The founders of the Internet dreamed that it would open up a whole new level of access to information, communication, freedoms and opportunity by connecting the world through digital networks. While there is undoubtedly more information than ever before, the early hopes of the Internet have yet to materialize.
In the beginning there was Web 1.0
The idea that a network can connect us all is not new. It even dates back to the early 1900s, when scientists saw that technology could be used to quickly transfer information from place to place. And as computers got cheaper and technology got faster, scientists and researchers began to develop communication models and standards for transferring data between multiple networks. However, it wasn’t until the early 1990s, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, that the Internet really took shape and began to change our everyday lives.
Web 1.0, the beginning of a new, more advanced Internet
At the time, Tim Berners-Lee hoped that the World Wide Web would not only give people access to information and new ways of communicating, but also give ordinary people more opportunities and possibilities. The hope that everything, not just data transfer, would be faster, cheaper and easier.
Internet, from utopia to monopoly
For a while, it looked like the Internet would deliver on its equal opportunity promise. Regardless of your background, income or assets. But sadly, the internet has been co-opted by the big tech companies that practically own it now. Google now controls nearly 90% of search ads, Facebook nearly 80% of mobile social traffic, and Amazon about 75% of online sales. A third of the internet runs on Amazon’s AWS servers. If these three companies wanted to, they could cripple much of what we call the Internet.
To end Web2.0 and begin the arrival of Web 3.0
Simply put, the promise of a freer and more open internet has not materialized. Web 2.0 was the story of the emergence of overpowered companies that dominated the Internet and used their power to make a profit off the backs of users and content creators. But it goes deeper: these big companies control not only your content, but also your online identity. They follow your every move, controlling what you see and what you do. This is something Web 3.0 hopes to correct.
Web.3.0, a freer and emancipated internet from GAFAM
The term Web 3.0, first coined by Ethereum and Polkadot co-founder Gavin Wood, refers to a decentralized online ecosystem run on blockchain technology. Since then, it has grown in popularity as the GAFAMs continue to fail us at creating the system we need, instead molding the internet in their image.
NFTs play a role in this Web 3.0
Much of Web 3.0 will be powered by NFTs in new, unprecedented and exciting ways. But will Web 3.0 be everything that is promised? Will Web 3.0 solve Web 2.0’s problems as Facebook is rebranded as Meta and strives to master the metaverse? Or will GAFAM overtake and dominate Web3.0 as they did with Web 2.0?
The next evolution of the web with NFTs
If we eventually want to move to Web 3.0, it will have to work for everyone, not just GAFAMs. As the ancestors of the web have shown, the purpose of the internet was not to make money, but neither can we deny the need for commerce to thrive on all platforms. History has taught us that for almost anything to work, it must be supported by hope for profit. And this is where NFTs come in handy and will hopefully bridge the gap between the hopes of Web 1.0 and the reality of Web 2.0, by combining the best of both worlds.
Blockchain Benefits Finally Realized with NFTs to Create a Better Version of the Internet
NFTs offer the possibility of trading in the form of buying digital land as Decentraland has created. Sell NFT tickets for virtual concerts, art exhibitions or digital travel, or create a unique souvenir or artwork to sell, for example. There is no doubt that Web 3.0 should deliver on its original promise of the Internet.
NFTs and blockchain give the average person more control over their online identity and footprint
A simple example of this is how Google and Facebook allow users to log in to thousands of different websites and apps with their Google and Facebook profiles. These companies are not doing this to make it easy for you. They do this so that you can track yourself more effectively and sell ads more effectively. What if you could log into these accounts with your own personal NFT? This would help prevent GAFAMs from knowing your digital whereabouts.
Thanks to NFTs, your private data is in a safe place
Your online information is stored in centralized databases, be it your banking information, your health information or just your social information. Now NFTs no longer rely on centralized databases to verify and store sensitive data. Instead, transactions can be made directly between two people using smart contracts. The security of these smart contract-based transactions keeps your information more private and secure.
NFTs make it possible to do away with the middlemen
With Web 2.0, content creators have to go through big companies like Spotify or YouTube, and since they manage the distribution, creators have no choice but to agree to the terms and conditions these companies have put in place. Which often gives makers only pennies for something that took hours, months and years to make. NFTs offer the option that you no longer have to accept the terms of the major broadcasting platforms. You can create whatever you want, create the conditions and take all the profits.
Who will own Web 3.0?
There is a race for dominance for Web 3.0. While it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen, there’s every indication that large companies will increasingly enter this market. Among other things, the GAFAMs invest a lot because they understand that this revolutionary innovation can bring them big profits if they adopt it, or have them replaced if they ignore it. Either way, the decentralized nature of NFTs and blockchain is sure to loosen big corporates’ hold on Web 3.0. The hope of Web 3.0 is that if a company or entity disappears, it won’t take much of the Internet with it.
This Web 3.0 will give more freedom of all kinds to a person who can then decide how he wants to manage his identity online, how it is used and to recover this data for his own profit, not that of a big company. Ultimately, in a world where the gap between the rich, the powerful and everyone else is growing, this will be a progressive step forward so that everyone can share equitably in the benefits originally promised by the Internet.
Get an overview of news in the world of cryptocurrencies by subscribing to our new daily and weekly newsletter service, so you don’t miss out on the essential Coinstand!
Student passionate about entrepreneurship and fascinated by the technologies behind cryptos! Yes, I am convinced that the two are closely linked: blockchain and NFTs are revolutionizing many sectors and offering unprecedented opportunities.