Tim Berners-Lee opposes Web3, saying people too often conflate Web3 with “Web 3.0”
The creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee opposes Web3 and said he doesn’t view blockchain as a viable solution for building the next iteration of the internet and Web3 is not the web. The future of the web conceived by the British computer scientist, however, doesn’t resemble what marketers and startups are trying to sell as the “Web3 revolution” decentralized utopia.
Web3 describes a hypothetical future version of the World Wide Web incorporating things like decentralization, blockchain and token-based digital transactions, with the purpose of creating a more democratic web platform where Big Tech companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft aren’t holding all the data and contents hostage.
According to Tim Berners-Lee, however, Web3 is not the web at all: speaking at the Web Summit conference recently held in Lisbon, the computer scientist and head of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) said that it’s important to clarify the meaning of words in order to discuss the impact of new technologies. “You have to understand what the terms that we’re discussing actually mean, beyond the buzzwords,” Berners-Lee said.
He has his own web decentralization project called Solid.
“It’s important to clarify in order to discuss the impacts of new technology,” said Berners-Lee, speaking onstage at the Web Summit event in Lisbon. “You have to understand what the terms mean that we’re discussing actually mean, beyond the buzzwords.”
“It’s a real shame in fact that the actual Web3 name was taken by Ethereum folks for the stuff that they’re doing with blockchain. In fact, Web3 is not the web at all.”
According to CNBC, Web3 is a nebulous term in the tech world used to describe a hypothetical future version of the internet that’s more decentralized than it is today and not dominated by a handful of powerful players such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google.
Blockchain protocols are too slow, too expensive, and too public, Berners-Lee said, while personal data stores have to be fast, cheap and private. Web3 will not democratize internet access to data and knowledge, but there is a “Web 3.0” design alternative he is working right now with his startup Inrupt. Its name is Solid, and it avoids using blockchain-derived technology altogether.
Solid is a web decentralization project that aims to radically change the way web applications work today, led by a privacy-by-design principle and bringing data ownership in the hands of users away from Big Tech centralized data centers.
Solid uses several “tricks” to implement a kind of decentralization network which goes beyond current models like BitTorrent, employing a global “single sign-on” feature that lets anyone log in from anywhere, or login IDs that allow users to share their data with others. Additionally, a “common universal API” will let apps pull data from any source within the entire Solid platform.
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