Web3: What Is It and Why Should I Care?

How the term web3 is ushering in a new era of the internet and what it means for your privacy.

How the term web3 is ushering in a new era of the internet and what it means for your privacy. 

Web3 has dominated the news cycle over the last 18 months and has typically been paired with one of a few buzzwords: metaverse, NFTs, Bored Apes, Meta, Facebook, and Zuckerberg, to name a few. 

But, what is it? 

At its core, it’s a mindset shift for anyone who has used the Internet in the last twenty years; it is the philosophy and belief that you can own your identity, data, and assets across the web. This shift in thinking is core at web3, and it’s a change in perspective that is moving from ideation into practice quickly. 

Web1, Web2, and Web3: how did we get here? 

Web1: the “read-only” phase of the internet. 

This era of the internet was born sometime in the early 90s; it was one of the earliest ways we began to interact with the web. It was primarily a series of HTML, static-based pages. One of the best examples of this was the first website created on the internet by Tim Berners Lee; it’s still accessible today, and it gives a great sample of the type of content you could expect from this moment in time. This was a read-only experience of the internet, and it was certainly in its fledgling early years.

Web2: the “read and write” phase of the internet  

By most accounts, we’re living through web2 right now; the way that we interact with the internet and not only read the content that is posted but also engage with it. This can take the form of buying products on Amazon, sharing messages on Twitter or Facebook, blogging on Medium, etc. Web2 ushered in a mainstream level of consumers to the internet, primarily because it made the web interactive and accessible to those around it. This era of web2 has led to web3: the ability to read, write and own the internet. 

Web3: the “read, write and own” phase of the internet 

As mentioned above, this is a philosophical mindset shift that users of the internet need to make; the idea that we can own “pieces of the internet” (as Chris Dixon of a16z often says

Web3 unlocks a series of exciting capabilities for internet users because they can now own pieces of the internet to engage with and share with others. We’re seeing this play out in a multitude of industries. In gaming, people can “own” their characters in games and earn in-game tokens; in other industries,  communities can share membership through tokens that can be sent through decentralized wallets, and even enterprise-level platforms like Slik can store encrypted data on the blockchain so that it is unchangeable and accessible only to the owner. 

So why do we need web3? 

Web2 has ushered in an incalculable amount of innovation, but companies realized that companies collected your data and studied them to give you a better user experience. These technology companies then developed their products with better features so that users would have a better experience, which would lead to users using more of their products.

“As long as the data was being used to make the products better, it was okay.”

Companies realized that there was a profitable advertising market. So they started selling your data to other firms to gain more money. Your data is now being used for targeted advertising. Consumers have accepted this through various terms of service agreements that give them the right to use this data. 

One primary concern of web2 companies is security; we’ve seen endless data breaches, whether it be leaks of Facebook data, Dropbox usernames being leaked, or more, unencrypted data in silos owned by companies have proven to be a problem. Having a centralized database can prove problematic for these types of situations. 

In a recent study by the Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2021 Data Breach Report, there were 1,862 data breaches last year, surpassing both 2020’s total of 1,108 and the previous record of 1,506 set in 2017. (an excerpt from CNET’s blog)

How will it make data more secure? 

To better understand how this might work, let’s take a moment to look at a hacker's journey when taking someone’s data. 

  1. First, a hacker organization targets a company’s database.
  2. The second step is reconnaissance; this typically involves gathering crucial information about the company to make the best possible attack.
  3. A hacker will then persistently attack that single database without being detected. This may go on for a few months. Many times the malware that they inject is so advanced that it is very difficult to see it. The more the hackers stay in your network, the more damage they cause.
  4. By the time a data breach is detected, it's too late as this attack had been carried out for a long time.
  5. Many times coming up with a patch to block the malware takes months.
  6. This leads to mass data breaches where millions worth of data is lost.

It is straightforward to target a single centralized database. Still, it is tough to find something to attack in the first place, let alone attack when your data is distributed on a decentralized network. Information is stored in different nodes as fragments, making it nearly impossible to snoop in, disclose them to others, or hack them. Data is also encrypted, thereby adding another layer of protection. This is by far the most significant benefit of this modern storage model.

Web3 and Slik

Slik Safe is a decentralized, end-to-end-encrypted files backup and sharing platform. It allows users to backup their files on the decentralized web powered by the blockchain.

How is your data yours and yours only?

It works because all files stored by users on Slik are stored on a geographically distributed decentralized storage. Each file is first encrypted (we use AES block cipher in Galois Counter Mode (GCM) with a 256-bit key for all of our encryption operations).

After encryption, the file is broken down into small chunks of variable size and distributed over a network of nodes worldwide. Since those files are encrypted and chunked on your client before being distributed, they are always secure.

As a SlikSafe user, your files are always behind your unique passphrase. So no one can analyze them or use them to profile you, and they’re yours and yours alone.

Even we at SlikSafe do not have access to your files, and it would take millions of years with access to a supercomputer to open even a single file.

Summary

Web3 is very new and is still undergoing significant changes every day. It is only a matter of time before we have a complete transition to Web3 native world as more and more people appreciate the importance of privacy and security in their lives.

We are on a mission to give users control of their private data. Be it the documents you share online or the photos you take from your phone. We believe your data is yours alone. Not to be scanned for profit, not to be accidentally leaked or hacked, not to be subject to ransomware attacks, and not to be locked out because you uploaded a file that the service provider did not like. 

Try SlikSafe Today!

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