What Is Web 4.0?

White robot hand and a human hand reaching to poke a sphere.

Web 4.0 is the fourth generation of the internet. The idea behind this generation of the internet is still quite theoretical, as it doesn’t exist yet. This starkly contrasts to Web 3.0, which already has workable networks and utility. 

Web 4.0 theorists argue that the fourth generation of the internet may change not just the internet but the world. That may be true, but we need to trace how we are now approaching the fourth generation of the internet in the first place. 

Tracing the Internet Evolution

The first version of the internet was Web 1.0. At the time, it wasn’t named “Web 1.0” but was simply called the internet. It was also called the “read-only web” because you could only read the Information on it. 

Web 1.0 mostly consisted of just millions — or even billions of web pages connected by hyperlinks. There were no attendant visuals, controls, and interactions that now characterize today’s internet. This means that the visuals were drab, users had minimal control over what they said, and they couldn’t interact with the content. 

The reason why Web 1.0 was so primitive, as it were, is that computer technology had simply not caught up to what the internet was truly capable of. For example, we didn’t have computers that could perform read/write functionalities on the internet. There was also no cloud system, and the data-saving mechanics were still in their formative years. 

However, in time, computer technology advanced with read/write capabilities and other important innovations that made Web 1.0 even easier to use. That was the beginning of Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 

Web 2.0 didn’t just change the internet — it changed the entire world. It revolutionized the way humans communicated, and it changed the way they experienced the world. It also created new business opportunities in almost every industry. 

Behind these important changes created by Web 2.0 were massive improvements in computer technology. The first of these improvements was cloud computing. Cloud computing meant that on-demand access to computer resources was available without active management by users. 

This was followed by improvements in read/write compatibility. People could now contribute to their internet pages meaningfully from their computers. 

Institutional juggernauts like Microsoft and Apple weren’t just producing important computer software but creating the hardware to go with it too. Very soon, the idea of Web 2.0 began to emerge from the massive computer engineering innovations driven by Web 1.0 stakeholders.

If Web 1.0 was like a book users could read, Web 2.0 was more like a book with blank pages. People could now get access to information and create their content. And then they could share that content with others. 

However, those weren’t the only changes that Web 2.0 pioneered. When Web 2.0 was developing, there was also a massive shift in the capability of computer hardware. The size of storage devices got smaller, phones got smaller, and their functionalities dramatically improved. They could load pages faster, save more data, and even download data from the internet. 

By the middle of the 2000s, most people didn’t need a computer to go online. They could do that with their phones and were aided by even faster internet. This made internet surfing a practical use of one’s time. At the same time, companies started developing software that made it even easier for people to use the internet for important tasks. 

The first of these were social media apps. One instructive example is Facebook, the first legacy social media company. Facebook made building communities, discovering new friends, and following the news easier. And people can do all of that with just a few swipes of their fingers. 

But even Web 2.0, despite all its advantages, has its issues. For example, the internet is extremely centralized, and people submit too much personal data to centralized entities. The structure of the internet ensures that these entities have sovereign control over this data and could use it as they like. 

What is the solution to this problem? Web 3.0 

Web 3.0 

Differences between web 1.0, web 2.0 and web 3.0.

Unlike Web 1.0 and 2.0, Web 3.0 isn’t driven by institutional juggernauts. Instead, it’s driven by ordinary people choosing to be the custodians of their data and assets. 

The main change that Web 3.0 brought to the internet is that it allowed people to control their information storage. For the first time in history, people could control who had access to their data and what it could be used to do. 

This capacity was built on a different technology called the blockchain. The blockchain is a distributed ledger that ensures that records aren’t kept within a centralized entity but within a decentralized system. 

However, the move from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 hasn’t been as smooth as the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. The main reason is that Web 3.0 is based on a decentralized custody system, which is foreign to the internet. In any case, Web 3.0 adoption has continued, albeit slowly. 

Despite the adoption of Web 3.0 still in its infancy, some people are already looking to the distant future. They are looking at the fourth internet generation, calling it Web 4.0. 

What Is Web 4.0? 

Visual demonstrating what is web 4.0.

The main idea behind Web 4.0 is an internet where most things are possible. Web 4.0 theorists argue that the fourth generation of the internet will be focused on an even better user experience. This version of the internet could be dramatically different from every version before it. 

The idea of Web 4.0 stands on three important pillars. The first pillar is big data. Since Web 2.0, the question of what to do with user data has been significant. Web 2.0’s answer to that question is to let centralized entities control and sell it. Web 3.0’s answer is self-custody and decentralized use. Web 4.0’s answer is to use the data to build a more connected and informed world. This means that Web 4.0 prioritizes the use of data to create an all-encompassing experience for users. 

The second pillar is closely related to the first, and that’s collaboration. The fourth generation of the internet would be built on the collaboration of users and service providers. This may include novel ideas like user data determining how a website looks. They may also be able to determine exactly what content they are exposed to, leading to an even better user experience. 

The last pillar is augmented reality. Web 4.0 may birth an internet where everyone has a digital avatar that lives on the internet. This would dramatically increase the capacity of the internet to act as a literal global village. It may also foster unity amongst world citizens and lead to even more peaceful coexistence. 

Is Web 4.0 Feasible?

The ideas behind Web 4.0 are certainly exciting, but that doesn’t mean they are inevitable or even possible. For one, the software and hardware we currently have today are not yet compatible with the grand ideas of Web 4.0.

Asides from the obvious software and hardware issues that Web 4.0 may have, there are also social issues. For example, how would digitizing human interaction affect families and spousal relationships? Will human beings prefer to form digital relationships in a global village rather than physical ones? 

Secondly, what would be the effect of Web 4.0 on law enforcement? A global digital village with avatars would also have vulnerable populations. How would the government navigate enforcing the law in such an environment? Or would the enforcement be left to massive corporate juggernauts? Would users be required to protect themselves? 

Lastly, what would be the effect of Web 4.0 on work culture? If properly implemented, Web 4.0 could spell the end of office buildings forever. How would that culture shift affect our lives? These are all important questions that we need to answer if we are ever going to have a Web 4.0

It’s important that people understand the current technical limitations of Web 4.0 and the social questions it may pose. After all, Web 4.0 won’t be created for its own sake. It will be created for people to use. Hence, people must understand how compatible it could be with human societies. 

Ultimately, the answer is simple; Web 4.0 may be feasible, but we first need to answer the important social questions it poses.

The Future of Web 4.0 

The fourth generation of the internet could change the world forever. Despite that, it’s important to be cautiously optimistic. Web 4.0 is still theoretical and based on inherently fantastic assumptions. 

These assumptions include the idea that the internet will have a fourth generation. Given the difficulties of Web 3.0 adoption, it’s possible that even the third generation of the internet never truly kicks off. There’s nothing inevitable about Web 4.0, which may end up as a dystopian conception of the internet’s future. 

Even if Web 4.0 is possible and happens, there’s no indication that such a future is close by. The hardware and software requirements for Web 4.0 adoption aren’t available yet, and it may take decades for them to be. For example, augmented reality tools must become as realistic and cheap as mobile phones. Without that innovation, it will be impossible for Web 4.0 to truly scale. 

Asides from that, there needs to be a dramatic influx of capital and interest in Web 4.0 development. That hasn’t happened yet, as most people are still preoccupied with Web 3.0 and its unique problems. 

However, if all this happens and the stars align, Web 4.0 may become a reality. 

On the Flipside 

  • Computer engineers and internet theorists don’t have a coherent idea of what Web 4.0 would look like. At this point, Web 4.0 is more like a thought experiment than actual technology. This means that the actual Web 4.0, if it happens, could be dramatically different from anything this article proposes. 

Why You Should Care 

Web 4.0 could be the next big thing. If you care about being ahead of the curve, then you should care about what the fourth generation of the internet could be. 


What is Web 4.0? 

Web 4.0 is the fourth internet generation characterized by big data, the collaboration between users and service providers, and augmented reality. 

When Will Web 4.0 Be Possible? 

At this point, Web 4.0 is merely a theory. There’s no timeline as to when it will become mainstream. 

Will Web 4.0 Happen? 

While the fourth generation of the internet could happen, nothing suggests it’s inevitable. For all we know, it may be an interesting internet theory.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Victor Fabusola

Victor Fabusola is a Blockchain & Crypto Content Writer. He excels in crafting long-form educational guides, opinion pieces, and reviews in niches such as DeFi, NFTs, and Web 3.0. Outside of his work at DailyCoin, he loves conscious hip-hop and classical music and engaging in intellectually stimulating conversations with his friends.