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As more and more people become familiar with the concept of cryptocurrency, more and more people come across the terms "Web 2.0" and "Web3". You might be wondering what these buzzwords are and how they are relevant in this time and age. Well, the internet, as we know, has been through many uninterrupted flows of big and small innovations created by passionate people before reaching the stage that it is in now. Web 2.0 and Web3 are considered generations of internet services, and their distinct variations and implications are effectively captured in this article.
"Web 2.0" and "Web3" are referred to as the successive phases of the internet that precede "Web 1.0", the original version of the internet.
Initially, the web, a commonly used term for the World Wide Web, was used by the military, academics, researchers, and scientists. Its commercial potential was not clear for all to see at this time. This era existed roughly between the 90s and mid-20s and is characterized by websites with static content that was read-only without much interactivity. However, this phase was considered decentralized because it used open-source internet protocols, from which anyone could build on without permission from a central authority.
As more people became aware of the internet and more industries began to adopt the power of the web, dominant shifts kicked off. After Web 1.0 sprung Web 2.0, wherein the digitization of the physical world essentially began, now we have Web3 taking over by storm and placing the internet at the threshold of another technological leap.
Web 2.0 moved the world from static desktop web pages created for information consumption that served from expensive servers to interactive experiences and user-generated content, usability, and interoperability for end users. It is also referred to as the Interactive and Social Web.
Web 2.0 modified the way web pages were designed and used. For the first time, any web user could create any content, upload a video or photos, write and publish books, comment on people's posts and allow millions of people to see it. It gave birth to social media networks and will remain protagonists of the world wide web for years to come.
It is characterized by innovative, user-friendly experiences which provide a new way of communicating. This is seen on blogging platforms like Tumblr and WordPress, social networks like Facebook and Instagram, and social news sites like Digg and Reddit (Wikipedia).
Companies that provide information and communication platform began to flourish and as their apps increase in popularity, so does their user base. However, it came with a trade-off - the supply of personal and confidential data in exchange for direct participation in the network. The backend code runs on centralized servers, and information is owned and controlled by single authority companies.
The following are the key features that define Web 2.0:
The third version of the internet, Web3, is the future internet and is the age of content generation where services run on decentralized networks or blockchains. It was initially called the Semantic Web by the World Wide Web creator, Tim Berner Lee, and gives rise to a more autonomous, intelligent, and open internet.
Built on blockchain technology, Web3 includes Machine Learning (ML), Big Data, Natural Language Programming (NLP), Decentralised Ledger Technology (DLT), etc., as websites and apps can process information in an intelligent human-like way using these technologies.
Data in Web3 is interconnected in a decentralized way in which digital applications or programs exist with their backend code running on the blockchain or peer-to-peer (P2P) network - free from control by a single authority, which is a giant leap forward to the Web 2.0, where data is primarily stored in centralized repositories. This approach changes the narrative by presenting liberty into the hands of individuals and communities instead of centralized institutions that could abuse the data and identity of individuals.
It takes on a "read-write-execute" approach. By combining a semantic markup and web services, Web3 allows applications to speak directly to each other and for broader searches for information through simpler interfaces.
The following are the main features that can help us define Web 3.0:
Now that we know the defining features of Web 2.0 and Web3, we can now dig a little deeper into each one by comparing one against the other.
Looking back at the read-only nature of Web 1.0, we can say that Web 2.0 became the read-write era, and Web3 is the read-write-execute era. Now, people can interact with websites and create more value than ever before through digital advertising. At this point, to think that Web 2.0 is gone, with the presence of Web3, may not stand on a decent premise. Perhaps, we should eagerly embrace the best aspects of Web3 that can remedy the downsides of Web 2.0.
Some downsides include the dangers of centralization and security risks, which can threaten political systems since data theft, censorship, and spam thrive on the internet. With Web3, these dangers are diluted since a decentralized way exists to build the next iteration of internet products and services.
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