- Lucia Blasco
- BBC news world
In our web-dominated hyper-connected world, it’s hard to imagine any pundits saying that the internet will need a “massive overhaul.”
However, it is this omnipresence that is driving more and more tech people to work on what they call the “new phase” of the Internet.
They insist that this “second generation” Internet must change to become much smarter; should evolve to become a “semantic web” that, in addition to being more efficient, offers us greater control over our data.
This is what they envision with the advent of Web 3.0, which many players in the sector consider “the great revolution of the web.”
“Web3” will allow machines to interpret a much larger amount of data. This will allow us, among other things, to interact much deeper with other users from any platform.
In this “new chapter” of the Internet, we will no longer need complex operating systems or large hard drives to store information, because absolutely everything will be in the cloud. And everything will be much faster and more customizable.
In general, we can say that in Web3 the machine will “cooperate” with the person more effectively.
But its main value is the decentralization of the Internet: creating a fairer network and depriving the “Internet giants” of their power, as the concept’s supporters point out.
This concept, which has already resonated in Silicon Valley, has been in development for years.
The term was coined in 2014 by ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood.
Just as Tim Berners-Lee is considered the “Father of the Internet”, Wood is often referred to as the “Father of Ethereum” for being its co-founder and broadcaster.
Ethereum is the second most popular blockchain protocol in the world. And this technology is the basis of Web3.
Wood, the creator of the Polkadot open source project, started from the idea that it was necessary to “change the Internet”: to create a new architecture with a specific protocol so that services would be decentralized.
To do this, the British software engineer founded the Web3 Foundation – to “fund the research and development groups that lay the foundation” of Web3 – and created Parity Technologies, a Berlin-based blockchain infrastructure company for a “decentralized web.”
But what does this mean for decentralization?
“Initially, the Internet was an open and decentralized protocol. It became centralized in the 90s when modern technology came along,” Ursula O’Quinttons, director of communications at Parity Technologies, tells BBC Mundo.
“What you want from Web3 is to get back to the core of what the Internet was in the beginning: no one has much control over this communication tool that is so present in our daily lives,” adds O’Quingttons.
A key element of the Web3 structure is the blockchain technology, which allows you to create “blocks” and form data chains, and is known to us primarily from cryptocurrencies.
If Web 1.0 (Web1) was based on hyperlinks and Web 2.0 (Web2) was based on social networks, then Web 3.0 (Web3) will be based on blockchain technology.
“We have to be open-minded because blockchain is much more than a cryptocurrency. Web3 is much more interesting than the value of a token,” says O’Quinttons.
In fact, the elements that make Web3 possible have been developed over the past few years, and in some ways it is already a reality.
But its technology has not yet been mastered and is not used en masse by the general public.
“A faster, more secure and more open network”
Colin Evran leads the Filecoin and IPFS ecosystems, two protocols created by Protocol Labs, a blockchain tech company based in San Francisco, California that also aims to “decentralize the internet.”
“A big part of my job is to accelerate the transition from Web2 to Web3,” he tells BBC Mundo.
“Our goal is to upgrade the Internet to make it faster, more secure, more resilient to attack, and more open.”
To understand how Web3 will work and how fast and resilient it will be, we must first understand how the Internet was created and how it has changed over the years.
“If we look back at the early days of the Internet — in the 1960s and 1970s — we can see that the Internet existed even before the network itself: it was a combination of wires and a network that “connected things,” Evran explains.
“Originally it was a government project called Arpanet to transmit information.”
In the early 1990s, Web 1.0 took off, Evran continues. Sites such as Yahoo! were static web pages that relied on hyperlinks.
Web 2.0 appeared in the 2000s. The main improvement, according to Evran, is that “it allows us to read and write interactively, that mobile and web applications can ‘talk’ to each other and that we can interact with them.”
“The development of Web 3.0 adds to all of this building trust, as civil liberties will be built into its basic structure,” he says.
He also criticizes the “centralization” of Web2.
“Multiple storage providers, banks and major governments are accumulating all the power and can control and manipulate data as they see fit to get money and serve their interests,” Evran says.
“We cannot believe that these organizations are not manipulating our data,” he adds.
So what has changed with Web3?
“Change the entire architecture of the network!” Evran replies.
For example, the expert claims that Web3 “will allow users to access thousands of data centers around the world and will be able to choose who and how stores their data.”
Amazon, Google and Microsoft are currently leading the cloud storage market.
According to 2019 McAfee data, the former, together with its subsidiary AWS, controls 41.5% of the total. It is followed by Azure from Microsoft with 29.4% and Google Cloud with 3%.
According to a Synergy Research Group report, these three companies own half of the world’s 600 major data centers.
On the other hand, Evran explains that Web3 will have “clear mechanisms” to validate data and deal with issues such as fake news.
As for the more technical part, there is the issue of protocols: “When you open Google or another browser and go to a website, you are using the HTTP protocol; you are “telling” this protocol to look for a file in a specific location.” .
“It’s like finding a book, you have to make it go through the New York Public Library. If this library collapses or the government places a guard on it, you will no longer be able to access the library. Content. It is a centrally controlled library. structure.”
“In the Web3 world, every copy of a book will be compressed with a cryptographic algorithm that cannot be manipulated. And we will be able to share it even when connected to the network,” Evran sums up.
This is a peer-to-peer (P2P) technology that allows resources to be shared equally, directly between multiple users, which Evran says is not possible with the current Web2 and HTTP protocol in use.
Ursula O’Quinttons explains that Web3’s blockchain technology is very secure and “so far, in over 10 years, no one has been able to hack it.”
“The issue of security is crucial in the times we live in, because our lives and our data are increasingly turning to the Internet,” the specialist adds.
These changes are designed to give Internet users more control over the information they access and the data they share, and ultimately create a freer and more equal Internet.
But the promise that Web 3.0 will end the hegemony of tech giants like Google or Facebook is in doubt.
There are some skeptical voices, such as Elon Musk, who posted a tongue-in-cheek comment on Twitter a few days ago: “Has anyone seen Web3? I can not find him”.
Or Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who said that Web3 “is a centralized organization, but with a different name. […]. “
But Colin Evran does not lose his enthusiasm.
“The transition from Web1 to Web2 was a huge transition that took many years. The transition from Web2 to Web3 is inevitable, but it will not happen overnight, but over many years.
“The number of developers involved in this project is a clear indication that those who create the Internet of the future are betting on Web3,” he adds.
He believes that Web3 “will renew the Internet with a completely new and much more democratic paradigm than Web2.”
“If we focus on the development of the Internet, in the next five or ten years we will put data back in the hands of users. And this is the world I want for myself and my children.”
O’Quinttons agrees that change “will not be easy, but it’s becoming increasingly important that we have a more equitable and fair Internet. […].”
“We are still in a very, very early phase. All this is just beginning to develop and is still under construction,” explains the specialist.
“But in 2021 we are already seeing a huge leap due to the advancement of NFTs and the metaverses. And in 2022, we will see some important changes, such as the expansion of these technologies, and this is nothing less than Web3.”