Web 3.0 has been labeled as the future of the modern internet, and it differs significantly from Web 2.0. Similarly, Web 1.0, which was developed in the early 1990s and early 2000s, was intended to be a read-only service, with static web pages delivering content and information to anybody at any time.
Better user experience, personalization, and dynamic content, where users may both generate and edit data on the internet, characterize the present Web 2.0 ecosystem. However, one of the major drawbacks of Web 2.0 is that it has been controlled by data-hungry firms that give services in return for user data.
In terms of privacy, Web 2.0 can be considered the worst era of the Internet, as everything from shopping histories, emails, sleep cycles, and search results are all logged and processed by large tech companies. Data can be controlled, accounts can be terminated, and targeted user adverts that rely largely on data collecting can shape people’s attitudes.
How is Web 3.0 better?
Because of the inherent nature of decentralization in the Web 3.0 ecosystem, a majority of Web3 developers use dApps or Decentralized Applications. Unlike conventional applications, no one can deny access to these services by filtering out certain users or groups.
Anyone who is on the network has permission to access the service. In simple words, nobody needs to get special permission from any person. All payments are made in the native token for the blockchain. For Ethereum, all gas fees are to be paid in ETH.
Anything and everything can pretty much be programmed on the Ethereum blockchain meaning a lot of opportunities to be unlocked.
To give an example, someone can build a smart contract that works just to collect rent payments from the tenants every month through the blockchain and the entire process can get automated. Some of the top Defi protocols managing hundreds of millions of dollars today are Aave, Dydx, Maker, Compound, and Uniswap among many others.
Youtube today can take down any channel today because of high centralization in the platform. Web3 version of a video platform will be more censorship-resistant because the control is decentralized.
Payment limits are another important component of Web2. Because of specific restrictions placed by the RBI and banks across India, banks, and payment providers are now unable to serve crypto firms equitably.
People can’t buy Bitcoin with their own money because the APIs are restricted. Where there are no restrictions on users or corporations, the Web3 form of payment is completely censorship-resistant. Everyone has the freedom to do whatever they choose with their own money, whether or not the central banks approve.
Zero downtime is another big feature of Web3 applications. Blockchains operate 24/7 with almost no network shutdowns. Applications using the underlying blockchain can operate with near-zero shutdowns leading to better income for Gig-economy workers. Comparing the same with a Web2 company, the infrastructure is heavily relied upon servers either operated by big players like AWS, Google Cloud, or other in-house solutions.
Limitations of Web3 today
Before we talk about the limitations, it is important to discuss the blockchain trilemma. Every blockchain has three aspects to it which are security, speed & decentralization. These three aspects are the challenges faced by developers while building any new network from scratch.
Blockchains are forced to have trade-offs that prevent them from achieving all three aspects together.
- Decentralization: Blockchain developers have to decide whether they choose to give up speed to achieve more decentralization and security. The higher nodes in a network, the more decentralized it becomes and the longer it takes for a transaction to go through.
- Scalability: Centralized networks have a much higher throughput but that’s a trade-off for decentralization.
- Security: While scalability focuses on the upside, security prevents the downside.
Apart from the blockchain trilemma transactions on Web3 are much slower compared to Web2 because of decentralization. Changes to the state of the blockchain like a new transaction or payment need to be processed by a miner and propagated through the network.
The UI is complicated and not user-friendly. This requires a lot of education and extra steps to lower the entry barrier for the masses. When you think of onboarding the next billion users, the current ecosystem is a lot more niche-based for tech-savvy folks.
Coming to cost, transactions on the Ethereum network today can range from $4 to $50 or more. Even though we have networks like Binance Smart Chain or Polygon but Indians are used to 24/7 free banking services like UPI and NEFT. Very few people are actually willing to pay $50 for a transaction at peak times in a country like India where per capita income is less than $2,000 annually.
Pros and Cons of Web2 and Web3
Let us end this article with a quick comparison between the two. Here’s a list of broadly comparing the advantages and disadvantages of centralized and decentralized networks.
|Centralized Networks||Decentralized Networks|
|There is a single point of failure. By targeting the Central Authority, malicious actors may be able to bring the entire network down.||There isn’t a single point of failure. Even if the majority of the network is down, it can still function normally.|
|Higher throughput and scalability. End-users will save money.||Scalability and throughput are reduced. During busy hours, high network fees may deter users entirely.|
|Authorities have the ability to suppress data. Individuals and countries may be cut off from the network.||Censorship resistant. All one needs is a mobile phone with internet to access.|
|Coordination among network participants is easier making it less complex to push updates.||Coordination by all network participants is tough and updates may take longer to go live.|
|Participation is controlled by the central authority.||Anyone can participate in the network. There are no “gatekeepers” and the cost of participation is low.|
To conclude this article, my opinion on the current Web3 ecosystem is that it will take more time to overcome the hurdles faced today. With education and better UX for dApps, users may not even realize interacting with a totally newer version of the internet. Web2 as of today despite its downsides, is still cheaper to operate and faster for everyday consumers.
Thanks to Ethereum Push Notification Service
You may have already noticed that we don’t serve any ads on our website. That’s because of awesome projects like EPNS which help us sustain the website. If you don’t know about them already, it’s a decentralized Web 3.0-based notification platform. Unlike Android or iOS notifications, EPNS uses a decentralized approach to send alerts about your activities on DEXs and platforms like CoinDesk, MakerDAO, BTC Tracker, and more.
How to get started?
- Firstly, you’ll need to have a wallet like Metamask, WalletConnect, etc.
- You can then download the EPNS application from Play Store or App Store and sign up using the Wallet ID.
- If you’re like me, a Browser Extension must look like your favorite option.
- Go to the available notification channels.
- Click on “Opt-In” & Sign the popup. It’s free and doesn’t take any gas.
- That’s it.
The best part, EPNS is already working on a Wallet to Wallet messaging service. If you haven’t checked them already go now!