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Without a doubt, the Internet has changed the way we live and work. It has made communication and collaboration easier than ever. However, there is a flip side to this strengthening of the connection.
The centralized nature of the Internet means that a few large companies control most of what we see and do online. This concentration of power has led to concerns about data securitycensorship, and other abuses of power.
It is clear that the previous and indeed current iteration of the internet does not represent the real purpose of the world wide web. To understand this and also the promise that Web3 holds, we will review the history of the Internet and how it has changed over time.
The Internet as we know it is largely a product of the 1990s. This was the decade when commercial use of the Internet exploded and companies like AOL and Netscape became household names. The web browser was invented and HTML became the standard markup language for creating web pages.
The 1990s were also the decade when World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was established. The W3C is an organization that sets standards for how the web should work. Its best-known standards include HTML, CSS, and XML.
The late 1990s and early 2000s saw the rise of search engines like Google and Yahoo! These companies have built their businesses by indexing websites and making them easy to find through keyword searches. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin also developed the PageRank algorithm to rank web pages based on their popularity.
Information centralization and gatekeeper of the Internet
The search engine boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s led to the centralization of information on the internet. A few large companies dominated the market and they continue to do so to this day.
These companies are known as the “gatekeepers” of the Internet. They control what users see when they’re online, and they have a significant impact on how the business operates. The problem with this concentration of power is that it can be abused.
Gatekeepers can censor content, restrict access to information, and collect data about users without their consent. Several cases of abuse have been documented in recent years. For example, in 2018, Facebook was embroiled in a scandal about the misuse of user data.
Although arguments are often made about the need for centralization of information, it is increasingly clear that this model is not sustainable in the long run. The Internet was designed to be a decentralized network, and the centralized model goes against the spirit of the web.
Evidence for this can be traced back to the early days of the internet. The first iteration of the Internet was called ARPANET, and it was created by an arm of the United States Department of Defense in the 1960s. The old ARPANET was designed to be a decentralized network can continue to function even if its parts have been destroyed.
The next stage of development of the Internet was the introduction of TCP/IP protocol in the 1970s. This protocol allows computers to communicate with each other on the internet. It is also designed to be decentralized, so that if one part of the network goes down, the rest can still function.
Even going back to Charles Babbage’s concept of an Analytical Engine in the 1800s, it is clear that the decentralization of information has always been seen as the primary benefit of computers. Only in recent years has the Internet become more centralized.
The Rise of Cryptocurrencies
In 2009, a man or woman (or group of people) known as Satoshi Nakamoto released a white paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. This article proposed a new way of using the internet to send and receive payments without a central authority.
Bitcoin is a decentralized network Use cryptography to secure your transactions. It is also the first and most famous cryptocurrency. Since its launch, Bitcoin has been used for a variety of purposes, both legal and illegal. It has also been praised and criticized by people all over the world.
The Ethereum blockchain is another popular platform to launch cryptocurrencies. Ethereum was founded in 2015 and since then it has become the second largest blockchain by market capitalization.
Ethereum differs from Bitcoin in that it allows developers to build decentralized applications (dapps) on top of its platform. These dapps can be used for a variety of purposes, from financial services to social networking.
The the rise of cryptocurrencies led to the development of a new type of internet, known as Web3. Web3 is a decentralized network that is not controlled by any central authority.
Instead, Web3 is powered by a network of computers around the world running blockchain software powered by Ethereum and several other platforms. This software allows users to interact with each other without going through an intermediary.
Web3 has the potential to revolutionize the way we use the internet. However, it is still in its early stages and it remains to be seen whether it will live up to its promise.
How Web3 can create the Internet we all deserve
There are a number of ways Web3 can create the internet we deserve – for example, enabling greener technology, fairer decentralized finance and economics, true censorship resistance, and alternatives. privacy-respecting alternative to existing centralized social media platforms.
These use cases for Web3 are complex and worth it their dedicated articles (which we’ll definitely write about and link to in the future), but let’s take a look at each one briefly below.
Enable greener technology
The current Internet is based on a centralized model that does not save energy. The data centers that power the internet use a lot of electricity, and this electricity often comes from dirty energy sources like coal.
Web3 can help create a more sustainable internet by allowing data centers to run on renewable energy sources – or abandon the idea of the data center purely by providing better infrastructure for edge computing. The closer your information is to you, the better for the environment.
Fairer decentralized economics and finance
The current financial system is controlled by central authorities, such as banks and governments. This system is not accessible to everyone, and it often benefits the rich more than the poor.
Web3 can create a more equitable financial system by allowing the launch of decentralized applications (dapps) that provide financial services to anyone with an internet connection. For example, there are already dapps that allow users to borrow and lend money without going to the bank.
True censorship resistance
The Internet is now censored in many parts of the world. For example, China has a strict censorship regime that blocks access to many websites, including Google, Meta (Facebook) and Twitter.
Web3 can help create a truly censorship-resistant internet by allowing the launch of decentralized applications that cannot be blocked by censors. For example, there are already dapps that allow users to access the internet without a VPN.
Privacy-respecting alternatives to existing social media platforms in Web3
Algorithmic accountability is an area that today’s social media platforms have overlooked. By keeping social media in focus, there is no way for the average user to know what lies behind the algorithms that run these platforms. These algorithms often determine which content is promoted and which is buried.
In fact, studies have shown that more extreme and polarizing content, the higher the weight that algorithms place on it – this can have harmful effects on society by promoting division instead of understanding. While there is some experimentation going on with decentralized alternatives to these algorithms, it is still in the early days.
Decentralized social media will be much more transparent and users can understand and change the algorithms if they choose. In addition, the decentralized social network will give users the ability to own their data – something that is not possible on current centralized platforms.
Web3: Creating the Internet we all deserve
So, tying up the issues we mentioned – what would an ideal Internet look like? What are the parameters that define it? We think that an ideal Internet should have the following characteristics:
- It will be accessible to everyone.
- It must save energy.
- It must be censorship resistant.
- It must respect user privacy.
- It will promote algorithmic accountability.
These parameters can be achieved with the promise of Web3 technology. In the next series of articles, we’ll dive deeper into what factors led to Web2 becoming a pandora problem box, and how the next iteration of the internet will have the potential to make the internet the platform on which to live. we deserve it – a foundation of sustainability , equality and empowerment.
Daniel Saito is the CEO and Co-Founder of StrongNode.
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