Web3 aims to give any participant in the network autonomous power and control, but to remove the intermediary we need a way to separate the network layer from the application layer, into the data center.
Society has become data dependent, and our economy is increasingly becoming a data economy. However, this economy currently relies on a handful of data silos: big tech monopolies keep our data private for competitive reasons. In this article, I will introduce the decentralized data layer – a prerequisite concept for understanding Web3 use cases.
But before I move on to tease out the Web3 wonderland we’re in, let’s do a brief review. Web3 is often described as the decentralized web, but is still a term under construction. The ultimate goal, however, is to be a secure, transparent, and dependable peer-to-peer ecosystem — a new and improved network. To do this, we need to separate the network layer from the application layer. So, let’s take a look at the data.
Related technologies of Web3
Many builders in this space were initially drawn to earlier ideologies—privacy, decentralization, and self-sovereignty—that many mistook for value propositions (myself included). However, for these reasons, the average end user does not adopt technology. Instead, the most powerful feature of Web3 is that it can be extended and improved through incremental composability — talented builders improve the state of things, and more talented builders improve on top.
While there is a dizzying array of technologies, frameworks and chain implementations that fall under the Web3 umbrella, here are the core technologies that support this:
1. Cryptographic keys and Decentralized Identity (DID) enable direct data management, allowing anyone to sign, transact and participate in the decentralized network.
2. Smart contracts ensure that economic activity is open, transparent and rules-based in executable code.
3. Data composability allows peer-to-peer networks to freely share and interact with code, data, and contracts. Closed networks are becoming open.
4. A distributed storage system can split data across multiple servers and retrieve it based on content rather than its physical location.
5. Cryptoassets help eliminate the need for Web2 middleware by economically incentivizing people to run open protocols and align with the interests of the network.
The Web3 protocol is built on open and interoperable data, and projects like Graph help developers query blockchain data in an accessible way by indexing off-chain data. Ceramic Network is a decentralized data network for managing information without the need for databases or servers; Arweave enables permanent data storage through economic rewards; IDX is an identity protocol that replaces centralized user tables with unified digital identities. In addition to data services, the Web3 protocol can also provide other back-end functions such as file storage, computation, authentication, governance, and content distribution.
These technologies have made Web3 more fluid and interactive than today’s Web because many applications can operate on the same data. If our data were tied to us, rather than scattered in application-specific silos, we would be able to travel through cyberspace with our full, true selves. More specifically, users can carry their data from one application to another, and applications can use data related to the user. Companies don’t have to choose X or Y for their productivity suite, imagine everyone being able to choose a different tool and still collaborate on documents.
Essential Concepts: The Social Graph
Most discussions of “big tech monopolies” ignore a key distinction: the difference between a platform and a chart.
A social graph is the connections between members of a social network. This is not the property of any company. However, you cannot freely transfer this information between different platforms, which means that those platforms actually own the information. Meta has my friends; Twitter has my followers; Amazon has my shopping history. If you leave the platform, you will be forced to manually rebuild the chart elsewhere. This creates high switching costs for users and provides a huge advantage to the platform.
In the early Web2 days, each social app had its own social graph, but people quickly got tired of signing up and re-friending each site. So the best solution is to consolidate all the relationships into one app, Meta (formerly Facebook). Once Facebook was embraced by the masses and realized the value of the social graph it had, the company quickly adopted a strategy of self-preservation and shut down APIs to insulate itself from its competitors.
At the same time, data has become the most valuable resource in the world. Big data is already a $274 billion industry – 3% of world GDP.
A decentralized social graph changes the power imbalance between users and platforms, and while applications can be proprietary and fragmented, the data that populates them can be shared across protocols. No longer subject to data monopolies, power has shifted from platforms to users, and the web has become competitive again.
At the heart of the Web3 vision is “composable data”. Rather than being trapped in application-specific silos, the information that supports our online experience can be read, mixed and constructed by applications across the web. Data composability is a paradigm shift because it changes not only how applications are built, but what applications are. What it means: An integrated and customized experience across the internet that takes all your information and assets with you. You get the benefits of diversity without the cost of dispersion.
While Web2 may be built on such a backend, composability is not reflected in the Web2 company itself. For example, the internet itself is decentralized, so the US cannot disable the internet in China. Effective monopolies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google are centralized solutions built on decentralized networks with little incentive to break themselves up into composable services. But in the presence of shared network effects, these incentives have changed.
However, rather than immediate results, it was the devolution of “power” that brought its own challenges. One stumbling block to composability is the high fees we see on Ethereum as the network becomes popular and congested. Combined with the inherent complexity of bridging between blockchains – which in its current state would dilute security and liquidity resources – this creates a challenging environment for complex operations across multiple Dapps. The transition from Web2 to Web3 is underway, but the process requires patience and innovative solutions.
From zero sum to positive sum
Web3 is a collective effort to address the economic, social and political issues of Web2. This requires infrastructure spanning storage, computing, indexing, etc., while allowing a seamless user experience without sacrificing the value of Web3. In exploring the current state of the technology, it’s clear that the market is willing to give up a degree of decentralization in exchange for more data and a better, faster user experience.
However, vision is required here. There is a degree of centralization, applications no longer need to build the entire stack and compete for the best underlying data, the data layer is shared. Instead, anyone with an idea to improve an existing use case can tap into the ecosystem and its data, and provide improvements. Builders can build faster, users have more choice, and the entire network is accelerated by rapid, permissionless innovation. With less centralized networks, the network will be competitive again.
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Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/a-deep-dive-into-the-user-owned-internet-part-ii/
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