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Web 3.0 is here and India can be a big player. But it needs a gameplan

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The third version of the internet, known as Web 3.0, is built on blockchain technology. An intelligent, autonomous, connected, and open internet is what Web 3.0 aims to build. One significant trend that is anticipated as we approach Web 3.0 is decentralisation. It is a theory that distributes power from a small group or individual to the entire population. One of the first countries to support Web 3.0 technology was India. India now has more than 230 Web 3.0 start-ups, according to the Cryptotech industry in India 2021 research by NASSCOM and WazirX. Web 3.0’s progress of internet technology increases the likelihood that technology may be weaponised, cyber threats will increase in frequency, and problems with national security may occur.

Web 3.0 is an open network where all programmes and applications are created using free and open-source code. In essence, the community has access to the development code, which is a virtual resource, and the development process is maintained open. With Web 3.0, the centralised control over data by platform firms is transferred into the hands of the users, using smart protocols on blockchain that do not require middlemen. The distinction between the real world and the digital world could become less clear. For instance, in an AI-powered Web 3.0 e-commerce scenario, suppliers would be better able to comprehend the wants of the buyers. Buyers who are interested in those products and services will be shown by them. Also, buyers will see more useful and relatable advertisements. Web 3.0 can empower creators by giving them a better opportunity to monetise. About 2 million professional content creators in India can benefit from this.

Web 3.0 is predicted to have the ability to add US$ 1.1 trillion to India’s GDP by 2031 if it is widely adopted. When considered in the context of India’s success in the information technology enabled services (ITES) industry, this estimate gains additional support. Numerous reasons are anticipated to fuel this expansion. Both the population and consumption of India’s digital base are rising quickly. Additionally, the adoption rate of digital assets is increasing roughly twice as quickly as the Internet, as evidenced by the accounts opened on centralised cryptocurrency exchanges. For more than ten years, India has been the industry leader in software development. The Web 5.0 ecosystem now has a substantial pool of skilled workers who can or have made the move. The growing tech-driven entrepreneurial environment is already taking advantage of the opportunities presented by Web 3.0. Currently, 4.5% of the total number of available positions in India are tied to the blockchain industry. Web 3.0 is giving technology-driven industries like the gaming and fintech sectors a boost. For instance, peer-to-peer lending networks based on blockchain are becoming increasingly popular. The Web 5.0 ecosystem and capabilities are currently being developed by a number of businesses, organisations, and governments. As an illustration, the India Blockchain Accelerator Program is funding Web 2.0 and Web 5.0 blockchain start-ups in Telangana.

Also read: Lucknow to Ludhiana, small-town women are entering crypto world, leaving behind tech bros

Web 3.0 is not a single technology but an amalgamation of several emerging technologies. A specialised institutional mechanism (similar to the National Supercomputing Mission) can be developed to promote Web 3.0’s development and enable national-level coordination. Web 3.0’s expansion depends on the expansion and availability of its foundational services. as dependable electricity, internet access, the availability of devices, etc. This platform can be built with additional work through flagship programmes like the Saubhagya Mission, BharatNet Mission, and the Electronics Development Fund. The rapid technological progress justifies the development of a policy environment that is both efficient and, at the same time, adaptable to the evolving technological landscape. This can be accomplished by copying the RBI’s Regulatory Sandbox approach to the creation of FinTech products. The primary agents of development of Web 3.0 will be entrepreneurs and users. The formation of clusters, contests, incubators, and supportive policies are just a few ways to foster innovation. India could start discussions on a global scale and take part in creating the rules and guidelines for Web 3.0. Taking a proactive stance in Web 3.0 leadership would prevent India from falling victim to digital colonialism. Web 3.0’s design supports the development of specialised solutions. For instance, an automatic low-data option can be provided in locations with poor internet connectivity. Web 3.0 isn’t challenging, but it is unique. To guarantee quicker acceptance and a smooth transition for users from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 platforms, educational programmes would be necessary.

The internet will become more democratic thanks to Web 3.0. Web 3.0’s technological support means that this promise is not entirely unjustified. But in order to bring about such a revolution, cooperation, openness, reliance, trust, and—most importantly—a shared endeavour that eventually unites humanity are all necessary. It remains to be seen whether the vision of Web 3.0 can make all of this a reality.

The author is a student at Miranda House, University of Delhi. Views are personal

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