Introduction to Web3: exploring the next generation of the Internet

The article provides insights into Web3, and how this technology is poised to become the next generation of the Internet.

The author of this article is EPAM Senior Software Engineer Mirza Kashan Baig.


The latest buzzword making waves in the tech industry and among venture capital firms is “Web3.” If you've ever wondered what that means, you're not alone.

Web3 is considered the third generation of the Internet due to its decentralized online ecosystem built on blockchain. It introduces a new philosophical approach to using blockchain technology in a more democratic and distributed manner.

The rise of the World Wide Web

To understand Web3 and how it differs from the web we currently use, we need to look back in time to the early days of the Internet.

Many Web1 users were content consumers who could only browse static web pages, which are relatively simple websites created using raw HTML. Users could extract information from web pages but were unable to interact with them.

Then, the Web2 era started to emerge, which is the Internet we currently engage with. JavaScript, HTML, and CSS make websites interactive and enable entrepreneurs to create platforms such as Google, Facebook, and others. You can share items on social media that are owned by two or three separate companies – that’s because of the current centralized web. These companies gather user data and exploit it for targeted advertising.

Now, the idea of developing Web3 has come into play. It was first proposed by Gavin Wood, one of the creators of the Ethereum blockchain. In a blog post from 2014, Wood described Web3 as an open and decentralized version of the Internet. With Web3, users could theoretically complete financial and informational transactions online without intermediaries like banks or technology firms. People would also have more control over their data and could sell it if they wanted to. So, that's the vision behind Web3, which is run on a decentralized distributed ledger technology.

The differences between Web2 and Web3

The web has been the foundation of modernization, changing communication and connections. Web3 takes the web to the next level, introducing a modern age of ownership and security. Decentralized systems and applications running on blockchain are the aspects of Web3 intended to provide better protection, security, and information management. Other differences described as the advantages of Web3 include:

  • All the payments on Web2 are made in government issued money, e.g., dollars. Web3 will use cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum or Bitcoin, which are encrypted digital currencies, to fund transactions.
  • Websites and applications on Web2 rely on centralized data centers to send information and make it accessible. Web3 applications will use a decentralized web without a central authority. The theory is that a decentralized structure provides users with more flexibility in creating and analyzing information, granting them more control over how their data is used.
  • In Web3, users will be more involved in the development of the ecosystem. Instead of CEOs and presidents, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) will play a key role, and crucial decisions regarding changes and development will collectively be made by token owners.
  • Another difference between Web2 and Web3 is that there will be no restrictions on either suppliers or users regarding participation in the network. No authorization from a governing body will be required to join. Any individual can influence the networks based on the value they provide, and services are available for everyone.
  • Web1 and Web2 are, for the most part, built with IPv4 addresses. Web3 will require more web addresses, which is what IPv6 offers.

Web3 fundamentals

  • Decentralization

Web3 promotes the idea of decentralization, with power and control distributed among participants rather than concentrated in centralized entities.

  • Trust and security

Web3 emphasizes trust and security by ensuring the integrity and immutability of data through cryptography.

  • Privacy and data ownership

Web3 provides users with more control over their personal information. Users can own and control their data using Web3 applications, and they can choose how and when to share it.

  • Interoperability and open standards

Web3 provides an interface and open standards that enable a wide range of blockchain networks and applications to connect and communicate easily with one another.

  • User empowerment and participation

Web3 eliminates the need for third-party organizations by enabling peer-to-peer connections and providing users with more control over their online experiences.

  • Openness and transparency

Web3 embraces openness in its design and operation, facilitating public and auditable transaction records to ensure transparency in financial transactions.

  • Incentives and tokenization

Web3 introduces tokenization. Each token represents ownership or access rights within the network. Tokens can be used to encourage participation, reward contributions, and align the interests of network participants.

Why is Web3 the future of the Internet?

Web3 is considered the next generation of the Internet, with the potential to bring significant changes to the digital environment. Unlike the current centralized web infrastructure, Web3 offers a more user-centric, decentralized, and trust-based online infrastructure.

Let’s consider some of the primary features that make Web3 the future of the Internet:

  • Web3 enables distributed nodes to securely store and manage information without a centralized authority, using blockchain technology. Users have full control over sharing their data, and more autonomy over their web usage, free from third-party monitoring or control.
  • The most popular application of Web3 is decentralized finance (DeFi). DeFi applications are financial services built on blockchain technology that run on a shared network, giving users full control over their assets and financial information.
  • Another key feature of Web3 is the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are private digital assets stored on the blockchain. NFTs can represent a wide range of items, including art, collectibles, and virtual real estate. They empower individuals to directly exchange and own digital assets without the need for intermediaries.
  • Although still in its early stages, Web3 has the potential to revolutionize the Internet as we know it by granting users control over their information and online experience.
  • Web3 can make the Internet a more secure and trusted place for everyone. With the high demand for blockchain technology, Web3 plays a crucial role by continuously evolving and reshaping the future of the Internet.

How to get ready for Web3

To get started with Web3, your first step is to learn about its core technologies. Then, it’s important to gain proficiency in established web languages such as JavaScript. But also explore Rust, a more modern language popular for Web3 initiatives. After that, familiarize yourself with the top blockchain platforms like Ethereum, Solana, Hyperledger, IBM Blockchain, and Hashgraph.

Frontend development, including user experience and decentralized applications design, is expected to be among the most important skills in working with Web3.

A number of Web3 tools are available to assist developers in building key components. Etherspot and Chainstack help developers build blockchain apps, cryptocurrency wallets, and NFTs. Chainlink and Fluree are geared toward integration and data management. Additionally, languages like Vyper and Solidity focus on smart contract development.

Additional resources

If you're looking to learn more about Web3, here are some useful resources that I recommend:

  • Blockchain Demo is a web-based demonstration of blockchain that provides basic introduction to the blockchain concept.
  • ConsenSys Academy is an online academy that provides courses on blockchain, Ethereum, and Web3 for developers, entrepreneurs, and others who are passionate about Web3.
  • Eth Build — Learn Ethereum Visually provides an educational sandbox. It offers drag-and-drop programming, and helps you understand visually how Ethereum works.
  • Odyssey — Web3 for Beginners contains educational content about crypto, blockchain, smart contracts, NFTs, and more.
  • Ethereum Foundation is devoted to the growth and adoption of Ethereum and Web3. The website has resources concerning Ethereum development, research, and governance.

Conclusion

To summarize, what you need to know is that Web3 is a decentralized technology where users can buy, own, or sell assets, and manage their data. It represents the future of the Internet. Preparation can help you leverage the opportunities provided by Web3. Learn the merits of Web3, use decentralized applications (dApps), purchase cryptocurrencies, sharpen your Web3 skills, and embrace the spirit of decentralization. Web3 signals a paradigm shift in how we utilize the Internet.

We can develop more secure and user-friendly applications that empower individuals and communities by focusing on decentralization, privacy, and security. Web3 provides options such as dApps, decentralized funding, and improved data management, which help improve your Web3 experience. Right now, implementation, scalability, and compatibility present some challenges, but ongoing work is being done to address these issues and ensure the success of Web3. Staying updated with current events, expanding your network, and improving your skills, will help you better prepare for Web3 and contribute to the direction the Internet is heading.

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