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Web 3.0 – the New Internet – Running on The Old Model

Making CDs while the world is listening to Spotify. Making the best diesel engines while the world goes electric. Saving FIAT money when there is Bitcoin. We generally agree that there is something off doing these things, so why do we deploy the new Internet on the old model? A model we are trying to abandon.

During the last decade, the Internet has lain in the hands of a handful of tech giants building out its infrastructure that we all use ceaselessly. The proverbial Internet Superhighway has been growing inexorably, with 4.95 billion people using the technology daily in January 2022. This number of users is increasing at a rate of 4% annually, which boils down to an average of 500,000 new users each day. The Highway needs to get bigger, forging unexplored – and even unimagined – territories.

The rapid growth of IoT, autonomous EVs, the metaverse, and the expansion of the blockchain industry will generate an unseen amount of data volume in the coming years. Towards the close of 2020, we could store around 2.9% of all the data created since 2010. Even with the existing growth rate of capacity capabilities, our global cloud storage capacity will shrink to 1.2% in 2030 and 0.8% by 2035. If you think that we are on an exponential broadening curve of data production, wait for the next ten years.

The last 12 years have seen the massive adoption of the new web, Web 3.0. It started with the advent of Bitcoin, which popularised its innovative model of a digital store of value. It was proceeded by the rise of Ethereum and other blockchains such as Avalanche and the implementation of tokenomics as a use case and incentive for the network user. Today, words like DeFi, DAO, NFTs, and metaverse sound familiar to us. They are all pegged to the promise of offering a completely decentralised model.

When building fast and fancy electric vehicles, you can’t fill the highways with gas stations.

Undoubtedly, blockchain technology is here to stay. Arguably, it could have an even more significant impact than the birth of the Internet, in essence, a free digital space. We see many projects come and go, not to mention the technology is experimenting with some new and bold ideas; but the consensus is that you better not miss this train.

Blockchain (or acyclic graphs in other terminology) underpins the idea of decentralising information through its architecture of distributed ledgers, where everyone can verify every transaction, and thus build trust in the network. A revolutionary and disruptive idea with the potential to change how we perceive data in the future – instead of data in the centre, the centre could become the data.

Nevertheless, all this data needs a Highway to run on, a layer of infrastructure that requires permission to be operational. Currently, the best options to go with include Big Tech providing cloud storage. Basically, it boils down to renting server space, your Virtual Private Server (VPS), to deploy your application. Relationally, 61.6% of Ethereum servers run in the cloud. Essentially, a presumably highly decentralised network runs more than half its capacity on cloud providing services from a handful of players controlling more than 80% of the cloud market.

Moreover, centralising data has a lot of privacy and security challenges. Storing data in one place or only a few places is not very efficient, as the flow goes through a lot of borders. It is also prone to hacks or exploits, where a single entity could suffer substantial data breaches. Last but not least, the prevailing model of cloud storage is often perceived as controversial because the data is also accessible to the service firm; and, as such, could be traded as part of their business model.

Ultimately, bearing this in mind – running the new web on old infrastructure – does not make sense. Although, it is great to see projects taking the initiative to offer running nodes as an alternative to the existing norm. It takes us in the right direction; nonetheless, we still have a long way. What if we all could run a node, independently from the conventional cloud providing services? What if projects start pivoting away from existing models and looking for unconventional solutions within the blockchain space for cloud storage?

Nerian Network (@nerian_network) is building out this physical infrastructure supported by their community. The servers will be installed somewhere in Belgium and generate internet capacity for applications to run. People are incentivised with their native currency NERIAN to purchase a node license. This element is the first actual use case and utility for the token and is crucial for the project’s further development. Of course, it all begins with the applications Nerian is building, but who says other XRPL projects can’t come and join to leverage the technology?

It’s time for real choice; it’s time to have different frameworks to expand the honest-to-goodness Web 3.0 on the new Internet.