It’s almost frightening to realize how quickly the world has changed over the past decade and how much. We have gone from enjoying shows made by proper TV productions to web shows made by individuals on the internet. From physical marketing on billboards and flyers to advertisements placed on traffic generating websites such as Facebook and YouTube. It’s like our entire way of life has shifted with the advancements in the internet community. Well if you thought, we couldn’t go any further than this then Web3 (also referred to as Web3.0) is here to prove you wrong.
It wouldn’t be any fun to talk about Web3 without visiting its roots, Web1.0 and Web2.0. Most of you might be shocked to read that there have been multiple versions of the Internet that we use every day. Well, you’ve all used the first 2 versions, you just didn’t notice the transition.
This was the very first iteration of the internet back in the ’90s when a webpage was nothing more than a piece of text. It was a much simpler time where you would simply go to the internet to look up some sort of information and nothing more. Social media was an abstract concept, ads were still seen on television and billboards, and if you wanted to talk to someone you had to make a landline phone call.
The internet was like a huge encyclopedia with static pages with lots and lots of text. You could create your own repositories of information but IP rights were not a thing and almost everything was public. Key highlights from this first version were:
- From the early ’90s to the mid-2000s
- Static webpages (nothing fancy)
- A collection of information.
- Mostly just textual information
Now you could upload/embed videos, share pictures, upload audio clips, ‘Like’ content, comment where you feel like it. This opened up so many avenues and the internet became a community of its own where people could connect with each other, interact with each other, share their moments and share all sorts of content.
This new era also saw the rise of social media influencers, artists, creators, and e-commerce. It opened new ways for people to make a living and created thousands of earning opportunities however this also meant almost all of the control and power rested with some of the large-scale companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. Since these companies possess all of your data (with consent, of course, do read the terms and conditions next time 😏), they are free to sell this data as they like (according to the EULA that you agree to when you sign up), and that is exactly what they do.
So the key highlights become,
- From the mid-2000s to still ongoing.
- Dynamic web pages/content.
- Rise of online content creators.
- The adventures of Ad revenue.
- Centralized system and the stronghold of the social media giants.
Web3.0 — The Future?
So we had a collection of information, then it became a platform for people to present themselves and do all sorts of stuff (literally anything) but where do we go from here? Well, there is still so much to explore.
The introduction of Artificial Intelligence and BlockChain has opened up an entirely new dimension for the internet world and that is what Web3.0 is all about. Web3 will introduce us to the Metaverse based on blockchain and artificial intelligence. But before moving forward, let’s see what these terms actually mean.
The blockchain concept was first introduced during the late 2000s as an architectural solution for the Bitcoin network. A blockchain is basically a way in which data is stored. Conventionally data is stored in databases that store data in the form of tables. This form of storage is very insecure and vulnerable to attacks.
BlockChain, on the other hand, stores data in the form of chunks (blocks), and each block has a hash representation. Each block also points to the hash of the preceding block. Once a block is created it has a timestamp attached to it, if there is an attempt to modify the information contained within, the hash of the block is changed. This means that not only is that particular block invalidated (since the hash is changed so the block loses its identity) but every block that comes after it is invalidated since the next block was supposed to point to the hash of the current block, which no longer exists.
So tampering with one block disturbs the entire chain which is why it is very difficult to tamper with any data.
If you have been following my articles, this term should need no introduction. In simple terms, Artificial Intelligence is training computers to make human-like decisions and to be able to understand the world around us. AI has been around for decades but in the last decade, we saw a massive spike in its development with computers being able to understand images and text and perform human-like tasks.
Even though AI isn’t something new to be introduced in Web3.0 but experts suggest that it will play a vital role in eliminating human intervention for several tasks in the Web3 universe.
If you want to learn more about AI, you can start here.
Or if you would like to understand AI algorithms you can look at the following articles.
Metawha? — What does it all mean?
Up till now, we’ve talked about the blockchain concept and artificial intelligence, but what do these have to do with Web3?
The term Metaverse is analogous to the term ‘Universe’. It means a world separate from ours, a virtual world where you exist as a digital avatar. You have a virtual family, own a virtual home, and earn and spend virtual currency.
So how does this all relate? Chances are you aren’t coming across this concept for the first time. If you’re familiar with the game World of Warcraft, which was a massive hit during the early days of the internet, then you’ve already seen what a metaverse looks like. In World of Warcraft, you would create your own characters, join up with friends to go on quests, or just perform any fun activities. The Metaverse of Web3 takes this one step further.
Since everything on Web3 will be based on the blockchain then all transactions will be carried out using cryptocurrency. Since a blockchain network means a decentralized system where each user has equal power then this also means the end of the monopoly of the social media giants like Facebook and Google. All of the Artificial Intelligence technology available today will be carried forward to the metaverse
So what’s new with this Metaverse?
This time it’s not just about going on quests and hanging around. With the rise of Cryptocurrency and NFTs, we have already started moving towards digitizing our purchases. Instead of owning physical art pieces, people now purchase digital art as NFTs. In the metaverse you will find people purchasing digital goods just like you make your everyday purchases, people will start businesses in the form of DAO’s (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) and you will see banks running on the DeFi (Decentralized Finances) concept, all of which is possible because of the blockchain architecture.
The Metaverse will be a digital world running parallel to the real world but one which will be accessed by the internet and one where you choose how you look like and how your life goes.
So when is Web3 coming?
Everything about the Web3 and the Metaverse that I’ve mentioned above is still just an abstract concept presented by many futurists and technology enthusiasts predicting what our future could look like. However, some recent developments have shown that the Metaverse might be closer than we expect e.g. the normalizing of Cryptocurrency and NFTs.
Facebook recently rebranded itself to Meta (coincidence? there are none!) and has now shifted focus to augmented reality. Recent demos presented by the Facebook (now Meta) CEO show us glimpses of the metaverse, exactly as we discussed above; A world where you live as your avatar and can hang around with friends, plan get-togethers and meetings and even throw virtual parties.
Apart from Facebook, many other giants are getting ready to embrace this new wave of the internet so perhaps it’s only a matter of time before you see yourself reading this article as an avatar of yourself in a virtual library created in a virtual universe.
Whenever such advancement is upon us, there are always critics who believe otherwise. The concepts of virtual reality and augmented reality are not something new and have been around for almost a decade however they did not take off as expected so it’s impossible to say if the Metaverse will ever become a reality and how well it will be received by people.
However, with the speed with which the world is progressing, it is not unreasonable to be prepared for such a change and be ready to embrace the future.