Do you remember when people used Yahoo Search and AltaVista instead of Google? Or when Netscape and Internet Explorer were the most popular web browsers on the market?
With machine learning algorithms, social media, and an app for everything, the internet has changed drastically over the past 30 years.
Now, the internet is going through another revolution as it is shifting to Web 3.0, a term often cited by different blockchain projects.
But what is Web 3.0, and what does it mean for investors in crypto?
What Is Web 3.0?
Before we can explain what Web 3.0 is, let’s first take a look at the previous versions of the internet.
Between the early 1990s and 2000s, the internet was based on Web 1.0. From today’s perspective, it’s very hard to imagine how people used this initial version of the web.
There were no social media, video streaming, and you couldn’t even post a comment on a website to display it along with its content.
Instead, the websites were read-only, meaning that you could view their content but couldn’t interact with it any way.
Websites were created for informational purposes, and these were the times when the first e-commerce platforms took off.
After 2003, the internet has gone through a major change, replacing its initial version with Web 2.0.
Web 2.0 is the read-write internet that allows visitors not just to view what a website publishes but also to interact with the site by creating and uploading user-generated content.
With Web 2.0, in addition to using the service to search and purchase products, e-commerce users could also submit reviews about their orders and message sellers without leaving the platform.
Since it allowed both visitors and the service provider to interact with a website, Web 2.0 made the internet more democratic and user-accessible.
Now comes Web 3.0, the internet’s version on the rise.
While a typical Web 2.0 site provides mostly the same content for all its visitors, next-generation platforms use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to tailor a site’s content to each user’s preferences.
Have you ever visited a company’s website to later find yourself with an ad from the same firm while you were browsing Facebook?
The same goes for when you purchase an item on Amazon. Here, the e-commerce platform uses machine learning to recommend stuff others usually buy after shopping the same item as you.
With Web 3.0, websites and applications are interoperable and intelligent, relying on machine learning and big data analytics to deliver relevant and personalized information rapidly to internet users who can access the services on every device connected to the network.
What Does the Blockchain Have to Do With Web 3.0?
In terms of the blockchain, Web 3.0 also means creating an internet that is more democratic, user-centric and decentralized.
Instead of being owned by a single entity, users are able to access several decentralized applications (DApps) via a permissionless blockchain platform.
Here they have increased control over their data while benefiting from increased security (as decentralized networks lack central points of failure). Also, due to blockchain tech’s nature, there are no middlemen involved, which makes the network more efficient.
A very basic implementation of Web 3.0 can be found in the Brave Browser. Unlike Chrome and other centralized browsers, Brave refuses to track its users and blocks advertisements by default.
However, if users decide to share their data, they are rewarded in Basic Attention Token (BAT) for engaging with advertisers.
On the other hand, Polkadot is working on a more advanced implementation of the decentralized internet.
The cryptocurrency project built a decentralized protocol that acts as a bridge between all types of blockchain networks – including public, open, permissionless, private, and permissioned chains –, allowing data (and tokens) to be transferred and applications to be deployed on all connected networks.
As a result, Polkadot has the potential to create a truly interoperable, highly scalable, and secure blockchain protocol that sparks innovation in the industry as the first step on the road to the decentralized Web 3.0 internet.
Investing in the future of the Internet
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