I’d like you to reflect on your personal interactions when it comes to the internet. Consider the impact that the internet has had on society. Have these two things changed with time? Of course. Indeed, with more social media platforms and apps for mobile devices than ever before, we’ve yet another fundamental transition on the horizon…
The Web's Evolution
The web has developed a lot over the years, and its applications are nearly unrecognizable. Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0 are often used as benchmarks to describe the web's progression.
Web 1.0 was the original web. Most participants were content consumers, while producers were mostly web developers who built websites with mostly text or graphic material. Web 1.0 ran from 1991 until 2004. Web 1.0 sites served static material rather than dynamic HTML. Sites had little to no interactivity and data was supplied through a static file system rather than a database. Web 1.0 is the ‘read-only’ web.
Most of us have only used the web in its present incarnation (Web2). Web2 is the social and interactive web. You don't have to be a developer to create in the Web2 universe. Many applications are designed so that anybody may create. You can create and share a concept with the world. You can also post a video for millions of others to see, connect with your viewers, and comment on the video itself. Web2 is easy, and because of that, more and more individuals are becoming content creators. The web as it is now is fantastic in many aspects, but there are still several issues.
Privacy and security
Web2 applications are plagued by data breaches on an almost daily basis. If you want to know when your personal information has been leaked, there are websites devoted to keeping track of these incidents and alerting you.
Your data and how it is handled are completely out of your hands when it comes to Web2. When it comes to tracking and storing user data, many organizations do so without their customers' permission. The firms in charge of these platforms then possess and manage all of this data. Also at risk are users who reside in nations where exercising one's First Amendment rights might have unintended repercussions. Authorities often take down sites or confiscate funds if they suspect someone is disseminating information contrary to the official line. Governments can easily interfere, control, or shut down programs using centralized servers. By the same token, banks are digital and under centralized control — governments typically meddle in this area as well. During times of volatility, severe inflation, or other kinds of political instability, they have the ability to close bank accounts or restrict access to cash.
By starting from the bottom up, Web3 seeks to fix many of these flaws by reimagining how we design and interact with the internet and entities within it.
What exactly is Web 3.0?
Web2 and Web3 differ in a few ways, yet decentralization is a common theme in both. Web3 adds a few new features to the internet that we already use. It can be defined as the following:
- Distributed and robust
- With built-in payments
When working with Web3, programmers seldom create and deploy applications that rely on a single server or database (usually hosted on and managed by a single cloud provider).
Instead, Web3 applications either run on blockchains, decentralized networks of many peer to peer nodes (servers), or a combination of the two that forms a crypto-economic protocol. Many people in the Web3 community refer to these applications as "dapps" (decentralized apps), a word that you’ll see swimming around quite often.
An incentive for network members (developers) to deliver the best service possible is a key component of a robust and secure decentralized network.
Web3 is often discussed in conjunction with cryptocurrencies. This is due to the fact that many of these protocols rely heavily on cryptocurrencies. Anyone who wishes to become involved in one of the projects is given tokens (a cash incentive) in exchange for their time and effort.
In the past, cloud providers offered a wide range of services, including computation, storage, bandwidth, identity, hosting, and other online services.
Participating in the protocol in a variety of ways, both technical and non-technical, might be a source of income.
The protocol is often paid for by users in the same way that a cloud service provider like AWS charges its customers today. In Web3, however, the money flows directly to the network members. The elimination of middlemen that are both unneeded and inefficient is a hallmark of this sort of decentralization.
There are utility tokens provided by several online infrastructure protocols including Filecoin, LivePeer, Arweave, and The Graph. Many tiers of the network are rewarded with these tokens. This is how even native blockchain systems like Ethereum work.
How Web3 Handles Identity and Privacy
Here, at Passwork, security is paramount. This is where, technically, Web3 shines the most. Identity is handled quite differently within Web3. The wallet address of the user engaging with the app is usually used to link identities in Web3 applications. This means that wallet addresses, unlike Web2 authentication methods like OAuth or email + password, are fully anonymous until the user wishes to publicly link their identity to it.
It is possible for a user to build up their reputation over time if they choose to use the same wallet for various decentralized applications (dapps).
Authentication and identification layers may be replaced with self-sovereign identity protocols and tools like Ceramic and IDX. An RFP for a "Sign in with Ethereum" standard is currently being worked on by the founders of Ethereum.
Web 3.0's set of capabilities has the potential to fundamentally alter the way we see and utilize the internet, giving people more agency, spawning new sectors, and enabling networks to operate without a centralized authority or single point of failure. It’s just a matter of time until Web 3.0 becomes the new global standard.
As far as answering the question raised in the title — on paper, Web3 should eliminate most of the privacy and security issues faced with Web2. In practice — this is still not yet certain.