The World Wide Web is a place where individuals can discuss various matters with their peers. The internet provides an open ground for fair discussion. But as it has evolved, it has been increasingly influenced by governments and big corporations.
There are some large platforms that rule the internet and they have a major influence over what type of content you consume every day. In essence, they are able to control your thoughts.
This is not some outlandish conspiracy theory. If you search for a news story and Google makes you land on the links of publications where the stories are biased, your views will become biased.
With all the control of the internet concentrated in a few hands, the situation can become dangerous. After all, the internet forms a large part of our lives. People are realizing now that they need an unbiased internet.
And with that, a new type of web is emerging – a decentralized web. This is a chance to take the internet back from large companies.
What is the decentralized web?
The web you know as of now works with centralized operators. When the internet started, people connected directly with peers and held communications. But as the web evolved, it became more centralized and a monopoly developed under a few names such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
So now you talk to your friends via platforms like Facebook. Your conversations are not as free as you might imagine. What you share with others is controlled by third parties. Whatever you search on the web is dependent on the search engine you use. If Google chooses not to display the results from a particular website, that site is as good as dead.
But now as more and more people are becoming aware of the security flaws of centralization, the web is on its way to be decentralized once again. If we don’t depend on intermediaries to stay connected, we will build a more P2P network – just how the internet is supposed to be.
As a user, you’ll have more control over your data and you won’t have to depend on a large corporation to handle your data.
When each user decides what they want to do with their data, this is the complete internet freedom that we want. P2P networks such as Tor and Bittorrents gained a lot of popularity but governments have tried to shut them down.
The centralized data structure is more like a monarchy where we are forced to follow whatever big companies want us to follow.
However, in the new web (or the Web 3), this data structure is revised and the new one is based on blockchain that is a P2P model. With this model, users won’t have to depend on some large corporations to carry out their desired actions.
Why it’s important
As mentioned above, if the user data lies only in a few hands, it creates risks. This data can be hacked. Also, it can be manipulated to benefit those few hands. Governments can conduct surveillance on us and impose censorships. There are many things that are wrong with the internet because the internet is not decentralized.
Currently, you need centralized entities. If they shut down, you will lose all your connections. So you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. While they store your data, they also harvest this data to target ads towards you and earn in the process.
If your phone has been hearing on your conversations and you notice relevant ads popping up on Facebook, you aren’t the only one. Your conversations are listened on to target ads your way.
With the decentralized web, you’ll get a choice. You’ll have the same level of services but they will not be creepy. So even if a platform (let’s say Facebook) goes down, you won’t lose all your posts and pics you shared.
If you live in a censored country such as China, you’ll get a lot of respite from Web3. When the web will be decentralized, the government wouldn’t be able to block a site that it doesn’t like. As you can imagine, governments won’t be happy with this idea.
How does blockchain help?
The blockchain is gaining a lot of popularity these days. It is a secure and encrypted technology that’s used by cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It runs on a public ledger that can be audited by anyone on the network. With so many entities auditing the ledger, there are almost zero chances of it being corrupted.
Blockchain started with cryptocurrencies but as experts saw its potential, it is not being used in several sectors, including Web3.
The concept of blockchain introduces a lot of transparency in the system. The Web3 or Dweb offers P2P connectivity so your system will not just request services but will also provide them. This new structure will also make it easy for files to pass directly from one computer to another instead of passing the data from a server first.
How will it affect you?
It might be the same or it might get better. However, it all depends on the implementation. If the implementation is flawed, it can get worse. The idea is good but ultimately, it all depends on how it’s executed.
Any payments that you make now will be sent directly instead of going through middlemen. This might reduce the costs of several things. There are many positive aspects of this new technology but there might be limitations as well.
When you invest in cryptocurrencies, you are given a private key that’s a long password to your wallet. If you lose that key, there is no way to recover the contents of the wallet. If this is going to be the same for the internet, you might have to store long passwords for each account and once the password is forgotten, you’ll be locked out forever.
However, this is just an opinion. The concept is indeed bold and innovative and it might bring fairness to the internet. You won’t have to depend on Facebook policies or Google rules to speak your mind. You won’t have to worry about governments as everything will be peer-reviewed.
Currently, there are many projects running on blockchain and W3 will be a major change for the internet as we know it. It is certainly the next big thing after the internet itself.