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Beyond the Hype: Can Web3 Exist Without the Blockchain?

Recently, the phrase “Web3” has been tossed about frequently, but its definition is unclear. In actuality, the majority of people are unsure of what it genuinely means, and even technical experts struggle to define it. Web3 is undoubtedly receiving a lot of attention, but it is still unclear if it can live up to the hype and fulfilling its promise of a more decentralised and equal internet. Big companies like to throw the word “web3” around but what exactly is it? and how does blockchain technology impact it? Simply said, web 3 can be seen as the next layer of the internet. It’s not here to change the internet but think of it as an update (like a software update on your laptop). Think of web3 as a layer on our existing internet and this is why some people refer to it as the future of the internet.

Back then, the internet was a much simpler place. You open up your web browser, type in a website address hit enter, and voila! The website would load up on your screen, ready for you to browse around. Despite its simplicity, Web 1.0 was a groundbreaking innovation. For the first time in history, anyone with an internet connection could access information and services from all over the world. And the best part? Nobody controlled it. It was a truly open and democratic platform.

Web 1.0 was built on a standard protocol called HTTP. This made it easy for web browsers to communicate with web servers, and for users to access web pages. Because it was a global and open protocol, this meant that anyone could create a website and publish it on the internet for all to see. Looking back, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come since those early days of the web. Even as we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with Web 3.0, it helps to remember our humble beginnings and the simple joys of browsing the early internet.

Web 2.0 was when we finally said goodbye to those static desktop web pages that were about as exciting as watching paint dry. It was like going from black and white TV to HD. But nonetheless, thanks to Web 2.0, we can now do things like book an Uber ride or find a place to crash on AirBnB without having to talk to actual people. Let’s not forget the joy of scrolling through Facebook and Instagram for hours on end, living vicariously through our friends’ carefully curated posts.

But what really drove the rise of Web 2.0? Three magical words: mobile, social, and cloud. With mobile, we could finally take the internet with us wherever we went, and suddenly, we were free to ignore our surroundings and just stare endlessly at our screens. Then there’s social, the place where we go to share our thoughts, feelings, and pictures of our food with the world. It’s also where we go to argue with strangers about politics and get into flame wars over which superhero is the best. Finally, there's the cloud. The cloud lets us store all of our data online and access it from anywhere. So now, even if we lose our phones, we can still find our way to the nearest phone provider, buy a new phone and get all of our information restored. Can’t deny, life is so much easier.

One of the biggest issues with Web 2.0 is that it’s no longer the free and open platform it once was. Instead, it’s now controlled by a handful of big companies that dominate the online landscape. And let’s face it, when it comes to Web 2.0, there are some pretty big winners and a whole lot of unpaid participants.

When we use these platforms to post, like, share, and comment, we’re essentially working for free. Sure, we might get a tiny fraction of the value we add, but for the most part, we’re not making any money from our contributions. And yet, without us, these platforms would be nothing.

So while we’re the ones driving the success of these platforms, we’re not really reaping the benefits. It’s kind of like being the beating heart of a company but never getting paid for your work. And with the financial inequality that has come with Web 2.0, it’s easy to see why so many people are looking toward a more equitable and fair system.

One of the biggest issues with Web 2.0 is that it often doesn’t take our consent into account when it comes to using and selling our data to advertisers. When we use these platforms, we’re often giving away a lot of personal information — everything from our location and search history to our likes and interests. And while we might assume that this information is being used to improve our experience on the platform, the reality is that it’s often being sold to advertisers who want to target us with specific ads.

The problem is that we’re not always aware that this is happening, and we certainly haven’t given our explicit consent for our data to be used in this way. In many cases, it’s buried deep in the terms and conditions that we agree to when we sign up for these platforms — something that most of us don’t have the time or inclination to read.

So, how does blockchain technology tie into Web3, you ask? Well, the answer lies in the very foundation of Web3 applications. These applications are built using open-source technologies, which means that the code is accessible to anyone who wants to read, modify, and improve it. This transparency sets it apart from the proprietary software used by Web 2 companies, where the inner workings are often hidden from view. Open-source software is akin to fresh vegetables in a garden, while commercial software resembles processed foods with mysterious ingredients. With open source, there’s complete visibility into what’s being developed, allowing for faster and more efficient problem-solving.

In conclusion, Web 3 is a term used to describe another era of the internet, one that is being built on blockchain technology. Blockchain is a decentralized database that stores information in a secure and transparent manner. In our subsequent articles, we’ll delve deeper into how blockchain technology lays the foundation for Web 3. By enabling the creation of decentralized applications, smart contracts, and other tools, it fosters a more decentralized internet landscape, paving the way for a fairer and more open digital world.

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