What is Web 3.0 actually? True Decentralization or Too Centralization?
“Web 3.0” along with NFTs is the new buzzword of the town. Articles and tech videos stating “Web 3.0 is coming”, “The next generation of Internet is here” is the new trend across the internet. But before we dive into what this new piece of tech is and is definitely not, we must understand what people mean when they say Web 3.0, the next internet.
As you have, most probably heard about Blockchain and Decentralization, and how this technology would revolutionize the future. Thanks to this technology, we have emerging decentralized financial systems, decentralized databases and the most exciting one, decentralized electoral systems. Web 3.0 or Web3 is an conceptual idea of building the World Wide Web or the internet based on technologies like Blockchain, A.I and Machine Learning, which would incorporate concepts like decentralization and token-based economics.
The transition of the internet
To give context, the internet started back in the 1990s with Web 1.0, where static web pages (HTML) pages were the norm. In this era, users were restricted to consumers of data and only a few big players were assigned the role of creators. The internet of this era was uninteractive and static, where users could only read information on the web.
Then came the storm of Web 2.0 in the year 2005. The internet suddenly became a platform for users as content creators. Several applications and websites were built on the web dedicated to user generated content creation. This particular feature enabled masses to participate in content creation on social networks, blogs and sharing sites. It was web 2.0’s model which gave us modern day giant companies like Facebook and Uber. The entire business model for web 2.0 was surrounded around user generation and then selling their data to ad companies for targeted advertising.
While web 2.0 turned out to be a revelation for consumers and users, making the internet a more attractive and interactive place, what it also did was devise a careful centralization of the entire web ecosystem. The internet of today is dominated by a few centralized companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook, who control this massive sea of global data, which they collect and use for targeted advertising. We along with the 3 billion global internet users are very much part of this giant marketing circle, who feed these giant companies their revenues.
But do we need Web 3.0?
The Web 3.0 promises true decentralization of internet with the help of technologies like A.I and Blockchain. It also iterates to enhance data security, while putting an end to data monopoly, the likes of which are abused by modern day companies like Facebook and Amazon. Technologies like distributed ledgers and storage on blockchain would allow true decentralization of user’s data, by overtaking web 2.0’s model of centralization and surveillance. A decentralized infrastructure and dApps would displace their centralized counterparts, while enabling users with the rightful ownership of their data. In fact what makes Web 3.0 exciting, is the prospect of it proposing concepts like data ownership and compensation..
What web 3.0 is proposing is a fairer internet ecosystem, where users would have absolute control over their data, while having the liberty to sell their information directly to ad-campaigners without the intervention of a third-party. In an era, where data-leaks and data breaches have become more frequent than ever, data security is something which we are all concerned about. So yeah, as an individual user, we may all like the idea behind this next gen of Internet. But how much of this is even reality?
The problem with Web3…
A fairer internet? seems like a deal too good to be true! But that’s what web3 is proposing, improved data security, scalability and privacy. But the problem here is that Web3 is still very much a conceptual idea, far-far away from any practical reality. And then there are issues like high-costs, scalability and accessibility, arising with blockchain tech, which has to be overcome if web3 is to become a reality.
Using Blockchain technology has become pretty expensive and energy intensive off late, thanks to the explosion of cryptocurrencies across the world. Depending on the algorithm in use, adopting blockchain technology comes with high electricity and hardware costs. Consensus algorithms like Proof of Stake, requires high computing power for verifying authenticity of data. There is also the additional cost of data storage, due to data redundancy.
Critics of blockchain have always raised questions upon the scalability of the system, when in practical use. The thing is that transactions on a blockchain network become slower overtime as each and every transaction has to be pushed into the entire peer to peer system. This slows down the process significantly which would otherwise be instantaneous, in most times. The computational power to achieve such feat’s is often astronomical. According to an top Intel official, while our computing power is all set to increase 5 to 10 times in the next five years. But for building an entire Web3 and Metaverse platform, the computational power would have to be a 1000 times of what it is today.
Scalability remains to be one of the primary obstacles for blockchain based technologies. Massive improvements would have to be made, in order to harness a decentralized future, which for now seems a distant dream.
As mentioned above web 3.0 would take user Interactiveness to contents to a whole different level. To access the full throttle of this technology, a massive upgrade in hardware would be required both in the users and server’s end. Current mobile and IOT’s are definitely not prepared or equipped for the web3 scaling.
In a world, where 40% of the population has yet to see a basic internet service, making Web3 accessible for all would be a hefty task.
An unregulated internet might bring forth a new era of cyber crime’s, hate speeches, bullying and online harassment’s, which would be a pretty bizarre experience for users worldwide.
A Marketing gimmick?
One of the rising concerns from various industry experts revolve around the authenticity of the supposed Web3 as a true decentralized platform. Critics believe that Web 3.0 is nothing but a marketing gimmick from Venture Capitalists, to earn billions by selling people the idea of a decentralized internet backed by blockchain technology. Others believe that Web3 is nothing more than a bubble, just like Cryptocurrencies and NFTs which would eventually burst sooner rather than later.
Critics have also raised questions upon the overall environmental impacts of blockchain based technologies. The co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey has dismissed Web3 as a venture capitalists plaything. He further stated that Web3 isn’t going to democratize the internet, it would rather shift the power from big players like Facebook to venture capitalist funds. And maybe he isn’t that wrong, according to several reports VC’s are betting as much as $27 billion into Web3 projects. The world’s richest man and the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk also expressed his skepticism upon Web3 in one of his tweets saying “Web3 seems more marketing buzzword than reality right now”. Others believe that Web3, might instill even more centralization of the internet, with powers going into the hand of Market Capitalists, who are just concerned about their profits and profits alone.
The Principal author of the blog Just Logically Speaking, Susanta Ray is an enthusiast for information and learning. He thrives in subjects related to Modern Technology, Science, History, Space, Finance and Global Affairs.
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