The internet’s first iteration was known as Web-1.0, which existed from 1990 to 2005. It was based on open-source protocols that were decentralized and driven by the community. The next iteration came in 2005 and is the one we’re all familiar with, Web-2.0. This is the internet many of us “grew up” with, one which favors convenience over privacy and is responsible for the centralization of many services which in the early days were fragmented. This is the internet of services, run by “big tech” corporations such as Google, Amazon and Facebook.
Depending on who you ask, we might be undergoing another transition into the “Web-3.0” era. In this iteration, we hope to see a return to the decentralized, community-driven format of the Web-1.0 internet, now combined with the cutting-edge features and ease of access that Web-2.0 provides.
The internet of Web-3.0 is designed to be owned by both developers and users, interacting with each other using tokens on a trustless and permissionless access basis.
Why Decentralization Matters
Centralized platforms have a predictable life cycle. During their initial stage, they are focused on attracting users, creators, developers, and companies. The ultimate goal is to increase the network effect. As platforms move up the S-curve, their power over users and third parties scales up as well.
However, at the top of the S-curve, their relationship with network members changes from positive to zero. To continue growing, it becomes necessary to extract user data and compete with other services, many of whom may have been their former partners. Notable examples of companies that have gone through such a process are Microsoft vs. Netscape, Google vs. Yelp, Facebook vs. Zynga, Twitter vs. its third-party clients, and Epic vs. Apple.
As for third parties, the transition from cooperation to competition works more like a bait and switch. Over time, many of the best entrepreneurs, developers, and investors have become jaded by the stifled innovation. Consumers have also become tired of the exploitation of their private data, used each day to feed a variety of social media algorithms.
Under the Web-3.0 scenario, ownership and control of platforms are decentralized. This is primarily achieved through blockchain technology, which has created numerous types of computing programs not owned by anyone but universally accessible nonetheless. One of the most popular examples of this is Ethereum, which uses the fungible ETH token to mainly incentivize the owners of the physical computers that underpin the system. ETH is also the system’s native currency, which can be used for NFT transactions.
Users and developers can govern separate elements of internet services by owning NFT tokens, as well as fungible tokens. NFTs also give users the ability to own objects, which can include anything, including images, photos, code, music, text, in-game objects, credentials, control rights, and much more.Through this ownership, Such tokens give users gain the ownership with the ability to become stakeholders and members of governance of the “new” internet.
There are many ways for users to purchase fungible and Non-Fungible Tokens, and similarly there are many ways to earn them via a variety of activities in decentralized services and applications-like games. For example,Uniswap is known to have given away 15% of its governance tokens in hindsight to early adopters of the protocol. Community grants like this one have become commonplace in Web-3.0 as a way to win favor and spur development. Tokens bring network participants together and give them an incentive to cooperate and achieve a common goal; network scaling oftentimes increases token value.
In theory, this eliminates the main problem of centralized networks where value is accumulated by the parent company, which then ultimately ends up fighting its own users and partners for control and revenues. Prior to the advent of Web-3.0, users and developers had to choose between the limited functionality of Web-1.0 and the enterprise-centric Web-2.0 model.
Combining The Best of Both Worlds
Considering the fact that Web-3.0 is also a major market that has to support transactions, there is immense demand for specialized bridges that can connect the financial lifeblood of fiat with the digital world. Crypto bank card services like Embily allow users to rely on conventional fiat gateways like VISA and fiat funds to make purchases seamless even within the decentralized environment. With features such as direct conversion of fiat to cryptocurrencies, tethering to bank accounts, instant cashout, low fees, and peer-to-peer over-the-counter exchange facilities, Embily is accelerating the adoption of Web-3.0.
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