Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee wants Web3 ‘ignored’ when its founders believe it’s a technology that will usher in a new era of creativity


According to some of its proponents and founders, Web3 is a radically updated Internet technology that will usher in a new era of human collaboration and creativity. This is not the opinion of Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist to whom we owe the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989. According to him, we should “ignore Web3”, this “isn’t the Web at all”.

Web3 can be seen as a nebulous term in the tech world used to describe a hypothetical future version of the Internet, more decentralized than today and not dominated by a handful of power players like Amazon, Microsoft and Google. It includes several technologies, including blockchain, cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens.

We recall that the term Web3 was coined in 2014 by Gavin Wood, an English computer scientist. At the time, he was just involved in the development of Ethereum, the blockchain that underpins ether, the second most popular cryptocurrency after bitcoin in terms of awareness and market size. Wood thinks that the current design of the We2 is not a good solution, for several reasons. “One of them is that it is very difficult to regulate new industries. Government is slow, it takes a while to catch up. Another is that regulators are imperfect,” he said.

For its founders, platforms and applications built on Web3 will not be owned by a central custodian, but by users, who will gain their share of ownership by contributing to the development and maintenance of these services. “Web3 is a way of dealing with the trauma of losing a great potential future for the Internet,” says Niels Ten Oever of the University of Amsterdam. Many are convinced of the potential of this Web3.

While getting our personal data out of the clutches of Big Tech is an ambition shared by Berners-Lee, he is not convinced that blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, will be the answer. Tim Berners-Lee said on November 4 that he does not see blockchain as a viable solution for building the next version of the Internet. The web creator is unconvinced by the cryptocurrency visionary’s plan for its future and says we should “ignore” it.

Tim Berners-Lee has his own internet decentralization project called Solid. This is a new project that aims to fundamentally change the way web applications work today, leading to true data ownership and better privacy.

“It’s a real shame that the current name of Web3 has been taken by the Ethereum people for things they do with blockchain. In fact, Web3 is not the Web at all,” said Berners-Lee, speaking on stage at the Web Summit event in Lisbon. “Ignore the Web3 stuff, the random Web3 that was built on the blockchain,” he added. “We don’t use this for Solid.”

Berners-Lee says that our personal data is stored by a handful of Big Tech platforms, such as Google and Facebook, who use it to “lock us into their platforms. “The result was a big data race where the winner was the single company that controlled the most data and the losers were everyone else,” he said.

Ewan Kirk, tech entrepreneur, says: “Don’t believe the hype about Web3. » According to Kirk, the hype surrounding Web3 is just another reminder of the technology industry’s short-term memory.

“For someone who has been mining bitcoins since 2012, it is clear that Web3 is just a new version of the blockchain technology that we have been discussing for ten years,” he said. “Web3 followers want to add a blockchain layer to our internet infrastructure and radically decentralize the network, or so they claim. »

Instead of online services and data being distributed by centralized servers owned by companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook, they will be distributed off the blockchain, outside the control of any single organization or person. For Kirk, distribution presents a problem of scalability. “The cost of distributing a database is that every copy must be accurate. It’s too expensive to insure. Think of all the copies of the bitcoin blockchain in the world. Everyone has to be in sync,” he says.

According to Ewan Kirk, while Web3 and blockchain may not pave the way for a much-promised digital utopia, there is still reason for optimism: we now live in an era where the cost of data storage and bandwidth are increasingly trending towards zero. . In a world where data storage and bandwidth are no longer scarce commodities, new business models and opportunities will emerge, Ewan Kirk

Source: Tim Berners-Lee, speaking at the Web Summit event in Lisbon

And you?

What is your opinion on this topic?

What do you think of Web3? Do you agree that Web3 should be ignored?

Do you think this is a scam?

See also:

Is the concept of Web3 a new joke? Supporters believe it’s the only way to regain internet freedoms, but critics say it’s just a ‘buzzword’

Can Web3 change the world? It wouldn’t just be a new joke, says tech entrepreneur Ewan Kirk, ‘don’t believe the hype’

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