Enabling Web3.0 – how blockchain will disrupt today’s internet
Blockchain is deeply connected with the term Web3.0. Let’s take a look back on the different stages of the internet and how blockchain will help us create the Web3.0.
Web1.0 - building the foundation
The first stage of the internet, the Web 1.0, enabled organisations to present and share content and directly interact with their customers through HTTP-based systems. The focus was on displaying content hence also naming it the informational web. Search engines like Google as well as e-commerce companies like eBay became successful and significantly shape the web till today.
Web2.0 - from information exchange to social interaction
Then, the Web 2.0 followed making platform businesses like Facebook the new dominant force. Web 2.0 applications can be used on all connected devises hence collecting, consuming, and remixing data from a number of sources. The web is now characterised as a participation platform thus enabling the so-called social web. Individuals can share content, create, and join communities and express themselves through personal blogs but also on social networking sites (SNS) like Twitter. Platforms like eBay are creating the trust needed for stranger individuals and businesses to interact. Social buttons give users the possibility to easily interact with each other through liking, sharing and more thus presenting a user-focussed approach to linking web objects. Through social plugins websites and social media platforms are connected making the web more interactive but also establishing a new way to collect and commercialise data thereby creating value for organisations and individuals.
Web3.0 as the end of platform economy
Web 3.0 is said to be the end of this platform economy with blockchain playing an important role in this. In Web2.0 platforms are needed to create trust between parties, but now blockchain takes over this responsibility. Also, blockchain is bringing back the vision of the early internet: an internet that is not owned by anyone but decentrally organised by its users. Where not big corporations like Facebook and Google have the power due to the massive data they collected from their users but the users themselves. In a decentral internet, the Web3.0, the system itself and all offerings are running on a network of independent servers. As Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin puts it: Web 3.0 is a decentral web with a decentral storage and decentral computing. Users will be able to use services without giving up the power over their data. For example, users could be literally paid every time their data is sold to another organisation as this is traceable via the blockchain.
The end of AWS?
There are several examples on where blockchain is enabling the Web3.0 by replacing platform businesses. Based on the Ethereum blockchain the team around Joseph Lubin builds a decentralized competitor to AWS as a network of computing power and storage from the cloud. The data is stored encrypted on the servers of participating users paid by other users with tokens who want to use storage or computing resources. This is also cheaper than using AWS as storage is used that would otherwise go unused.
A revolution in the music industry
Another famous example of a centralized industry that will likely be revolutionized in the Web3.0 is the music industry. On platforms like Ujomusic.com musicians can upload their music including rights management to the Ethereum blockchain and every time a song is used the payments go directly to the artist without any intermediaries who are today collecting up to 90% of revenues. In return, fans will be able to consume music for less while at the same time knowing that they directly support their favorite artists. This development already motivates streaming platforms like Spotify, who recently bought the blockchain start-up Mediachain, to act. Spotify plans to build a network where composers, labels, and consumers (like radio and TV stations) are connected. Artists upload their music and who it belongs to. Every time this information gets updated a new block gets added to the chain building a music blockchain creating trust for all parties involved. Again, the consumers pay the artist directly.
No win without a fight
Notwithstanding the enthusiasm regarding decentralization, in the Web3.0 there will still be centralised services as they are faster, easier to use and require less computing power therefore being more environmentally friendly. Moreover, forces dominating the Web2.0 will probably not accept the new world order without a fight. Facebook, despite the unlucky death of their crypto currency Diem, highly invests into their Metaverse where NFTs will play an important role. Payment providers like PayPal and Mastercard (partnering with Coinbase) enable customers to use crypto currencies for online payments. Google is also massively hiring blockchain experts to further develop their blockchain business in relation to their cloud products. Hence, we will likely see a balance of centralised and decentralised offerings by established and rising players.
How exactly this new internet will unfold is still written in the stars. Clearly, the internet as we know it today will change and the question is how we as individuals and Bertelsmann as a media company want to be involved in this. I would love to discuss with you on how you think blockchain will disrupt Web2.0 in the comment section.
Also, let’s meet in the Blockchain Community if you are interested in learning more about blockchain and exchanging with colleagues.
References and further resources
Appleford, S., Bottum, J. R., & Thatcher, J. B. (2014). Understanding the social web: Towards defining an interdisciplinary research agenda for information systems. ACM SIGMIS Database: The DATABASE for Advances in Information Systems, 45(1), 29-37.
Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of computer‐mediated Communication, 13(1), 210-230.
Chen, H., Chiang, R. H., & Storey, V. C. (2012). Business intelligence and analytics: From big data to big impact. MIS quarterly, 1165-1188.
Gruber, T. (2008). Collective knowledge systems: Where the social web meets the semantic web. Journal of web semantics, 6(1), 4-13.
Song, F. W. (2010). Theorizing web 2.0: A cultural perspective. Information, Communication & Society, 13(2), 249-275.
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