2022-Creating the internet we deserve: The case for Web3

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There isn’t a doubt that the web has reworked the best way we dwell and work. It has made communication and collaboration simpler than ever earlier than. Nevertheless, there’s a draw back to this elevated connectedness. 

The centralized nature of the web implies that just a few massive corporations management most of what we see and do on-line. This focus of energy has led to issues about knowledge privateness, censorship, and different abuses of energy.

It’s changing into clear that the earlier, and certainly present, iteration of the web doesn’t symbolize what the world large internet is really supposed for. To know this and likewise the promise that Web3 holds, we are going to go over the historical past of the web and the way it has modified with time.

The present web

The web as we all know it’s largely a product of the Nineteen Nineties. This was the last decade when business use of the web took off, and corporations like AOL and Netscape grew to become family names. The net browser was invented, and HTML grew to become the usual markup language for creating internet pages.

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The Nineteen Nineties have been additionally the last decade when the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was based. The W3C is a corporation that units requirements for the way the online ought to work. Its best-known requirements embrace HTML, CSS, and XML.

The late Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s noticed the rise of search engines like google like Google and Yahoo! These corporations constructed their companies by indexing web sites and making them straightforward to seek out through search key phrases. Google’s founders Larry Web page and Sergey Brin additionally developed the PageRank algorithm, which ranks web sites primarily based on their recognition.

The centralization of knowledge and the gatekeepers of the web

The search engine increase of the late Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s led to the centralization of knowledge on the web. Just a few massive corporations got here to dominate the market, they usually proceed to take action immediately.

These corporations are often called the “gatekeepers” of the web. They management what customers see once they log on, they usually have a big impression on the best way companies function. The issue with this focus of energy is that it may be abused. 

The gatekeepers can censor content material, prohibit entry to data, and acquire knowledge about customers with out their consent. A number of situations of abuse have been documented in recent times. In 2018, for instance, Fb was embroiled in a scandal over the misuse of consumer knowledge. 

Although arguments are sometimes made concerning the necessity of the centralization of knowledge, it has grow to be more and more clear that this mannequin will not be sustainable in the long run. The web was designed to be a decentralized community, and the centralized mannequin goes towards the spirit of the online.

Proof for this may be traced again to the early days of the web. The primary iteration of the web was often called ARPANET, and it was created by an arm of the U.S. Protection Division within the Sixties. ARPANET was designed to be a decentralized network that might proceed to operate even when components of it have been destroyed.

The subsequent part of the web’s improvement was the creation of the TCP/IP protocol within the Nineteen Seventies. This protocol permits computer systems to speak with one another on the web. It too was designed to be decentralized, in order that if one a part of the community went down, the remainder might nonetheless operate.

Even going again to the conceptualization of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine within the 1800s, it’s clear that the decentralization of knowledge was all the time seen as a key good thing about computing. It’s only in recent times that the web has grow to be extra centralized.

The rise of cryptocurrencies

In 2009, a person or girl (or group of individuals) often called Satoshi Nakamoto launched a white paper entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Digital Money System.” This paper proposed a brand new approach of utilizing the web to ship and obtain funds with out the necessity for a government.

Bitcoin is a decentralized community that makes use of cryptography to safe its transactions. It is usually the primary and most well-known cryptocurrency. Since its launch, Bitcoin has been used for a wide range of functions, each authorized and unlawful. It has additionally been praised and criticized by individuals all around the world.

The Ethereum blockchain is one other widespread platform for launching cryptocurrencies. Ethereum was established in 2015, and it has since grow to be the second-largest blockchain when it comes to market capitalization.

Ethereum is totally different from Bitcoin in that it permits builders to construct decentralized functions (dapps) on its platform. These dapps can be utilized for varied functions, from monetary providers to social networking.

The rise of cryptocurrencies has led to the event of a brand new kind of web, often called Web3. Web3 is a decentralized community that’s not managed by any central authority.

As an alternative, Web3 is powered by a community of computer systems around the globe which can be operating blockchain software program powered by Ethereum and a number of other different platforms. This software program permits customers to work together with one another with out the necessity for a intermediary.

Web3 has the potential to revolutionize the best way we use the web. Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless in its early phases, and it stays to be seen whether or not or not it’s going to dwell as much as its promise.

How Web3 can create the web we deserve

There are a number of methods Web3 can create the web we deserve — for instance, enabling greener expertise, fairer decentralized finance and economics, true censorship resistance and privacy-respecting alternate options to present centralized social media platforms. 

These use circumstances for Web3 are complicated and deserve their very own devoted articles (which we are going to you should definitely write and hyperlink to sooner or later), however let’s contact on every one briefly beneath. 

Enabling greener expertise

The present web relies on a centralized mannequin that’s not very vitality environment friendly. The information facilities that energy the web use quite a lot of electrical energy, and this electrical energy typically comes from soiled vitality sources like coal.

Web3 will help to create a extra sustainable web by making it doable to run knowledge facilities on renewable vitality sources — or abandon the idea of data centers altogether by offering a greater infrastructure for edge computing. The nearer your data is to you, the higher it’s for the setting.

Fairer decentralized finance and economics

The present monetary system is managed by central authorities, comparable to banks and governments. This method will not be very accessible to everybody, and it typically advantages the rich greater than the poor.

Web3 can create a extra equitable monetary system by making it doable to launch decentralized functions (dapps) that provide monetary providers to anybody with an web connection. For instance, there are already dapps that enable customers to borrow and lend cash with out the necessity for a financial institution.

True censorship resistance

The present web is censored in lots of components of the world. For instance, China has a strict censorship regime that blocks entry to many web sites, together with Google, Meta (Fb), and Twitter.

Web3 will help create a really censorship-resistant web by making it doable to launch decentralized functions that can not be blocked by censors. For instance, there are already dapps that enable customers to entry the web with out the necessity for VPN.

Privateness-respecting alternate options to present social media platforms in Web3

Algorithmic accountability is an space present social media platforms have uncared for. By maintaining social media centralized, there isn’t any approach for the common consumer to know what lies behind the algorithms that run these platforms. These algorithms typically decide what content material is promoted and what content material is buried.

As a matter of reality, research have proven that the more extreme and polarizing the content, the upper the load the algorithms place on it — which might have a dangerous impact on society by selling division as an alternative of understanding. Whereas there are some ongoing experiments with decentralized alternate options to those algorithms, it’s nonetheless in its early days. 

Decentralized social media could be rather more clear, and customers would be capable to perceive and alter the algorithms in the event that they so select. As well as, decentralized social media would give customers the power to personal their knowledge — one thing that’s not doable on present centralized platforms.

Web3: Creating the web we deserve

So tying again to the issues we’ve talked about — what would an excellent web appear like? What are the parameters that outline it? We predict an excellent web ought to have the next properties:

  • It needs to be accessible to everybody.
  • It needs to be vitality environment friendly.
  • It needs to be censorship resistant.
  • It ought to respect consumer privateness.
  • It ought to promote algorithmic accountability.

These parameters are achievable with the guarantees of Web3 applied sciences. Within the coming article collection, we are going to delve deeper into what elements have led to Web2 changing into a pandora’s field of issues, and the way the following iteration of the web may have the potential to show the web into the platform we deserve — one that’s sustainable, equitable, and empowering.

Daniel Saito is CEO and cofounder of StrongNode.

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