Web 3.0 is coming. You may have heard rumors to that effect, but have you any idea what it is? If not, you should read on — its impact is likely to be dramatic.
Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0
You may think that assigning version numbers to the Internet is marketing trope rather than a depiction of reality — such Web versioning is mentioned in many a marketing brochure. Nevertheless, the fact is that there have been two easily identifiable version of the Web so far, and a third one is clearly coming into existence.
We illustrate this in the table below:
The first version of the web (Web 1.0) was the one that took the world by storm in the late 1990s leading to the dot.com boom that fast transformed into a dot com bust. In a few short years, everyone and his dog became web site users and web email users via the ubiquitous web browsers. Technologically, this was a simple expansion of the technologies of corporate computing into the public environment by virtue of the communication technology of the DNS system and the http protocol. Web sites proliferated accordingly.
The second version of the web is best understood in terms of the aggregation and exploitation of users, by the commercial powers of Amazon, Google and a host of social networks. This was the time when the Web juggernauts used mathematics to captivate and capture vast user populations to their greater financial glory.
Vast server farms were deployed by the major players, coupled with parallelization software that enabled them to apply AI techniques to vast mountains of so-called Big Data. It created phenomenal revenue streams for the likes of Google, Facebook (now Meta) and Amazon. It was aided and abetted by the vast proliferation of smart phones that was initiated by Apple.
Web 2.0 expanded dramatically in the last decade, transforming the digital landscape and sharing the spoils between a handful of global tech giants.
With Web 3.0 we will witness a reversal of this process, driven by technologies that favor the little man over the corporate behemoth.
Web 3.0 is about the individual. The underlying technologies that will enable it are personal identification technologies (biometrics), the blockchain and distributed data technology. Let’s not worry about how, right now, let’s just paint the picture.
Web 2.0 was all about exploiting data — a great deal of which was your data. The big web businesses mined it to their great enrichment, with the best AI tools known to man.
However, it is equally possible for people to band together and mine their collective personal data to their own benefit. This has not yet happened, but the technologies mentioned above make it possible. Now if it were up to the individual to do this on their own initiative, of course, probably nothing would happen. However a new brand of business is emerging which intends to enable exactly this kind of activity and which intends to share the profits with its users.
There are many companies in the blockchain ecosystem which are pursuing business models based upon this idea. One such business that we spoke to recently is called Crowdpoint.
The Crowdpoint Concept
We only have space here to summarize what CrowdPoint is doing. For more details you’ll need to visit the website https://crowdpointtech.com/. Perhaps the best way to describe CrowdPoint’s set of services are provided by the word “platform.” It delivers a related set of capabilities that create a commercial environment or, if you prefer, a set of financial markets.
If you’ve been tracking the evolution of the blockchain world you will realize that it has evolved a long way beyond the creation and marketing of cryptocurrencies. It is no longer all about speculation. It has stepped boldly into the financial sector, with the creation of services that are commonly described as Open Fi (Open Finance) or De Fi (Decentralized Finance). The push is to provide much of what the financial sector currently provides — insurance, banking, mortgages, etc. — but in an entirely different way, leveraging the automated trust that the blockchain technology alone is capable of providing.
In order to provide useful capability here, in our view, you need to assemble several fundamental capabilities—which is what Crowdpoint have done. They
- Provide and/or support a completely secure identity service for an individual based on irrefutable proof of identity, such as biometric data.
- Provide a wallet, which, to tell the truth, is a bank account by another name. Such a wallet will, of course, support multiple currencies (including cryptocurrencies).
- Provide a cryptocurrency that underpins (and finances) the underlying technology and provides the ability to share the profits (the value) of the market’s operation with all its users.
- Back the cryptocurrency with assets (Crowdpoint is using silver for this purpose).
- Enable the leveraging (the profitable employment) of user data.
- Provide a market for a full set of financial products comparable with or more innovative than those that define the financial sector.
- Run all of this in the cloud.
You may find it interesting, especially if you are a historian, that Crowdpoint models its services on the Buttonwood Agreement of 1792, which Wikipedia describes as one of the most important financial documents in US history (it gave birth to the New York Stock exchange). In terms of creating a market, Crowdpoint is doing something similar. However it is targeting small to medium sized companies that cannot afford to participate in the Wall St ecosystem and it is making a market between them and the public.
It is providing better open (and global) markets, with few if any intermediaries, direct public offerings of stock for small companies, retail banking and equal access/participation for individuals. Incidentally, there are quite a few other businesses bringing blockchain innovation to the Open Fi — De Fi area. In our view, Crowdpoint is one to keep an eye on.
If we look back on Web 2.0 with perfect 20-20 hindsight, we see now that what everyone hoped would be a free market was soon monopolized by a few giant corporations that had the digital power to control its development and harvest the profits.
Web 3.0 will, we hope, restore the balance and restore a good deal of power to the consumer.