Tim Berners-Lee: The inventor of the Web wants us to “ignore” Web3

Web3 is used to describe a hypothetical future version of the internet that is more decentralized and not controlled by a handful of powerful technology giants

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The creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, does not seem to be convinced by Web3 as envisioned by those involved in cryptocurrencies, even claiming that it should be “ignored”.

In particular, Lee, who is credited with inventing the World Wide Web in 1989, said on Friday that he does not see blockchain as a viable solution for building the next phase of the internet. He said he has his own project in the works to decentralise the web called “Solid”.

“It is important to clarify the implications of the new technology,” Berners-Lee said, speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon. “You need to understand what the terms we’re talking about actually mean, beyond the keywords […] It’s a real shame that the name Web3 came from the Ethereum people for all the things they’re doing with blockchain. In fact, Web3 is not the Web at all.

“Web3 is a “nebulous term” in the tech world used to describe a hypothetical future version of the internet that is more decentralized than it is today and not dominated by a handful of powerful players like Amazon, Microsoft and Google. It involves a few technologies, including blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”

Although Lee embraces the view that our personal data needs to be “liberated” from the big tech giants, he is not convinced that blockchain (the decentralised technology behind cryptocurrencies) will be the solution.

“Blockchain protocols may be good for certain things, but they are not good for decentralizing the web. They are too slow, too expensive and too public. Personal data warehouses need to be fast, cheap and private.” “Ignore Web3, the random Web3 built on the blockchain,” he added.

Berners-Lee said that people too often confuse Web3 with “Web 3.0”, his own proposal to reshape the internet.

His new startup, “Inrupt,” aims to give users control of their own data. Berners-Lee says our personal data is insulated from a handful of Big Tech platforms, such as Google and Facebook, who use it to “lock us into their platforms.

“The result was a race to Big Data where the winner was the one company that controlled the most data and the losers were everyone else,” he said.

His new startup aims to address these in three ways:

A universal “single sign-on” feature that allows anyone to log in from anywhere.
Login credentials that allow users to share their data with others.

A “common universal API” that allows applications to pull data from any source.

*With information from CNBC

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