We have barely scratched the surface with the Internet (introduced in the early eighties) and it is already seemingly being threatened with competition. A possible replacement by a new phenomenon.
Well, for lack of a better word, “replaced” has connotations of a dying Internet. This is far from accurate.
This new phenomenon – fostered by blockchain technology, will change the way you use and consume the Internet as a service.
So, what is this new Internet-like system creating waves online and making online marketers quiver at the prospect of them losing out on the exponential revenues they have previously enjoyed?
Well, without hyping it up any further, it is called Distributed Applications or ‘DApps’ for short.
A brief history of Apps
Before we delve further into its meaning and use in the cyber world, perhaps some background context is required.
The use of online or mobile applications software or “Apps” has boosted the way you consume products and services online. Companies jumped onto the bandwagon when they discovered that we mostly use Smartphones for the Internet – a lot more than on desktops.
App developers were then subsequently sought after to create mobile Apps for practically anything. What started as something mainly for gamers moved quickly onto Apps for any commercial activity.
We now use Apps (the Internet) for shopping; fitness; travelling; online bookings and banking. Developers now create customised software to help with anything.
There is now an App store for every significant tech provider – Microsoft, Google and Apple to mention a few. This has naturally fattened their pockets and created an additional stream of income from an eager market.
The ‘catch’ for using mobile apps is that though it costs you nothing to download, using them still require some form of ‘registration’. You can do this by providing personal data or linking to an existing account such as your Facebook or Google account.
The benefit to App providers
The Apps, which are also embedded in social media, create a data goldmine for marketers to study and track your browsing habits. Through them marketers can gain valuable insights into your interests and then customise their products/services to sell to you.
Data mining has become more lucrative and more accessible with the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. Ever notice how after browsing online or having a conversation or a chat application like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, you go online afterwards, and you see Ads displaying the items you discussed?
Creepy isn’t it? Well, that is the future of Web 4.0 for you!
Luckily for us, there is a school of knowledgeable and security conscious programmers who are not ‘giving in’ to the way the Internet has become a centralised cesspool for marketers to harvest data from.
Social media platforms, search engine providers and mobile application providers facilitate them immensely with this.
The impetus behind a distributed application system is that it serves to distribute plough some of wealth garnered from your data via application providers back to you – the end user.
Imagine getting paid to surf the web for hours. The way you get paid for taking on a survey, partaking in a social experiment, donating an organ or sperm?
This is the way distributed apps are touted to work: by rewarding you for the use of specific applications (in a peer-to-peer review like setting) with cashable tokens. Seems only fair right?
Now you can imagine how companies like Cambridge Analytica would react to having to pay you for their use of your data. There will be reluctance and resistance but if they could pay companies like Facebook for the use of data, why not pay us directly?
Joining the DApps revolution is a no-brainer. Companies at the forefront of building and supporting DApps will end up getting a more substantial chunk of the market.
DApps will primarily provide you with the use of payment (remuneration) systems. These are specifically known as Smart Contracts and Proof or Work systems.
There are currently also web-browsers (built as DApps on blockchain platforms such as Ethereum or EOS) that will reward you for merely using their DApps.
For instance, you are rewarded in cashable tokens to surf the net over applications like Google Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Edge or Mozilla Firefox.
It is therefore, only a matter of time that this form of Internet-browsing and use of applications becomes the norm.
The Internet revolutionised the way you communicate, socialise, learn, shop and do business online.