Web 3.0: a new way to think about the web

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On August 6, 1991, an English computer scientist named Tim Berners-Lee published the first website in history. In so doing, he launched something that would radically change the lives of people everywhere: the World Wide Web.

Since that historic day, the internet has evolved and changed many times. And it still continues to do so today, even if it isn’t always easy to interpret its signals and trends.

But let’s start from the beginning and go step by step to take a look at what are generally considered the three main evolutionary phases of the World Wide Web at writing.

In the 1990s, at the height of Web 1.0, the activities and capabilities of users were limited to mere browsing (navigation). In other words, the communicative flow online went in one direction, from the center to the periphery, from the website to the user.

In the early 2000s, things started to change. It was then that a series of online applications were created, allowing more interaction between website and user; in fact, those were the years that gave rise to early social networking sites, blogs, tags and podcasts. In the decade that followed, in part thanks to smartphones becoming everyday objects, the web turned into something participatory and shared, and the flow of communication (website–user) became bi-directional.

And that brings us to today. The web is in the midst of yet another metamorphosis, often called Web 3.0, which is defined by the transformation of the internet into a database (cloud computing) and the use of technologies based on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, the semantic web and blockchains.

The implementation of the latter, blockchain technology, and the success of decentralized networks like Ethereum are poised to be the most relevant changes for the near future, at least according to many experts in the field.

Indeed, thanks to decentralization, users can choose to have their computer or digital device participate in the operation of the internet. The “work” of computation will thus be distributed among all the world’s computers, each one of which will act as a network hub instead of being concentrated exclusively on a few well-known servers, which is how the internet currently works (i.e., it’s centralized). In short, Web 3.0 is increasingly shaping up to be an ecosystem of decentralized applications that will bring about a sea change in the way in which users and the web interact and collaborate with each other.

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