Web 1.0 Web 2.0 Web 3.0
Web3 has become a universal term for the concept of a new and improved internet. Essentially, Web3 uses blockchain, cryptocurrencies and NFTs to give power back to users through ownership. A 2020 Twitter post put it best:
Web1 was read-only, Web2 was read-write, Web3 will allow you to read, write and own.
How internet evolved
Centralization helped usher billions of people onto the World Wide Web and created a stable, reliable infrastructure for it. However, a big problem with the internet today is that a few centralized organizations have influence over large areas of the World Wide Web, unilaterally dictating what belongs and what doesn't.
Web3 makes it possible to solve this problem. Instead of a network monopolized by large technology companies, Web3 is decentralized, created, managed and owned by users. Web3 puts the power in the hands of individuals, not corporations.
Before we talk about Web3, let's remember how we got there.
From Web1.0 to Web3.0
In 1989, at CERN, Geneva, Tim Berners-Lee was involved in the development of protocols that later became the foundation of the World Wide Web. What was his idea? Create open, decentralized protocols that will allow information to be exchanged from any corner of the world.
The first incarnation of Berners-Lee's idea, now known as 'Web 1.0', emerged throughout 1990-2004. Web 1.0 was largely a collection of static sites owned by companies, and user interaction was virtually minimal as individuals rarely created content. Therefore, this version of the Internet began to be called 'read-only'.
The period of Web 2.0 began in 2004 with the emergence of social networks. Instead of read-only access, the internet provided both read and write access. Now, companies have started not only providing users with content but also offering them platforms for sharing user-generated content and interaction between them. As more and more people came online, a few leading companies began to control a disproportionate amount of the traffic and value created on the network. Web 2.0 also spawned an advertising-based revenue model; while users could create content, they did not own it or benefit from its monetization.
The framework for Web 3.0 was invented by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood shortly after Ethereum launched in 2014. Wood formulated a solution to a problem that plagued many early adopters of cryptocurrency: the internet required too much trust. After all, the internet that people know and use today relies heavily on the trust of a few private companies acting in the public interest.