Web3 and the Undeliverable Promise of Decentralization


From semantic web of RDF etc

Despite being envisioned for at least the past 20 years, today approximately 1-2% of the Internet domains contain or support the semantic markup extensions proposed by RDF / OWL. I still believe that there’s plenty of untapped potential in that area but, since there hasn’t been a compelling commercial use-case to invest tons of resources in building a shared Internet of meaning instead of an Internet of links , the discussion has gotten stranded between academia and W3C standards (see also

To IoT

More recently, we envisioned the Web 3.0 as the Internet of Things. According to this vision, IPv6 should have taken over within a few years, every device would have been directly connected to the Internet

To the current, crypto version:

Coming to the definition of Web 3.0 most popular in the last couple of years, we’ve got the Internet-over-Blockchain, a.k.a. crypto-web, a.k.a. dApps. The idea is pretty straightforward: if Blockchain can store financial transactions in a decentralized way, and it can also run some code that transparently manipulates its data in the form of smart contracts, then we’ve got the foundations to build both data and code in a decentralized way.

What is in common?

Even if they envision different futures, the Semantic Web, the Web-of-Things and the Crypto-Web have several elements in common. And the common trait to all those elements can be summarized by a single word: decentralization .