Web Evolution

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Web Evolution is the phases of development through which the Internet server system for supporting specially formatted documents (the web) has passed. Web documents are formatted in a markup language called HyperText Markup Language (HTML) that supports links to other documents, graphics, audio, and video files. Thus far, the web has undergone three phases.

Web 1.0

Web 1.0 was the first stage of the evolution. It ran roughly from 1990 to 2005 and was about open protocols that were decentralized and community-governed. Most of the value accrued to the edges of the network.[1] There were only a few content creators in Web 1.0, the majority of users were consumers of content. Static, personal web pages hosted on ISP-run web servers or by free web hosting services were common. Content was served from the server’s file system. Advertisements on websites were banned. Users used online digital photography websites to store, share, view, and print digital pictures. In this stage, the web was a content delivery network for showcasing pieces of information on websites. It costs users per pages viewed and relied on directories for users to retrieve a particular piece of information.[2]

Web 2.0

Web 2.0, coined/popularized by Tim O’Reilly between 1999 and 2004, describes the move from static desktop web pages designed for information consumption to interactive experiences and user-generated content due to mobile, social, and cloud innovations.[3] The concept encapsulates the current worldwide interoperability of the participative social web. The height of Web 2 ran roughly from 2005 to 2020. It works via siloed, centralized services run by corporations, such as ICANN, and most of the value goes to Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook.[4] Web 2.0 is not technologically different from Web 1.0; it is an enhanced version. Web 2.0 refers to the 21st-century Internet applications that transformed the digital era following the dot-com bubble. Its web browser technologies include AJAX and JavaScript frameworks. It permits the collective retrieval and classification of information and dynamic, user-responsive content which flows between the site owner and site users often through evaluation and online commenting. Web 2.0 is characterized by many online tools, platforms, and applications that encourage end-user interaction, such as podcasting, blogging, tagging, RSS curating, social bookmarking, networking, media, and content voting.[5]


Innovations included mobile, social media, and cloud development

Web 3.0

Web 3.0 (Web3) is the concept of completely decentralizing the web by building it on a set of tools such as blockchain, blockchain-based naming systems, and a distributed storage solution such as the peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol Interplanetary File System41 (IPFS).[6]

Web 3.0 began in 2021 and refers to the novel development of the backend of the web, as opposed to Web 2.0, which focuses on the frontend. The web3 era combines the decentralized, community-governed ethos of web 1.0 with the modern functionality of web 2. Web 3 is the internet owned by the builders and users and orchestrated with tokens.[7] Data may not be owned but shared. Web 3 has been called the "Semantic Web," because it necessitates the use of a declarative ontological language to produce domain-specific ontologies that machines can use to reason about information and make new conclusions, not simply match keywords.[8] In Web 3.0, computers should be able to distinguish information to provide faster, more relevant results. The 3D design is also part of 3.0 websites and services. Information will be more connected due to semantic metadata, the content will be accessible by multiple applications, and with IoT, every device can become connected to the web. Web3 research focuses on provable security, cryptography, and privacy; consensus and optimization of decentralized algorithms; crypto-economics and game theory; networking; and behavioral economics.[9]


Innovations have included blockchain, digital wallets, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the concept of a metaverse. Solutions based on a new DNS resource record type or specific use of the URI RR type for Distributed Identifiers may permit the storage of arbitrary objects and thus associate DNS names with wallets, NFTs, and other blockchain objects. Such an option could include a scoping parameter to include a layer of indirection, pointing a DNS domain to a blockchain domain and specifying which blockchain to use.[10]


There are three types of de/centralization. Architectural (de)centralization concerns how many physical computers comprise a system and How many can break down without breaking the system at any single time. Political (de)centralization describes how many individuals and organizations control the computers that comprise the system. Logical (de)centralization refers to whether a system's interface and data structures look more like a single monolithic object or swarm.[11]

Centralized Systems Decentralized Systems[12]
Low network diameter; information propagates quickly Information broadcast from one side of the network may take a long time to reach the other side
higher throughput, fewer total computational resources expended, easier to implement lower throughput, more total computational resources expended, more complex to implement
clear and easy resolution of conflicting data complex protocols are needed for dispute resolution over the state of data that are meant to be synchronized
Single point of failure network can function even if many participants are attacked
Coordination among network participants; central authority can compel them to adopt protocol updates Coordination is difficult, as no one has the final say, and the network is prone to fracturing over disagreements about protocol changes
A central authority can censor data and cut off parts of the network from the rest. Censorship is harder, as information has many ways to propagate across the network
the central authority controls participation Anyone can participate in the network, no gatekeepers, low cost of participation

Industry Questions

Is Brand Protection Possible?

In July 2022, Tom Barrett, of EnCirca, released the domain name industry’s first Web3 trademark search engine, called AltRoots.com

Is Web3 Regulation Possible?