Web 3.0 vs Web 2.0: What are the key differences?
The online world is changing, and Web 3.0 represents the next evolution of the Internet, one that will be more immersive and interconnected than ever before. Through decentralisation and increased user control, it is set to become a substantially more intelligent and integrated Web than its predecessors.
But how does it stack up to the current iteration of the Internet, Web 2.0? What is the difference between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0, and what does this inevitable shift mean for the future of online?
A new era of Internet
Web 2.0 is the Internet as we know and use it today. It is an evolution of the original read-only web pages of the 90s and early 2000s. Back then, online content was created by very few and consumed by many. The second generation of the Web transformed into a place of user-generated content through the rise of blogs, Wikipedia and of course social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and then newly renamed X. This created a paradigm shift, and saw content become increasingly focused on shareability and interactivity.
The emergence of Web 2.0 demonstrated the power of the network effect as companies like Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have come to dominate. It saw a whole new dawn of what the Internet could be and changed how we interact with each other, both online and in real life.
Now, Web 3.0 is set to revolutionise the Internet all over again as it heads us all on a course towards decentralisation and a World Wide Web that operates as an interconnected and collaborative ecosystem.
What is the difference between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 has meant many things down the years – five years ago its main use was in relation to a so-called ‘semantic web’ in which content was tagged by meaning as well as keyword – but is always used to denote the theoretical next evolution of the Internet. Presently, Web 3.0 typically refers to a decentralised Web underpinned by distributed systems such as blockchains. In this version of Web 3.0, content is hosted by and across a network of computing centres, with additional automations made possible by the high degree of data integrity and smart contracts. Web 3.0 is built using the same languages as Web 2.0, with the addition of languages such as Solidity. It often also harnesses other emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, which predominantly is built using Python.
One of the biggest differences between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 is the move to decentralisation.
At the moment, Web 2.0 is centralised, with the likes of Google and Meta controlling the majority of people’s data online, giving them immense power. Web 3.0 uses peer-to-peer and often open-source technology which erodes the need for a go-between to allow access to information.
Data Ownership and Control
What is the difference between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 in terms of ownership of data? Big tech dominates Web 2.0 and has full control over users’ data, with people at the mercy of these big companies. In order to participate online, users have to give up the right to their data through accepted terms and conditions.
These companies can then monetise the data through things like targeted advertising, while people have little to no control over how their data is used. Web 3.0 aims to give people sovereignty over their data and allow them to decide who uses it and how it is used. This puts the power back in the hands of the users and helps issues of privacy that have been a major flaw of Web 2.0. Additionally, the sharing of data and increased interoperability of Web 3.0 will create a more seamless user experience, which will also open up a new world of possibilities for Software Engineers.
Trust and Security
Web 3.0 moves to what is termed a trustless system. Unlike Web 2.0 which relies on the trust of third parties to operate, Web 3.0 instead relies on distributed systems such as those enabled by blockchain technology.
Data recorded on a public permissionless blockchain is typically immutable, therefore people know it cannot be subsequently tampered with and so, properly implemented, can be much more secure than legacy systems. With Web 2.0, you have to trust intermediaries to keep your data safe, whereas Web 3.0 allows you to choose exactly what you share and keeps you in control of your data. Similarly, creating an Internet that is more secure by having data and information distributed across a network of nodes means that if a single entity is breached, that data is not compromised.
Censorship is a very big issue for Web 2.0 as corporations and governments can exercise control over what is seen and shared online. They have the power to block and remove websites, content and users as they see fit. This gives them an immense amount of power and even raises ethical questions about freedom of speech.
The decentralised nature of Web 3.0 gives users a lot more freedom from censorship as there is no controlling entity to police what is happening online. However, this creates new issues surrounding illegal content and hate speech that is already a major problem for Web 2.0 and will need to be addressed. It is essential that the relationship between digital transformation and compliance be taken into consideration.
Web 3.0 is reshaping our digital experience and will instigate a shift in how we interact with the Internet and the world around us. However, there are still issues surrounding it. The complexities of Web 3.0 compared to the ease of use of Web 2.0 will mean that adoption may be slower than first thought, along with questions around its scalability and performance as it requires a lot more power to run its infrastructure than previous iterations of the Web.
Above all, due to the inherent decentralisation of Web 3.0, as has been mentioned, the issue of compliance is extremely important to review. With a lack of central governance, how will it be regulated? These issues will all have to be ironed out in the near future in order for Web 3.0 to be the truly user-centric, transparent and intelligent web that it promises. We work with our expert colleagues drawn from across The MDR Group to ensure compliance underpins everything that we do.
Here at MDRx, we are experts in fashioning digital solutions using the latest technologies, including Web 3.0. Backed by The Mishcon de Reya Group’s expert legal knowledge, our software engineers and consultants offer innovative digital transformation solutions for businesses around the world, with an emphasis on compliance. If you would like to find out more about how new emerging technology can enhance your business, then get in touch now.