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Understanding Web 3.0’s Past, Present and Future in One Article

The Polkadot Ecology Research Institute, a non-profit organization from China is funded by the Polkadot Treasury. It s purpose is to conduct research and analyze Polkadot as well as the Web 3.0 ecosystem in China. This article is one of a series that will be translated for international readers.

This article explains the basics of Web 3.0 in plain English and offers different perspectives for those not familiar. Most people are familiar with Polkadot and its goal to be a Web 3.0 infrastructure platform. It is important to note that Web 3.0 and Polkadot are closely connected. This makes it a fascinating idea worth reading.

Origin of Web3.0

Although the term Web is widely used since its inception, few people are aware of its history. Tim Berners-Lee, an English scientist, shared his vision for a “communication intermediary” for scientists in order to share and update scientific research results within the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). The World Wide Web was created four years later. It marked the beginning of a new era in the Internet.

Web 1.0 Content Consumers

Millions joined Tim Berners Lee’s project, and began to reap the benefits of integrated computer systems. It has become a popular trend to use the Internet for entertainment and information. AOL, Yahoo! and Google became the major beneficiaries of the Web 1.0 period 1991-2004. Researchers Balachander Krishnamurthy and Graham Cormode found that there were few content creators in this period and that the majority of users were only consumers. This characteristic role of Internet users was what later became the “boundary”, which separates Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.

Web 2.0: Content creators are users

Web 2.0 introduced the term Web 1.0. To clarify the difference between the two periods, Web 1.0 was created. Darcy DiNucci introduced the concept of Web 2.0 in 2004. However, it only gained widespread acceptance after Dale Dougherty and Tim O’Reilly presented the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference. Web 2.0’s hallmark is the ability to create content from anywhere on the Internet. This is what happens when people write to their Facebook friends, create blog posts, upload videos and photos to Youtube or Instagram. Users have started to search for information on social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter instead of just AOL and Yahoo.

Web 2.0 is not replacing Web 1.0. However, it is widely used and characterized by Web 2.0 as a “read only Internet”. Web 2.0, however, implies interactivity and is still the dominant trend in the Internet.

Web 3.0: The Original Idea

Artificial intelligence is now a standard feature of every interaction with web pages. Algorithms use the data generated from user actions to recommend interesting articles and products based on user preferences.

Tim Berners-Lee described Web 3.0 as “the semantic web,” in which machines will eventually process information the same way that the human brain. The semantic web is a machine that perceives messages according to content (conceptually), and context (contextually).

Web 3.0 was described at that time as: Machines that can understand all data (Semantic Web), that solve applied problems using optimization (Artificial Intelligence), and that provide an ideal environment to develop a “digital ecosystem” that allows data to be freely transferred between devices (Internet of Things). The trajectory of Web 3.0 has been dramatically altered by the introduction of Blockchain.

Blockchain is used to create Web 3.0

All expectations about Web 3.0, as they existed before the introduction of blockchain technology, were destroyed by the unrealistic expectations of machine learning and its lack of real implementations in daily life. With its original technologies, Blockchain has opened up new perspectives for Web 3.0.

In the summer 2013, the United States was the key event that established Web 3.0’s new development direction. Edward Snowden disclosed highly classified information to The Guardian magazine and The Washington Post magazines about the US National Security Agency’s Global Surveillance System. Snowden flew immediately to Hong Kong, where he applied for asylum in Russia. He revealed details about the tracking program of Britain shortly after arriving in Russia. The PRISM scandal exposed a stark reality: the U.S. government and British governments secretly and unconstitutionally invaded citizens’ privacy by capturing their communications.

This incident showed the inconsistency in user privacy protection provided centrally by government or business. This incident also confirmed the accuracy of the Cypherpunk Movement’s ideas. Cypherpunks is an informal group that promotes anonymity on the internet and cryptography.

Dr. Gavin Wood (founder of Polkadot, co-founder of Ethereum), articulated the weaknesses of the Internet environment and presented his vision for Web 3.0 during the creation and launch of Ethereum. Original vision of Web 3.0 by Dr. Wood was as follows:

Web 3.0 is a complete set of protocols that can be used as building blocks to build applications. These building blocks will replace traditional web technologies like HTTP, AJAX, MySQL and offer a completely new approach to application development. These technologies provide the user with credible and verifiable assurances regarding the information they get, the information that they transmit, what information they pay and what they get in return. We can make sure that censorship, monopolization, and other forms of censorship have less places to hide by allowing users to take control in a free market that has a low entry barrier.

Web 3.0 is the Magna Carta. It’s the foundation of individual freedom against the arbitrariness and control of the despot.

Dr. Wood published a list of the major problems that Web 2.0 has faced since the PRISM scandal. These included centralization, monopoly by tech giants, and protection of personal information. Web 3.0 is a collection of scalable technology frameworks that offer a new way to build applications. These frameworks will ensure security and transparency through decentralization. They also allow users to transfer control over their personal data, assets, and privacy. Gavin Wood described Web 3.0 as “The Internet after Snowden.”

Web 3.0: Before and after Blockchain

Although the original Web 3.0, known as the Semantic Web, offers promising vistas for Internet 2.0, it does not address the PRISM scandal-related problems in Web 2.0.

Dr. Wood proposed Web 3.0 using blockchain technology. This will remove the Internet’s shortcomings and allow for the Semantic Web to flourish. Web 1.0, Web 2.0 are already in existence. Web 3.0 is currently being developed right before our eyes. Web 3.0 ideas are a beacon that guides the Internet’s direction step by step.

Many projects started their development after the Web 3.0 concept was developed using blockchain technologies. These include Ethereum, Polkadot and Filecoin. Annual Web 3.0 events gain popularity year over year.

Why Web 3.0 is so important

To understand what is missing in the digital world today, we need to have fantasies and reflect on the future. Web 2.0 is a new generation of web 2.0, which offers endless opportunities for users to communicate, see, and create content. The active use of the Internet revealed its “innate” flaws and made it a motivator to search for the “perfect Internet.”

Web 2.0’s Inherent Weaknesses

Web 2.0’s greatest achievement has been the seamless transfer of large amounts of tasks from the physical world to the internet. This has enabled our society to be more connected and efficient. However, the social structures that make up the global economy remain the same. It is a system of unequal distribution of wealth, power and income. The problems with centralization are not being solved. They only get worse as more data is created every day. Companies that do not have a strong control over their user data can allow for misuse and leakage. Data security and privacy protection is a growing problem that must be addressed immediately.

What Web 3.0 has in store

From a user’s point of view, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 will have minor differences in the initial stages. While the browser will remain the same, new concepts such as “wallets” or “key vaults” will be introduced. These entities will act as our online identity card as well as a repository for information about our assets. These entities will enable you to identify users for online transfers, asset exchanges and payments.

Web 3.0 will redefine the “Digital Age”. Although we don’t know yet what the future Internet world will look like, we believe it will be one step closer towards a fair, efficient and complete system.

What is the future of Web 3.0 development? What will Web 3.0 look like in the future? These are open questions, and we will need to think on a deeper level to find the answers.

Web 3.0: Current Status & Development Plans

Blockchain technologies are undoubtedly the focus of attention when it comes to Web 3.0 development. Their characteristics (decentralization and reliability, as well as protection against hackers) perfectly align with Web 3.0’s goal of creating a new Internet where everyone can control their data and identities. Blockchain is not the only key technology for Web 3.0. Artificial intelligence, distributed data storage, and cryptography with high levels of protection are also key technologies. These technologies all contribute to Web 3.0’s implementation. There are many problems that still need to be addressed in order to transition to Web 3.0.

  • Problems with the storage and transmission data
  • The ability to use digital identity tools to work with different applications
  • It is important to offer users familiar and easy tools such as browsers for Web 3.0.

These issues provide a guideline for Web 3.0 implementation.

1. Blockchain protocol for trustless interoperability

Web 3.0 needs a secure and decentralized protocol to allow interaction between different participants in the blockchain. A number of professionals from the blockchain industry are currently working on solutions for Web 3.0. Polkadot was a protocol that Dr. Wood proposed.

2. Data storage decentralized

There are many countries that have passed legislation to protect personal data online. This topic has attracted a lot attention. However, it is unlikely that the goal of securing the storage and use of personal data online with only legislative regulation will be achieved.

There are several options for secure and decentralized data storage, including IPFS (InterPlanetary File System). Although it is unclear which technology will be most widely used, the community already recognizes the limitations, vulnerabilities, and risks associated with central systems.

3. Communications and Decentralized Computing

Polkadot aims to be the leading platform for asset and data exchange in Web 3.0. Polkadot must create an accessible prototype to help with further development of its protocol. The prototype will provide tools to develop the blockchain (Substrate), and facilitate the processing of transactions across the ecosystem. Once this framework has been created, it is possible to explore the possibility of decentralized computing and interactivity.

Dr. Wood published this message in April 2014. It stated that the Web 3.0 forecast, published by the Ethereum community, suggested that peer-to–peer (P2P), protocols would shape the future Internet at every level, from the basic software features to the final build of it. The future Internet will feature privacy protection and decentralization.

4. Applications decentralized

Privacy and data security are a hot topic, particularly when it comes to mobile apps that allow unauthorized collection of data. This problem can be solved by decentralized applications. An analysis report shows that over 2400 decentralized apps have been created on Ethereum, which is the most popular decentralized application network at the moment. Even though their numbers are significantly lower than those of mobile apps, it is sufficient to show that blockchain development is moving in the right direction.

We are now one step closer towards the goal picture, where the network reliably safeguards us against unauthorized data collection from applications.

5. Decentralized identity

Every time you register for an app on a mobile device, or in Web 2.0, data is collected. Data breaches can lead to companies disclosing user data to third-parties, either intentionally or unintentionally. Facebook, a tech giant known for its reliability in data protection protocols, has not been able to stop a lot of data breaches. It is crucial to protect the digital identity and information of users.

This problem can be solved by Decentralized Identity (DID). DID allows users to have full control over their digital identities and associated data by using a collection of decentralized IDs. Users can sign up for new applications using DID and have their data protected from any third-party interference. There are currently two major DID standards. One is set by the World Wide Web Consortium, and one by the Decentralized Identity Foundation. A number of companies are also developing their own DID protocols, including Software, ArcBlock and uPort.

6. UI Optimization

Blockstack is another great project in Web 3.0. It’s a blockchain browser that supports decentralized apps, decentralized identity and decentralized data. You can store your personal data on your devices or in the cloud. However, you are not restricted from third parties. Developers can also create local, decentralized apps using a customized API. This allows users to access their data and use apps without worrying about privacy.

Blockstack technology allows users to regain control over their personal data. This blockchain application protects user data and prevents them from being leaked. Blockstack is not the only platform or application being developed. The metamask plug in wallet for Ethereum is an example. It allows users to manage their assets directly through the browser, and it also lets them use decentralized apps. Metamask saw more than 1,000,000 active users last year. Popular blockchain games and Web 3.0 also contributed to the growth of the user base.

Roadmap and development plans

It is possible to digitalize every day life with blockchain and other unique technologies. This is a natural transition and it makes one wonder how different versions of the digital universe might look. Imagine a future where real life and digital space are equally important. To be able to identify and verify all users who want to access the digital space, you will need reliable tools. Future interaction with the digital space will be more than just text, music, and videos. With their digital avatars, users will be able explore real digital worlds. With one digital identity, users will be able use multiple applications, join social activities, and provide limited information. Transactions can be made in the same manner as in real life, and users will not need to reveal any assets or identity.

Anonymity is not a sign that there has been a crime. It will instead protect user data privacy and ensure the integrity of the network participants. The system can evaluate user actions that could affect his credit score and report suspicious activity. However, users with low credit ratings will be denied access to the application. They will still be able pay fines and fulfill their obligations to improve their rating. However, the system will still record information about any events.

Anonymous accounts will be capable of matching “digital identities” with real-world identities using the KYC (Know Your Customer), procedure to prevent any malicious behavior. It will be possible to own and manage assets in the digital world. Decentralized data repositories will ensure ownership and home value. The decentralization and management of digital assets will be possible with blockchain technology.


Over the past 30 year, the internet has seen many changes. The rapid rise in popularity of the internet has led to many changes. This has resulted in the emergence tech giants like Amazon, Tencent, Tencent, Google and Amazon. It is uncertain if the Internet can maintain this momentum, or if the public will lose faith in Internet security.

Tim O’Reilly, the Silicon Valley legend who led the open source movement in Silicon Valley, wrote: “Simple, decentralized systems make it easier for you to create opportunities than complex, centralized systems. They can change more quickly.” Each component can optimize its own path within simple rules frameworks. The components that work well will continue to evolve and the ones that don’t work as well will be gradually eliminated from use.

The journey to the Internet of the future promises to be an exciting adventure filled with thrilling events. Blockchain, artificial intelligence, and other technologies will transform the Internet. While we don’t know if future changes will be driven consciously or by the inexorable growth of the Internet, new radical ideas are already emerging from the quiet waters.

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