During the peak of the cold war in the 70s, a network of computers called the “Internet” was created to protect America from attacks by the Soviet Union. It was thought that a decentralized peer-to-peer network with a mesh topology would be less vulnerable, and thus, safer than a centralized network with a star topology.
Two decades later, the “Web” was introduced to disseminate information across the globe. It consisted of read-only webpages grouped in websites built with open source. It was later coined as Web1.
In the early 2020s, people needed to do more than just retrieve information from static read-only webpages. They wanted to transact, interact, collaborate, publish, and connect with each other. With the introduction of Cloud Computing combined with the freemium model subsidized by ads, Web2 was born. Websites became web applications designed with centralized databases controlled by a handful of tech firms who lured us with ecommerce, social networking, and social media where anybody could become a publisher. We had a voice. We were excited. We were empowered. We were connected. So we thought, until we remembered that nothing is for free.
A decade later, we realized how blind we were and how much we bowed to these handful of monopolistic tech firms. We enriched their coffers at our expense. We prostituted our privacy in vain. We helped them create the “surveillance economy” by accepting their cookies that allowed them to spy on us by hoarding our “derivative data”. We were duped with the convenience of their “social logins” which were trojan horses that tracked us. We were brainwashed in believing in “likes” and “fake” friends. We let our children suffer from the addictive features that tech firms deliberately implemented in order to increase eyeballs and clicks to make an additional buck. Our hearts were broken seeing some of our vulnerable teenagers committing suicide after being bullied and body shamed. We were betrayed in thinking that we - the “users” - were their “customers”, only to discover that we were nothing more than commodity “products” that they sold to their real customers – their advertisers. We were spammed, preyed on, misinformed, disinformed, divided, censored, and even cancelled. In aggregate, they caused us a lot more harm than good.
In 2018, it became clear that we needed a technical and a social fix. More than just a technical evolution, Web3 is a social movement which is taking us back to the future with: