Web3 is a movement as much as it is a technology and increase in development and adoption globally, which is showing no signs of slowing. It’s a change to the web we all know and use, but shifts control from centralised entities to a distributed and decentralised network.
This resource covers what web3 is and how we can relate it to today’s internet.
Introduction to Web3
Simply put, web3 is the internet you know but without relying on centralised operators, such as Google or Amazon.
You may have heard of the term ‘peer-to-peer’, which is the essence of a true web3 where everything revolves around the user instead of the server. Blockchain technology has introduced the notion of decentralisation and with it sparked the adoption of decentralised technologies and the benefits that come along with such a system.
Having no central authority, entity or government which controls the terms in how you interact on the internet is the essence of the web3.
Governments and organisations collect user data via centralised systems and organisational ownership of authority.
By using web3 this centralised control is exchanged for decentralised and often autonomous operation. There are many privacy benefits through using web3, as there is no single controlled entity that has authority over the information and data being exchanged.
Web3 lets you have restrictionless access to systems and information which cannot be prohibited by centralised entities such as governments and corporations. This makes them censorship-resistant and lets you control your information with greater data sovereignty.
Blockchain-based technologies such as smart contracts let you trust in code rather than a centralised authority.
Web3 vs Today’s Web
The internet of today is a mixture of standardised protocols, along with a host of centralised authorities controlling the flow of and access to information.
Systems such as the domain name service (DNS) which routes traffic from a domain name to an IP, which are currently governed by a handful of authorities globally. Data storage services offered by centralised organisations can maintain ownership of your data being stored on their servers, and often are susceptible to government intervention. Certificate authorities (CAs) who centrally control the identity verification mechanisms of today’s web making sure users can validate the identity of the websites to which they connect.
Each of these is layered one upon another to form the internet we know today. Although most of these centralised layers have similarly centralised redundancies built-in, these layers form a chain of centralisation that can be thought of as the centralised web. Each component of the centralised web is susceptible to attack, increasing the ability for malicious actors to gain access to your data. Decentralising these layers enhance their security because they are so distributed—meaning there is no single point of failure.
The links within this chain will be changed one by one, slowly but surely as the web3 movement gathers momentum. In this world of centralised control, the user is truly the product that corporations or external parties can sell and ultimately benefit from. With decentralisation gaining momentum the users become the service and form huge networks of participation, which can be more trustworthy and secure.
Today, you’re forced to comply with the terms of centralised systems to use and access the web. With web3, you can freely access your content without asking for permission and without having to give away freedoms.
There are many working systems and protocols which are operating in a truly decentralised way and are being adopted at a faster pace than you may think.
Domain names are the human-readable addresses that let’s access the content we want. With decentralised naming protocols like Handshake (HNS) you can discard the usage of singular foundation, committee, corporation, or entities who are in permanent and centralised control of the DNS protocol.
Data ownership is another key element to web3, with many operational projects offering a decentralised hosting service—for example, IPFS, Sia, Arweave, Filecoin and Storj.
With decentralised hosting, data is encrypted and stored in a distributed network of participants who collect a monetary reward for participating in the network and storing user data. Accessing the data in a decentralised hosting service is only possible by the owner of the data, due to client-side encryption.
Decentralised exchanges (DEXes)
DEXes have emerged as a popular way to buy, sell or swap cryptocurrencies without relying on centralised exchanges. They offer an important way to invest in cryptocurrencies without needing to register or abide by the KYC regulations typically imposed by centralised exchanges.
Projects such as Uniswap utilise web3 technologies to remain out of the control of centralised authorities. The usability evolution of these types of services has seen a new era of investment into micro-cap blockchain projects.
Read: How to Use Uniswap