What is Web3?  A new decentralized website, or the latest marketing buzzword

What is Web3? A new decentralized website, or the latest marketing buzzword

Web3, as envisioned by the Web3 Foundation, will be a public Internet in which data and content on blockchains are recorded, tokenized, or managed and accessed on peer-to-peer distributed networks.

Web3 promises to be a decentralized, immutable version of the web, free of intermediaries and built with the same cryptographic verification capability that gave rise to cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and new types of decentralized applications powered by distributed ledgers, or Dapps.

If this all sounds complicated, it is because it is. For now, Web3 is a somewhat vague concept that’s still being defined – it’s more perfect for what the Web might look like than a tangible and accessible technology suite for developers to build upon today.

This ambiguity has led to a certain degree of division over the term across the industry, with proponents hailing Web3 as a revolutionary way to return the internet to its libertarian roots, while prominent skeptics such as crypto optimist Elon Musk Web3 excluded As a “marketing buzzword”.

Web3 أصول Origins

Web3 was first described by one of the creators of the Ethereum blockchain, Gavin Wood. In a 2014 blog post, Wood envisioned “Web 3.0” as an encrypted space on the Internet being built in response to privacy concerns raised by Edward Snowden’s 2013 global surveillance discoveries.

With Web3, “Information that we assume is public, we publish. Information that we assume is agreed upon, we put in the agreed upon ledger. Information we assume is private, we keep secret and never disclose,” he wrote.

This model will be “mathematically enforced” through cryptography, where transactions are validated and added to the blockchain for global transparency and irreversibility.

In a November 2021 interview with Wired, Wood refined this definition further, for “less confidence, more truth.”

The term Web3 didn’t really start emerging until 2021, though, when venture capitalists like Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon started talking about Web3 as “an internet owned by builders and users, orchestrated with tokens.”

As a major investor in the field, Andreessen Horowitz has a lot of advantages in Web3 so there’s little salt in it, and critics like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey were more than happy. call web3 as a “central entity with a different tag”.

Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

If Web3 is the next iteration of the Internet, how exactly is it different from Web 1.0 and Web 2.0?

Web 1.0 was the first iteration of the modern Internet, from 1990 until about 2004. In the era of Web 1.0, users typically dealt with static web pages where read-only content was created and distributed by a small group of gatekeepers such as Yahoo and AOL.

Web 2.0, comprising 2005 to present day in general, is the dynamic and interactive web, in which static web pages are linked to applications and user-generated content. Web 2.0 is governed by a set of dominant platforms, represented by the market power of the FAANG companies – Facebook (now Meta), Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google, all of which exchange services for personal data to some extent.

Where Web3 claims to differ from Web 2.0 is by eliminating these powerful guards and enabling a more equal internet, where users are paid for their contributions with ownership through a variety of tokens, all while keeping their data private and secure on a shared and distributed location, the ledger. The professor is tamper resistant.

“In essence, this means that I can personally become a provider or partner in providing this comprehensive service just as easily as anyone else in the world,” Wood told Wired.

This is reflected in the Web3 Foundation’s mission statement, which is to “nurture advanced applications of decentralized web software protocols” through a “decentralized and fair Internet where users control their own data, identity, and destiny.”

This idea naturally gave rise to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations – or DAOs – which are highly democratic Internet communities with a common goal and no leadership structure. Of course, one person’s equality network can be another’s unregulated Wild West.

Web3 is also fundamentally different from what Tim Berners-Lee has described since 1999 as Web 3.0, or the Semantic Web, which was focused on making the Internet machine-readable, a vision that remains largely unrealized.

Web3 . stack

Some engineers have already tried to define the Web3 stack as it currently exists, but it’s not a straightforward exercise.

Nader Dabit, former AWS Chief Developer and now Developer Relations Engineer at Edge & Node Web3, attempts to define the Web3 schema at a high level that consists of:

  • Blockchain
  • Blockchain development environment
  • storage file
  • P2P databases
  • API (Indexing and Query)
  • identification
  • Client (frameworks and libraries)
  • Other protocols

This is clearly an important departure from the three-tier architecture commonly used for web development, which consists of:

  • front web server
  • middle tier application server
  • Backend database or data store

Preethi Kasireddy holds a unique position having worked for both venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and crypto exchange Coinbase. Her blog post about the Web3 architecture lays out a development model where “you can write smart contracts that define the logic of your applications and publish them on a decentralized state machine.” [i.e. the Ethereum blockchain]. “

Increasingly, writing smart contracts themselves will likely require learning new programming languages ​​such as Solidity, Vyper, or Rust. Next, you will need to understand how to deploy in an Ethereum Virtual Machine, or similar implementation mechanism to the blockchain of your choice.

Developers will also need to understand how transactions are “signed” to the blockchain, with MetaMask establishing itself as an early industry standard tool for the process.

Next, Kasireddy gets into the problem of scaling up app creation on Ethereum. “Anyone who has built apps on Ethereum knows that storing everything on the blockchain gets really expensive and really fast,” she wrote. This creates the need for an “off-chain decentralized storage solution, such as IPFS [Interplanetary File System] or swarm.”

These issues may be resolved as more developers pour into the space and tools mature. Projects like Polygon are already working on a solution to the blockchain scaling problem. But at the moment, developing applications on the nascent Web3 stack seems challenging.

As Kasireddy herself wrote, “If all this is making your head spin, you’re not alone. Putting all these tools together is complicated and can lead to a painful developer experience. But don’t worry — we’re starting to see new developer frameworks that really improve the developer experience. “.

Web3 Apps

One of the questions Web3 skeptics often ask is where are the apps? With a package as modern and complex as the one featured above, it should come as no surprise that we haven’t yet seen an abundance of killer Web3 apps on the market.

While Web3 promises to take the core technology of proprietary NFT and cryptocurrency into potential new areas on the web, that promise is yet to be fulfilled.

Early Web3 projects tended to be defined by inaccessibility and lively user experiences. To access most Web3 applications, users will need a crypto wallet, most likely a new browser, an understanding of a whole new world of jargon, and a willingness to pay the fluctuating “gas” fees required to perform actions on the Ethereum blockchain. These are significant barriers to entry for the average Internet user.

While the decentralized social network Mastodon is built on some Web3 principles, as in the case of the Brave browser, most of the current Web3 applications cater to the needs of trading crypto assets or betting cryptocurrency in casino games.

“If Web3 is going to be the future of identity, or the future of social media, we need to ask ourselves what is the evidence for adoption – is it really a better mousetrap in the way that previous generations of internet technology have proven to be?” Requests Tim O’Reilly, who coined the term Web 2.0.

The Web3 Foundation lists several projects on its website, but they focus mostly on the core protocols required to build an interoperable Web3.

As Kevin Werbach, author Blockchain and the new architecture of trust, told TechCrunch: “Many of the so-called Web3 solutions are not as decentralized as they seem, while others are yet to be proven to be scalable, secure, and accessible enough for the mass market.”

Getting started with Web3

Ready to get started? There are a number of places you can go to learn more about Web3’s core principles and technologies.

Dabit at Edge & Node advises starting with documentation of the popular Ethereum blockchain and Solidity programming language for writing smart contracts. Then, you can start exploring the whole new world of Web3 tools, libraries, and APIs. You will also need a crypto wallet, such as MetaMask, to manage your Web3 assets.

There are also many Web3 tutorials appearing as interest in the term grows, including those that have appeared on the likes of Udemy, Coursera, Web3 University, Buildspace, and through the Ethereum website itself.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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