Virtually unknown until last year, the term “Web3” has quickly become the world’s favorite buzzword. Signifying the emergence of a new Internet era, Web3 is now used by both traditional technology companies and decentralized protocols.
But what is Web3 and why has it become so important? To answer this question, CryptoSlate spoke with Jorgen Arnesen, the vice president of Web3 at Opera, a company that aims to become the industry’s go-to portal to the new Internet.
Web3 is the latest evolution of the Internet
In the early 1990s, the Internet began in a form we now identify as Web 1.0. In the first stage of its evolution, there were only a few content creators, with the majority of internet users consuming the content. The start of the dot-com boom in the late 1990s marked the beginning of Web 2.0, where interactive social applications hosted user-generated content.
However, the speed and ease of use of Web 2.0 offered to users comes at a cost. For the Internet to be as well connected and easy to navigate as it is today, it must be hosted on centralized services, which poses a whole new set of problems.
One of the biggest problems caused by Web 2.0 is the loss of control over your privacy.
Web 3.0, or Web3 as it is more commonly known, is a natural progression in the evolution of the Internet, presenting itself as a solution to the problems caused by centralization. Web3’s primary goal is to leverage blockchain technology and cryptography to provide users with decentralized and more secure alternatives to the Web 2.0 services they know and use.
However, interacting with the decentralized Web3 ecosystem is often a complex undertaking that could deter potential users. This is where Web3 browsers come in, acting as a gateway to the decentralized world by building on the legacy of their Web 2.0 counterparts. Arnesen says:
“Web 2.0 browsers are great at what they do, providing a gateway through which we can interact with individual websites and services.
But Web2 browsers can only do what the Internet as a whole allows them to do. Because web2 is a collection of centralized, self-contained websites, web2 browsers are limited to providing single access to them the way they are designed.
Web3 browsers provide more functionality by opening a window to a plethora of interconnected services that are not siled by proprietary or centralized technologies,” said Jorgen Arnesen, Vice President of Web3 at Opera.
Interact with the decentralized world
In an interview with CryptoSlate, Arnesen said the emergence of Web3 browsers has allowed users to interact with a wide range of decentralized and blockchain applications from the comfort of a single interface. This has greatly improved the user experience when interacting with Web3 platforms and services, despite the fact that they are still in their infancy. Arnesen said:
“Right now, the decentralized web spans tens of thousands of applications, protocols, cryptocurrencies, blockchains, games, and websites. While the ultimate goal of Web3 is to bring the best of them into a cohesive and connected ecosystem, the current state of the decentralized web still demands that we interact with them in a largely individual way.
Arnesen believes Web3 browsers will have a much bigger role to play in the decentralized web than their Web 2.0 counterparts. He explained:
“Web 2.0 browsers are great at what they do, providing a gateway through which we can interact with individual websites and services. But they can only do what the Internet as a whole allows them to do. Since Web 2.0 is a collection of centralized and self-contained websites, Web 2.0 browsers are limited to providing single access to them the way they are designed.
Web3 browsers, on the other hand, offer more features. He said Web3 browsers give users a window into a plethora of interconnected services that aren’t siled by proprietary or centralized technologies. As Web3 browsers can go beyond this infrastructure and provide greater interoperability from a single interface, they enable access to every corner of the decentralized web, becoming true guardians of the Internet’s iteration. .
Browsers like Opera have positioned themselves at the forefront of the privacy battle. With the crypto financial system emphasizing the decentralized web, the need for privacy has never been greater.
And while decentralized technologies like blockchain are private as standard, accessing them still requires going through established Web 2.0 channels like Google. Intermediaries like Google track and log user data, which is why Web3 browsers have taken steps to provide users with a privacy-preserving infrastructure at their core layers.
“Browsers like Opera block tracking and data-gathering techniques that many websites and apps implement as standard.”
Arnesen said Opera has made deliberate and focused efforts to advance the adoption of the decentralized web by providing the tools to interact with it.
This is especially seen in the Opera Crypto Browser, which allows users to access a range of blockchains and cryptocurrencies, as well as all the applications and services associated with them. Arnesen explained that additional tools like an integrated crypto wallet and a free premium VPN allowed Opera to lay the groundwork for truly autonomous, permissionless access to the decentralized web.