Web 3 Apps (Centralized)
What is Web3?
In 2014, Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum, coined the term "Web 3.0", which referred to the next iteration of the internet. It has since become a term that encompasses the idea of a better, trustless internet that embraces decentralization and a user-owned internet. Web3 uses blockchains, cryptocurrencies and NFTs to empower users and give them ownership. This is in contrast to Web2, which relies on centralized servers and is therefore vulnerable to censorship and data breaches.
The blockchain-based ecosystem is growing fast, and an incredible amount of Web3 platforms, DeFi apps, dApps, startups and DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) have emerged over the past few years, with blockchain technology as their pillar. Web3 platforms have many use cases, ranging from the real world to the metaverse, and present many benefits for content creators.
How did we get there?
In short, Web1 was read only, Web2 is read and write, and Web3 is read, write and own.
Web1, known as the read-only web (roughly from 1990 to 2004), was mainly made of static websites and used by companies, with individuals creating close to no content.
In 2004, social media platforms emerged, and that was the beginning of the Web2 era, with centralization at its core. Users can generate content but they don't own it: they must trust big tech companies such as Google, Linkedin or Amazon to act in their best interests and if their account is deleted, their user data is lost. Such companies can unilaterally decide what the people using the World Wide Web are able to access.
With Web3, your data lives on the blockchain, so if you decide to leave a platform, you can take your decentralized identity and digital assets with you. Data cannot be deleted or tampered with, as it is scattered across multiple nodes. Also known as the decentralized web, web3 is permissionless, meaning no central authorities get to decide who gets access to what, nor does it require trust as there are no intermediaries for peer-to-peer transactions to occur. It operates using incentives and economic mechanisms.
Web3 applications and dApps are built on blockchain networks such as Ethereum (ETH), Polygon, Stacks, and many more. Crypto wallets are the main gateway to Web3 apps, just like Google and other social networks are in Web2.
What is it for?
Through blockchain technology and smart contracts, users own their data and smart contracts to execute automatically when certain conditions are met, allowing for greater transparency and trustlessness. If you're a creator who created an NFT (non-fungible token), or a collector who owns an NFT, that information lives on the blockchain. If you leave one NFT marketplace for another or change wallets, you take your digital assets with you.
While non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a key component of the Web3 ecosystem, as they allow for the unique identification and ownership of digital assets such as art, music, and collectibles, there are many other possible web3 applications and use cases including DAOs, DeFi and DEXs.
With DAOs, the company is a form of collective governance: users of the application who own governance tokens of the smart contract can participate in the decision-making process and vote on the company's future, and no single authority has the power to make changes. Users own their data, identity, algorithms and content.
Decentralized finance (DeFi) is another growing area within Web3, as it allows for the creation of trustless financial services and the access to financial products without the need for intermediaries. DeFi has the potential to democratize finance and make it more accessible to a larger portion of the population, including those who do not have access to a bank account.
DAOs, DeFi and DEXs are decentralized apps, but not all Web3 applications are decentralized. Let's explore the concept of web3 centralized apps.
What are Web3 apps?
A Web3 app is an app that leverages blockchain technology, while still requiring centralized tools and servers to run smoothly. Although Web3 principles are at the heart of the product - users own their data, connect their crypto wallet and can use their decentralized identity on the platform - the app itself is not technically decentralized and the platform's code is not necessarily open-source.
Although the user experience between a dApp and centralized web3 app can be similar, the backend code, structure and technology differ. Web3 apps are built on open, decentralized networks, so community members can see on-chain events in real-time through block explorers.
At the time of writing, a majority of web3 apps are not fully decentralized. This is the case of even major apps such as Binance, Coinbase, OpenSea and Gamma.io, the leading NFT marketplace for Bitcoin secured NFTs via Stacks.
The Gamma.io platform consists of three core products:
A user-first marketplace to find, explore, and collect extraordinary NFTs secured by Bitcoin, the most trusted and decentralized settlement layer for digital assets.
A creator-first NFT launchpad for artists to deploy fully tested, creator-owned, no-code smart contracts in minutes.
A social platform, bringing together creators and collectors in an engaging and Web3-native way.
Gamma is built to support your existing decentralized identity and let you bring it with you, not lock you into another one within a walled garden. That's why we've supported BNS names from day one, without requiring users to sign up or give up personal data to use the platform.
Not requiring users to set up accounts linked to personal data unlocks a completely new way of following and engaging with Web3 identities. Users can follow other users based on their public blockchain data and visualize their own entire history immediately when they connect their wallet. We believe this fully embodies the paradigm shift in online privacy models introduced in Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin white paper.
Gamma is built on the Stacks blockchain, a layer 1 blockchain which uses Bitcoin's high security while allowing the creation of smart contracts. The Stacks blockchain enables the creation of many projects and applications with the most notable examples being Stacks-based NFTs and DeFi. Stacks uses the Clarity programming language, which is decidable and interpreted and allows users to verify the code, essentially making the Stacks blockchain a 'GitHub for smart contracts'.
Web3 and the future
Web3 has the potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries, from social media and content creation to e-commerce and supply chain management.
However, it is important to note that the technology is still in its early stages and user experience may vary depending on the specific dApp or service, and the technical barrier to entry to using Web3 is still a bit too high for it to be adopted en masse. Users must comprehend security concerns, complex technical documentation and navigate sometimes difficult user interfaces. Wallet providers and major platforms are working to solve this and it is essential for developers to continue to build and improve upon the existing frameworks and tools available, in order to fully realize the potential of Web3. This includes creating user-friendly interfaces and APIs that make it easier for non-technical users to interact with dApps and decentralized networks.
As the technology continues to mature and gain widespread adoption, we can expect to see more and more decentralized applications and use cases emerge in the coming years.