Web2 vs web3 – New Internet or Just an Upgrade?

Written by Marko

June 19, 2022

Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 are variations of the web that came after the initial Web 1.0 in the 1990s and early 2000s. Web 2.0 is the current form of the internet (a word that is sometimes used interchangeably with the web) that we are all acquainted with, whereas Web 3.0 is its next phase.

The World Wide Web (WWW) is the internet’s primary information retrieval mechanism. The WWW initialism was (and still is) used to precede a web URL and was one of the first letters entered into a web browser while looking for a particular resource online. Tim Berners-Lee, an Internet pioneer, is credited with coining the phrase World Wide Network to refer to the worldwide web of information and services linked together by hypertext linkages.

Key Lessons

Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 are iterative advancements of the original Web 1.0 of the 1990s and early 2000s. Web 2.0 is the current form of the web that we are all acquainted with, but Web 3.0 symbolizes its future phase, which will be more decentralized, open, and useful. Smartphones, mobile internet connectivity, and social networks have fueled the exponential expansion of Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 has impacted industries that have yet to adopt the new web-based business model.

Web 3.0 distinguishing characteristics include decentralization, trustlessness and permissionlessness, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, connectedness, and ubiquity. Berners-Lee pioneered the early beginnings of the internet in 1990 while working as a computer scientist at the European research facility CERN.

By October 1990, Berners-Lee had built the three key technologies that would become the web’s core, including the first webpage editor/browser (WorldWideWeb.app):

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language, and it is the markup or formatting language of the web URI or URL: Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), a unique address used to identify each online resource.

HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol, which enables the retrieval of connected materials from the internet.

The emergence of web browsers such as Netscape Navigator in the mid-1990s ushered in the age of Web 1.0. This was the era of static websites received from servers, a far cry from the polished content that is now expected. Most internet users were enthralled by the novelty of capabilities like email and real-time news retrieval at the time. Content production was still in its early stages, and customers had few options for interactive apps, however this changed as online banking and trade grew more popular.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 refers to a paradigm change in how people utilize the internet. Web 2.0’s interactivity, social networking, and user-generated content have totally supplanted the sterile websites of Web 1.0 during the last 15 to 20 years. Web 2.0 allows user-generated material to be seen by millions of people all over the globe in an instant; this unprecedented reach has resulted in an explosion of this form of content in recent years.

Key breakthroughs such as mobile internet access and social networks, as well as the near-ubiquity of sophisticated mobile devices such as iPhones and Android-powered smartphones, have fueled Web 2.0’s exponential growth. These advancements permitted the supremacy of applications that substantially extended online engagement and usefulness in the second decade of this century, such as Airbnb, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Uber, WhatsApp, and YouTube, to mention a few.

Because of the remarkable revenue growth of these dominating platforms, numerous Web 2.0-centric firms, such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Meta (previously Facebook), and Netflix, have become among the world’s most valuable corporations by market value (there is even an acronym for them: FAANG).

These apps have also fueled the expansion of the gig economy, allowing millions of individuals to make money part-time or full-time by driving, renting out their houses, delivering food and groceries, or selling products and services online. Web 2.0 has also proved very disruptive to some sectors, to the point that some of them are facing extinction. These are industries that have either failed to adapt or have been sluggish to adapt to the new web-centric business model, with retail, entertainment, media, and advertising being among the most impacted.


This year saw two significant milestones that propelled the growth and acceptance of Web 2.0: Google’s IPO and the founding of Facebook (now Meta).
45 Both firms are members of the FAANG group, which includes the largest technological companies in the United States.

Web 3.0

Web 3.0 is the next iteration or phase in the development of the web/internet, and it has the potential to be as disruptive and represent a paradigm shift as Web 2.0 was. Web 3.0 is based on the fundamental ideals of decentralization, openness, and increased consumer usefulness.

Berners-Lee elaborated on several of these essential notions throughout the 1990s, as shown below:

“No authorization from a central authority is required to put anything on the web, there is no central controlling node, and hence no single point of failure…and no ‘death switch’!” This includes freedom from arbitrary censorship and monitoring.”
Bottom-up design means that “rather than being written and managed by a small group of specialists, code was generated in full view of everyone, promoting maximum engagement and experimentation.”

Berners-Lee explored the notion of the Semantic Web in a paper published in 2001.

67 There is no reliable technique for computers to process language semantics (i.e., figure out the actual context in which a word or phrase is used). Berners-aim Lee’s for the Semantic Web was to arrange the meaningful content of websites and to allow software to perform complex activities for people.

Web 3.0 has progressed well beyond Berners-initial Lee’s notion of the Semantic Web in 2001. This is due in part to the high cost and difficulty of converting human language—with all of its various subtleties and variations—into a format that computers can understand, as well as the fact that Web 2.0 has already changed significantly over the last two decades.

Web 3.0 Characteristics

Though there is no official definition of Web 3.0, it does contain a few distinguishing characteristics:

Decentralization is a fundamental element of Web 3.0. Computers in Web 2.0 employ HTTP in the form of unique web addresses to locate information that is stored in a fixed place, often on a single server. Because information would be retrieved based on its content in Web 3.0, it may be kept in several places at the same time, making it decentralized. This would deconstruct the vast datasets presently maintained by internet behemoths like Meta and Google, giving people more power.

With Web 3.0, users will be able to sell data created by disparate and more powerful computing resources such as mobile phones, computers, appliances, automobiles, and sensors over decentralized data networks, guaranteeing that users maintain ownership control.

Trustless and permissionless: In addition to decentralization and open source software, Web 3.0 will be trustless (i.e., participants will be able to engage directly without the need for a trusted intermediary) and permissionless (meaning that anyone can participate without authorization from a governing body). As a consequence, Web 3.0 applications will operate on blockchains, decentralized peer-to-peer networks, or a hybrid of the two—dApps are decentralized apps.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning: In Web 3.0, machines will be able to grasp information in the same way that people do, thanks to Semantic Web concepts and natural language processing technologies. Machine learning will also be used in Web 3.0, which is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that utilizes data and algorithms to mimic how people learn, continuously increasing its accuracy. These skills will allow computers to deliver quicker and more relevant results in a variety of fields such as medicine research and novel materials, as opposed to the present focus on targeted advertising.

Connectivity and ubiquity: With Web 3.0, information and content are increasingly linked and ubiquitous, accessible via different apps and a rising number of daily objects connected to the web, such as the Internet of Things.

Web 3.0’s Potential and Drawbacks

Web 3.0 has the ability to offer users with significantly higher usefulness, going well beyond the bulk of Web 2.0 apps customers utilize, such as social networking, streaming, and online shopping. Semantic Web, AI, and machine learning capabilities, which are at the heart of Web 3.0, have the potential to dramatically expand application in new domains and considerably enhance user engagement.

Web 3.0 characteristics like decentralization and permissionless systems will also allow consumers far more control over their personal data. This may help reduce the practice of data extraction—the collection of information from online users without their agreement or compensation—as well as the network effects that have allowed technological behemoths to achieve near-monopolies via exploitative advertising and marketing methods.

Decentralization, on the other hand, has major legal and regulatory concerns. Because of the absence of central oversight, cybercrime, hate speech, and disinformation are already difficult to regulate. A decentralized web would also make regulation and enforcement problematic; for example, whose country’s laws would apply to a certain website whose material is housed in many countries across the world?

In conclusion

To use a movie example, if Web 1.0 represented the black-and-white movie period, Web 2.0 would be the age of color/basic 3D, and Web 3.0 would be immersive metaverse experiences. Just as the 2010s saw Web 2.0 emerge as the dominating force in the global economic and cultural environment, the 2020s may see the rise of Web 3.0. Facebook’s name change to Meta on October 28, 2021, might be an early indicator that the transition to Web 3.0 is gaining traction.

What is a real-world example of how Web 3.0 will increase user utility?

For example, if you are planning a trip on a budget, you would now have to spend hours searching for flights, lodging, and vehicle rentals, scouring through several websites and comparing costs. Intelligent search engines or bots will be able to collect all of this information and produce personalised suggestions based on your profile and interests with Web 3.0, saving you hours of labor.

Is the Semantic Web the same as Web 3.0?

Web 3.0 goes well beyond Tim Berners-idea Lee’s of the Semantic Web in 2001. Though Web 3.0 employs Semantic Web concepts and natural language processing to improve user interaction, it also includes other features such as widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, as well as trustless/permissionless systems such as blockchain and peer-to-peer networks.

Which Newer Financial Technologies Will Be Facilitated by Web 3.0?

Web 3.0 lends itself to technologies such as blockchain, distributed ledger, and decentralized finance due to its primary decentralization aspect (DeFi).

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