The web is making significant progress. Why? Because the web has fundamental flaws. A permissionless and decentralized version will soon replace a centralized, vulnerable, data-hungry version of the Internet.
Despite this, Web3 poses a significant obstacle not only for entrepreneurs and web users but also for developers and product managers. Consequently, how can they learn, collaborate, and develop web3? This article aims to provide a collection of strategies, resources, and guiding principles that will assist you in developing decentralized applications and becoming a full-stack web3 developer.
What is web3?
Web3 is not a revolutionary advancement. It derives from the two previous phases of the Internet: the static web 1.0 and the co-created but centralized web 2.0. Even though the third iteration of the web represents a complete model shift, it is difficult to describe its guiding principles without first providing a brief overview of its predecessors.
Web1 – the static and read-only
Web 1.0, the first stage of web development, is challenging to describe with a term other than “static.” In the 1990s and early 2000s, the website’s design, content, and purpose were determined by the website’s author and owner. The end-user was required to accept the role of a passive reader and be grateful that he could access web-based content.
But let’s be honest: everyone knew at the time that it was only the earliest stages of web development. We indeed required additional resources.
Web2 – dynamic, co-created, and… centralized.
To assert that web 2.0 has transformed our way of life is meaningless. Social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube occupy a substantial portion of our daily lives, providing valuable, targeted content and tools for connecting with others.
However, there is also an opposing viewpoint. We, as end-users, must pay with our data for the convenience and comfort that social networks provide. We must also accept the lack of ownership over individual data. Moreover, although we can co-create the web, we are still not on par with web2 leaders. Facebook, YouTube, and Google control us, determining what we see and whether we can use a social network. They are not permissionless and unrestricted, as some belief. They are highly centralized (e.g., a single server stores data and connects network components) and risky for daily use.
Web3 – the answer to web 2.0 cons
Web3 emerged in response to issues with web2. It is a permissionless, decentralized space that anyone can own. Web3 liberates Internet users from monopolistic control and gives them the means to administer the network.
Tokens and cryptocurrencies are used to represent ownership in the web3. Users can decide what content to consume and what data to share. We can say that web3 reintroduces us to the web1 era due to its reliance on personalized utility. However, the content/website provider does not own and manage the Internet.
What are the principles of web3?
Web3 is founded on a set of guiding principles that distinguish it from web2 – the Internet as we know it today. These are essential components to implement when developing decentralized applications and other blockchain-based projects.
- Web3 is based on the P2P network, eliminating the need for an intermediary between two users.
- There are no centralized databases; participants in the network share control over data and services.
- Decentralization ensures that the network will continue functioning even if one node is lost (or compromised). It is nearly impossible to hack the entire Internet or to bring it down.
- Web3 is based on the immutability principle, which makes it impossible to delete data or undo an action. It allows for the tracking of all transactions and events.
- There is no distinction between the traditional and “blockchain” worlds; on-ramp software can easily connect the two (to exchange fiat money for cryptocurrencies).
- Typically, web2 ecosystems begin as collaborative spaces; however, platform owners then extract value from developers and close the ecosystem. In web3, developers are essential to the ecosystem’s success, and each network and protocol recognizes its contributions.
- Web3 projects use a similar business model (based on a multi-sided market and fees) to web2 projects, but prices are distributed to the community rather than the platform’s owner.
- Web3 is permissionless; you only need a wallet to connect to apps.
- There is no need to have faith in anyone.
- Lastly, as the web3 space is constantly expanding, education is essential. Every project, entity, and person must adopt a “lean startup” methodology and extract knowledge from every activity.
Web3 development courses – how to learn web3 development?
Even though the path to learning web3 marketplace development may initially appear complicated, there is valuable information to start with. As the “open-source” principle is one of the industry’s pillars, most valuable sources are also open. Therefore, if you want to learn web3 development, the knowledge universe of blockchain is your oyster.
So, where is the learning starting point, as mentioned earlier?
- Checking and skimming the Bitcoin and (especially) Ethereum whitepapers is a great way to learn absolute foundations. These two projects comprise the core of the enterprise. Therefore, understanding their underlying principles and technologies serves as a valuable foundation.
- Check out popular YouTube channels to expand one’s understanding of the industry. Even if it seems too “basic” initially, it may be a great way to learn more about the blockchain ecosystem. Many valuable sources include Whiteboard Crypto, CoinBureau, and AltCoin Daily. Check out EatTheBlocks and Finematics if you’re looking for additional developer-centric content.
- Once familiar with the industry and its leading technologies, you can move on to Solidity, one of the primary blockchain programming languages. How do you study Solidity? By reading the Solidity docs, you will gain a deeper understanding of smart contracts, the foundation of web3 development, and the basis for most applications built on its principles. The remix is an integrated development environment (IDE) that allows you to create, deploy, and manage smart contracts. This will enable you to comprehend this concept in both theory and practice.
Developing dApps in web3
Decentralized applications, also known as “dApps,” are the core of blockchain technology. They link the complex blockchain ecosystem to real-world problems and end users. Using the principles above, they bring blockchain closer to people and enable them to interact with web3 in a secure and user experience (UX)-friendly manner.
As a crucial web3 concept, decentralized applications operate on a blockchain-based network rather than relying on a single entity (like web2 applications do). They are independent of control and a single authority, rendering them resistant to censorship. Additionally, decentralized applications are immutable and nearly impossible to hack, resulting in a safe and secure user experience.
Being a web3 developer typically entails almost exclusively “building dApps.” As they connect the technology to the end user’s needs, however, it is essential that they be designed with UX principles in mind. Due to the lack of transparency and complexity of the underlying technology, the blockchain industry struggles to attract new users. Therefore, developers must address this issue and propose solutions that will bring less technical individuals into the industry.
We are enhancing the user experience of cryptocurrency wallets, implementing on-ramp software (which enables users to exchange fiat currency for cryptocurrency safely and quickly), and enhancing the security of projects. These issues represent crucial enhancements for decentralized applications and the industry.
Please keep in mind, however, that dApps are still in a very early stage of development, resulting in numerous issues associated with this “infancy phase.” Frequently, the user-friendliness above issues is coupled with scalability issues. In addition, web3 continues to rely on the DNS infrastructure, rendering it non-decentralized and susceptible to hacking attacks.
Despite this, the future of web3 development and dApps based on its guiding principles remains promising. In addition, for a web3 development company, the industry’s infancy is more of an opportunity than a challenge. It is possible to progress with the entire blockchain ecosystem and determine its form. It was primarily considering the fierce competition among crypto startups for blockchain-experienced programmers.
dApps vs. blockchain applications in Web3
dApps are not the only applications built using blockchain technology. There is also a subset of these solutions known as blockchain applications.
It is not “an alternative way of saying the same thing” as it may appear at first glance. The architecture of blockchain applications differs slightly from that of intelligent contract applications; they do not rely on smart contracts. They are constructed on their blockchains (such as sidechains), so they do not share the network with other applications.
This solution has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, blockchain applications are less flexible and more complex due to the difficulty of implementing new on-chain logic. In the case of decentralized applications, it is possible to add new intelligent contracts directly to the existing blockchain without requiring a hard network fork.
Therefore, if you wish to design Web3 applications, you have numerous options. Whether you intend to use Solidity and intelligent contracts architecture or JS to create a valuable solution, you will find an alternative. And as the ecosystem for blockchain apps and decentralized applications (dApps) grows daily, the most challenging decision you’ll face is whether to develop a new multi-wallet, crypto social network, insurance tool, DAO, oracle, or an entirely different type of app. But it seems like a pleasant problem to have, no?
How to invest in Web3?
Given that the entire field of web3 development appears to be so promising, a further question must be posed: how should one invest in web3?
Currently, there are numerous options available. The dynamic growth of decentralized finances (DeFi) and the recent NFT boom have made it possible for people to earn on cryptocurrencies significantly different than in the past. In addition, another emerging trend – GameFi – merged blockchain space with the gaming environment, allowing players to create their in-game economies and profit from virtual activities. A few years ago, this was inconceivable. People can still invest in web3 using centralized and decentralized exchanges and tools they provide in the “traditional” manner.
As a web3 developer (current or future), there are two ways to invest in web3. First, you can help others profit from their crypto trades and projects by facilitating safer and more convenient transactions. You contribute to the investment world by creating and distributing tools such as user-friendly cryptocurrency wallets, well-designed exchanges, and onboarding plugins. Indirectly or not, by making blockchain and crypto space more accessible, you are assisting the industry in recruiting more users and raising more funds.
However, if you are a developer who wishes to invest in web3, you should invest in yourself and your skills first. Developing new skills, advancing personal growth, and acquiring new knowledge are essential activities for all participants in a dynamic and volatile environment.
Consequently, if you want to invest in web3, you should begin learning (using the resources provided above, for example), build (or co-create) your first decentralized application, and adhere to the fundamental principles. And keep in mind that you are never alone, even if some concepts initially appear to be complicated. Web3 development is still in its infancy. You must participate in a new, decentralized future and encourage others to do so.