Change hardly happens at an expected rate, it starts slow and shoots up exponentially just as society is starting to grasp what the current trend is; Arguably better versions of our 21st century systems have been long overdue, but what alternatives could we have? Are we too early, on time or too late in developing and implementing these new systems?
The outbreak of COVID-19 was a global tipping point, it put our existing systems in the spotlight; Our weak governance systems, supply chain management silos, the redundant industrial revolution model of work, new forms of work, learning & play. COVID-19 put all these through the wringers and exposed their vulnerabilities, it also forced us to put some theories into work; Remote work & collaboration, alternative monetary systems, and CRSPR technology (a gene-editing technology) to name a few. For most of these advent groundbreaking technologies it was like the inevitable perfect storm.
The internet has completely changed the game for the modern person, it changed the way we live, work & socialize and it still is shifting gears for us, it brought about a revolution that turned the world into a global village. The internet has previously experienced 2 shifts, with a 3rd on its way. Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0 came to limelight in 1996, 2006, and 2016 respectively; each intended to be an upgrade from the previous and an upgrade it sure has been.
The first shift was Web 1.0 otherwise known as the ‘World Wide Web’, the first-generation internet which gave us a read-only access to platforms, a marvel of engineering at the time. Built on HTML technology, it provided web pages for companies to put out information on websites to an audience reading up to date news any day, anytime.
Adapting to these iterations of the Web and understanding how they came to be raises the question; Can this get any better? How so? Perhaps we can make the next iteration of the Web more like real life with real skin in the game?
“You are cruising along and then technology changes, you have to adapt” Marc Andreessen
Thus follows Web 3.0, the overarching goal of this iteration of the Web is to make the internet a lot more intelligent, autonomous, and open. To make the internet akin to real-life, utilising artificial-intelligence, secure transfer of value using blockchains, 3D graphics, virtual reality, and augmented reality.
Artificial Intelligence on Web 3.0 will be used to better understand and interpret Web content. It will also be used to solve emerging real-world problems like poverty, climate change, humanitarian crisis, and unemployment. A beautiful example of the full circle of what Web 3.0 could do is this scenario of a Tesla, with the self-driving features built-in Tesla, your Tesla could drop you off at work, switch to Uber mode, pick up and drop off clients, securely charge the clients and make payments to your blockchain address, pay tolls you need to pay securely from your blockchain-backed address, charge its battery and come back to pick you up when you’re done at work while giving you full control of the entire process via your mobile device.
Then comes blockchains; Before the advent of blockchains one could never perform an online transaction without the aid of third parties that serve as gatekeepers and charge us exorbitantly for the mediocre service they provide. We have nation-states issuing fiat currencies, Nigeria with Naira and the United States with USD, the problem with this will need volumes of books to expatiate on but to name a few, inflation, inflation, inflation. You go to work, earn your dues in say Naira, all is in order, then using some fancy tactics, the value of the money you’re holding has been diluted by injecting more ‘money’ into the system, if that’s not banditry and extortion it will be hard to explain what is.
Then the banks that charge you a large % just to send your own money to someone, even ignoring the fact that banks make us go through all sorts of KYC verifications and other not so enjoyable things we have to go through to use their service; Thankfully cryptocurrencies exist now and have stood the test of time. Global adaptation of cryptocurrency can curb inflation and help us regain the value of our savings and earnings because unlike fiat currency it can’t be manipulated by changing interest rates and money printing rates.
Web 3.0 is intended to be a pro-privacy and anti-monopoly Web; this involves eliminating middlemen like the government or entities who have been in control of user data in Web 2.0. Decentralising the web will give users complete control of data and security encryption. Blockchains will be accessible to everyone, eliminating gender, geographical, sexual orientation, or socio-economic bias.
Cryptocurrencies are completely transforming the business model of applications we use; Bitcoin as digital gold is simple and easy. Ethereum is currently the main currency of Web 3.0 or the metaverse as it is fondly called. You can think of the metaverse as a cyber version of the universe, it combines aspects of the physical and digital worlds. Unlike the real world, it would also contribute to the digital economy where its users can create, buy, and sell digital goods. Beyond Artificial Intelligence and Crypto/Blockchains, Web 3.0 uses 3D graphics, Augmented Reality & Virtual/Reality to make our experience more immersive, very much like the real world. Users of the metaverse will have their goods in the forms of digital arts, property, and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). NFTs as the name suggests are irreplaceable tokens secured by an indestructible cryptographic key. The sales of NFTs initially began with digital arts but will extend to many more digital assets. What I mean is, a creative in Rigachikun can create digital art and launch it as an NFT on an NFT marketplace, an art collector in Venice likes it, they pay for the NFT and exchange custody, the creative gets paid in Ethereum, rinse & repeat.
The evolution of the Web has been slow enough to benefit mankind with independence and freedom. The shift to Web 3.0 isn’t expected to happen overnight, but it’ll happen fast enough for humans to transition into its world easily. The technology will empower individuals and communities and disestablish the hierarchical system of the current society while amplifying privacy, unity, and a relinquishment of control in a digital world.
Author: Adamu Falalu Bello
Co-author: Asmau Oniyangi