Article by Brian Kimotho, Chief Marketing Officer, Kotani Pay
The internet as imagined by Tim Barnes in the late ’80s was a world wide web that is open, decentralized, and allowed information sharing across the globe. With this knowledge, the journey from Web 1 which was a read-only internet, Web 2, a read-and-write internet, towards Web 3, a read, write and own internet began.
The shift from Web 1 to Web 2 was popularized by faster internet access. By the early 2000’s more companies were innovating around the internet giving rise to social networking sites such as Facebook. This Web 2 technology capabilities revolutionized people’s interaction with the internet as it gave users the ability to create and share real-time information in the form of text, videos, photos, and audio. This radical adoption of Web 2 into our daily lives was made possible by mobile access to social networks. Smartphones facilitate users’ ability to create content, socialize and have real-time connections with people.
Introducing Web 3.0
In Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, everything is centralized and controlled by one authority that stores your data. Web 3.0 is decentralized with no entity having full control. This next generation of the internet uses blockchain, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies to give back the users ownership and control of their content, digital assets, and online identities. Its defining features of trustlessness, and permissionless make this technology more inclusive and less biased.
Why is Web 3.0 important? This evolution of the internet is critical in protecting your information, content, and identity. Right now, most of your information on social media is owned by the social sites that you use, for example, TikTok owns the content you produce. They have your data and the right to remove you from your social sites and lock you out of your content. Beyond that, they collect your personal information and as seen with numerous examples use your personal information to customize advertisements and profit from this.
Web 3.0 acts as the avenging angel guarding your information by eliminating intermediaries and central entities that own your information. Think of it like giving power back to the people. This metamorphosized version of the internet is giving you the benefits of Web 1 of creating and sharing with an extra cover of owning and controlling your content. Blockchain technology which is transparent, immutable, and decentralized is enabling us to step into a new era of digital ownership of our content.
The future of this new internet era
Picture this, a world where you can create content and have full ownership, control, and monetization of this content. Through peer-to-peer transactions and smart contracts, you can now deal directly with individuals rather than intermediaries who benefit from your content as a third party. This cuts across financial services, art, real estate, philanthropy, climate action, and manufacturing to basically every industry.
The Web 3.0 capabilities extend to digital identity where unlike Web 2.0 where your personal information is owned by the platform, Web 3.0 offers a decentralized identity where you control your information and can grant or revoke access to this information. Also, the Web 3.0 decentralized identity will give its users encrypted identifiers that can be verified by multiple service providers, eliminating the need to share your information across multiple sites.
Web 3.0 can be seen in the form of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) that enable creators to have full control of their art, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) that are revolutionizing traditional management structures by giving collective control of organizations through shares, cryptocurrencies that are the digital assets for a transaction that is not controlled by any central bank or country.
Here is where we are at in Web 3.0 adoption
We are currently at the young and evolving stage of Web 3 but with significant progress. Currently, the global crypto market cap is at $1 trillion with over $112 billion traded in crypto every day. We have over 80 million blockchain wallets globally owned by only 2.8% of the world’s population. It is expected that this technology supporting Web3 will grow at a rate of 85.9% from 2022 to 2030.
Big numbers right there but for them to be a reality and to reach the perceived expectation, there needs to be a mass adoption of the technology just like Web1 and Web 2. The question is, knowing the kind of change Web 3.0 brings to the development of the next generation of the internet, how do you encourage mass adoption of this wave? We can take a clue from Web 2.0 mass adoption which is mobile phones.
Mobile phones and the evolution to Web 3.0
Despite Web 3.0 being a certainty, it faces numerous limitations such as cost-efficiency, scalability, accessibility, and user experience making mass adoption a long process. But by adopting and leveraging the existing Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 technology, users have easier access to Web3.0 in a familiar way. The two versions of the internet have in the past been popularized and actively used by mobile phones.
As of 2021, there were 4 billion active internet users globally in a population of 7 billion with 90% of these users accessing the internet through mobile devices. This doesn’t come as a surprise that most people prefer to have a mobile blockchain wallet as they use their smartphones more than any other device.
Just like Web 2.0, it’s estimated that it will take 5 to 15 years for people to fully accept Web 3. Remember, we are still in the Web 2.0 era where people are mass-producing centralized content. Creators, investors, enthusiasts and interested parties thinking around Web 3.0 should put into consideration where the bulk of people are. In this case, numbers do not lie as half the world’s population is accessing the internet using mobile phones.
Web 3.0 is all about the users and to find the users to adopt this technology, it’s important to think, create and invest around the popularly used platforms which in this case is the mobile phone. In the same way mass adoption of Web 2.0 involves technological innovations for mobile phones such as apps, Web 3.0 has to focus on ways to have better reach to people both offline and online.
So far, we see Web 3.0 creations such as NFTs being popularized using social media through avatars. We see more crypto exchanges and the DeFi platforms on mobile phones for real-time transactions and easier on-ramp and off-ramp. By popularizing these dApps in Web 2.0 using social media, more people get to learn about the technology.
Web 3.0 is inclusive
As we concentrate our effort on making Web 3.0 mobile-friendly, it is also important to note the 3.7 billion people across the world who have no access to the internet. As much as Web 3.0 is all about accessing the new wave of the internet, the technology needs to also cater to the population that is marginalized.
Institutions such as Kotani Pay are ensuring that everyone can access the full blockchain functionality with either a smartphone or a feature phone. This is made possible by leveraging familiar interfaces such as Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) to deposit and withdraw to their crypto wallets.
To sum it up
It’s safe to say that Web 3.0 is already here as more innovators are embracing and thinking around this technology. The development of this transformative force is proving how useful it will be in the future by providing data privacy, security, and ownership but highly dependent on where the numbers are. Integrating Web 3.0 to mobile phone users not only encourages mass adoption but also its relevance and accessibility to its beneficiaries.