In this figure, a “host” is some server, somewhere. In Web 1.0, it was just the machine under my desk with no notion of users other than me. Web 2.0 separated the need to host the content from the desire to generate it. Blogging on a platform like Radio, Typepad, or Wordpress was one example. Later, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms filled this role and became behemoths. In Web 3.0, people (a word I like better than “user”) can return to generating content (broadly defined) under their own authority.
Closely related to the idea of self-certification is self-administration
. Self-administration means that something is independently administered by the controller. Again, no third party needed. I wrote about an example of this
A self-certifying protocol is based on a self-certifying, cryptographic identifier (I call them autonomic identifiers
but uses content addressable data. Content addressable data is any data that can be located based on its cryptographic hash. Using the private key associated with an autonomic identifier to sign the hash of the data provides a way to claim control of that data. This is self-sovereign authority and makes data portable because it’s authenticity is not based on where its found, but the signature. This is in contrast to Web 2.0 where the authenticity of data (say a tweet) depends on its particular place on the Twitter servers in a hierarchy controlled by Twitter. Goodbye client-server
. Note that in all of this blockchains and other decentralizing technologies are just implementation strategies, not end results.
Web3, that is self-sovereign authority enabled by self-certifying protocols, gives us a mechanism for creating a digital existence that respects human dignity and autonomy. We can live lives as digitally embodied beings able to operationalize our digital relationships in ways that provide rich, meaningful interactions. Self-sovereign identity (SSI) and self-certifying protocols provide people with the tools they need to operationalize their self-sovereign authority and act as peers with others online. When we dine at a restaurant or shop at a store in the physical world, we do not do so within some administrative system. Rather, as embodied agents, we operationalize our relationships, whether they be long-lived or nascent, by acting for ourselves. Web3, built in this way allows people to act as full-fledged participants in the digital realm.