Dave Peck writes:
“Web3” is the name given to a suite of peer-to-peer technologies — particularly blockchains and distributed filesystems (like IPFS)— that are used to build modern “decentralized apps”, or dApps. Blockchains are databases built from three parts:
- A tamper-evident historical log (the “chain” itself)
- A trustless distributed consensus protocol
- A system of incentives to compensate participants and ensure they play fair
It’s expensive to participate; incentives are necessarily financial. At the same time, blockchains are an ideal data structure for managing trusted ledgers.
…Blockchains are great for maintaining ledgers: simple lists of who owns what.
The “who” is an account. In the case of programmable blockchains, that’s either a person holding a private key, or it’s a smart contract.
The “what” is either a coin or a token. The distinction has somewhat fuzzy boundaries but, roughly speaking, a coin is a blockchain’s intrinsic currency, like Ether, Bitcoin, Sol, or Dogecoin. A token is an asset defined on top of a programmable blockchain.
Nader Dabit writes that Web3 is:
- Distributed and robust
- Native built-in payments
He lists the characteristics enabled by Web3…
- Decentralized web infrastructure
- Ownership (of data, content, and platform)
- Native digital payments
- Self-sovereign identity
- Distributed, trust-less, & robust infrastructure
- Open, public, composable back ends
…and outlines the Web3 stack:
- Blockchain development environment
- File storage
- P2P Databases
- API (Indexing & querying)
- Client (frameworks and libraries)
- Other protocols
Preethi Kasireddy writes about the Web3 architecture: “Unlike Web 2.0 applications like Medium, Web 3.0 eliminates the middle man. There’s no centralized database that stores the application state, and there’s no centralized web server where the backend logic resides. Instead, you can leverage blockchain to build apps on a decentralized state machine that’s maintained by anonymous nodes on the internet. By “state machine,” I mean a machine that maintains some given program state and future states allowed on that machine. Blockchains are state machines that are instantiated with some genesis state and have very strict rules (i.e., consensus) that define how that state can transition. Better yet, no single entity controls this decentralized state machine — it is collectively maintained by everyone in the network.”
Here is a graphic from Preethi that shows what it all looks like: