Web 3.0 is in the fore, but where are all the patents?

The hype machine is at full blast trying to generate some buzz for Web 3.0. Last fall, all the fury centered around the Metaverse and Facebook changing its name to Meta to capitalize on the momentum associated with these technologies. The total number of Metaverse patents is huge and Meta has a good patent position when it comes to Metaverse technologies, but now the buzz has shifted to the concept of Web 3.0.

Critics of large centralized Internet monopolies like Meta and Google claim that Web 3.0 will free us from the control these companies have over our use of the World Wide Web. It could be, but is there any evidence that the move from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 has a technological boost or base?

Based on several indicators, it may be too early to move away from Web 2.0. This particular platform still has a lot of life and while users are not always happy with the control that the major social media, streaming and advertising companies have, there is no doubt that these organizations have some of the market caps. the most oversized. in the financial world.

Many CIOs recognize that the economy produced by Web 2.0 still has enormous revenue potential for them. On top of all this, there doesn’t seem to be as many patents associated with Web 3.0 technologies compared to other emerging technologies like the metaverse, which includes patents on virtual and augmented reality.

What does Web 3.0 mean? According to no greater authority than Sir Tim Berners-Lee and his World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), there are several principles underlying the idea of ​​Web 3.0. The concept of decentralization is potentially the most important of these.

  • Decentralization: No authorization is required from a central authority to publish anything on the web, there is no central control node and therefore no single point of failure … and no ” kill switch! It also implies the absence of blind censorship and surveillance.
  • Non-discrimination: If I pay to connect to the Internet with a certain QoS, and you pay to connect with that or better QoS, then we can both communicate at the same level. This principle of fairness is also known as Net Neutrality.
  • Bottom-up design: Instead of the code being written and controlled by a small group of experts, it was developed for all to see, encouraging maximum participation and experimentation.

Sir Tim even went so far as to develop a web decentralization platform called Solid (Data linked to social networks). Its website claims that “Solid is a specification which allows people to store their data securely in decentralized data stores called Pods. Pods are like personal web servers that are secure for data. When data is stored in someone’s Pod, it controls which people and apps can access it.

Another early adopter of Web 3.0 is Triple. It invites users to “join the peer-to-peer revolution” fueled by its implementation of blockchain and promising an “open source P2P Internet owned by humanity”. The company has been the subject of a Forbes story in June 2020, suggesting that the “largest distributed peer-to-peer grid” on the planet laid the foundations for a decentralized Internet.

Web 2.0, of course, doesn’t take any of these and Jack Dorsey recently tweeted the following to set the record straight on the beneficial ownership of Web 3.0:

“You don’t have ‘web3’. VCs and their LPs do this. He will never escape their inducements. It is ultimately a centralized entity with a different label. Know what you are getting into…. “

Regardless of ultimate ownership issues, technology implementation tends to follow an increase in patent filings associated with these technologies. When it comes to blockchain-based web platform technologies or other Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks, the line graph below shows that while new patent filings are on the increase, they are tiny. compared to other recent technological trends.

That’s around 4,500 potential inventions in this space, most of them associated with blockchain. Even in this area, the number of new patent families is expected to decline from the peak of 877 released in 2020. By comparison, there are over 63,000 inventions associated with the blockchain itself, with over 100,000 associated with blockchain. Metaverse technologies and well over 2 million that cover aspects of building and using the web in general. The number of decentralized web patent families is a drop in the ocean and a strong indication that it lacks a protectable basis to encourage active investment in its development.

Like many blockchain solutions in development, the question arises as to whether these applications can scale to the level required to challenge the existing Web 2.0 infrastructure. Decentralized web applications seem very specific and seem to be used primarily for private networks. Security between a few parties is likely to encourage moving away from a centralized public network.

Along with companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Intel and various Chinese financial institutes, a small company has established itself as a potential partner for CIOs who need a decentralized web solution. Light data has as many P2P web patent families as IBM and claims to have “an SDK that is installed by application owners that allows users to actively and voluntarily register as peers of their own accord.” In return, both parties are fairly remunerated, making it one of the only collaborative digital networks of its kind.

An investment in developing a patent portfolio to protect this digital network is a crucial indication that the company takes its technology seriously and has taken the necessary steps to ensure that it can continue to raise capital for d other investments.

There has been a lot of talk recently about Web 3.0. Yet, given the lack of patents on these technologies and the serious doubts that they are truly decentralized and publicly owned, most CIOs should probably continue to invest in Web 2.0. The idea of ​​a decentralized web available for large-scale public consumption seems remote if it even has a chance to grow.

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