Web 1 refers to the first stage of the World Wide Web evolution. It usually referred to as read-only web. In the era of Web 1, from 1991 to 2004, users on the internet were consumers of content created by content creators.
Web 1 is a content delivery network (CDN) that enables the showcase of the piece of information on the websites. It can be used as a personal website. It costs the user as per pages viewed. It has directories that enable users to retrieve a particular piece of information.
Web 2, from 2004 till now, is the second stage of the World Wide Web revolution. It usually referred to as read-write web. Emphasis was given to user-generated content, ease of use, participatory culture and interoperability.
Web 2 brought about a fundamental shift, where people could share their perspectives, opinions, thoughts, and experiences through a variety of online tools and platforms, such as Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook.
Web 3 can be understood as the “read/write/own” phase of the Internet. Rather than just using free tech platforms in exchange for our data, users can participate in the governance and operation of the protocols themselves. This means people can become participants and shareholders, not just customers or products.
Using blockchain technology, Web3 aims to displace tech giants by handing complete ownership of data back to the users. With other technologies such as blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), users will be given more personalized content and experiences. They will have their own digital identity, and more control over privacy.
In the meantime, Users will be more involved in future developments of Web 3 ecosystems. As a result, the organization will not have presidents or CEOs but Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) in which token owners will decide on essential changes and developments, as a collective.
Another feature of Web 3 may be permissionless. There are no restrictions on who can be part of the network. Neither users nor suppliers will require authorization from a governing body in order to participate. Services are available to everyone, and individuals can influence the networks based on the value they provide.
However, there are many challenges in the future developments of Web 3. Internet users are a mixed bag, and although some will embrace the forward-thinking Web 3 ideology, many are likely to be put off by its complexities — technology generally deals with change better than a human being.
Also, bad actors could leverage some of Web 3’s strengths to get around restrictions on their activity, and while decentralization can still rely on community power to intervene, this process will be very different from traditional governance and take getting used to.
Despite all the problems, Web 3 has a lot of potential. Whether it’s too idealistic to put into practice will be something that everyday users will discover over the next decade.