The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Web3 might be the likes of NFTs, the metaverse or blockchain technology. Although all of these concepts do fall under the umbrella that is Web3, additional features such as credential data networks also fit into the picture, which play an integral part in the progression of Web3. Back to Basics The current structure of the internet (as we know it today), often labelled as Web2, allows for user-generated content to be posted on a number of different channels. As opposed to the first version of the internet that was stagnant and limited to “read only”, the internet has moved to a structure which allows users to generate their own content as well as interact with it, such as one posting an image to their social profile, while other users like, comment and share the content. With technology ever changing at rapid speeds, Web3 is believed to be the next step in the transition of the web. Often dubbed as “the future of the internet”, Web3 is a decentralised version of the web, which integrates the likes of cryptocurrencies, NFT’s, DAOs, and decentralised finance into one space. With this being said, Web3 offers a magnitude of web versions which can be read, written or owned, allowing users to have financial stake and control over online communities that they belong to. One of the largest and possibly most disregarded aspects that differentiate Web3 from Web2, is the credential data networks that live on Web3. Wait, What are Credentials? In technical IT terms, credentials refer to the verification of one’s identity online, similar to that of an ID card or passport, but on the web. However, this online identity does only pertain to one’s username and password, but rather the behavioural patterns that are specific to the user. “How much time does a user spend on a specific app before going onto the next?” and “Which features of the app do users use most?” could be common questions that organisations might ask when wanting to figure out how to optimise the user experience and create seamless apps. Traditionally speaking, credential data of users is stored on a centralised server of the website in question. For example, if a user creates an account on Meta (previously known as Facebook), their personal data (together with the data of all other users)  will be stored on Facebook’s central server. At first glance, this may not seem like an issue, however, the risk of personal data being breached is extremely high, with 2021 seeing 530 million Facebook users personal data being breached. Web3 To Save The Day With the high risk of credential data being breached in Web2 – it’s time for Web3 to save the day. The decentralised format of Web3 allows for data to be stored across a number of “scattered” ledgers, referred to as blockchain technology. By utilising blockchain technology for data storage – the possibility of one hacking and gaining access to this data is decreased significantly, with some believing it to be near impossible to crack. Not only is the potential for data to be compromised much lower in Web3, but the data ownership is no longer in the hands of central organisations such as Meta or Google. This new age technology allows users to own and control their own data, thanks to the power of credential data networks. The Ins and Outs of Web3 Credential Data Networks The largest Web3 credential data network in the world, Project Galaxy, allows Web3 developers and projects to leverage credential data in order to help them build better products and communities. Through Project Galaxy’s open and collaborative infrastructure, data curators have the opportunity to be rewarded when their credentials are used in Project Galaxy’s multiple Application Modules including Credential Oracle Engine and Credential API. The aim of Project Galaxy is to allow users to take ownership of their own data, having the possibility to monetise through curating digital credentials, and contributing to the data network. This ecosystem will be made possible through their open and collaborative data network that is accessible to all Web3 developers. But Wait, There’s More The concept of credential data on Web3 seems to be making waves, with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin working on a new project known as “Decentralised Society: Finding Web3’s Soul”, where a fully decentralised society can be created through Soulbound NFTs or Tokens (SBT). These SBT’s are non-transferable forms of identity (in the form of tokens), which will allow individuals to verify their information and identity using blockchain technology. Information that will be verified through SBT’s includes a long list such as educational background, medical certificates and more. Although the idea of SBT’s may seem to be far-fetched for now, Project Galaxy is already at the forefront of this concept. Already in use by over 500 partners, non-transferable credential based NFTs are already supported by Project Galaxy, which works on the exact same premise as SBT’s. Where To From Here? Up until now, the current state of the internet has been not only stagnant but also has seen issues relating to the safety of users personal data. The possibilities of Web3 giving people the power to control and own their personal data is looking to become a reality through Web3 credential data networks. Project Galaxy and the concept of Soulbound NFTs/tokens are taking centre stage in this new revolution of credential data safety.  Will credential data networks such as make the move to Web3 possible, by giving users the empowerment to own and control their own data on open, collaborative networks? Is this the future of the internet? Only time will tell…
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