By Tomi Brooks, Executive Officer, Head of Business Development — double jump.tokyo
A huge part of our lives is lived online. In fact, recent stats show that the average person spent an average of 403 minutes online each day in 2022. That is enough time to watch over 1,500 TikTok videos.
The fact that most people spend nearly seven hours each day online would seem to indicate that users are happy with the state of the World Wide Web. The truth, however, is that many people report that they have a growing distrust for the online world. A recent report showed that 72 percent of Facebook users trust the social platform “not much” or “not at all.” For TikTok, the number was 63 percent. For Instagram, it is 60 percent.
Personal information is the central issue when it comes to mistrust and the web. Over the past two decades — which is commonly referred to as “the Web 2.0 era” — the web has become a place where users exchange information for products and services. That information is often personal data that users bring to the web or create while they are online.
Fear over how that data is being used — or could be used by unauthorized sources — has led many to envision a better Web. This evolved version of today’s online landscape is a place where data is not traded for access and personal information remains under the control of the user.
This “better Web” is often referred to as Web3 and many see it as the future of the Internet.
Setting the stage for Web3
To understand what has precipitated the Web3 movement, it is helpful to revisit the earlier phases of the World Wide Web. When it came to life in the early 1990s, Web 1.0 served as an ever-swelling sea of online information. Online sites were primarily static; users had access to information, but rarely interacted with it. Providing content required considerable effort, including securing web hosting and developing and maintaining a site.
Around 2004, Web 1.0 evolved into Web 2.0. This new phase allowed users to become creators through platforms like social networks and blogs and easily contribute to web content. The platforms that created and controlled these opportunities quickly became the web gatekeepers.
Bringing blockchain to the web
Just a few years after Web 2.0 appeared, a new form of technology known as blockchain was introduced. Blockchain provides for a distributed or decentralized record to be created, securely documenting a wide variety of transactions. Blockchain was developed to support the use of cryptocurrency, but it has since been leveraged to empower a wide range of decentralized processes.
Blockchain is considered the backbone of Web3 as the utility it provides to store online information in a decentralized way is seen as the solution to many of the problems associated with Web 2.0. Here are a few fixes that blockchain brings to the web:
- Web3 is decentralized — Web 2.0 applications, such as social media platforms, are generally centralized. They are developed by companies that issue and support them from a central location. Data that the apps accumulate is held in a central location. Blockchain-based apps, which are known as dApps, reside on the nodes of the distributed blockchain network rather than on the developers’ centralized network. This decentralized design keeps personal data from being gathered and controlled by centralized organizations.
- Web3 is permissionless — Most Web 2.0 platforms require that users provide personal information before granting them permission to utilize their resources. Social platforms like LinkedIn operate this way, requiring that users register. Centralized tools like Canva or Gmail also require user registration; however, the fact that Web 2.0 requires permission means that permission can be taken away at the discretion of the centralized provider. By comparison, the dApps that Web3 envisions are permissionless. They grant access to anyone online, allowing them to join the decentralized network, take advantage of whatever utility it offers, and contribute information. In essence, Web3 puts the power to control web access and activity in the hands of users.
- Web3 is more secure — Security is seen as one of the major benefits of blockchain technology. Because information is stored on and verified by multiple nodes on the blockchain network, information becomes very difficult to alter or hack. A centralized site provides hackers with a single target, but Web3 distributes sites across a network, increasing exponentially the work that hackers must do.
Empowering a web that connects with the metaverse
Any discussion on the evolution of the web must include mention of the metaverse. It is common to see headlines heralding the metaverse as the future of the internet. However, there are those who see a variety of issues that need to be addressed before the immersive world of overlapping digital environments that the metaverse promises can be truly functional and engaging.
A blockchain-based web, such as that envisioned for Web3, would mesh more readily with the metaverse. The main benefit blockchain would provide is the capability of creating, controlling, and transporting a digital identity through the variety of online realms that make up the metaverse. Digital assets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency, both of which are blockchain-based, would be essential to support the evolution of the metaverse.
Moving into 2023 and beyond, those who seek to shape the web must find a way to help users to trust again. From gaming to banking to community building, the architects of the future web must convince users that they can safely engage in online environments. Web3, with the utility that blockchain provides, is poised to provide the tools that can increase access, security, and user confidence in the online world.
About The Author
Tomi Brooks is an Executive Officer and the Head of Business Development and Partnerships for double jump.tokyo, Inc. Founded in 2018, double jump.tokyo is the leading startup in Japan that specializes in NFT solutions and developing blockchain games. The company is a technology solution provider which partners with large-scale enterprises to help them successfully incorporate blockchain technologies into their games and company strategy. double jump.tokyo has partnered with some of the largest gaming companies including Square Enix, Bandai Namco, and Sega, as well as LINE and bitFlyer Group.