Web 3, also known as the decentralised web, is the next evolution of the internet that promises to revolutionise the way we interact with technology. Unlike the current centralised web, where most of our data is controlled by a few large companies, Web 3 is decentralised, giving users control over their data and identity.
Centralised and decentralised web – what’s the difference?
The centralised web, or Web 2.0, is the current iteration of the internet that most people are familiar with. It is characterised by large, centralised platforms like social media sites, search engines and e-commerce websites, which are owned and controlled by a few powerful corporations. These platforms collect vast amounts of data from their users and use it to monetise their services through advertising and other means. The centralised web relies on a client-server architecture, where users access content and services through a central server.
The key difference between the centralised web and decentralised web is in the way they distribute control and ownership of online content and services. While the centralised web relies on a few powerful corporations to provide services and control access to online content, the decentralised web aims to give users more control and autonomy over their online interactions. Decentralised web technologies like blockchain provide a way for users to verify and authenticate transactions and interactions without relying on intermediaries.
The decentralised web, or Web 3.0, is a new iteration of the internet that is being developed with the aim of decentralising control and ownership of online content and services. It is characterised by peer-to-peer networks and distributed technologies like blockchain, which allow for more secure and private transactions. In a decentralised web, users have more control over their own data and can interact with each other directly without the need for intermediaries. Decentralised web platforms are built on open-source software and encourage collaboration and innovation.
In the business world, Web 3 is poised to disrupt industries and create new opportunities for innovation and growth.
Here are some of the key technologies and applications to look out for:
Blockchain is the backbone of Web 3 and is a decentralised ledger that allows for secure and transparent transactions without the need for intermediaries. It has the potential to transform industries such as finance, supply chain management, and healthcare by creating secure and efficient systems that reduce fraud, increase transparency, and enable new business models.
Decentralised Applications (DApps)
DApps are applications that run on a blockchain network and are designed to be decentralised, meaning they are not controlled by any single entity. This offers several advantages, including increased security, transparency, and efficiency.
In the financial industry, DApps can be used to create decentralised exchanges, peer-to-peer lending platforms, and other financial services that operate independently of traditional financial institutions. This can reduce the need for intermediaries and increase access to financial services for individuals and businesses.
For healthcare, they can be used to securely manage patient data and enable patients to control who has access to their data. You can also potentially use them to facilitate medical research by allowing patients to securely share their data with researchers.
In the supply chain industry, DApps can be used to track the movement of goods and ensure that all parties involved in the process meet their contractual obligations. This will also improve transparency in the supply chain by providing a tamper-proof record of all transactions.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
NFTs are digital assets that are unique and cannot be replicated. You’ve probably heard a lot of wild news about them, including the NFT called The Mergeselling for US$91.8 million in 2021! NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have gained popularity in the art world, where they are used to sell digital art. In 2021, the second most expensive NFT ever sold was Mike Winkelmann’s art collection called Everydays: The First 5000 Days at US$69.3 million. However, NFTs have the potential to revolutionise other industries as well.
For example, in the gaming industry, NFTs can be used to sell virtual items such as weapons, skins, and accessories. This not only creates a new revenue stream for game developers but also allows players to own unique, one-of-a-kind items that can be traded or sold. In the music industry, NFTs can be used to sell exclusive content such as concert tickets, backstage passes, and even ownership rights to a song. This allows artists to connect directly with their fans and monetise their content in a new and exciting way.
NFTs can also be used in the fashion industry to sell limited-edition clothing or accessories, giving consumers a sense of exclusivity and ownership. In the sports industry, NFTs can be used to sell virtual trading cards or ownership rights to a team.
Smart contracts are self-executing contracts that can automatically enforce the terms of an agreement. They are a powerful tool that can be used in a variety of industries to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve transparency.
In the financial industry, smart contracts can be used to automate processes such as payments, settlements, and compliance. This can reduce the need for intermediaries and increase the speed of transactions. In the insurance industry, smart contracts can be used to automate claims processing and reduce the potential for fraud.
Smart contracts can be used in real estate transactions to automate the buying and selling of property, reducing the need for intermediaries and increasing transparency. Smart contracts can also be used in supply chain management to automate processes such as tracking shipments, verifying the authenticity of goods, and ensuring that all parties involved in the process meet their contractual obligations.
Finally, they can be used in the healthcare industry as well, primarily for securely managing patient data and automating processes such as insurance claims processing and billing.
Decentralised Identity (DID)
Decentralised Identity (DID) has the potential to transform various industries by enabling secure, self-sovereign identity verification and authentication. Overall, DID has the potential to revolutionise the way industries handle identity verification and authentication, making it more secure, efficient, and user-friendly.
For healthcare, DID can be used to securely store and share patient data between healthcare providers, reducing the risk of data breaches and improving patient privacy. In the financial industry, DID can be used to verify customer identities for onboarding, reducing the need for traditional verification methods such as physical documents or in-person visits. This can streamline the onboarding process and reduce costs for both customers and financial institutions.
It has application in the education industry too, where DID can be used to securely store and share academic credentials, making it easier for students to apply to schools and for employers to verify qualifications.
For e-commerce, DID can also be used to verify the identities of buyers and sellers in peer-to-peer transactions, reducing the risk of fraud and improving trust between parties.
While the benefits of Web 3 for businesses are clear, there are also challenges to overcome. One of the main challenges is the lack of regulation, which can lead to uncertainty and risk for businesses. Additionally, the technology is still in its early stages, and there are questions around scalability, interoperability, and usability.
Despite these challenges, Web 3 is an exciting area of innovation that promises to transform the way we interact with technology. As the technology continues to evolve, businesses that embrace Web 3 will have a competitive advantage in terms of efficiency, security, and innovation.
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