While Internet 3.0 promises significant disruption, it seems to be more of an evolution of Internet 2.0—and anyone writing off the winners of the Internet 2.0 era should be wary.
2020 was an eventful year for technology, marked not only by the pandemic and the resulting acceleration of the digitization mega-trend—but it was also the year that saw tipping points in popularity for new technologies that have the potential to undermine or even replace institutions that are the bedrock of the political and economic establishment.
With this backdrop as context, we take a closer look at the nature of the evolution from Internet 2.0—which enabled the explosive growth in user-created content and social media—toward Internet 3.0, which aims to create more open, connected and intelligent websites and web applications that focus on using a machine-based understanding of data. Ultimately, Internet 3.0 promises a more decentralized internet and a weakening of centralized power structures.
FIGURE 1: The Evolution of the Internet
Sources: Barings; Token Economy, Shermin Voshmgir. As of June 2021.