Tim Berners-Lee, the web inventor, wants to save his creation from centralization. But will he be a part of Web3’s salvation promise?
This snub might seem to contradict Berners-Lee’s recent actions. The 67-year-old is now attempting to rescue his brainchild, which is “dysfunctional”, from the clutches of Big Tech.
He’s also made a cool $5.4million by selling an NFT — one of Web3’s supposed pillars.
The Brit, however, has his own vision of the web’s future: a decentralized architecture giving users control over their data.
Berners-Lee wants to build it on a platform that he calls Solid, but you can also call it Web 3.0.
He said that Web 3.0 refers to the problem of user-generated content on large platforms.
“People should call it Web 2.0. If you want to call it Web 3.0, that’s fine.”
Berners-Lee supports Web3’s mission to transfer data from Big Tech back to the people. However, he’s taking a different path to reach his goal.
Web3 is based on blockchain. Solid, however, is built using standard web tools and open specifications.
Private information can be stored in “pods”, decentralized data storage that can be hosted anywhere the user wishes. In addition, the user can choose which apps have access to their data.
This approach is designed to ensure interoperability and privacy.
Berners-Lee stated, “When you try and build that stuff on blockchain, it just doesn’t work.”
Berners-Lee explains that Solid serves two distinct purposes. One is to prevent companies from using our data for unwelcome purposes. This includes manipulating voters or generating clickbait.
The other is to offer opportunities for people to profit from our information.
For example, healthcare data could be shared among trusted services to improve treatment and support medical research.
Our photos could then be shared with Facebook friends, LinkedIn colleagues and Flickr followers without the need to upload them to each platform.
This brings back Berners-Lee’s original goal to make the internet a collaborative tool.
“I wanted to be able to solve problems when part of the solution is in my head and part of the solution is in your head, and you’re on the other side of the planet — connected by the internet,” he said.
That’s what I wanted the internet for. Of course, it was more successful as a publishing medium, but it is still a viable option.
Although Solid has yet to be proven effective treatment, the web father believes his child can get back on the right track.
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