Cryptocurrency is primarily exchanged through the internet, so to gain a deeper understanding of blockchain, we will explore the evolution of the internet through its three stages: Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0. The tweet below breaks down the basic idea of the three.
Part 1 - Web 1.0
When the internet was publicly available in 1991, it was in the Web 1.0 phase. Tim Berners-Lee developed the internet as a computer scientist at CERN, the European Council for Nuclear Research. He wrote fundamental coding technology, HTML, URL, and HTTP. Web 1.0 was around the time when most people could go online and only read what was downloaded rather than interact with it. It was essentially one massive Encyclopedia, with most users only being able to consume it. Some examples of Web 1.0 websites include Altavista, Yahoo, and Netscape.
Key Features of Web 1.0
Desktop Browser Access
When Web 1.0 was prevalent, access was limited to a desktop browser. Mobile devices during this time didn’t have access to the internet because it was a wired connection similar to dial-up. Dial-up is when the internet is accessed through a telephone line.
Green Shoots of E-Commerce
In the ’90s, many companies, including e-commerce giant Amazon, began selling online. Pizza Hut was the first to sell pizza, and the U.S. Postal Services issued electronic postal stamps.
This was internet space bought and maintained by companies to store their data. A significant downside to dedicated infrastructures was that it was expensive to maintain.
Problems with Web 1.0
Aside from the expensive infrastructure, Web 1.0 didn’t offer much room for creativity and user-generated content.That being said, the Internet was in its infancy and would be developed over time as people caught on to the incredible utility and earning potential behind it.
Part 2 - Web 2.0
Web 2.0 is the version of the internet we are the most familiar with today. With Web 2.0, the internet came alive with user-generated content. The internet became more interactive, introducing platforms like social media and blogs. It also gave access to the cloud and mobile-friendly sites and apps.
Key Features of Web 2.0
Social networks introduced an exciting way of interacting and staying in touch with friends and family. With one click, you could like and share images or publish your latest travel tips instantly. Social networks created more opportunities for jobs, spurring the gig economy that allowed users to work on a part-time or full-time basis.
Cloud-driven computing allows companies to conduct business without the high maintenance cost of storing data. They can access servers, databases, networking, storage, analytics, and intelligence by renting cloud servers located in data centers around the world.
Mobile – First always on
Mobile-First means a business prioritizes making the website and service accessible on mobile devices. They do this by making the information more readable on a smaller screen and creating apps for phones and tablets.
The Problem with Web 2.0
These are operated by centralized businesses, such as Facebook and Twitter, which often capture consumer data through free access to their respective platforms. Over time, as the user activity increased and the data sets grew, they used this information to drive sales – in this model, the consumer is truly the product. User data is, let’s say, Susan’s frequent engagement with posts about leggings that make her butt look more prominent. This data is packaged and sold to companies that produce targeted ads (with those TikTok inspo leggings), specifically for Susan, to increase sales.
Other problems with Web 2.0.
Many social media apps censor and delete posts they view as inappropriate.
Payment services may not allow payments for certain types of work (e.g. sex work).
Since Web 2.0 is operated by centralized businesses or middlemen, when websites are down, this can mean a loss of income for people working in the gig economy.
Part 3 - Web 3.0
Web 3.0 is a game-changer compared to Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Web 3.0 is maintained by code and uniquely blockchain technology. It’s kept secure by validators located all over the world. It’s indiscriminate so anyone can participate and an ideal way to carry out cryptocurrency transactions.
Web 3.0, unlike Web 2.0, is completely decentralized. Decentralized means that information is stored at multiple locations rather than just one and doesn’t have a single point of authority. This ensures that users have control over their content. Decentralization makes the validation process for cryptocurrency transactions more secure.
Trustless and Permissionless
Web 3.0 is free from censorship and surveillance and was developed to encourage anyone to participate. This feature makes Web 3.0 trustless and permissionless. Trustless means that users can interact or transact with each other directly without a trusted middleman. Permissionless means a governing authority does not control who can participate.
Web 3.0 can comprehend the meaning of words through the technology of Semantic Web concepts and natural language processing. Web 3.0 has also developed AI technology to improve its ability to imitate how humans learn. This improvement will help consumers find more accurate search results rather than companies reaching consumers through targeted ads.
Edge Computing Infrastructure
Edge computing infrastructure is a framework that speeds up processing and response times because it allows users to be close to a certain data source. For example, money can be transferred faster because the computers authenticating the transaction are more proximate to the people transferring and receiving the money.
What happened in the above example?
The world wide web has come a long way from the static nature of Web 1.0 and the interactivity of Web 2.0. Web 1.0 was primarily read-only while Web 2.0 was read and create. The problem with Web 2.0 was that the content that was created or posted was controlled by the companies that published them. Web 3.0 revolutionized this by allowing users to create and own their content. Web 3.0s key features are that the blockchain it uses is decentralized, AI driven and utilizes an Edge Computing Infrastructure. All of these features make Web 3.0 more secure and an ideal way to transfer cryptocurrency. Next we’ll learn about the technology Web 3.0 uses to operate: Blockchain.
Here is Cryptopedia, by Gemini’s definition of blockchain:
“Put simply, a blockchain is a shared ledger of data — e.g., transactions or code — that are batched into blocks, verified, and subsequently accepted as part of the blockchain by a network of distributed users through a consensus mechanism. Because each block of verified data contains a unique signature of data from the previous block, they are inextricably linked together into a “block-chain.” A network-based consensus mechanism is the way a blockchain protocol agrees on how its underlying technical architecture will operate.”