HomeInterviewWith Web 3.0, the world is changing faster than expected

With Web 3.0, the world is changing faster than expected

Over the past three decades, the Internet has become part of people’s lives around the world, bringing innovations never imaged before and prompting changes that have never ceased. 

For Jirayut “Topp” Srupsrisopa, founder and CEO of Bitkub Capital Group Holdings, we will see changes that go even faster and stronger with the current Web 3.0. 

“I believe people will be surprised that the world is changing faster than expected. It’s because we underestimate the global changes,” he said.

Jirayut has been interested in history of the global economy and his business has been involved in blockchain — an important technology of the modern Internet — for more than eight years.

Two previous eras of the Internet

Over the past 30 years, the Internet has seen two eras of development.

The Web 1.0 era was the period between 1990-2000 when Internet communications were one-way due to limited infrastructure. At that time, the private server was a large desktop computer connected to the Internet with a modem that relied on a fixed telephone line. Internet users could only read the content on webpages.

“At that time, the Internet was just for sharing information for reading, in a similar way as the newspaper. All visitors saw the same static pages that they could only read but could not respond,” Jirayut said.

After 2000, there was a leapfrog in technological development, which led to Web 2.0 between 2000 and 2010. There was a revolution of Internet browsing programs. 

The 2010-2020 period saw tremendous changes in the Internet infrastructures. Dial-up connections were replaced by 4G fiber optic networks and private servers replaced by cloud computing. Also, there was a smartphone revolution with the freedom of mobility that desktop computers could not offer.

Internet became two-way communication for users — from “read only” experienced in the past to “read and write”. Internet users could interact with data presenters, and the web-based interactions led to what is now known as “social media”.

“The second era of the Web lasted about 20 years from 2000 to 2020. An important development was that Internet became customized, based on the user’s experience. The Internet could learn about the user’s behaviours, and this led to growth in content to meet the demands of specific groups,” Jirayut said.

However, Web 2.0 was overly centralized as all major websites were in the “winner takes all” market, with the application owners taking the control. 

The Internet structure has two levels — the application layer with user interface, such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, and the protocol layer involving programming codes such as TCP/IP, SMTP or SSL, which are unfamiliar to most users. 

TCP/IP is protocol for Facebook, Skype and Zoom while Gmail uses SMTP protocol. SSL is for credit card security, and HTTPS is protocol for today’s websites.

According to Jirayut, the protocol layer is built on open sources that anyone can create, modify, or verify, with support from a non-profit organization. “There are no owners and it has no value. That’s why over the past 20 years, businesses that own the application layer like Gmail and Facebook became wealthy while owners of SMTP or TCP/IP that were used to create the apps were not rich,” he said.

Their services are centralized by owners of the application layer in a market environment where the winner takes all. An important disadvantage is that these app owners have become “too big to fail”. Their failures could severely impact the overall economy, so the government would not allow them to collapse when they are in financial trouble. 

“With the Internet overly centralized, major online businesses have taken control of everything. These corporations work in a closed system. Their decisions are made by the company owners or top executives, not the customers,” the Bitkub CEO said.

“The online virtual world has become the world’s largest country with the most population. But its rule of law, or Internet regulation, is not as advanced as those of real countries,” he added.

Jirayut concluded that keywords for Web 2.0 are read and write experience, centralization, capture to application stack, and closed system.

Web 3.0: The age of protocol economy

The Bitkub CEO said that we are now in an early stage of Web 3.0, which started in 2021 and would continue until 2030. The infrastructure has changed with the advent of “Internet from the sky”. 

Three major operators have been involved in a battle to send Internet from the sky. Elon Musk’s Starlink uses a constellation of some low-orbit 12,000 satellites provide Internet access to populations with little or no connectivity. Project Loon, operated by Google’s parent company Alphabet, uses a swarm of weather balloons that cruise through the stratosphere and beam web access down to special receivers on the ground. Facebook worked on a project using solar-powered drones to beam high-speed Internet from the skies. 

“In the Web 3.0 era, Internet will become public goods capable to access any area. With Internet from the sky, everyone can have access to the Internet at lower costs,” Jirayut said.

There are also other innovations that have brought changes to the Internet. Smartphones under Web 3.0 have augmented reality/virtual reality technologies with three-dimensional capabilities. Within the next decade, all home appliances will be able to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) network.

Blockchain technology is also part of the protocol layer. With blockchain, the number of network protocols will be limited for the first time in human history. 

“Under Web 1.0 and 2.0, protocols were unlimited so they had no value. The value was in applications. But it’s opposite in the era of Web 3.0. The value will shift to the protocol layer in a situation called ‘Fat Protocol and Thin Application’,” the CEO said.

He explained that the supply of protocols would be limited for the first time, as blockchain technology’s outstanding quality is “digital scarcity”, which refers to the ability to control the abundance and existence of digital assets or resources, such as Bitcoins.

“Blockchain created value to cryptocurrencies,” Jirayut said.

For him, the keywords for Web 3.0 are read and write experience, open protocol, Internet decentralization, protocol economy, and co-ownership.

From centralization of data to decentralization

Jirayut pointed out that a major issue with Web 2.0 involved the control of data by a handful of large corporations. Their market domination prevented customers from providing inputs or taking part in the development.

However, in this age of Web 3.0, customers have more management power, and the centralization of decision-making power has decreased. At least, system developers have been given more power as people from around the world are involved in the thinking and development, he said.

With decentralization, web-based ownership and development have become more open, with active participation of the public. He made a comparison between the Nokia 3310 feature phone and the iPhone smartphone.

He said Nokia 3310 had a closed system. People at Nokia decided what features to be included in the phone and they came up with a small number of them. However, iPhone has an open development system called “application store”. Apple came up with iPhone and users and developers help create apps to hail taxis, order food deliveries, and transfer money worldwide, among others.

“Anyone can be involved in creating mobile applications, which has led to numerous innovations,” Jirayut said.

With the open system of Web 3.0, the Internet has seen a “read-write-own” evolution, open education platforms, and “x-to-earn economy”, such as browse-to-earn, play-to-earn games, and learn-to-earn.

Meanwhile, the progress of artificial intelligence (AI) technology has boosted the dynamism of the Internet, according to Jirayut. The machines will be able to learn about human behaviours and develop a hyper-customization ability to predict on the demands of individual customers. 

“In the next 10 years, innovations will see more development that the past five centuries. New technologies will be built on existing technologies with exponential development,” he said.

Blockchain boosts growth of digital economy

Jirayut pointed out that blockchain technology has created the so-called “digital scarcity”, which is contrary to the “digital abundance” during the initial stages of the Internet.

Over the past 20 years, anything uploaded onto the Internet — audio files, image files, or work files — can be copied. The good point is that exchange of data can be done efficiently at low cost. But the drawback is that the data become worthless as they can be copied unlimitedly. 

Blockchain technology comes into play due to its ability to digitize and upload value, according to Jirayut. An obvious example is Bitcoins, which have only 21 million units and are representative of value on the Internet. 

With the technology, we will be able to tokenize anything that has its value, including precious stones, gold, land and carbon credit. When they are digitized, those things will have more uses and can be sent anywhere in the same way as e-mail.

Jirayut reckoned that blockchain technology can be used to limit the number of objects and prevent falsification in the form of non-fungible token (NFT) digital identifier. 

Many new business models will be created with blockchain technology and that will lead to countless opportunities for various industries in the same way that the Internet once did. 

“Data will be digitized like before. But the value part will be tokenized with blockchain. So, in the future things around us will all be turned into the digital format, which will lead to an endless growth for the digital economy,” Jirayut said.

Technological changes leap forward with Web 3.0

Although we are in an early stage of Web 3.0, Jirayut is convinced that the development will progress exponentially due to a multitude of new technologies with the interoperability among different technologies. 

He said that in the first decade of Web 2.0 starting in 2000, many dot-com businesses were born on the world wide web, including Amazon and Google. In the next decade starting in 2010, smartphones led to the birth of new businesses involving mobile applications, such as Grab, Uber, and Airbnb. 

With the advent of Web 3.0, there are several new technologies, including AR/VR, IoT, 3D printing, big data, AI, and blockchain. They have led to collaboration and creation of new businesses based on those technologies, according to Jirayut.

He pointed out that technological development is heading towards openness. For example, the mobile phone has evolved from Nokia 3310 to iPhone, the encyclopedia from Encarta to web-based Wikipedia, banking from branches to digital or open financial webs, and education from centralized to open education platforms. 

“Education through modern digital media has low cost but brings more efficiency. For instance, lectures made through a podcast can be broadcast to millions of listeners. This is different from old-styled education, in which studying was done in classroom with limited number of seats. Larger areas for more students required a lot of investment,” Jirayut said.

He pointed out that in the future students who pass their courses would get tokens as reward for motivation. “This is called “learn-to-earn” and it can be a new business model — token academy,” he said.

The Bitkub CEO reckoned that cryptocurrency would help to create “x-to-earn” business models based on collaboration, such as co-own, co-use, and open read-write. 

In the future, many more products and services will change their business models to “subscription-based” with monthly membership fees, in the same way as cloud-based applications like Netflix.

New applications will be created to meet people’s everyday needs as technologies can help service providers analyze customers and meet their individual demands at reasonable prices. As a result, the subscription economy will see a strong growth continuously.

“There will be more digitization. Anything that can be digitized will be. The Web 3.0 Internet will see the digitization of not only information, images and sound, but also money,” he said. 

Jirayut concluded that Web 3.0 led to three important things — decentralization on the life, digitization on the life, and sharing economy.



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