Jimm Wayans
What is Web3

What is Web3

What is Web3

First, lets see the previous generations:


The first wave of the Internet began in the 1980s, and the iconic event was that two computers “communicated” through the customs clearance protocol. This protocol is the TCP/IP protocol created in 1983.

The network (World Wide Web) in this period can’t do too much “interconnection”, and more information is read-only.

Netscape (Netscape) is typical of this period, publishing information on the Internet.

The network in this period had the following pain characteristics:
  • High barriers to access technology
  • Index function without information
Can’t interact with users, can’t record user data

Web2.0 (2001-present)

After the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, a second wave began to sprout. Many companies have begun to improve the pain points of the Web1.0 model, including search functions and allowing users to upload content.
The Web 2.0 products that emerged at this time were more interactive, and users could create, upload and share their content.
Examples of this include Google and Microsoft building their Gmail and Outlook products on top of SMTP (Mail Transfer Protocol) in 1981. While the SMTP protocol itself is open and transparent, Gmail and Outlook are closed platforms owned by the two tech giants. Therefore, the software that Web2 users are actually interacting with is the product built by these technology giants based on Web1 open source software.
Facebook (now renamed Meta) is a typical Web2 technology giant. It creates wealth by allowing users to read, write, interact and socialize on the platform, depositing a large amount of data and traffic.

Web 3.0 (concept was born in 2014)

Web 3.0 (hereinafter referred to as Web3), was first proposed by Gavin Wood, the co-founder of Ethereum, in 2014, and it suddenly attracted everyone’s attention at the end of 2021.
Web3 includes the characteristics of Web1 and Web2: transparent, open and open source network, users can read, write and upload content, and can also exchange value.
From a conceptual understanding, Web3 represents the next era of the Internet, and the Internet is shifting towards a more democratic paradigm. Web3 also stems from the change in people’s attitude towards the value of the Internet today: the giants of Web2.0 control the Internet and everyone’s data, so many people have the idea of ​​​​creating a truly “collectively owned” Internet.
The core of Web3 is to allow users not only to read and write content, but also to own their own content, so that they will not be swayed by centralized technology companies arbitrarily modifying the rules. Web3 restores the openness of Web1, and the rules of all market participants are standardized, so that large airliner companies will not stifle innovation and market competition.
The corporate form under Web3 has also changed:

Comparison of Web2 products and Web3 products

Next, let’s compare two content creation products (Medium and Mirror) to see the differences between Web2 and Web3 products.
Is Medium Worth Using | Journal
Medium is the world’s top content creation/blogging platform (a bit similar to Zhihu in China but with better content quality) . The founder Evan Williams is also the co-founder of Twitter and Bolgger. As of May 2021, the platform has 180 million monthly live and 750,000 paid subscribers*.
Compared with traditional blogging platforms, its biggest feature is that it refines the writing and reading experience, and at the same time it mainly shares and disseminates content based on users’ social relationships.
Creators do not need to pay any fees for uploading works, but if they want to earn income through content, they need to add the content to the paywall section.
Readers are free to read general content, but they need to pay a monthly membership fee of $5 or $50 per year to read the content in the paywall section.
Medium will distribute the reader’s membership fee to the authors who have read the article according to the calculated ratio according to the parameter of the reader’s reading time. The monthly income of top content creators may exceed 50,000 US dollars. The platform will also give top creators additional subsidies every month to encourage creators to continuously produce high-quality content and expand the number of fans.
Medium is currently valued at $600 million, and its most recent financing was $57 million in January 2021 from A16Z and Google.
Mirror is a blockchain-based content creation platform whose mission is to “revolutionize the way ideas are expressed, shared, and monetized.” As long as you have an Ethereum wallet, you can access the platform to create and enjoy benefits. Their goal is to provide a way for content creators to publish their work confidently and securely, while maintaining control over digital rights.
Mirror was founded by Denis Nazarov, a former partner of A16z (also an investment institution of Medium). It received a US$10 million investment from Union Square Ventures in July 2021 and is currently valued at US$100 million.
As of March 2022, Mirror has raised more than 8,000 Ethereum (approximately $24 million) for content creators.
The following figure is the interface of entering Mirror after linking the wallet:
Mirror currently provides basic functions for creators, including publishing articles (Entry Editor), crowdfunding (Crowdfunds), digital collections (Editions), auctions (Auctions), and splits (Splits).
Crowdfunding: Anyone can initiate or participate in crowdfunding through Mirror. Supporters can deposit Ethereum tokens (ETH) to fund the initiators and exchange tokens. Any project or idea can be capitalized (tokenized). Many writers have launched crowdfunding projects on Mirror, using future copyright/royalty income to obtain current funds to maintain their creation and life.
Digital collection (NFT): All content published on Mirror can be made into NFT after paying a certain handling fee.
(NFT literally means non-homogeneous tokens. Traditional encrypted digital currencies are homogeneous (Fungible Token), there is no difference between any two tokens, they can be replaced with each other, and can often be split into smaller units. For example, Bitcoin. NFT is unique and cannot be replaced by other NFTs, and often cannot be divided into smaller units. For example, an NFT of a painting represents the painting itself and cannot be replaced by other NFTs. Blockchain technology It is a decentralized digital ledger technology, and NFT is a way of digitizing assets based on blockchain technology. In actual scenarios, NFT does not refer to a specific form of digital assets. On the contrary, the scope of NFT It is very broad and can be in any form you can imagine, such as pictures, music, videos, online collections, or even a tweet. Any information such as the creation, modification, and transaction of these NFT digital assets will be recorded one by one on the digital ledger of the blockchain.)
Auctions: NFT auctions can be supported on Mirror.
Ledger sharing: Ledger sharing on Mirror is an automatic way to share the value you generate with multiple entities. A split is a payable smart contract that transfers value to multiple addresses on Ethereum. Sharding can be a way to reward your collaborators, people who motivate you, or donate the proceeds of your work.
From the perspective of product form, the Mirror platform is more like a content crowdfunding platform. The digital content published on it is endowed with value through NFT tokenization, and the ownership of a single piece of content can be sold to multiple parties through crowdfunding. name investors.
The set of tools provided by Mirror for content creators has raised “content monetization” to a new level, and there will even be special content investors who can earn future profits through their keen sense of high-quality creators.
At the same time, the Mirror platform solves the following problems through blockchain technology:
  • Content is censored and deleted
  • Malicious comments
  • The content is randomly quoted or plagiarized
  • The economic interests of creators are determined by the platform
Exclusive ENS domain name: Mirror does not need to log in through email or other accounts, but integrates the decentralized domain name service ENS* to realize the creator’s right. The mirror.xyz subdomain name at the beginning serves as the home page of its own content publishing platform. All information is publicly viewable on the blockchain, so anyone can verify whether an item of content was written by a specific Ethereum account.
(Note: Ethereum Name Service is Ethereum Name Service, which can provide readable name resolution services for blockchain addresses, Web3 storage resources, and even social information in a decentralized form, and is also the most widely integrated blockchain naming service. standard.)
Signature on-chain: The content after signature confirmation will be displayed at the bottom of the content page (as shown in the figure above) with three sets of data: “Arweave* Transaction ID”, “Contributor Ethereum Address*” and “Content Summary”. All information is publicly viewable on the blockchain, so anyone can verify whether an item of content was written by a specific Ethereum account. All published entries and every content change need to be signed by the user with a signature key, and then published to store data on Arweave. All published entries and every content change need to be signed by the user with a signature key, and then published to store data on Arweave.
(Note: Arweave is a decentralized cloud storage solution, which aims to use blockchain to subvert the traditional storage market. Different from other cloud storage solutions, Arweave not only has the security advantages of decentralized storage, users can also choose one time permanent storage service.Ethereum (Ethereum) is a decentralized open source public blockchain platform with smart contract functions.An Ethereum address represents an Ethereum account, and an address is an account For external accounts, the address represents the last 20 bytes of the account’s public key (usually starting with 0x, such as 0xcd2a3d9f938e13cd947ec05abc7fe734df8dd826, the address uses hexadecimal notation, once the content is sent to Ethereum will no longer be deleted and tampered with)
Compared with the architecture of Medium, Mirror is content-centric.
The browser obtains the content hash of the content based on the domain name system (ENS) of the blockchain, and then obtains the web application itself (Arweave) from a decentralized storage system. When the user interacts with the web page, the web page Instead of initiating an application like a specific server, there is no Google server, no medium server, but to a decentralized storage system, or indexer to read and write.
Let’s take a closer look at the difference between the two product architectures. *
Medium (Web2 product)
1. Front-end: For the web front-end, it usually refers to the front-end part of the website, including the presentation layer and structural layer of the website: the structure of the Web page, the visual appearance of the Web, and the interactive realization of the Web level.
Front-end code (usually written in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS) defines a product’s user interface logic. Such as what a Medium website looks like and what happens when a user interacts with some of the elements on the page (e.g. buttons, status bar, small icons, etc.).
2. Backend: The backend is more about interacting with the database to process the corresponding business logic. What needs to be considered is how to implement functions, data access, platform stability and performance, etc.
The backend code (written in languages ​​such as Node.js, Java, or Python) needs to have a very clear definition of the business logic of the Medium website. For example, when a new user signs up, publishes a new blog, or makes a comment on someone else’s blog, how does the website interact with the user.
3. Database: The website must have a database for storing network data, also known as data space.
Now most websites are dynamic websites developed by ASP and PHP, and website data is stored in a dedicated database. Website data can be directly published to the website database through the website background, and the website will call these data. To store user information, user uploads, tags, comments, likes, etc., the database needs to be constantly updated.
Take Medium as an example; the user tries to log in to Medium and upload content, the user enters the user name and password on the front end/client, and initiates an HTTP/HTTPS request (Request) to the back end/server. After receiving the request, the back end initiates a query to the database (Query ), check whether the user name and password are correct in the database, and return the result and other information of the user to the backend after the query is completed. After receiving the data, the backend initiates an HTTP/HTTPS request (Response) to the frontend. After receiving the request, the frontend rendered on the page. Appeal All of these codes are hosted on centralized servers and sent to users through Internet browsers.
Mirror (Web3 product)
1. Signature: The first difference of Web3 products is the front-end login method, users do not need to have a set of account and password system.
Similar to how Google allows users to access various applications without creating multiple accounts, crypto wallets can have a similar function in web3. Crypto wallet users can connect to the decentralized protocol at any time and start using it without submitting personal information or registering an account. Web3 applications do not need to call the database (web3 does not have such a centralized database) to read user data, because all user data is public on the chain. Users need to link a wallet (the web page is a browser extension, and the mobile terminal is a separate app), and sign a transaction to log in.
2. Front-end: The front-end user experience is not much different from Web2, but the front-end code is stored on a decentralized server.
3. Node management: Mirror runs on a decentralized network like Ethereum, and each node in the network keeps a copy of all states on the Ethereum state machine, including codes and data related to each smart contract. For the front end to communicate with the smart contract and make function calls, it needs to interact with one of the nodes.
This is because any node can broadcast a request to execute a transaction on the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine). Therefore, in addition to building a set of Ethereum full nodes by yourself, you can also use API services provided by third-party service providers to interact between the front end and smart contracts.
4. Virtual machine: The virtual machine is the core module in the Web3 architecture. Different from Web 2 applications, Web 3 has no background and database, and does not require a centralized web server to store back-end logic.
A virtual machine (Virtual Machine) simply refers to a code running environment built on a decentralized blockchain. At present, the mainstream ones on the market are the Ethereum Virtual Machine (Ethereum Virtual Machine, EVM) and the Ethereum-like virtual machine. Based on the Account model, it runs the smart contract code internally in a completely isolated manner from the outside, realizing a Turing-complete smart contract system. Ethereum requires thousands of people running a piece of software on their personal computers to power the network. Each node (computer) in the network is used to run the Ethereum virtual machine. Think of the EVM as an operating system that understands and executes software written in a specific programming language on Ethereum. EVM assumes the responsibility of database + backend within the Mirror product architecture, data is stored on the chain, and smart contracts process the data.
5. Smart contract: a program that executes code on the blockchain when certain conditions are met, and the parties approve and maintain its operation by digitally signing the contract.
The smart contract is actually the same piece of code stored in the blockchain (each node). This code defines the rules of the contract. When the input meets the required conditions, the smart contract code in each node will be automatically executed independently, and Automatically cross-check that all execution results are the same.
6. External storage: Because of the ledger synchronization property of the blockchain, the storage on the chain is very expensive, so most of the data that takes up space and is not the most important will be stored on a third-party decentralized storage platform such as IPFS/Swarm /Arweave.
Take Mirror as an example: the user connects to the wallet through the browser interface. Write an article, sign it through the wallet, and send the transaction to the chain. Articles will be sent to arweave through the background of mirror (currently mirror is helping users pay for uploading to arweave through a centralized account). The transaction containing the arweave transaction information is then uploaded to Ethereum for packaging.
During this period, the wallet will interact with the provider to connect to Ethereum, and Mirror’s own server will also send and query transactions through the provider and feed back to the front end.


By comparing the two products, Medium and Mirror, we can see that blockchain distributed storage provides a commercially feasible solution for information transparency and non-tampering from the technical level.

As an emerging concept, Web 3 is still in the early stages of development. From the architectural level, it is determined that a new set of infrastructure is required, including various products and services, from the underlying network stack to the consensus model or virtual machine.
Although there are also some challenges at the regulatory level, compared with Bitcoin, the narrative and positioning adopted by Web3 is very moderate in terms of political stance, and it is also more pragmatic and easy to be accepted by the mainstream.

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