Web 1.0 – Static landing pages with no possibility of interaction
It all started with Web 1.0. The earliest form of our Internet was a simple concatenation of static home pages, which actually represented a representation of the real world. From the end of the 1990s, for example, it was fashionable for companies to be able to include a website on their business card in addition to a telephone number.
We connected to the net with modems, it took us hours to download a song, and if there was any interaction, it was only in the chat rooms that were popular at the time.
Web 2.0 – the practical web
It was Web 2.0 that overtook the first version of the Internet. In the early 2000s, a new phenomenon became widespread: user-generated content.
While there was virtually no communication between producer and consumer in the early version of the Internet – similar to television – the Internet offered more and more ways to engage users.
Unsuspected possibilities have emerged to share your own content with the world without great financial or time expenditure. Blogs and YouTube videos have mushroomed and continue to shape the internet landscape to this day.
But what’s wrong with Web 2.0? Why do we need a new Internet?
Matteo Gianpietro Zago is the president of the Internet of Blockchain Foundation (Iobf), which aims to boost blockchain-based startups. For him, it’s clear: Web 3.0 will be the internet of blockchains.
Because he sees the greatest weakness of the current web in the centralization of the most important online functions with a few big players, who thus form the economic centers of the current Internet. For example, information stored in a cloud is stored on huge server farms operated by Google or Amazon. Data octopuses like Facebook make a business by selling sensitive personal information, such as consumer behavior, to the highest bidder. Search engines like Google invite you to use algorithms to control search results for your own benefit.
But for Matteo Gianpietro Zago, things won’t stay that way for long: there will be a smooth transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 that will initially hardly be noticed by the end user.
The main characteristics of the new Internet
The main characteristics of the next evolutionary stage of the Internet should therefore be:
- There will be no more central control points. As a result, governments or big corporations will no longer have the power to control individuals’ data or restrict access to websites.
- There will not be a few financial centers on the internet in the form of mega-corporations, but rather a wide range of opportunities for users to participate in the profits generated digitally.
- There will be far fewer large-scale hacks because it will no longer be enough for hackers to crack key nodes.
Zago bases its point of view on the strong innovation in the blockchain world. Because in many relevant application areas there are already blockchain-based decentralized alternatives with exciting answers to the challenges of centralization.
Examples of Web 3.0
Instead of Dropbox or Google Drive, blockchain-based projects such as Storj or Siacoin could be used. These companies use the blockchain to store information in a decentralized way. This could represent a win-win situation for users: on the one hand, their own data would no longer be in the hands of central servers over which the user has no control. Instead, they would be spread across many smaller servers or computers. On the other hand, the user can earn extra money by providing storage space himself. Because this is usually paid for in the form of company-owned cryptocurrency, such as Storjcoin. This principle would also save expensive server costs, which is why an extreme reduction in costs would be possible, for example for the operation of your own homepage.
Alternatives to the centralized networks Facebook, Twitter or Instagram could become social networks like Steemit or Akasha. Without a central control authority, accounts created there can no longer be censored or restricted – control of their own data remains in the hands of the user.
The new YouTube, Vimeo or Netflix could be found in D-Tube or Theta. It might also imply a fair distribution of advertising money. Because if YouTube – which has just been bought by Google – itself admits that the distribution is “not always fair”, the blockchain projects mentioned cannot be modified by decisions of powerful multimedia bosses.
WhatsApp & Co.
Status is also a decentralized alternative in the field of messaging. The status messenger is based on the Ethereum blockchain and, according to its self-image, is “more than just a messenger”. Because with Status you can not only chat, but also send Ethereum payments or Smart Contracts.
At the heart of Bitcoin’s development was of course the further development of the monetary system, which had lost enormous trust due to the financial crisis of 2008. The stock market crash made many bank customers realize that their own money could simply disappear in the event of bank failure or that accounts could be monitored or even frozen at will. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dash, Monero and many more enable decentralized banking – just without banks.
The company Essentia.one wants to create an operating system for smartphones that will provide access to many dApps. The aim is to compete with operating systems such as Android or iOS.
At the latest, the collapse of Mt.Gox has made it clear to the blockchain industry that decentralized alternatives are also needed in the field of trading. Exchanges like Openbazaar or CobinHood are pioneers in this direction. Many companies could be added to the list. Whether the mentioned projects will prevail is of course speculation.
Beautiful new world?
Companies like ICQ or Myspace, which helped shape the early days of Web 2.0, are hardly big names on the Internet today. Of course, the projects mentioned above do not escape this fate. What matters is the direction in which the digital world as a whole is moving. If we follow Zago’s vision, we can expect a much more decentralized and fairer web than today. His vision for the future of the Internet is undoubtedly beautiful. However, it is clear that global companies such as Google or Facebook will not voluntarily relinquish their power. It remains to be seen what their response will be to the possible future decentralization.
In the end, it will also depend on the users – that is, on us – which form of money, which operating system and which social networks we choose in our daily lives.
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