Web 3.0 is one of the newest and most exciting trends in tech. However, it’s still a rapidly developing field, and like all rapidly growing fields, important trends are always popping up.
In this article, we’ll be going over the five latest trends in Web 3.0 and will be explaining them as simply as possible. These trends include Carbon neutral blockchain, Decentralized Science, Decentralized Social Networks, Regenerative Finance, and Ricardian Contracts.
1. Carbon Neutral Blockchain
When the first block of Bitcoin was minted around 13 years ago, people weren’t too concerned about the climate. In the same vein, people weren’t overly concerned about the carbon footprint of the Proof of Work (POW) mechanism that Bitcoin was meant to run on.
The reason is simple. The first Bitcoin block could be mined on a basic computer. The computer didn’t even have to be special. But things are a lot different now.
Today, to become a validator on the Bitcoin network, you’ll need a powerful computer rig powered by a lot of expensive chips that consume a lot of electricity. It’s little wonder that Bitcoin mining alone is estimated to consume as much electricity as the country of Argentina per year. Bitcoin mining has also seen a vast increase in the coin’s carbon footprint, and experts now believe it has the same carbon footprint as Greece.
Due to this, and lots of other factors, people now care a lot about Bitcoin’s carbon footprint and its effect on our climate. In some ways, the energy inefficiency of the blockchain is what is holding Bitcoin from even greater acceptance. For example, Tesla stopped accepting Bitcoin for payments when Elon Musk realized just how much energy it costs to validate a single block on the Bitcoin blockchain.
This worry about Bitcoin’s effect on the climate has led to some pretty interesting ideas. One of those ideas is a carbon-neutral blockchain.
A Question of Energy Sources
The idea behind a carbon-neutral blockchain is to build a fully functional chain that has absolutely no negative effect on the environment. Of course, this is almost impossible to achieve if you’re working with a POW consensus mechanism. Work takes computational power, and computational power takes a lot of energy.
However, the question isn’t really how much power Bitcoin mining is using. The real question is, how much of that power is green? Before 2022, the answer was very little. But some signs could be changing. In early 2022, the Bitcoin Mining Council released findings that suggested that more than half of the energy going into Bitcoin was green.
It seems the fastest way to get the blockchain to be carbon neutral is to simply abandon the POW mechanism. And that’s precisely what a few blockchains have done. The big example, of course, is the Ethereum merger. Following the merger, it was reported that the network is now 99% more energy efficient. There is no doubt that the success of Ethereum at switching from a POW mechanism to a Proof of Stake (POS) one will make it easier for even more blockchains to switch in the future.
2. Decentralized Science (DeSci)
The main idea driving all the innovation in Web 3.0 is decentralization. That idea has wriggled itself into academics, and it might just change everything.
The idea of decentralized science, or DeSci, is still in its infancy. But it’s already opening exciting doors for the future of science as a whole.
Today, science, much like finance and currency, is ruled by elite consensus. This means that there’s a limit to who can innovate and how they can innovate. Scientists who don’t have formal training, for example, have no hope for research funding and, as a result, have no hope of doing consequential research.
They are effectively shut out because of their lack of credentials. While credentials are a good heuristic for ascribing scientific value, like all heuristics, they aren’t absolute.
Some of the most brilliant scientists had no formal training. These include intellectuals like Blaise Pascal, Michael Faraday, and Benjamin Franklin, who all had no formal training and went on to change the world of science. That’s almost impossible today.
But that’s not the only thing wrong with traditional science. There’s also the issue of publishing. Academic journals today have asymmetrical power and can determine what research gets published and which ones are tossed away. And they often do this based on completely arbitrary standards. These journals also charge a fee for publication as well sometimes as high as $5,000. This artificially raises the barrier to publishing and is a form of knowledge gatekeeping.
Decentralized science is a growing movement that seeks to liberalize science and reduce barriers to the field of scientific endeavor to the barest minimum. The movement hopes to leverage the blockchain and the Web 3.0 infrastructure to make it easier for more scientists to raise more money from more diverse sources and use that to persecute diverse scientific interests.
The movement will create a decentralized and trustless publishing system, which means that academic gatekeepers will become obsolete. Knowledge will be free for knowledge’s sake, and people will be able to get more done academically more quickly.
3. Decentralized Social Networks
Decentralized social networks are social media networks that operate on the blockchain. The data for these networks is stored on independent servers, rather than centralized servers owned by one authority.
The reason why decentralized social networks have gotten popular in the last few months is the fact that they give users even more control. Individuals can create their social networks with their own rules on the chain and enforce those rules however they see fit.
These networks are a class of dApps that exist on a given chain. They are usually powered by smart contracts, and the contracts often serve as the backend for these networks. These networks are also immune to attacks because they exist on a decentralized database structure. Even if some data nodes fail, the network will not fail since the data has redundancies.
Asides from that, this system ensures that no one will sell your data to advertisers for any reason. Applications like the Interplanetary File System on Ethereum ensure that user data is protected all of the time. Many of the decentralized social networks online today have native coins that reward users if they allow their data to be used by advertisers. It’s an exciting system that allows both users and advertisers to earn instead of the centralized middleman taking all the gains.
4. Regenerative Finance (ReFi)
Regenerative Finance, or ReFi for short, is a finance framework that focuses on how current financial systems are exploitative and extractive. In essence, regenerative finance is all about building a new relationship between people and their money. And this new system is characterized by being regenerative.
This means that ideas like equity, safety, and carbon neutrality are built into this framework. Today, ReFi is a way for people who care about these issues to connect and take action together. It explicitly calls for the building of tech on the blockchain that could help monitor or mitigate the impact of climate change.
It’s also a way to mobilize funds that will.be used to arrest the climate crisis. Regenerative Finance calls for skipping the bureaucratic red tape that stops governments from acting. By existing on Web 3.0, ReFi ensures that it faces no institutional breaks and can go on to tackle important climate issues.
5. Ricardian Contracts
You’ve most likely heard of smart contracts. If you haven’t, they are programs that are used to execute a task in the future if certain conditions are met. For example, a smart contract may say to stake a certain amount of ETH whenever it reaches a certain value on the market.
But the thing about smart contracts is that they are written for machines to read. This means that they do not look like every contract and instead look like code. This poses a big problem for regular people who have to use these contracts.
The first problem is that they make it easier to defraud people. Since people may not be able to read the contract and understand what’s in it, they could sign harmful digital contracts.
Ricardian contracts solve that problem by being readable by both humans and computers. Despite being a digital contract, they are still available in a human-readable form.
The contract essentially has two uses. The first is that it can be used as a regular contract between two people, and secondly could also be deployed on a Blockchain.
On the Flipside
- Web 3.0 is a rapidly evolving field, and some of these trends may become irrelevant again.
Why You Should Care
If you are a crypto enthusiast, it’s important to understand the newest trends in the field. This we’ll help you make smarter investments and staking decisions.