Internet, the network of networks connecting computers worldwide, emerged in 1969 and has since undergone numerous technological and infrastructural modifications to reach what it is today. The initial purpose of the Internet as a means of sharing information has extended way beyond that over the years, and has become an essential part of our lives. The introduction of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee has played a major role in transforming our lives in novel ways.
The web, elaborated as the World Wide Web, is a collection of websites built on top of the Internet. These websites contain information in the form of text pages, digital images, videos, audio etc., which users can fetch from anywhere in the world. Invented in 1989, the WWW has evolved gradually from its initial static page state to the more interactive version we witness today.
Now, as the Internet is advancing towards its third iteration and many technological changes and heated discussions are going around it, many are confused about the difference between web3 and web 3.0. Although most discussions revolving around the third generation of the web imply that web3 and web 3.0 are the same, both are fundamentally different. While web3 is a decentralized, blockchain-based version of the web, web 3.0 highlights Tim Berners-Lee’s concept of a linked or semantic web.
Evolution of the web
Today’s engaging and interactive web, the predominant tool used by billions to read, write and share information and interact with others worldwide, has undergone many phases of evolution since its inception. Let us see what these phases are, and how much the web has evolved since its birth.
Web 1.0, the initial version of the World Wide Web was developed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 which lasted until 2004. Usually referred to as the read-only web, the websites of this era were solely informational and encompassed merely static content. They lacked any interactive content or design components and were primarily connected via hyperlinks. Additionally, only text emails were allowed to be written and sent during those times, while images could not even be uploaded or attached.
Nevertheless, static pages hosted on web servers managed by ISPS or free web hosting providers were mostly personal pages, which were highly popular. Interestingly, users were charged for each page they read, including directories that allowed them to find specific information.Overall, Web 1.0 was a content delivery network (CDN) that allowed the display of information on websites where users passively consumed materials without having the option to leave reviews, comments or other types of feedback.
Web 2.0, also known as the second generation of the web, is the prevalent web of our era that emerged in 2004 and is still thriving. It is considered the read-write web that facilitates user interaction, which is a massive improvement over the one-way communication that Web 1.0 allowed. It enables websites to produce user-generated content, enhancing usability and interoperability for end-users, thus, making it the participative social web it is.
As the use cases of web 2.0 increased from mere a mode of communication and information gathering to e-commerce and more, the number of users also grew to billions, parallelly boosting the creation of user-generated content. As a result, web 2.0 became “web as a platform,” on which software applications began to be built.
Comprehended as the next generation of the web, web 3.0 is the executable web or read-write-execute version of the web. It is also known as semantic web and is an extension of the World Wide Web that uses standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It aims to make the Internet smarter by handling information with human-like intelligence using artificial intelligence systems.
This has been made possible by cryptocurrency wallets like MetaMask, Venly, or TrustWallet, where users store keys to all of their data and identities. They may engage with other blockchain apps in this way and control who has access to their data. Using a crypto wallet to log in to other apps is similar to using a Facebook account, except that all your data is yours to keep and manage.
Difference between web3 and web 3.0
The semantic web, known as web 3.0, focuses on efficiency and intelligence by reusing and linking data across websites. The decentralized web or web3, however, puts a strong emphasis on security and empowerment by returning control of data and identity to users.
Data in web3 is difficult to modify or delete since it is scattered across multiple nodes; however, data in web3.0 can be changed effortlessly. Furthermore, the data stored in the solid pod is centralized, while the keys stored in crypto wallets provide access to the data of assets that reside on a blockchain.
Web3 and web 3.0 similarities
Although both web3 and web 3.0 are similar in names, there is a huge difference in their concepts and approach. However, they both have a common purpose. Both web3 and web 3.0 aim to create a better version of the Internet by maintaining users’ control over their data. The core difference lies in the approach taken to reach this purpose.
While data is stored in a solid pod in the semantic web, web3 uses decentralized technologies for the same.It is worth noting here that both web3 and web 3.0 are still under construction (in their nascent stage). Although various web3 and web 3.0 experiments are going on, they are yet to be implemented in a full-blown form.
Many people across the globe, including the likes of Lemuel Park, the co-founder and CTO of Foster City, consider web3 the same as 3.0. They believe that the future of the web will be an integration of vital web 3.0 elements like machine-readability, and web3 aspects like blockchain or the metaverse