Web3: is it just a passing trend, or could this be the future of internet infrastructure?
Whether you're a true believer or a salty skeptic, you can't deny that the tech has already made a big impact. And it could have paradigm-shifting implications for how we build the next generation of the internet.
If you ask me, there's never been a more exciting time to explore the cutting edge of the decentralized web!
🤨 So: what even is this thing we call "web3"?
How do blockchains, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and DAOs fit into the bigger picture?
And what do you need to learn to become a web3 developer?
Thankfully for you, the Hashnode community has already answered all of these questions, and many more that you didn't even know you had on this topic!
I get to read countless articles every week from writers here on Hashnode as part of my job, and I've been paying extra close attention to the rise in web3 content over the last few months.
Read on for a thorough review of some of the best web3 articles I've come across on my Hashnode feed this year.
🎉 Learn About Web3
The moonshot dream 🚀 🌙 of the web3 community is to build a decentralized alternative to the current internet infrastructure that we rely on.
The flagship project of this movement is Bitcoin, the groundbreaking open source software that introduced the world to blockchains and cryptocurrencies in 2008.
But the tech has come a long way since then.
The ecosystem is vast, and rapidly diversifying.
In the early days, the most obvious applications of this technology were in finance (DeFi, crypto). More recently, we've begun seeing how the tech might also be applied to art, gaming, and even community membership via non-fungible tokens (NFTs, more on that below).
The rise of the so-called "creator economy" in web3 has led to an explosion of innovation across many creative industries, and ushered in a new wave of mainstream interest and support.
Hashnode writer Cat McGee does a great job summing up the core ideology behind the web3 movement in Why web3 matters: a jargon-free guide to what web3 means for you:
"Web3 promises two things:
To remove the ability to make money from collecting data
To create incentives to make money on the internet through other means
By achieving both these goals, we will no longer live in a Data Economy. Companies will have to find new ways to make money, and people will be able to take control of their own data. There will be no incentive to hack into data centres. We'll live in a world where the people consume, create, and own our information, not in a world of surveillance capitalism that feeds 4 power-hungry data-hoarding entities."
Read More About Web3
- Five Reasons I Am Pursuing a Career in Web3 by Samina
- I created a Web3 app and here's what I learned by Camila Ramos
- The metaverse: how blockchain is going to become mainstream by Cat McGee
- Common Terms in Web3 by Waylon Jepsen
- What Are DApps: A Complete Guide To Decentralized Applications by Suhail Kakar
⛓ Learn About Blockchain Technology
At a high level, a blockchain is essentially a record of transactions—in other words, a ledger.
What makes a blockchain's ledger unique is that it's distributed throughout the peer-to-peer network on which it resides. There is no single source of truth; instead, those transaction records are duplicated across individual nodes on the network.
Unlike a traditional "web2.0" database with its Create - Read - Update - Delete (CRUD) functions, posts to the blockchain are immutable: they can never be altered or destroyed.
This creates a radical shift in how trust is established on the network: bad actors quickly get weeded out if their data doesn't match up with the general consensus across nodes.
"The general idea of a blockchain is to provide a publicly available, decentralized database. Everyone can participate and work with the network. Trust is established by the implementation itself because manipulation is very difficult, or even impossible. No one can easily take control of a blockchain and change everything to their advantage. Small-scale manipulation can be spotted and negated by the network itself."
Read More About Blockchain Technology
- Understanding Blockchain by Samyak Ramteke
- Distributed Consensus - Proof-of-Work by Oliver Jumpertz
- Distributed Consensus - Proof of Stake by Oliver Jumpertz
- Polkadot: the Internet for Blockchains by Shakti Singh
🎟 Learn About Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
NFTs have gone through several rounds of excitement —> hype —> hate over the last year. As they've garnered more mainstream appeal in the art world, they've been largely misunderstood by the general public in equal measure.
No, a non-fungible token is not just an expensive .jpg, even though that's how most of us were introduced to the concept.
It's more like a certificate of ownership.
Ownership of what, exactly?
That's where the concept gets interesting, if you ask me.
In the case of the NFTs you've most likely encountered, people are buying digital art, and using non-fungible tokens as a means to transfer ownership of these digital assets.
You pay an artist for their piece in cryptocurrency—most commonly $ETH at this moment in time—and in exchange, a new transaction is posted to the distributed ledger indicating that the piece you've purchased now belongs to you.
This presents a novel opportunity for creators, as you can see. Artists who don't produce physical goods now have a unique way to sell their art on digital marketplaces. And patrons of the arts have a new way to invest in the creators they love and receive a digital asset in return.
If this can unlock a new form of monetization for artists, how else could it be applied?
We are just beginning to see use cases in gaming, as well as community membership (see more on DAOs below). But I really believe this technology is still in its infancy.
Hashnode writer Shaquil Hansford breaks down the hype and the hate in Wtf is going on with NFTs explained. You will 100% understand, but you might not like it:
"We all know what NFTs are. They're just some metadata. Some of them are literally JSON files. Yes, that's true. No, you're not confused or missing something.
'Okay but why are people getting rich, and how can I become rich too?'"
Read More About NFTs
- NFTs: all you need to know to sound smart on the internet by Cat McGee
- Create your own NFT collection on Ethereum w/Solidity by Eda
👯 Learn About Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)
The decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) might be the most radical application of web3's core ideology that we've seen so far.
Consider: if the network that powers a business or community is decentralized, why shouldn't the governance of the group itself also operate on those same terms?
DAOs aim to eliminate the hierarchy of typical organizational structures, instead operating on a basis of collective ownership.
How can you own a governing stake in a DAO? This is an area where NFTs possess a utility beyond art speculation.
For many DAOs, becoming a member means minting a unique NFT demonstrating your stake in the collective. There's a limit on how many of these can be minted, so there may come a time when membership is coveted but access is unavailable unless a current member decides to sell their stake to the highest bidder.
Hashnode writer Dr Ravi Chamria explains this topic in greater detail in What is DAO – Decentralized Autonomous Organization?
"With the help of a DAO, the governance of an organization can be spread out across the members of the community rather than in a hierarchical manner where decisions are made by only a few people at the top. DAO makes governance in a collective manner where everyone from the community is encouraged and allowed to take part in the decision-making process."
Read More About DAOs
- How to Join the Developer DAO by Web3 Geek
🤓 Web3 for Developers
No matter where you're at in your coding journey, you can start learning everything you need to know to become a web3 developer right away.
Be warned: the path ahead may be rocky. The learning curve could be a little steeper than the more traditional web dev route, and the tech continues to evolve at a lightning-fast pace.
But if you're the kind of person who's thrilled by an open-ended challenge and who thrives on the cutting edge, I think you're going to have a blast in the world of web3.
"I have settled upon what I think is the best stack for building full stack dApps with Solidity:
- Client Framework - React
- Ethereum development environment - Hardhat
- Ethereum Web Client Library - Ethers.js
- API layer - The Graph Protocol
I thought it would be nice to write up how to build and test a full stack Ethereum app using this stack not only for other people out there who may be interested in this stack, but also for myself for future reference. This is that reference."
Read More About Web3 Development
- Your Roadmap To Becoming A Web 3.0 Developer by Oliver Jumpertz
- Create your cryptocurrency token: Intro to blockchain, smart contracts and ERC-20 tokens by Eda
- How To Set Up A Solidity Project And Create Your First Smart Contract by Oliver Jumpertz
- Hello World in Ethereum dev with ethers.js and hardhat by Alberto Beiz
- How to make your very own cryptocurrency (deploy your first smart contract!) by Cat McGee
- A Complete Beginner's Guide to Solidity by Suhail Kakar
🏷 Related Tags to Explore
📈 Just the Beginning
Anyone who's working in web3 in 2021 will tell you that we are still in the very early days of this technology.
The same is true for content about web3!
Although we've seen a major uptick in the number of web3 articles being published on Hashnode, there's still plenty of room for you to join the conversation and make your voice heard.
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