Jump in a time machine, set the dial to 1989, and you’d experience a very different World Wide Web. Back then pages weren’t interactive and instead designed for much smaller audiences.
The basis of this technology – which consisted of pages connected via hyperlinks and populated by frames and tables – was to help users find information.
Fast-forward to 2022 and we have Web 3.0: the latest iteration of this technology (and which is still a work in progress). But what is Web 3.0 and how exactly does it work?
At its most basic, Web 3.0 is the third generation of Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for a ‘semantic web.’
The latest iteration will:
- Use virtual assistants – a technology already used in apps
- Provide more relevant data faster to users
- Focus strongly on machine learning
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What is Web 3.0 and should your law firm use it? Let’s find out.
Questions people are asking about Web 3.0
Before we answer the question ‘What is Web 3.0?’ Here are answers to some of the most common questions.
#1 Does Web 3.0 already exist?
We are still in Web 2.0 but some aspects of Web 3.0 – like Blockchain and Cryptocurrency – already exist.
#2 When will Web 3.0 be launched?
Depending on who you ask, Web3 will launch in 2023 or 2024. Although certain elements of it are, as earlier indicated, being phased in. The technology is unlikely to realise its full potential for at least a decade.
#3 How will Web 3.0 benefit businesses?
Professional services companies (such as law firms) to transact faster, automate contracts, and provide secure records to customers using Blockchain technology.
How much is Web 3 actually worth?
Web 3.0 is still in development – but expect it to be worth hundreds if not thousands of billions. As an indicator, the Metaverse – a digital reality platform recently launched by Mark Zuckerberg – is estimated to be worth over $600 billion by 2030.
What is Web 3.0 and what does it mean for my law firm?
Before reading the rest of our short guide here’s a quick explainer video designed to put you in the know.
In broad terms Web3 is:
- Decentralised. Right now we access the internet via mediated services like Facebook, Apple, or Google. Web3 will hand that power to individuals such that they govern their respective areas of the internet.
- Intelligent. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine power this technological heavyweight uses superior algorithms and ultra-fast processing power to grasp concepts – just as quickly as a human would.
- Free-spirited. Right now Web 2.0 is impeded by rules and middlemen. Web3 will, by contrast, create a permissionless space that gives users greater creative freedom.
What is Web 3.0 in a nutshell? It will give people greater control over their online experiences and data via the provision of a virtual world unimpeded by rules and regulations set by governments or official bodies.
But how will these benefits to users affect your law firm? Let’s break down some of the key advantages.
How will Web 3.0 benefit your law firm?
Web 3.0 will help your law firm by…
#1 Reducing website downtime to almost zero
At the moment, if your website crashes, access to it is controlled by a single gatekeeper (for example, an institution). W3 is decentralised and therefore more stable – because services are managed across multiple nodes. This makes W3 almost impossible to break.
What is Web 3.0 going to do for your law firm? The answer is simple: prevent outages that might otherwise cost you lost business and revenue.
#2 Simplify transactional work using Blockchain tech
What is Web 3.0 doing to harness the benefits of technology for law firms? Well, it supports blockchain: a database of information – with each segment linking to the next like a daisy chain.
The data can’t be changed either. This results in the creation of permanent records which can be audited in the event of an issue.
- Important documents are protected within the chain – meaning you can run audits to interrogate issues in the event of a query or issue.
- Smart contracts can be issued to ensure terms and conditions are met, and a refund is issued if the agreement is broken.
By supporting blockchain technology W3 will help your firm pinpoint and address issues faster – while protecting itself and its customer by issuing fairer contracts.
#3 Less overall cost to your law firm
Your firm has to pay each time it accepts a customer payment made by credit card. Over time these fees add up. Because Web 3.0 also supports Bitcoin, transactions can be conducted without going via a third-party processing company or bank – resulting in much lower fees.
What is Web 3.0 going to do for your law firm? A surprising amount of things…
Overall W3 will help your firm provide a round-the-clock digital service to customers, spot and solve issues more effectively, and issue fairer and more robust contracts that protect both parties in the chain.
The technology is still new and yet to be fully launched. And so the list of benefits is likely to grow over time. Inevitably there’ll be a learning curve too as developers, users, and businesses get to grips with the latest iteration of the world wide web.