What is Web3?
Web3 is an umbrella term for technologies like blockchain that decentralize data ownership and control on the internet. Most internet applications are controlled by centralized entities that determine how they save and use end-user data. Instead of centralized management structures, Web3 (also called Web 3.0, decentralized web, or semantic web) technologies allow for community-driven projects. In these projects, end users control data, determine pricing, directly contribute to technical development, and have a more significant say in a project's direction. The technologies have mechanisms that automatically regulate how users interact with one another. So, there’s no requirement for a centralized entity to govern those interactions.
What are the core ideas of Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 has four main features.
Decentralized web applications are a key feature of Web 3.0. The aim is to distribute and store data in decentralized networks. In these networks, different entities own the underlying infrastructure and the user pays directly to the storage provider to access that space.
Decentralized applications also store information replicas in multiple locations and ensure data consistency throughout. Individual users can control where their data resides instead of handing it over to a centralized infrastructure. Decentralized internet users can sell their own data if they want to.
In centralized web applications and services, users often need to place trust in a central authority to manage their data, transactions, and interactions. These central authorities have control over user data and they can manipulate the system's rules. The data may be subject to security risks or mismanagement, potentially resulting in the loss or misuse of user information.
In contrast, Web3 introduces trustlessness, so users can engage in transactions and interactions without trusting any specific party.
Semantic web enables applications to perform complex tasks by understanding the content and context of web data. It uses metadata and artificial intelligence to provide meanings (semantics) to user-generated data.
Web 3.0 aims to move more fully towards semantic web technologies currently found in some aspects of existing web technologies. For example, a search engine provides more accurate and contextually relevant search results, and intelligent agents assist users in performing tasks more efficiently.
Web 3.0 aims to create more interconnections between diverse technologies, so data flows between different platforms without intermediaries. Interoperability makes data portable so users can seamlessly switch between services while maintaining their preferences, profiles, and settings.
At the same time, protocols that integrate a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices expand the reach of the web beyond traditional boundaries. For instance, cryptocurrency technologies supporting borderless transactions allow value exchange across geographical and political boundaries.
Why is Web 3.0 important?
When the internet just started, read-only web experiences were common. End users could only read content that was published by companies who purchased and maintained the infrastructure that hosted the static webpages.
With the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies like blogs and social media platforms, applications have become more interactive. You can generate and publish content or exchange services with others. However, all interactions are governed by central third-party authorities who benefit commercially from the service exchange. They may also own and control the digital assets that end users create.
For example, centralized freelancer platforms connect freelancers with customers, and room-share platforms connect property owners with renters. Both service providers and service users create data like service profiles, service descriptions, user profiles, blogs, videos, and comments. The platforms centrally manage all of this data.
Challenges with Web 2.0
While the central platforms facilitate and regulate interactions between the two parties, Web 2.0 mechanisms create several challenges:
- Service providers may be unable to move their data to other platforms without losing reputation and customer base.
- Service users have limited control over how their data is used and managed.
- The centralized platform may make certain decisions that may impact end users significantly. For example, they can filter certain user-generated content or limit end-user access to certain site features.
Benefits of Web 3.0
Web 3.0 aims to move towards the read/write/own paradigm, where data creators own and control their own data and have a greater say in how it is used and managed. Web 3.0 technologies provide several mechanisms, so end users go beyond customers to become shareholders and participants. Next are some more benefits.
Users interact with each other and the solution provider in a more meaningful way. They receive incentives for active participation in online communities instead of requests for data exchange.
The individual user determines who has access to their data. Their data is not accessible to the infrastructure owner that holds the data. Your online interactions may be publicly visible but your identity is confidential.
Web 3.0 aims to remove geographical, political, and corporate barriers to communication. It limits censorship from big tech companies and balances security requirements with increased transparency.
What are the main technologies in Web 3.0?
Blockchain technology forms the foundation of many Web 3.0 applications, providing transparency, immutability, and trustlessness. Blockchains are decentralized and distributed ledgers that store records of transactions or data across a network of nodes.
A blockchain database stores data in chronologically consistent blocks that you can delete or modify only with consensus from the peer-to-peer network. It has built-in mechanisms that prevent unauthorized transaction entries and create consistency in the shared view of these transactions. As a result, you can use it to create an unalterable or immutable ledger for tracking all types of transactions.
Other key technologies driving the development of Web 3.0 are given next.
You can expand blockchain technology applications through tokenization. Tokenization is the process of representing real-world or digital assets as digital tokens on a blockchain.
These tokens are cryptographic representations of ownership, access rights, or other forms of value. For instance, you can represent physical and digital assets like real estate, stocks, commodities, art, music, and even in-game items.
Each token may represent a specific fraction or whole unit of the underlying asset, making it divisible and easily tradable. There are different token types in the virtual world, such as security tokens subject to securities regulations or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) representing unique, indivisible assets that don’t allow fractal ownership.
WebAssembly (Wasm) is a binary instruction format for a stack-based virtual machine. It operates in a sandboxed environment within the browser, which means it cannot access the user's local filesystem.
Semantic web technologies
Semantic web technologies allow applications to better understand and interpret customer data. They use linked data principles to interlink multiple datasets or publish structured data on the web. We give some examples next.
Resource Description Framework
With the Resource Description Framework (RDF), you can express statements as triples in the form of subject-predicate-object. These triples create a graph-based data structure representing different entities' relationships. SPARQL is a query language for querying RDF data.
Web Ontology Language
Web Ontology Language (OWL) is a language for defining ontologies, or formal representations of knowledge and relationships between concepts. You can use it to specify classes, properties, and instances, as well as facilitate reasoning and inferencing.
What are some example Web 3.0 applications?
Various blockchain technology applications are being built and exposed as APIs and services. They are then used to build other Web3 applications for different use cases. We give some examples next.
Smart contracts are self-implementing contracts with predefined rules written in code. They automatically enforce the terms of the agreement when certain conditions are met. For example, if a contract says that ownership of an item transfers to whoever pays for it, you simply send the asking price to that contract. The ledger then automatically updates by using a transaction in the next block to reflect you as the new owner.
A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) is an agreed-upon smart contract that automates decentralized decision-making over a pool of resources (tokens). Users with tokens vote on how resources get spent, and the code automatically performs the voting outcome.
You can use a smart contract to program conditions for financial instruments such as mortgages, bonds, and securities (also called decentralized finance). Or you might facilitate tracking and payment of goods through a supply chain. Smart contracts can eliminate the need for intermediaries, which helps make transactions more efficient and secure.
Decentralized identity is a technology that aims to give individuals more control and ownership over their digital identity. In traditional online systems, users often rely on centralized identity providers (like social media platforms or email services) to manage their identities and access various online services.
Decentralized identity shifts the control of identity information back to the individual user. It uses globally unique identifiers associated with a decentralized identifier (DID) document. This document contains public keys, cryptographic material, and service endpoints related to identity. The technology uses selective disclosure to share specific identity attributes and minimize exposure to personally identifiable information (PII) during identity verification processes.
InterPlanetary File System (IPFS)
IPFS is a decentralized and distributed file storage system that provides a more efficient and resilient way to store and access content on Web 3.0. It gives a unique cryptographic hash (content-based address) to every file. It uses a peer-to-peer network, where each IPFS node acts as a client and server. Nodes cooperate to store, retrieve, and distribute content across the web, eliminating the need for centralized servers.
For example, when a user requests content on IPFS, the system uses the content's unique hash to locate the nodes that are storing it. It then retrieves content from multiple nodes in parallel, helping to ensure redundancy and fault tolerance.
What are some Web 3.0 implementation challenges?
As with any emerging technology, Web3 implementation faces several challenges that must be addressed for widespread adoption and success. Some of the key challenges are given next.
Scalability remains a primary concern, as blockchain networks can get very expensive and computationally demanding as data volumes increase. Efforts are ongoing to create sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies.
Interoperability between different blockchain networks and protocols is another challenge.
User experience and adoption
Complex interfaces and a steep learning curve limit mainstream adoption. Improving the user experience by designing intuitive interfaces that abstract the complexities of blockchain technology is essential.
Moreover, regulatory compliance poses a challenge, as Web3 applications must follow existing data protection and financial security requirements.
Governance in decentralized systems can be challenging. It requires effective structures that involve community participation and don’t centralize power.
Designing efficient tokenomics and token standards that align with the application's goals requires careful consideration. Collaboration, innovation, and continuous improvement within the Web3 community are needed to overcome these limitations.
How can AWS support your Web 3.0 application requirements?
Amazon Managed Blockchain is a fully managed service designed to help you build resilient Web3 applications on public and private blockchains. With Managed Blockchain, you don’t have to worry about deploying specialized blockchain infrastructure and keeping your Web3 applications connected to the blockchain network.
All Managed Blockchain features scale securely for institutional-grade and mainstream consumer application builds. Here are ways you can benefit:
- Use AMB Access for instant and serverless access to multiple blockchains
- Use AMB Query for developer-friendly APIs that access real-time and historical data from multiple blockchains
- Integrate standardized blockchain data with AWS services without using specialized blockchain infrastructure or extract, transform, and load (ETL) tools
Get started with Web 3.0 applications on AWS by creating an account today.