Since the internet made its world debut, it has changed the very way we live. Culturally, geopolitically, economically and financially, the ramifications have sent ripples across all industries and aspects of daily life. Now, another change is underway— the shift to web 3.0. Yet, will this upgraded version of the web be as revolutionary as web 2.0 was in the mid-2000s? It may very well be. 

With the shift from web 2.0 to web 3.0, we are looking at the introduction of a common infrastructure that allows machines to comprehend the meaning of information on a website, streamline people's work, personalise each user's web experience, and autonomously screen content. This paradigm shift should add transparency and make organisations more user centric. For businesses, blockchain technologies could improve their lifecycle by significantly lowering costs, boosting efficiency, and offering new functionality that would otherwise have been inaccessible or not economically viable.

Web 3.0: The future of the internet?

With the implementation of GDPR policies, the EU has exhibited a desire for a democratic web that protects user data. Likewise, Web 3.0 proposes protocols in which the users themselves retain ownership of their data and are not required to share it. 

As millennials will recall, the mid-1990s saw the birth of the internet with the 'read-only web'. During the mid-2000s, this static formation of the internet – which was mainly composed of read-only webpages – was forced to step-aside and make way for the revolutionary web 2.0, and its interactive read/write upgrade, to step into the limelight. For over a decade, this current version of the web has continued to flourish and evolve, but it has also given rise to concerns of data protection and data mining. 

With web 2.0, users currently must relinquish ownership of their own data to global tech giants like Meta and Google. However, web 3.0 calls for a decentralised version of the web— a digital universe which shares the same democratic values that are upheld in our physical world. 

Through the incorporation of AI, decentralised applications (Dapps), crypto-currency and blockchain technology, web 3.0 will completely transform the digital landscape in multiple ways. Perhaps most significantly, web 3.0 users will have more control over the internet platforms they use through a system of governance and governance tokens. Consequently, data ownership will be transferred back to its rightful owners, and users will even be granted the option of financially profiting from the valuable data they provide.

The correlation between Web 3.0 and business industries

The recent developments of web 3.0 have highlighted its various benefits. Yet, in practical terms, what does this mean for businesses? Web 3.0 is bound to have a transformative effect across multiple business sectors, including retail, marketing, banking and finance, tech, entertainment, real estate, and healthcare.

With web 3.0’s rapid advancements, business strategies will likewise need to shift and evolve. For example, with the prospect of digital currencies and blockchain signatures, the finance and banking industry will need work on offering their customers more value-added services, such as online loan approvals or instant bank transfers, and updating their security by implementing blockchain solutions. On the other hand, for retail business owners, blockchain technology could simplify supply-chain logistics through the creation of global ledgers that ensure 100% transparency. 

Web 3.0 opens a myriad of possibilities, in fact, various companies are already investing in its cutting-edge technology. Recently, Adidas announced their very first collection of NFT wearables, which essentially refers to virtual gear designed for virtual avatars and accessible via a PFP (profile picture) dressing tool. Similarly, this month Nike launched SWOOSH, a web3-enabled platform that offers athletes an enriching digital community. 

Undeniably, web 3.0 is forming all around us, with the help of established brands and start-ups alike. For Europe, it seems this is the democratic (and 'European') way forward that the EU's tech industry has been aiming for all along. For businesses, this signals the need to revamp their systems and step into a new digital age and, for web users, this marks the dawn of digital control for all.

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