Our world has gone digital, sometimes we cannot control it. Most things about us, anything we write or talk about, our profiles are available to the prying eyes of the world, including hackers and cybercriminals. And we live in a time when not having a digital identity is not an option!
In 2014, Gavin Wood, founder of blockchain infrastructure company Parity Technologies coined a new term in the dictionary of the world wide web, Web 3.0 and laid out his vision for the future of the internet. It instantaneously caught millions of eyeballs across the world and became a lightning buzzword so much so that it got high-profile technologists, including Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk batting around the definition of “Web3”.
It naturally begs a very fundamental question what is wrong with the current web? There is a huge concern about the lack of decentralization in the current web that we all have been accustomed to. One that the current web is hegemonized by a handful of players such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google. These players have a strong influence over the internet and own a lot of the infrastructure the web is built on.
For more on this, I was fortunate enough to have an insightful conversation with Gaurav Kumar, CEO & Co-Founder, Myraah. Excerpts:
ELE Times: For our uninitiated readers, please give a brief account of Web 3.0.
Web 3.0 is the new internet. In the first version of the internet, users were only able to read information. Examples of such applications include news sites, portals etc. In the second version, users were able to create and contribute content on the web. Examples include social media sites, blogs etc.
Web 3.0 = Web 2.0 + Trust & verification. Web 2.0 applications harvest users’ content and data to make money, taking away privacy and control from the users. Web 3 is a movement to shift the power back to the users – making the web open, secure, resilient, and private.
Privacy and data ownership are two key aspects of Web 3.0. Owners of digital assets (such as your pictures, blogs, videos etc.) can claim and establish their ownership using Web 3.0 technologies. This is accomplished by hashing the material cryptographically. Each piece of information has its own hash. Any user who has created content can hash it to generate a unique identifier. This identifier can then be linked to the user, allowing ownership to be verified.
ELE Times: Web 3.0 affirms providing a greater degree of privacy to the user’s end. How Web 3.0 ensures achieving that?
The modern internet is a sea of advertisements, hackers, and trackers. Every single one of your likes, clicks, and files is collected and sold to the highest bidder. You have no control over your content or privacy. Consider the possibility of creating and owning your own internet. Where your privacy is important. That is Web 3.0 in action.
Web 3.0 technology is designed to protect your privacy. When you browse the internet using a Web 3.0 browser, no one can track your clicks and show you ads based on them. Consider ad-blocking, incognito windows, private search, and even VPN in a single application built into the browser itself. Browsers like Opera and Brave are examples of this type. Brave, despite being a newcomer, already has over 50 million users.
ELE Times: What new technology is being introduced in Web 3.0? Is it some minor tweaks to the blockchain encryption only?
The Web 3.0 technology stack has three major elements: Distributed Web, Blockchain and Linked data. Blockchain is just one part of the technology stack.
The first element of Distributed Web is the new way of storing and accessing content. It is a peer-to-peer network that allows content to be stored in a distributed fashion. As content is not stored on a server, it is by design not possible to hack. Web 2 services go down when a server goes down, whereas Web 3 services cannot go down as the data is stored in multiple copies on a P2P (peer-to-peer) network. Additionally, content is now served by several nodes instead of servers, it consumes less bandwidth or data and is faster than the web 2.0 counterpart servers.
Blockchain allows establishing the ownership of content as well as distribution of economic incentives to the rightful owner of the content, as opposed to the platform as in the case of Web 2.0.
Web 3.0 has already been adopted by those defined as “early adopters.” Given the newness of the tech stack, it will take some time for Web 3.0 applications to be built and deployed, but we believe that within a decade, everything will be Web 3.0.
ELE Times: Does the access to Web 3 require some special web browsers?
Web 2.0 browsers such as Chrome, and Safari help you access Web 3.0 applications. However, to access the apps one would need a Web 3.0 wallet. Users don’t have to go through any type of KYC procedure for gaining access to the Web 3.0 economy. Furthermore, users can hold complete possession of assets without the intrusion of third-party intermediaries in the working of Web 3.0 wallets.
Most importantly, Web 3.0 wallets help you achieve something more than just using regular browsers. They are an effective tool for the management of crypto assets without big tech brands sniffing around your data. However, Web 3.0 wallets also have their fair share of setbacks, especially in the fact that they do not offer the desired levels of user protection.
ELE Times: There must be a few challenges occurring in the ubiquitous adoption of Web 3. What are the challenges? What is being done to rule out those challenges?
- Web 3 is a very strong technology and has the proven potential of disrupting the internet. But a lot of it is only in theory right now; Execution is going to play a key role in solving some of these problems. These Some Web 3.0 challenges are:
- Currently, there are many blockchains that are trying to address different issues. Some of them have a USP of being decentralized, while some market themselves as fast. Blockchain technology is still very young, and not many people know how to code.
- Due to a lack of interoperability, assets on one Blockchain cannot be worked on the other. Therefore, owning your assets is not that fun with Web 3.0. Some Blockchains are trying to resolve these problems using ‘Bridge.’ These bridges allow the movement of assets from one Blockchain to another. However, these bridges are often expensive, and unreliable which makes them highly inaccessible to the masses. This problem by and large remains unsolved – and there is a lot of scopes to build here.
- The focus of Web 3.0 is to build working products that maintain the theme of decentralization with little focus on how users interact with them.
ELE Times: How do you see India responding and adapting to Web 3:0? How do you anticipate its future in India?
Web 3.0 will transform the way people do their jobs in a big way. Web 3.0 will be a big deal for India in every sector in the next coming years. The possibility is that India will make a big difference in its revenue return by adopting this web’s abilities. Entrepreneurs will be looking forward to establishing a business in India and taking advantage of Web 3.0. Many investors are interested in investing millions of dollars in Indian companies that have started to use this web technology and invest in web technology that will make India an important country on Web 3.0. Moreover, the government of India needs to plan out a well-thought-out scheme for India to be ready for the next internet revolution after Web 3.0.
Mayank Vashisht | Sub Editor | ELE TImes & Times EV