Below the web

The world wide web is what most people see when they use websites such as google and wikipedia. However, it should be noted that the web itself is built on top of the internet.

The internet consists of a number of protocols which define how machines talk to each other.

In this case, the machines could be the end devices such as computers and phones. They could also be the servers which serve the data requested by the end user. The machines could also be one of the millions of routing and switching devices which form the network connecting everything together.

Over the course of several decades, several protocols were developed which specified how each device would talk to each other within the network. The development of these protocols has been a combined effort of thousands of engineers, scientists and other network operators. They organize the IETF.

These underlying protocols are mostly invisible to most people who use the web. However, the web, which is the application layer on top of these protocols, itself has seen the maximum value creation in recent years. Companies like Google and Facebook have earned billions of dollars of revenue each year via advertising.

It is interesting to see how these networks could evolve in the future with the blockchain and bitcoin technologies which opens up the possibility of massive value creation at the protocol level itself.