This is a good question, and the precise definition is still evolving. People with different exposure to new technologies all give different definitions based on what they’ve seen. I’m going to answer the question through the eyes of someone in the midst of the blockchain revolution. The effects of the blockchain on Web 3.0 are still coming into focus, but the outline is clearer than ever.
Decentralization will be integral to the concept of Web 3.0. Right now, the web you enjoy is dominated and controlled by a few big players across a few different industries. Maybe you hadn’t realized that – unfortunately, it’s still true. Centralization currently afflicts every layer of the internet.
The physical layer of the internet, the wires and machines that connect everything together are more centralized than you would probably guess. This is proven on occasion when millions of people lose internet access just because a single company makes a mistake. It matters where you are physically located when you browse the internet, because some locations have more robust internet backbones than others.
Where a computer that serves a web page is physically located is also important. This is not just because the physical networks are fragile, as above, but also because single machines are fragile. If a server crashes, so too will the website in most cases. Web 3.0 will be distributed, so that the data that makes up a website won’t be sitting on a single computer. In fact, it will be stored all over the world, distributed geographically and politically. DDOS attacks won’t be nearly as effective as they are today. Websites – and the information they make available – will be a lot less fragile.
Website domain names need anti-fragility measures as well – and those are coming, too. The naming feature of the internet – DNS – which allow you to type a domain name and actually see a website, is currently controlled by a single group. This group, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) can readily assist governments in censoring online material by shutting down or redirecting DNS queries for websites. Web 3.0 naming systems will move onto the blockchain and this form of government censorship will be a thing of the past.
Censorship resistance is a side effect of decentralization – so it’s going to be a big part of Web 3.0. The web is probably going to be a lot less “safe” than it is today. Objectionable content will be more common and easier to find. Proponents of free speech are going to love this – more conservative types can install a web filter at the router or device level. Everyone will need to make their own choice, but at least everyone will have a choice.
Sounds promising, doesn’t it? Robust. Censorship proof. Unstoppable! But who is going to pay for Web 3.0? Right now, advertising pays for the majority of the content on the internet. Sadly, this has led to internet advertising behemoths – that now wield enough power to shape the internet according to their own agendas. If you control the flow of information, then you can control the people who are being fed that information. This kind of power should be quickly innovated out of the realm of possibilities.
To eliminate this unhealthy control of the “funding” and “organizing” of the internet, new monetization models will need to be employed. Cryptocurrencies and the instantaneous micro transactions that some of them make feasible, will give everyone the ability to pay for the internet content they consume directly. No one will have to suffer through their personal data being mined and endless advertisements just to access quality content. Don’t fret – anyone wishing to sell their data to fund their internet content consumption will be empowered to do so… with the help of these same blockchain technologies.
Web 3.0 is going to be about shifting power from the big internet corporations to the users and creators of the internet. This should excite you, because your presence on the internet has been making many powerful internet corporations rich – and you’re probably not one of them.
If that all sounds good to you, that’s probably because it is good. Remember that’s just the outline, the reality will probably be even better.
Yep, the blockchain is that powerful. Thank you, Satoshi.