Internet versus World Wide Web

Many people think that the terms Internet and ‘World Wide Web’, or just the Web, may be used interchangeably, but the two terms are not synonymous. The World Wide Web is the first application program that billions of people use on the internet, and it has changed their lives immeasurably.

However, the internet provides many other services. The Web is a global set of documents, images and other resources, logically interrelated by hyperlinks and referenced with Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) which are hosted on the internet (basically a global agglomeration of servers). URIs symbolically identify services, servers, and other databases, and the documents and resources that they can provide. Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the primary access protocol of the World Wide Web. Web services also use HTTP to allow software systems to communicate to share and exchange business logic and data.

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World Wide Web browser software (another application layer), such as privacy-focused Brave and others such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer/Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Apple’s Safari, and Google Chrome, lets users navigate from one web page to another via hyperlinks embedded in the documents.

Freedom of information

Browser software and its adoption represented a huge leap forward. People from all over the world who could make use of the internet now could share information and communicate with each other, almost in real-time. Also, it had massive implications for commerce, finance and trade. Over a very short time-span, the rise of the internet has had an enormous impact on the lives of billions of people.

Think of all the applications which utilize the internet. Think about the daily lives of people around the world and about the apps we all use daily. For example, think about the impact e-mail had historically. First, it took at least five days to send a letter from Switzerland to South Africa, with the invention of e-mail this duration was instantly reduced to a mere couple of seconds. The services provided by the internet have propelled forward its rates of adoption.

Nevertheless, there are still billions of people globally who are unable to make use of this. There are many ways to estimate the value of the internet and the services it provides.

However, these are all based on current practices; they likely underestimate the long-term value of the internet.

Financial inclusion

It is now possible for everyone on the planet to have access to all the information humans have ever produced. The barriers to this Utopian dream are not technological but legal and economic (which might be addressed by blockchain technology). When we manage to solve these problems, we will be able to unlock vast pools of human potential that have until now been inaccessible. In the future, we will see this as a turning point in human history. It represents an economic advance generated by global access to all information. While at the same time sharing in the value created, the real value of the internet.

Blockchain and distributed ledger technology will have a dramatic impact on business and society. The impact by providing a secure, direct way of exchanging money, intellectual property and other rights and assets without the involvement of traditional intermediaries like banks, utility companies and governments. The underlying technology of blockchain might represent a second era of the internet or the Digital Age. For the last 40 years, we’ve had the internet of information. Now, with blockchain and distributed ledger technology, we’re getting the internet of value.