Envision a new type of internet that not just accurately interprets what you input, but understands everything you conve, whether through text, voice or other media, one where all content you consume is more tailored to you than ever before.
One that gives you full privacy controls over the data you share with other parties, allows you to earn money if you provide it to advertisers or interact with certain applications, and remains free from draconian third-party censorship. The internet, an entity that has evolved rapidly since its inception, is now on the brink of a new era — the era of Web3.0. As we move forward, the digital landscape is undergoing a transformative shift, promising a level of interactivity, personalisation, and control that was once unimaginable. This next phase, Web3.0, is poised to redefine how we connect, communicate, and conduct business in profound ways.
What Is Web3 (or Web 3.0)
In short, Web3 or Web 3.0, is basically the next iteration of the Internet. It follows on from the previous two evolutionary phases of the Internet, i.e., web1 (or web 1.0), the birth of the internet we all know, and then web2 (web 2.0), the more interactive, user-generated, social media-driven web that exploded over the last decade. Web3 represents the next big evolutionary leap forward of the Internet – a leap that’s driven by blockchain, NFTs, and cryptocurrency, with the biggest defining feature of Web3 being decentralisation. Decentralisation means internet users can transact business peer-to-peer, cutting out intermediaries and removing power from controlling entities. There is a greater focus on user privacy, transparency and ownership.
The foundations of Web3 are deeply rooted in the early thoughts of Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web. He first introduced the core concepts of decentralisation, openness, and greater user utility in the 1990s, which saw the first development of the web, with static HTML pages, little or no interaction, and not a lot of user-generated content.
The Web2.0 period began in 2004 with the emergence of social media platforms. Instead of a read-only, the web evolved to be read-write. Instead of companies providing content to users, they also began to provide platforms to share user-generated content and engage in user-to-user interactions. Known as the social web, Web2.0 is best known for Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Amazon, and other large companies that offer highly interactive websites.
The dream of an interactive web came to fruition several years later with the popularity of social networks like Facebook. The World Wide Web Consortium, the web's standards body, released a Semantic Web standard. Around the same time, two essential Web3.0 technologies were born: cryptocurrency and blockchain. Prominent journalists and technologists, including Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum, a prominent blockchain platform, began to popularise the terms Web3.0 and Web3 to signify a decentralised, semantically aware version of the web.
Wood put into words a solution for a problem that many early crypto adopters felt: the Web required too much trust. That is, most of the Web that people know and use today relies on trusting a handful of private companies to act in the public's best interests. Web3.0 looks ahead to the future. It’s the goal of many inventors, researchers, and entrepreneurs to model the internet off blockchains, like cryptocurrencies. The new internet created by Web3 will provide more digital ownership and sovereignty in an increasingly digitised world, and other decentralised benefits that are hoped will help to establish a more equitable web. As Web3 develops, it will likely bring new opportunities and challenges for users, developers, and businesses. It will also use machine learning and AI to empower a more intelligent and adaptive web.
Now, why is Web 3 important?
If decentralising the web's architecture delivers even a portion of the benefits promised by Web3.0 proponents, it could fundamentally alter how people interact on the web and how companies make money from goods and services.
Tech giants like Amazon and Google, experienced rapid growth by accumulating massive volumes of customer data and centralising control. Web3.0's global peer-to-peer network might disrupt this trend, making it challenging for such entities to thrive through data accumulation. A shift to individual data control will emerge, granting individuals authority over their web content and determining who can access and profit from their personal information.
In contrast, Web3.0 business prospects are likely to revolve around harnessing the newfound capability to tailor web offerings to individual users. For instance, Web 3.0's marketing capabilities could help companies strike a finer balance between privacy and personalisation, surpassing the limitations of the present web.
Web3.0 holds significant relevance as the foundational framework for the metaverse, a proposed 3D virtual world in which digital representations of people, called avatars, interact and conduct business. The metaverse, like Web 3.0 doesn't exist yet, and is poised to depend on blockchain or an equivalent decentralised solution for its data architecture and finances. Furthermore, the integration of AI will enhance its adaptability to users' preferences and desires.
Dubai: Web3 Capital of the World
The launch of Dubai’s Metaverse Strategy by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, positions the city as a global pioneer offering the world’s most advanced and connected ecosystem where the metaverse community can thrive in a dynamic and enabling environment.
The move consolidates Dubai’s status as a global capital of advanced technologies, primarily artificial intelligence (AI) and Web3. Dubai is already home to more than 1,000 companies in the metaverse and blockchain sector. As the city attracts new players, the sector’s current contribution of $500 million to the economy is estimated to increase significantly. The Dubai Metaverse Strategy aims to support more than 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030.
Dubai’s location as an innovation hub bridging the East and the West helps it offer unrivalled access to the world’s fastest-growing economies. Now with the city home to a large community of innovative start-ups shaping the future of finance, it has embarked upon a new mission to conquer the new economic frontier. Its ongoing technological advancements and infrastructure investments are set to maintain its status as the world’s Web3 capital.
Recently, Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, announced the launch of Hub71+ Digital Assets, a dedicated Web3 specialist ecosystem, with more than $2 billion of capital committed to funding Web3 startups and blockchain technologies from the UAE’s capital.
Hub71+ is a specialist ecosystem dedicated to advancing specific technology sectors. The first Hub71+ to launch is ‘Hub71+ Digital Assets’ – focused on unleashing the disruptive potential of Web3 and the growth of digital assets. Through this ecosystem, startups, from seed to unicorn stage, can scale globally, unlocking access to programmes, initiatives, and corporate, government and investment partners.
First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and its research and innovation centre, Fabric join as the anchor partner of Hub71+ Digital Assets. FAB will identify Web3 startups, entrepreneurs and breakthrough technologies to help the bank reimagine financial services in the metaverse.
Key features of Web 3
One of the defining characteristics of Web3.0 is the shift from centralisation to decentralisation. Blockchain technology plays a pivotal role in decentralising control, allowing for peer-to-peer interactions and minimising the dominance of middlemen.
•Data Ownership and Privacy
With Web3.0, users have full ownership and control over their data. It empowers individuals to decide what information they share and with whom. This heightened data privacy aligns with evolving user expectations.
Blockchain decentralisation is the enabler for Web3.0's distributed applications and services. With blockchain, data is managed and validated on a broadly distributed, peer-to-peer network.
This is the feature that makes Web3 more adaptive and responsive. In Web3, AI is used to enhance the capabilities of both humans and machines. AI can help analyse large amounts of data, generate insights, and automate tasks.
The semantic web, or ‘a web that understands humans’, works on improving online technologies with additional functionalities. Semantic web can allow users to create, share and link material through search and analysis. The search and analysis capabilities with Web3.0 would focus more on understanding the meaning of words and the context behind them.
The outline of important features in Web3.0 would also draw the limelight towards connectivity and ubiquity. Web 3.0 would ensure seamless connectivity among users and devices involved in the ecosystem while staying available all the time. The internet can be embedded in physical objects like IoT devices, wearables, or smart contracts.
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