The History of Web. Web 1, 2, 3 and NFTs.
Updated: May 20, 2022
Web 1 was the first internet and was spurred on by researchers like Tim Berners-Lee in the 90's. The three technologies that make up this web are HTML, URL and HTTP. Web 1 was not user friendly at all, there were also no algorithms that could dynamically serve pages. Web 1 was only really good for email. Web 1 was a read-only internet in which the users would read the information which the companies that hosted the sites would create. This initial web one model was very basic and was probably why a lot of people were skeptical at the time.
Web 3.0 is more decentralised. It is built up of decentralised protocols and the users don't only make contributions content-wise but also in the governance of the web itself. They have the option to own part of the net, making web 3.0 a read-write-own network. The backbone of web 3.0 will probably be blockchain technology like Ethereum or IPFS, which could be used to decentralise this network. There are already thousands of DAPPS (decentralised applications) that are being built in the web 3 space. These dapps usually have tokens as a way of adding value to those who hold the tokens, which anyone can buy. These dapps allow the users to own the token and therefore share the value that is generated from it. Tim Berners-Lee, who I mentioned had earlier been a big part of developing web 1, has called web 3.0 the semantic web. A chart from fabric ventures lays out the timeline nicely.
Web 2 functions on the client-server model. Visiting a website requests information from a centralised source known as a server which is controlled by the company whose website you are using. This server gathers a hell of a lot of data on each person, and this data is lucrative, which is why these websites are free. However, with a centralised network, this can lead to websites and applications being down for hours at a time, such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp for example. This cannot happen with web 3.0.
The difference between web2 and web3 is that in web3 there are no centralised databases that hold data. The back-end of web 3 is inherently decentralised across nodes that have the purpose of containing the network. A distributed network like a blockchain is cryptographically secure, there is a 0% chance that someone can alter the code, it is impossible and if one node fails, the network still runs and if the node is hacked it doesn't affect the privacy of the network. Ethereum has over 11,000 nodes and that number is growing. Because Ethereum is decentralised and nobody is in charge of the network, Ethereum can never be switched off, it is completely decentralised. To share in Ethereum's success, anyone can buy Ethereum. This means you don't have to trust companies like Apple, Amazon, or Meta with your data, because it is cryptographically secure. The code is fully open-source and auditable for everyone to see. This technology is permission-less with anyone being able to access it through a web 3 wallet such as metamask or trustwallet. Because the code is open source there is nothing stopping anyone from forking the code and building something better. This means any developer, developer team or company can build on top of the Ethereum network. Governance tokens which can be bought by anyone let the user vote, in a democratic sort of way, on how the network is managed and which direction to go in, while also sharing in the success of the network's growth, the same growth that they had a hand in shaping through their governance tokens.
The downsides of web 3.0. The major downside of web 3.0 is that the scalability is not yet there, something that blockchain technology developers are working on. This means that the network is not nearly as fast, instant, or free as web 2 applications that are centralised. Someone would likely not use a decentralised social media that costs money and time to load when they can just get their dopamine fix through Instagram or TikTok. user experience is another downside to the current web 3 model. Not everyone is tech-friendly, especially the older generation. Knowing how to set up a wallet, interact with web 3 applications, approve transactions, and store passwords and private keys was a learning curve for me, never mind an elderly person who struggles sometimes with Instagram. Paying "gas" fees for accessing dapps are something that will not be tolerated by the public when they can stay on web 2 for free, well, for the expense of their data, but still monetarily free. There are of course applications such as Ethereum Name Service (ENS) that lets users create an NFT name such as "reece.eth" for example which would lead to a wallet. This lets users pay using a simple name, just like people do today with PayPal or Cashapp. Although web 3 is far from ready for the average consumer, I am still extremely optimistic about web 3, and so are most of fortune 500's top companies. Facebook is so optimistic about web 3 that they are willing to risk its whole brand by changing its name to Meta and betting on the metaverse being the next evolution of digital human social contact.
Meta is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection and interaction using VR headsets. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and owner of Instagram and WhatsApp, sees the metaverse as the future. This is encouraging to someone like me who is building a digital, online magazine, with collectible NFTs. NFTs have taken storm in 2021 with the likes of McDonalds, Nike, Coca-Cola, The NBA, and Team GB for the 2021 Olympics all releasing their own NFT marketplaces. When some of the biggest companies in the world delve into NFTs, it shows institutional adoption, which is good for not just cryptocurrency, but web 3 in general.
Defi, Crypto, NFT. It can all sound very confusing but given some time it becomes clear what is happening in the future and the link above really explains and backs up everything I explained in this blog post and the blog overall. It explains the highly popular crypto kitties, punks, what NTFs are, defi lending/borrowing, yield farms which require almost zero effort and some yield farms earn upwards of 50 percent a year on your money, which, in high inflation times like these could be something to pay attention to. Just be careful and make sure to do research before depositing any money into yield farms as there have been rug pulls and hacks, crypto is unregulated at the moment so is like the wild west, therefore, caution is advised.
It also touches on gaming. Gaming has surpassed the film and music industry. In fact, if you add the film and music industry together it could fit inside of how big the gaming industry has gotten, I believe NFTs are going to break through the gaming industry first, just because of the nature of games, spending money, and the types of people interested in gaming.
Thanks for reading!