In this mini-series we will have a brief introduction to Web 3 philosophy. Let’s jump in.

Readers of this column would remember one of our early posts where we discussed about the evolution of Web. Let’s first summarize this history in couple of sentences:

Brief summary of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

The web has evolved dramatically over the last couple of decades.

It started with Web 1.0, where we saw main infrastructure components such as TCP/IP, DNS and GPS were put in place. This was a phase where development was initiated by university research centers which were funded by governments. As such, the projects were aimed at creating the building blocks of the internet and undertaken with a long-term perspective. They were not necessarily aimed at mass adoption and user-friendliness was not on the top list of priorities.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Once the common standards were put in place, next came the commercialization phase. This was when venture capital money was poured into projects that promised to exploit the full commercial potential (that would come with mass internet adoption). While we saw an excessive amount of cash coming in and in some cases led to various flops, this phase ended up in technology giants capturing most of the value created in this era.

With Web 2.0, we also realized that too much power given to tech giants had dire consequences. As these giants went public, Wall Street asked them to be profitable.. and more profitable… in every quarter. Where would ‘profit’ come from? Information and data that can be used for in targeted ads that are high value. No wonder it is considered that Google and Facebook are considered as the top two agencies in the world. So they need data and the data came from users. Users, while using their services for free gave away their personal information to these giants. In the end, it came to such a point that this information was used to manipulate user behavior in various circumstances (such as elections).

What is the promise of Web 3?

Web 3 promises to give the power back to users. How are they going to do that? Well, Web 2.0 giants were mainly acting as an intermediary between people and their power was consolidated. People still need intermediaries to act securely in digital life so it is impossible to remove these middlemen from the equation. So what to do? By ensuring that the power is not consolidated. How would that be possible? The best way would be to distribute the task of intermediary to thousands of small units so that no one single unit has the power to manage or direct this intermediary.

What is the key principle behind Web 3?

As a result, here comes the main philosophy behind Web 3 initiatives: Give power back to users via decentralization. Whatever you do, always keep decentralization at the core. This is what differentiates Web 3 projects from their predecessor Web 2.0 projects. Additionally, for any project that aspires to be successful in Web 3, this should be their compass - always aim for decentralization going forward.

This piece is first published in BlockchainIST Center on February 13th, 2022.

None of the views expressed in this article should be considered as investment advice