The first iteration of the web, i.e, Web 1.0, provided open and simple access to information, with static websites (pages) being the norm. Its successor, Web 2.0, brought the “social” aspect to the front courtesy of dynamic, interactive, and intuitive online channels – websites, self-publishing platforms, social media platforms, etc. This web brought the age of globally connected businesses and the age of digital transformation. This stage of the developmental web is currently in use.
Web 3.0, however, is a paradigm shift that upends everything you know about the web and the way it has been used—and continues to be used—to date. Often attributed to being the brainchild of the decentralization revolution, Web 3.0 has implications in almost every sphere of society. But in this article, we will only discuss its scope within the business range.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll try to go through the nitty-gritty of what Web 3.0 means, how it evolved, and how it may impacts (and will influence) the way we do business, interact with one another, and live our lives as part of an interdependent community.
Evolution: Web 1.0 to Web 3.0
Web 1.0: Read-Only
This refers to the internet of the 1990s and early 2000s. It contained static web pages for the users to read. These web pages were hosted on ISP-run web servers or free web hosting services. Web 1.0 was a crucial step in the evolution of the internet and played a major role in the digital revolution of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
However, the major drawback of it was that it allowed only one-way communication. Users could only consume content on these sites but were not equipped to create or contribute, which made it non-participative as compared to the internet we use today.
Despite its limitations, web 1.0 was the foundation upon which the more dynamic and interactive web 2.0 was built which allowed people to access information and resources from all over the world, and paved the way for the development of e-commerce, online communication etc.
Web 2.0: Read-Write
Web 2.0 came into existence in the early 2000s and continues to use. With web 2.0, the focus has now shifted towards user participation. Now, users are not merely the consumers of the content, but they’re also the creators as it allows them to read as well as write. Ex-users can create blogs and videos and comment on content. It has also given a way for worldwide e-commerce and kickstarted a world of digital transformation.
The major drawback of 2.0 is that it is a service with terms and conditions, where these terms and conditions are determined by big tech companies who exercise ownership on your data. If you don’t accept these terms and conditions, you’ll not be allowed to use the web. And in this way, your privacy controls get sacrificed. There’s where the role of web 3.0 comes into the picture.
Web 3.0: Read-Write-Own
Now, web 3.0 aims to return the control over data to the user itself, who’ll remain in charge of storage and communication. This will be the user-centric version of the web run on blockchain networks, replacing single (centralized) servers with thousands of globally distributed computers (nodes) and will allow users to interact through dApps(decentralized apps).
dApps will allow users to have ownership of their data with algorithmically secured intellectual property rights. And underlying blockchain technology will facilitate transparent communication while simultaneously prioritizing privacy through cryptographic encryption.
Initially discussed at length by Ethereum’s co-founder Gavin Wood, Web 3.0 in his language reads as “the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary of the despot.”
Besides the above, Web 3.0 is often referred to as the spatial web. The spatial web, as has long been hypothesized, is an amalgamation of real and virtual environments that everyone can access.
Technologies Behind Web 3.0
Edge computing will allow the data centers to be at the edge, or perhaps in our hands. It’s the technology that brings computation and data storage closer to the sources of data. Phones, computers, sensors, and automobiles will create and consume 160 times more data in 2025 than they did in 2010 and edge will go a long way in the maintenance of this data in the right hands i.e., users.
Decentralized data networks will allow different data creators to sell or exchange their data without losing ownership or putting their privacy at risk.
As data is decentralized in web 3.0, consumers will be directly controlling their data. Decentralized data networks will allow the use of your Internet Identity, through which you may log in securely over the Internet without being traced.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI and machine learning have progressed a great deal and they can now make effective and sometimes life-saving predictions. Combined with decentralized data structures having huge amounts of data, they will be able to avoid predictions that are still human-based, corrupt, biased, manipulated, and so on.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
The underlying blockchain technology will facilitate transparent communications while prioritizing privacy through cryptographic encryption.
Cryptocurrencies are envisioned as a mechanism to compensate content creators in Web 3.0, who would get a token each time someone accessed their work.
3-D Graphics or Metaverse
Web 3.0 is said to be the spatial web as it aims to blur the line between real and virtual worlds by using graphics technology and the metaverse.
In Web 3.0, 3-D design is frequently employed in websites and services. Unlike web 2.0 which was 2-D, 3D graphics in web 3.0 create a new level of immersion not just in futuristic gaming applications like Decentraland, but also in other areas like real estate, health, education, and e-commerce.
The Architectural Layers of Web 3.0
Avivah Litan, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner, says,
“Web3 innovations will take the internet into new realms and give rise to applications not previously possible.”
Her presumptions seem highly plausible considering the architectural makeup of the spatial/semantic web.
As elucidated by the experts at Deloitte, this architecture broadly consists of three primary layers – spatial, digital, and physical.
The spatial interaction layer is concerned with the real-time processing of information gathered via sensory triggers – voice, gestures, computer vision, biometrics, etc. AR and VR devices will be responsible for these spatial interactions.
The digital information layer is responsible for mapping the data to create what we today know as Digital Twins – simulations of physical objects, devices, and environments. Blockchain will play a key role in this layer by managing data integrity, security, and also by allowing platforms and companies to incorruptibly manage access and identity control.
The physical layer then comes into play as it’s the layer that connects everything to the physical world. The physical layer also includes the IoT — sensors, actuators, and connected machines.
Altogether, Web 3.0 isn’t much different from the previous stages from the infrastructural perspective. For instance, it follows the same ideology of collecting information, running computations, and facilitating interactions with the real world. The difference is in the components employed at each of these steps.
For instance, it replaces:
- Big data with distributed ledger at the information step
- Server and cloud computing with distributed computing at the computational level, and
- Consumer-facing technologies like browsers and touch screens with AR/VR, IoT/AI-powered wearables, etc., at the interaction level.
What Does Web 3.0 Mean for Businesses in the Present?
More than $30 billion was invested in the crypto sector in 2021 alone – up from $8 billion in 2018. As of January 2023, the size of Bitcoin blockchain is approximately 446 gigabytes, not quite double the size of just three years ago. As a matter of fact, cryptocurrencies have paved the way for $3 trillion in value and fueled digital assets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are all the rage these days.
In light of this, it only makes sense that some of these new technologies could also be applied to enterprise solutions. Take a look.
Better Return on Data Insights
As mentioned earlier, the ecosystem of Web 3.0 is all about decentralization. Therefore, one of the key elements of Web 3.0 is how the users take control of their own data. This is to imply that no single authority can enforce a change in data usage.
There’s more data owing to the influx of sensory consumer-facing technologies. And this data is unadulterated, unchangeable, and impossible to manipulate.
At the same time, it’s relatively easy to track the provenance of data and its transformations and ownership. This offers businesses priceless insights into consumer behavior and gets them ahead of the curve to find new ways to improve and entice their customers and even investors.
Better Customer Engagement Resources
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the revolution in customer purchase experience and support is well underway. Consumers now expect an array of features and options that are always up-to-date with their requirements. This means retailers have to invest in the customer experience, which by all means, is a substantial undertaking.
In That Light, What Opportunities Does Web 3.0 Open Up?
For one, there’s the added benefit of illustrating a product using AR/VR. Consumers can blow open the product, have the different layers change in response to their actions, and interact with the product’s functionality in their physical space. These technologies, coupled with conversational AI, can remarkably improve customer service and better cater to customer needs.
And we already know how a combination of tokenized loyalty programs can augment the purchase experience created by all these technologies.
Current Businesses That Use Web 3.0
Currently, Binance, crypto.com, Rippe, Okcoin, and Coinbase are some of the companies who are making great progress in the area of web 3.0
Also, web 3.0 public applications like DeFi, NFT, play to earn games and decentralized autonomous organizations are thriving.
How Can Businesses Begin With Web 3.0?
The path to maturity in Web 3.0 begins with assessing the business and its industry. In order to start, businesses need to decide what they want their customer journey to look like around their product and how they want their customers to interact with them.
Only then can they start making the necessary adjustments to their business operations. This can be achieved by crafting a product roadmap that outlines the various stages of development. This can range from simple upgrades to a roadmap that emulates the Web 3.0 structure to the core.
The next step is to develop a robust infrastructure by selecting the right partners who can help you scale your business and create a safe and secure ecosystem for enterprise customers to transact with you. This infrastructure is characterized by robust product development where Proof of Concept (PoC), product innovation, and product testing are all included.
Finally, you need to unify your technology stack to maximize visibility into your data and upgrade it to support the latest technologies.
Web 3.0 is right around the corner, and it’s here to stay. And its arrival is nothing short of a blessing for businesses looking to make their mark on the world stage. At Pragmatyc, we’re all in on Web 3.0 – from product strategy to modernization. And we truly believe that transformative technology like this enables new use cases and allow us to told our different story instead of having it told to us.