You’ve heard about Web 3.0.

You’ve seen it tweeted.

You’ve heard your fellow crypto bros hail it as the future of the Internet.

But what the hell does web 3.0 mean, really?

The blockchain and crypto world have made a breach into the mainstream because of web 3.0, painting it out to be the future foundation of a decentralized Internet.

Web3 applications are growing in popularity in recent months, with dApp alternatives to mainstream apps gathering millions of users in and outside the crypto space.

Today, we’re here to answer the questions:

  • What is web3 exactly?
  • What improvements does it bring users?
  • How can developers start building Web3 apps and dApps?
  • And finally, how will all of this make a difference in *your* life?

Let’s start with a brief history of the Internet.

The Internet is an ever-evolving technology that has changed significantly through the years.

With the arrival of Web3, we’re reaching into the new big Web breakthrough.

While Web1 followed a read-only format, and Web2 was the advent of the read-write web, Web3 promises to provide us with an unmediated read-write web. In short, this means a decentralized Internet.

As you’re reading this right now, Web2 content dominates the Internet we currently know and use. The term World Wide Web has made tremendous strides since its inception back in 1989, it still faces a lot of problems to this day.

One of those problems being it’s still largely centralized. A few major corporations — Amazon, Google, and Facebook — control the majority of people’s data online.

Web3 holds the key to a long list of solutions to Web2’s current issues.

Just to name a few, Web3:

  • Enables greater privacy
  • Eliminates intermediaries
  • Improves transparency
  • Facilitates personal data ownership
  • Allows for digital identity solutions

All of these state-of-the-art Web3 functionalities are based on blockchain technology.

The only thing stopping from Web3 apps from becoming mainstream is the fact that developing them is relatively complex. And very time-consuming.

What is Web3 exactly?

If anyone asks you, “how do you define web3” just say “the latest phase of the Internet.”

Roughly every ten years or so, the Internet enters a new technological phase, going from Web1 to Web2 to, finally, Web3.

And interestingly enough, there’s no single controlling entity that stands behind these phases and upgrades, and there’s no single moment in which Web2 started dominating the Web1 web.

The main difference between these three categories is the nature of the content on the Internet.

To summarize:

  • Web1 — Static
  • Web2 — Dynamic
  • Web3 — Decentralized

Web1, the first phase of the Internet, was all about providing online information and content.

As such, it remained largely static as it only allowed users to read information. Like static HTML web pages. Forums. E-mails. Things like that.

Then Web2 came along. It was generally associated with the massive growth of social media platforms such as Facebook.

This phase was largely about interactivity and providing front-end usability so users can interact with the content they see on the platform. Web2 allowed the previously static nature of the web to become dynamic, giving users the ability to not only consume (read) information, but also create it (write.)

Web3 is here to solve that by helping us go from a dynamic to a decentralized Internet.

One major drawback to web2, or an Internet in which everyone participates with their personal data, is that data falls in the hand of centralized entities.

In Web3, data shouldn’t (in theory) be owned by centralized entities. Instead, it should be shared throughout a network. If and how that’s going to happen is a totally different question.

Moreover, Web2 was focused on providing front-end functionalities.

Web3, on the other hand, focuses largely on back-end development.

While the transition between web 1.0 and web 2.0 was more about providing usability and making content interactive, the transition between web 2.0 and web 3.0 is more about the transition to a decentralized web.

And in this new decentralized web, web users can contribute information in ways that computers can understand, process, and then exchange.

This enables web applications to provide more relevant information to users,

That’s how one outstanding feature of the Web3 era is the ongoing emergence of decentralized applications (or dApps) which could take over traditional applications.

What are decentralized applications (dApps) and Web3 apps?

In short for decentralized applications, dApps are essentially the backbone of the Web3 revolution.

Terms such as “web3 Apps”, “web3 dApps”, and “web3 Applications” all mean the same thing. They all refer to blockchain-based applications that are decentralized and together make up Web3.

Web 2.0 Apps will eventually and gradually be replaced by Web 3.0 dApps.

Browsers such as Chrome will be replaced by Brave.

Messaging apps such as WhatsApp will get replaced by Status.

dApps like Storj will replace Dropbox and Google Drive.

And services like Skype will be replaced by platforms like Experty.io.

It’s a brave new world for web3 dApps out there.

The relationship between dApps and smart contracts.

An integral part of many Web3 apps and dApps is the smart contract.

Those of you who have experience with blockchain technology should already be familiar with the concept of smart contracts.

Smart contracts are pieces of self-executing software — pieces of code that run on a blockchain such as Ethereum. They automatically execute when a relevant set of terms are met. This means these contracts can automatically verify and perform a transaction between two parties.

The smart contract’s logic dictates the behavior of the decentralized application.

[To learn more about smart contracts, read my article here.]

If you’re a developer and you want to interact with the smart contracts of Web3 apps through a programming language such as JavaScript, you will likely come across something called Web3.js.

What is Web3.js, and how can developers use it to create dApps?

Web3.js is a JavaScript library used in Web3 application development.

Developers use this library to interact with the Ethereum blockchain.

More specifically, Web3.js can serve as an Ethereum JavaScript API. The library allows you, the developer, to create applications or clients that interact with the Ethereum blockchain.

This allows you to bridge the gap between Web3 and JavaScript so you can successfully use the programming language to create dApps.

Specifically, you can look at Web3.js as an Ethereum JavaScript API.

The Web3.js library allows developers to create clients or applications that interact with the Ethereum blockchain.

This allows them to bridge the gap between JavaScript and Web3. This is how you successfully deal with an Ethereum blockchain from JavaScript.

As such, Web3.js is essentially your interface between JavaScript and Web3 apps. More specifically, the smart contracts behind these apps.

Libraries like Web3.js allow you to interact with remote and local Ethereum nodes.

This is usually done by using HTTP, IPC, or WebSocket connection.

The use of Web3.js allows programmers to interact with on-chain components such as smart contracts.

The reason why a JavaScript library like Web3.js is so useful is that JavaScript is already natively supported in practically all browsers.

So, in short, developers can create dApps that you can already interact with without having to build on top of current platforms.

Currently, Web3.js is one of the most prevalent frameworks for designing dApps.

If you’re someone who loves to read about tech, feel free to check out the official JavaScript documentation created for the Web3.js Ethereum JavaScript API. It’s a great read.

How You Can Integrate Web3 Advancements Into Your Apps

One of the most important challenges for developers after answering the question “what is Web3?” is how to integrate these new Web3 advancements inside new applications.

Any developer that has foresight will naturally gravitate toward Web3 app development. But creating web3 apps isn’t as simple as it may initially seem.

The main bottleneck of Web3 development has traditionally been manually setting up the Web3 backend.

This is a very complex, time-consuming, and prohibitively expensive task. As such, a lot of developers have had to settle for developing a Web2 app.

Like we mentioned earlier, you can integrate Web3 functionality with your existing JavaScript project or website using Web3.js.

But when it comes to the functionalities and features of this new generation of apps, we’re just going to have to wait and see what the new generation of developers are going to create. And me, personally, I can’t wait.

Imagine decentralized streaming services where data is shared throughout the network and everyone collectively decides what shows to include. Or decentralized storage services that have no central point that controls all data. Or messaging apps that make communication 100% private. There’s not much traditional corporations can do to stop this natural, gradual advancement into Web 3.0 apps.

Web 3.0 Explained — Article Summary:

The Internet’s transition to Web3 is the most significant paradigm shift we’ve seen since the emergence of Web2.

So, what is Web3 really? The best answer to that question is “the latest phase of the Internet.” Web1 was a largely static, read-only web. Web2 was a dynamic, read-write web. And Web3 will now provide a decentralized, unmediated read-write Internet.

Web 3.0 promises to provide us with a new generation of content and applications that can communicate not only with each other, but ultimately, with the end user.

There’s never been a better time for developers to get into Web3, as customers, devs, and corporations are all rushing to create the new “Semantic Web”.

There are limitless possibilities for what dApps we can build if we all put our minds to it.

Here’s a challenge — grab your phone and pick one of the apps you see on it. Can you imagine a dApp alternative to it?

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Crypto content writer helping blockchain companies grow via no-fluff, educational content. CEO of www.getcryptocontent.com.

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Vesselin Malev

Vesselin Malev

Crypto content writer helping blockchain companies grow via no-fluff, educational content. CEO of www.getcryptocontent.com.

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