Web 3.0 is coming! Someday. Maybe.
Okay, it is steadily evolving and at some point in the near future, we will immerse ourselves in a system that is “semantic”, able to process information with human-like intellect and machine-like speed. The implications of this are extremely exciting, and yet like past tech revolutions (social media, high quality video streaming, freemium business models), we can’t yet imagine all the ways this will change our lives.
To bring everyone up to speed, here’s a quick primer on the road to Web 3.0. The first internet era, from inception to around 2005, is now known as the “static” web—basically brochures that show basic information for a company, or that shared your hobbies on your own personal webpage. Web 2.0, where the majority of the internet is today, is known as the “social” web. We interact by posting, commenting, voting, sharing, etc. This can come at the cost of targeted ads, trolling, and a sense that humanity as a whole is losing its collective mind.
Web 3.0 is many things. According to a great Web 3.0 overview, there are four key elements that are required for a fully functional Web 3.0:
- Ubiquity: Having the capacity to be anywhere and everywhere. This is somewhat the case today as we post, share, and access information from anywhere in real time.
- Semantic Web: Being able to take in large amounts of information and determine semantics, relationships, contexts, and intended meaning. This is where the human-like intelligence is required, and where technology is still catching up.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): Tied closely to semantics in AI, as it uses big data and machine learning algorithms to determine subtle connections, relationships, and context in text, photos, videos, and more.
- 3D Graphics: Web 3.0 will largely be about immersion, and high quality 3D Graphics will be required for this effect to truly be possible. Augmented and virtual reality are key elements of this as well.
Now that you understand the core elements of Web 3.0, it’s easy to see how we have begun to develop some elements of the technology and applications required. However, for Web 3.0 to really be—well, Web 3.0—enough of the system has to be at the same level so that the interconnectivity can unleash the full potential. We can already find standalone applications that have ubiquity, advanced semantics and AI, and that offer immersion. But this reality shatters the moment we need to step outside of it and use Web 2.0 systems to complete a task.
While there are a number of gaps that will need to be bridged before the entire system is connected, there are three major use cases that are not just gaps, but deep canyons between where we are now and where we need to be. This is because the current processes aren’t just slow by today’s standards—they are still stuck in Web 1.0.
As an example, think of making a doctor appointment using your medical provider’s online scheduler (nice), then having to find a fax machine to send your former medical records because this is the only “digital” form they accept (not nice). What should have been a smooth process was invalidated due to the major gap in the system.
Fortunately, there are blockchain projects specifically targeting these gaps, and solving these problems will close these chasms and create a seamless, immersive system.
Problem 1: Know Your Customer (KYC)
While the world of seamless commerce is exciting to imagine, there is one big problem: you. Or rather, the proof of your identity. If you’ve ever participated in commerce (beyond buying a product online) that extends outside the borders of your country or economic zone, you have likely experienced the pain of swiftly moving through a transaction only for it to come screeching to a halt. The current KYC processes—at their very best—involve scanning your ID, taking a selfie with it, taking different captures of your face at different angles, filling out pages of paperwork… and then waiting 1-3 days while a human has to confirm that you—are you. And this is IF you are fortunate enough to live in a part of the world where you have a valid ID. If this system weren’t in place, identity theft would be even more rampant than it already is. But necessary doesn’t equal desirable. A crypto project called SelfKey thinks they have the solution: blockchain-based KYC, where the long but necessary KYC process is completed once, you are the only custodian of your ID, but you can use SelfKey’s platform to easily pass on your audited KYC credentials instantly. This opens up the world to everyone being able to have a pre-checked KYC, which shrinks the world into a single economic zone, with borders and barriers removed.
Your KEY to identity in the Metaverse! ??
The launch of SelfKey 2.0 commences with a simple design update to the SelfKey website, which underlines the new mission statement of "KEY to the Metaverse." ??? pic.twitter.com/KwaFBPw3LB
— SelfKey (@SelfKey) December 14, 2021
Problem 2: Centralized Matchmaking
The final gap has two key issues. In a gig economy, the top matchmaking sites online are acting in a full Web 2.0 fashion. You can create a profile, provide a quick KYC for tax purposes, and can be on the hunt for jobs fairly quickly. Similarly, if you are looking to hire for a job you can set up your gig application fairly quickly. This process provides a service, and is much better than the classified of pre-Web and Web 1.0. The only problem is, the value of that service can be very expensive, for both the customer and provider of a given job. Slices of 20-30% can be taken off a job payment, and sometimes this amount can be collected by both the job customer AND provider. While the matchmaking is valuable, massive percentage cuts for allowing someone to access your automated platform is a business model begging for a replacement. The HUMAN Protocol firmly believes this, and is using the key benefit of decentralization and smart contracts to replace the role of broker (and the massive fees that go with it). For a small fee paid in native tokens, customers and providers can post, find each other, get insight on ratings/quality, and utilize smart contracts to ensure that the arrangement is fair (minimizing the amount of disputes which need arbitration). While keeping all the value of the current job markets, the cost is cut drastically.
Did you know there are four ways #crypto can improve work and contribute to new job markets? Cryptocurrencies can influence the ways we work and improve them through the provision of greater monetary transparency, access, and control. Find out more: https://t.co/VRl2cP0kXv
— HUMAN Protocol (@human_protocol) December 15, 2021
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Web 3.0 is on its way to immersing us in a seamless, global community. This is amazing in countless ways, but there are still gaps that will prevent this from happening until they have been bridged using innovative, integrated solutions. With the wave of blockchain projects launching and maturing, there is a lot of hope that the leaders of crypto-based solutions can get us safely to the other side.