There’s so much hype these days about the future of the internet and the worldwide web. Whether you have heard the stories and been infected with the blockchain craze (through some form of cryptocurrency) or you’ve been reading tech headlines and heard about the power of the decentralized web then you know what I’m talking about. Of course both of those examples about what the future of the world wide web look like are only part of the story. Bitcoin is interesting and has certainly demonstrated a real-life way in which crypto-assets can be implemented and used in a financial market to increase transparency, cross borders, and remove unnecessary middlemen. But this is again only one facet. You can’t very well run your website on Bitcoin alone, you can’t build the internet on Bitcoin. There has to be more.
There are proponents and strong advocates for a Bitcoin-similar crypto-asset entitled Ethereum which also solves many of the same challenges but extends things a bit further through the use of smart contracts. Now, there are many many people much smarter than I who have written extensively on smart contracts and how they function and the role they can play in Web 3.0. I am not writing here to discuss this specific technology or how it can be implemented. But just to give the briefest of overviews. Smart contracts allow “anyone” (currently still very developer-heavy) to write code which is stored in the blockchain (there’s another concept I won’t get into here) to be run at a later date when certain conditions are met.
Make it simpler.
I know, you’re probably shaking your head wondering what on earth all that means. I’ve thrown a lot of tech-lingo into that last sentence or two and I don’t mean to confuse you but don’t want to get caught up in the definitions as it’s not what I wish to draw your attention to. Bottom line, there’s a lot of ways the blockchain can be used to make transactions open, transparent, immutable, and verifiable. I’ll ask you to take my word on that (and if you don’t want to, do some spelinking for yourself!)
But there are still others. The decentralized web as expressed by well-known individuals (Tim Berner’s Lee and the Solid project) is an example of the reallocation of data storage and returning the value of “data” to the individual who should rightfully own that data. Ultimately this is yet another way in which the future of the internet might be shaped.
All of these new technologies and ideas will more than likely play a part in the future of the internet and what many are referring to colloquially as Web 3. But in all the excitement surrounding these new opportunities and new tools there’s something missing. I used the word in the title of this article. Transition. Never before have we been in a position like we are in today. Web 2.0 is massive. Ridiculously huge. The internet and the world wide web as it exists today is the backbone of business and I would dare say the backbone of our world.
Take it a step at a time.
When something is so fundamentally tied to global markets, economies, infrastructures, and ultimately humanity it is naive to believe it can be simply exchanged for a new Web 3. We can’t expect everyone to one day wake up and determine that today is the day to use Web 3 instead of Web 2. It’s not that simple. (Trust me I know simply from the painful process of asking a relatively minuscule subset of the population to upgrade their version of software from one major release to the next!)
Rather, instead of recreating every existing SaaS business and every existing business or infrastructure in duplicate in Web 3 fashion we need to consider a more intelligent and thoughtful approach. We need to do what I’ve learned is the only way to effectively drive adoption of new things. We need to identify a transition path. How do we get from Point A to Point B? We can’t expect a new Web 3 version of Twitter to be launched and immediately take over the world. The switching costs and the critical mass will make it unlikely for this to naturally occur without some greater impetus for change.
And so that brings us to the logical solution. There needs to be a transition path. The best answer involves creating a way to continue using Web 2 while also taking advantage of Web 3. In this transition we capitalize on the strengths of both networks. The long-standing, well-known software, services and technologies of Web 2 combined with the powerful, improved, secure networks of Web 3. I’m very excited about this path and what I believe is the best first step-in that journey. Interested in learning more? I’ll share more very soon! Keep reading!