Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee on Web3: my decentralized Internet doesn’t need blockchain

British inventor Tim Berners-Lee, one of the creators of modern Internet technology, does not lose faith that he will be able to save his creation from the centralization promoted by such large corporations as Google and Meta. However, he does not believe that this can be done with Web3. At TNW conference Tim Berners-Lee answered the question about Web3 in one word: “No”.

This contempt may seem to contradict Berners-Lee’s recent actions. After all, he was also able to make money on Web3, selling NFT original source code for the World Wide Web for an exceptional amount of $5.4 million.

But the British have their own vision of a successor to the Internet: a decentralized architecture that gives users control over their data. Berners-Lee wants to build it on a platform he calls Solid, but it has already been dubbed Web 3.0.

“We did talk about it as Web 3.0 at one point, because Web 2.0 was a term used for the dysfunction of what happens with user-generated content on the large platforms,” Berners-Lee said. “People called it Web 2.0, so if you want to call it Web 3.0, that’s fine.”

Berners-Lee shares one of Web3’s main missions to transfer control of data from corporations to people. But he goes the other way to that goal.

Although Web3 is based on a blockchain, Solid is built with standard web tools and open specifications. Private information is stored in decentralized data warehouses, called “pods”, which can be placed where users want. They can then choose which programs have access to their data. This approach aims to ensure interoperability, speed, scalability, and confidentiality.

“When you try to build that stuff on the blockchain, it just doesn’t work,” says Berners-Lee.

Berners-Lee says Solid serves two separate purposes. One is to prevent companies from misusing user data for unsolicited purposes, from voter manipulation to clickbait generation. Another is to be able to benefit from your own information.

Medical data, for example, can be transferred between trusted services to improve patient care and support medical research.

In the meantime, users’ photos could be shared with Facebook friends, LinkedIn colleagues, and Flickr subscribers without having to upload them to each platform.

This is reminiscent of Berners-Lee’s original goal of making the Internet a tool for collaboration.

“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 was the sort of thing I wanted the web for. It took off more as a publishing medium — but all is not lost.”

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