled users to create content and contribute to the internet like never before. Web 2.0 was here, and users could blog, share, comment, and like in a totally new way.
From 2000 to 2015, the number of internet users ballooned from 400 million to 3.2 billion, and all these users were generating massive amounts of data. Those companies that mastered how to monetize this data are those that dominate the internet today. Think Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Web 2.0 became a centralised ecosystem where user participation was paid for with data.
So. What’s Next?
Today, Big Data can look at someone’s shopping habits and work out they’re pregnant, long before any test. Data breaches are common, and social media companies face big questions over ethics, while governments play catchup.
The next iteration of the WWW promises to make these realities a thing of the past, through decentralisation. Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum, defines Web3 as “a decentralised online ecosystem based on blockchain”, while Coinbase adds “trustless” and “permissionless” to the definition.
Decentralisation = Control Over Your Data
Using a Web 2.0 app involves interaction and exchange of information with that company. In Web3, apps will be decentralised by design. Using these ‘dApps’ will involve interaction with the blockchain, instead. This means that no company will be able to take your data without your permission. Control will be yours, and you will be able to decide who, if anyone, collects your data, and how it is used.
Less Trust, More Truth
When we chat on WhatsApp we’re trusting Facebook when it says our messages are end-to-end encrypted. But how do we know that one day that data won’t be decrypted? Well, we don’t. Rather than trust, Web3 apps use the ‘truth’ of the blockchain to remove the need for trust.
Brave is a Web3 internet browser that protects its users from targeted ads and data collection. It offers total anonymity. That is, if the user chooses. The user can also opt to allow tracking and sharing of their data in exchange for Brave’s native token: BAT. This demonstrates another fundamental change in Web3. Control over content and data will belong to the user, not the platform.
Instant messaging will become more secure in Web3. Status is a blockchain-based instant messaging app. Data is stored peer-to-peer, fully encrypted, fully visible. Like Brave, Status has its own token: Status Network Token (SNT). Purchasing the token gives users access to special features like stickers, usernames, and sophisticated spam filters.
But more than that, ownership of SNT also makes the user a stakeholder in the company. And like shareholders of traditional companies, SNT holders can participate in the decision-making process of the dApp. These ‘Governance Tokens’ will become common in the decentralised web.
Tokens, Tokens, Tokens!
In Web3, tokens go beyond currency and become part of our digital identity. We’ve become used to logging on with our username and password, or a quick one-click “Sign in with Google”. But in the future world of dApps, all we’ll need is our crypto wallet to access internet services.
Each user’s unique identity will be stored “on-chain”, fully visible to anyone else in the network. It’s the only login you’ll need and means that when you move from metaverses, to DeFi apps, or messaging platforms, your tokens come with you.
We’re still discovering the possibilities of Web3, but already there’s so much to be excited about. Our Net Zero Hero NFTs will enable users to certify the fact they’ve offset their carbon emissions, anywhere in Web3. At the corporate level, green blockchain will enable full transparency when looking at a company’s ethical credentials.
This summer, we’ll be launching our Liquid Carbon Credits (LCO2). These tokens are designed to fit seamlessly into Web3. Each token is tied to a real-world regenerative project that helps address the carbon imbalance of our planet. They’ll also be tradeable on our Carbon DEX and third party DeFi platforms. To help us ensure Web3 is greener than what came before it, watch this space.
Author: Rowan Mann