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Creating the web 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. Nonetheless, there’s a draw back to this elevated connectedness. 

The centralized nature of the web signifies that a couple of massive firms management most of what we see and do on-line. This focus of energy has led to considerations about knowledge privateness, censorship, and different abuses of energy.

It’s turning into clear that the earlier, and certainly present, iteration of the web doesn’t signify what the world vast internet is really supposed for. To grasp this and likewise the promise that Web3 holds, we’ll 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 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 Nineties had been additionally the last decade when the World Broad Internet Consortium (W3C) was based. The W3C is a company that units requirements for the way the online ought to work. Its best-known requirements embrace HTML, CSS, and XML.

The late Nineties and early 2000s noticed the rise of search engines like google and yahoo like Google and Yahoo! These firms constructed their companies by indexing web sites and making them straightforward to search 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 data and the gatekeepers of the web

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

These firms are referred to as the “gatekeepers” of the web. They management what customers see after they go browsing, and so they have a major 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 info, and gather 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 person knowledge. 

Although arguments are sometimes made in regards to the necessity of the centralization of data, it has turn out to be more and more clear that this mannequin isn’t sustainable in the long run. The web was designed to be a decentralized community, and the centralized mannequin goes in opposition to 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 referred to as ARPANET, and it was created by an arm of the U.S. Protection Division within the Sixties. ARPANET was designed to be a decentralized community that would proceed to perform even when elements of it had been destroyed.

The subsequent part of the web’s growth was the creation of the TCP/IP protocol within the 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 perform.

Even going again to the conceptualization of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine within the 1800s, it’s clear that the decentralization of data was at all times seen as a key advantage of computing. It is just in recent times that the web has turn out to be extra centralized.

The rise of cryptocurrencies

In 2009, a person or lady (or group of individuals) referred to as Satoshi Nakamoto launched a white paper entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Digital Money System.” This paper proposed a brand new means 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. Additionally it is the primary and most well-known cryptocurrency. Since its launch, Bitcoin has been used for quite a lot of functions, each authorized and unlawful. It has additionally been praised and criticized by folks everywhere in the world.

The Ethereum blockchain is one other standard platform for launching cryptocurrencies. Ethereum was established in 2015, and it has since turn out to be the second-largest blockchain by way of market capitalization.

Ethereum is totally different from Bitcoin in that it permits builders to construct decentralized purposes (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, referred to as Web3. Web3 is a decentralized community that’s not managed by any central authority.

As a substitute, Web3 is powered by a community of computer systems around the globe which are 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. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless in its early levels, and it stays to be seen whether or not or not it is 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 instances for Web3 are complicated and deserve their very own devoted articles (which we’ll remember to write and hyperlink to sooner or later), however let’s contact on every one briefly beneath. 

Enabling greener expertise

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

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

Fairer decentralized finance and economics

The present monetary system is managed by central authorities, akin to banks and governments. This method isn’t 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 purposes (dapps) that provide monetary providers to anybody with an web connection. For instance, there are already dapps that permit 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 elements 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 may also help create a really censorship-resistant web by making it doable to launch decentralized purposes that can not be blocked by censors. For instance, there are already dapps that permit customers to entry the web with out the necessity for VPN.

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

Algorithmic duty is an space present social media platforms have uncared for. By holding social media centralized, there isn’t a means for the typical person 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 extra excessive and polarizing the content material, the upper the load the algorithms place on it — which may have a dangerous impact on society by selling division as a substitute 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 can be rather more clear, and customers would have the ability 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 to be? What are the parameters that outline it? We expect an excellent web ought to have the next properties:

  • It must be accessible to everybody.
  • It must be vitality environment friendly.
  • It must be censorship resistant.
  • It ought to respect person privateness.
  • It ought to promote algorithmic duty.

These parameters are achievable with the guarantees of Web3 applied sciences. Within the coming article collection, we’ll delve deeper into what elements have led to Web2 turning into a pandora’s field of issues, and the way the subsequent 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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