Data decentralisation has advanced significantly, enabling people to publish and exchange material on websites from Web1 to Web2. This is where the responsibility rests because users neither own nor have control over their data. Furthermore, individuals lack a basic understanding of what true privacy and ownership feel like because Web2 is largely controlled by powerful tech corporations.
A game-changer is Web3. It gives users access to a permissionless, open, and distrustful Internet where they are forced to depend on these businesses or risk losing control over their data and privacy. The advancement of privacy and storage from Web1 to Web3 has been significant. Web3 has the ability to empower society by redistributing control to users. This is how:
Web1 to Web3: The Evolution of Data Storage and Privacy
The internet was primarily a static medium in its early years. The invention of websites by Web1 changed the game by giving users a novel and effective method of information consumption. The main limitation, however, was that it only permitted one-way communication. In contrast to modern websites, Web1 was non-collaborative and a little monotonous because users could only receive content—not produce or contribute.
Web1 also has a laser-like focus. The website, data storage, and even communication and data transfer were taken over by the creators. As a result, consumers are merely participants in the usage of content on the web and have no ownership or legal interests in Web1.
Towards user participation
Right now, we’re on Web 2. One of the main benefits of this phase is that, at least conceptually, the emphasis has switched to user interaction. On this version, users are only able to read data—not write it. They can produce blogs, tutorial videos, and more, for instance. However, there is a catch since there are restrictions on what users can accomplish.
In Web2, users have more creative freedom. They may connect with all types of data and create custom websites, enabling solutions and services that were unimaginable in Web1. However, the servers that hold and keep such data are owned and controlled by large IT companies. In other words, users can now add data to the web and generate new content, but they cannot edit it. Consequently, online messaging and storage remain highly centralized.
Although the ability to create and distribute data on the internet is liberating, ownership is not guaranteed. Web2 has Terms and Conditions for its service. And major IT firms have complete control over these phrases’ final determination. So much so that users are unable to access the web without consciously or unconsciously agreeing to the aforementioned conditions. Our clipboards, preferences, and browsing behaviours are sent to a vast number of websites and sold without much of our knowledge or consent, as was indicated in our earlier study because we are slow to understand the value of privacy on the Internet.
The promised paradise is Web3. It addresses the problems associated with centralised data storage and communication. Although Web2 started the process of decentralization, it ultimately encouraged harsher types of centralization than Web1.
Users did not genuinely own or have control over the data they created, to emphasise. The centralised web also makes censorship and deplatforming easier. And in order to increase profits, major tech companies severely exploit end consumers. The question now is: What makes Web3 unique?
Decentralization. Users still maintain control over data storage and communication thanks to Web3. With thousands of globally dispersed computers in place of a single (centralized) server, websites on this user-centric form of the web are powered by blockchain networks. (nodes). They connect with end users through decentralised applications, or dApps, as opposed to old processes and channels.
The majority of dApps are actually noncustodial and community-governed. As a result, users can actually and significantly feel as though they own their data, thanks to algorithmically secured intellectual property rights. Additionally, the underlying blockchain makes it possible for communications to be visible while prioritising privacy through cryptographic encryption.
Censorship is also mostly impossible since smart contracts automatically execute web processes based on predefined triggers and conditions without human interference. The approach ensures optimal fairness as well.
Web3: Privacy and data storage is not a luxury
As dApps replace centralized websites, users can regain their privacy and the ability to store data. Web3’s user-to-platform interactions are confidential and anonymous, both in principle and in practice. All this lets individuals realize their self-sovereignty and rest assured about the security of their private information.
Web3 is not yet here entirely, but we are moving steadily towards a digital world where privacy and ownership are a right, not luxuries. The challenge now is to ensure the robustness of the key infrastructure. For one, dApps need to be optimally functional, onboarding masses and providing their services at scale.
But thanks to the industry’s many vibrant and creative communities, we will soon be there. Web3’s social impact gives people fundamentally more power. And by guaranteeing privacy and ownership at this level, we can eventually make these norms for interactions between people and machines. Web3 is, in fact, the future that is already here and that users deserve.