It’s no secret that blockchain could potentially revolutionize the future of the internet. Since the birth of the internet, we’ve seen countless companies rise and fall. From social media to anonymous sites, there are so many uses of the internet.
But how do we better manage this data? Here comes blockchain. Blockchain is a system of recording and storing data in such a way that makes the information extremely difficult or impossible to hack, change, or cheat the blockchain network.
We’ve seen some transformations happen. These transformations have seen a huge shift in how users use the internet and have played a big role in shaping the shift.
Web 1.0: The static internet
Back in the day when the internet first took root, having a website was essential to every business. Business owners all over the world flocked to the internet to set up their own personal websites in a bid to connect with their potential customers. These websites, however, pushed information to their consumers in a one-way path, similar to how traditional media pushed information to the public.
On that train of thought, information on websites only travelled one way — which was towards the consumer. With this, it would be almost impossible for users to customize their information. While they had the ability to sieve out what they wanted to read and hear, they could not, however, influence the information put out there. In order to share information, people had to rely on word of mouth or through bulletins. As such, information sharing was limited to a closed pool of people.
Web 2.0: The web application
Our current internet can be considered the second stage of the public internet.
This stage saw the proliferation of personal blogs — a place where people could share information with each other. Blogs eventually branched out to become today’s social media. The initial companies to spearhead the new era of the Internet were Twitter and Facebook. The creation of their platform allowed for real-time sharing between users and opened conversations up across the world. With such a vast network connecting virtually anyone who has an internet connection, the introduction of forums like these allows people to communicate with people they’ve never met.
Following the advent of the smartphone and its speedy adoption, the use of the Internet saw a boom. People were growing increasingly connected on the World Wide Web. With so many people on board the Internet train, companies realized that they could leverage this by collecting information about the users. The data collected eventually became an extremely valuable source of profits for the tech giants.
Collecting information is one thing, but knowing what to do with the information collected is another thing. Big corporations soon found out that they could personalize what each user could see. Instead of presenting the same information to all users, they could curate content based on the tastes and preferences of each user. The ability to access this information has given these large corporations a lot of power and has been a contentious issue as of late.
Web 3.0: Authoritative data
As we enter the third stage of the Internet, data will no longer be stored by one private entity. Instead, it would be shared on the public domain — a public internet. What this means is that anyone who requires this information can access it. Having information put out there allows for there to be checks and balances, as such, large corporations will not have the sole power to curate and influence what everyone else consumes.
Everyone will have the power to manage and control the information they receive. And with no single entity monopolizing the Internet, all information is distributed throughout the chain. This will allow for a more objective and trusted Internet, and create a more distributed power structure, on top of what was previously there.
The value of blockchain
How are we going to progress from the second to the third generation of the internet? The answer lies in this little thing called the blockchain. The blockchain is integral to building the distributed internet we’ve been working towards. A blockchain is a powerful tool, here’s what it can do:
- Blockchains are a decentralized ledger with no single source of ownership. Everyone has the power to contribute to a blockchain, and everyone can view it and read from it.
- Data in a blockchain is highly reliable and trustable, due to the transparency of how these data are achieved. Anyone who views the data can see who the originator and owner of the data is, and can thus take the steps to verify and authenticate.
- As there is no single owner of the data in the blockchain, no one can manipulate the data as well.
All in all, the transparency and ability to quickly verify data in blockchains make it an important medium. Outsiders who try to attempt to change or filter data will find the process extremely challenging. Countries that are experts in these technologies, such as Russia or China, will even find the job to filter to be a big struggle. This means that if one tries to tamper with a block in the change, it would be apparent. If hackers want to corrupt any blocks in the system, they would have to change every block in the chain and all distributed versions of the chain.
Blockchain’s creation of a trustable repository will therefore push the Internet into its third generation.
What blockchain means for enterprises
Blockchain is not to be used interchangeably with Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. These decentralized coins use the technology of blockchain, but not the other way around.
Blockchain can be thought of as the fundamental building blocks of how we can process data, the same way that the current Internet supports the transmission of information. If you’re an owner of an enterprise, think about how you would like to incorporate blockchain technology into your internet applications. This could greatly help the way your application functions and could do a great deal of positive for your enterprise.
Overall, blockchain technology is the future, and it’s so important that we plan for the future. While blockchain can seem intimidating at first, there are many pros that outweigh the cons. In order to stay relevant and keep up with the times, blockchain technology should always be a consideration when making business decisions.