As Google celebrates its 25th birthday, the company finds itself in the midst of one of the most significant antitrust trials in American history. This trial highlights the need to regulate and take legal action against Big Tech’s market dominance. It also prompts us to consider how we can do things differently in the digital age.
To understand how we can move forward, we must first look back at the evolution of the internet. The internet has transitioned through several distinct eras – Web1, Web2, and now Web3. Web1 was the early stage of the web, characterized static websites. Web2 introduced interactive elements, social media, and tech giants like Google and Facebook.
However, Web2 had its downsides. While it brought economic gains and global connectivity, it also relied heavily on advertising revenue and resulted in the exploitation of user data. It led to engagement-driven platforms that amplified extremism and misinformation. Companies like Apple and Google imposed high fees on developers, limiting innovation.
Now, we stand on the brink of Web3 – the “read-write-own” web. Powered blockchain technology, Web3 aims to restore control and ownership of data, content, and creative works to individuals.
Web3 introduces four core principles – ownership, commerce, identity, and governance. Ownership is redefined in Web3 through digital assets known as “tokens,” which represent ownership in various forms, from money to art and data. Tokens enable peer-to-peer transactions without intermediaries.
Commerce is transformed in Web3 through the use of blockchains, which revolutionize how we move and store value. This goes beyond financial services, extending to funding creative ventures and empowering underrepresented voices. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have already generated billions in royalties for creators.
Identity is another key aspect of Web3. Users have control over their data, using it to unlock services and protect their privacy. Spectral Finance, for example, helps users build digital credit scores. This shift towards user-centric internet respects privacy and user rights.
Finally, Web3 gives users a stake in the system through governance. By holding tokens, internet users become owners in platforms and can contribute to governance decisions. This aligns their interests with the platforms they rely on.
As governments and regulators navigate the dominance of big tech, Web3 emerges as a compelling alternative. It represents more than just a technological shift – it’s a philosophical call to action that invites us to question the status quo and envision a future where the internet belongs to everyone.
– Alex Tapscott is author of the upcoming book Web3: Charting the Internet’s Next Economic and Cultural Frontier. (No URL provided)