What is Web3 Development and How to Do It Right: Tools, Technologies, and Best Practices
The web as we know it today is undergoing a radical transformation, thanks to the emergence of a new paradigm – Web3. To truly appreciate the significance of Web3, it's essential to trace the evolutionary journey from the static information-sharing Web1 to the interactive, socially-driven Web2. While Web2 brought forth innovations in social media and e-commerce, it also raised concerns about data privacy and control. Web3 is the response to these challenges, giving users more control and freedom over their data and interactions by using decentralized technologies.
At its core, Web3 utilizes blockchain technology, smart contracts, and decentralized applications (DApps) to establish a trustful, transparent, and user-centric digital environment. By decentralizing the web, Web3 transforms various sectors. From finance and healthcare to supply chain management, the removal of centralized intermediaries changes how transactions occur and trust is established.
Evidently, Web3 sets the stage for a paradigm shift that will be powered by the fundamental principles of Web3 development. Let’s explore them here.
About Web3 Development
Web3 development services refer to developing decentralized applications (dApps) that leverage all the features and benefits of Web3. It requires a new mindset and approach to designing and developing web applications, as they are not controlled by any single entity, but operate autonomously on a network of computers.
Web3 development enables the creation and operation of various types of Web3 applications, such as NFTs, DeFi, DAOs, social media platforms, etc. Essentially, it aims to create a decentralized and distributed web, where users have increased control, ownership, and freedom over their data, identity, and online interactions.
Web3 Development Stack
The Web3 development stack is the set of tools, technologies, and frameworks that enable the creation and operation of DApps on the Web3 platform. Unlike the traditional web development stack, which relies on centralized servers, databases, and APIs, the Web3 development stack is built on decentralized protocols, networks, and services, that provide more security, privacy, and interoperability for the users and developers.
The Web3 development stack consists of the following main components:
Blockchain is the underlying layer that provides consensus, immutability, and transparency for data and transactions on the Web3 platform. Blockchain is a distributed ledger that records and verifies every transaction that occurs on the network, without the need for a trusted third party or intermediary. It ensures that the data and transactions are valid, consistent, and tamper-proof and that the users have full control and ownership over their assets and identity.
Digging a bit deeper into Blockchain, there are different types for different needs.
Public Blockchains (like Ethereum and Solana) are open to everyone.
Private Blockchains keep things within specific organizations. E.g. Hyperledger and Corda.
Consortium Blockchains are a shared space among different groups. E.g. Quorum and Dragonchain.
These variations make Web3 a diverse and inclusive ecosystem.
To keep things running smoothly in Web3, we have Consensus Algorithms. These are like the rules everyone agrees to follow. Proof of Work (PoW) relies on miners solving puzzles to check transactions. Proof of Stake (PoS) picks validators based on how much cryptocurrency they have. These rules make sure everything is secure and trustworthy. There is another novel consensus mechanism called Proof of History (PoH), which allows for fast and secure validation and transactions.
Smart contracts are the self-executing code that defines the logic and rules of the DApps on the Web3 platform. Smart contracts are written and deployed on the blockchain, and they can interact with other smart contracts, users, and external data sources. The primary advantage of these contracts is that they facilitate automation and enforcement of the business logic and transaction on the dApps without the need for intermediaries or trusted parties. Smart contracts can also implement various functionalities and features of the DApps, such as tokenization, governance, escrow, etc.
There are different languages and frameworks for writing and deploying smart contracts on different blockchains, such as Solidity, Vyper, Hardhat, Truffle, etc. Each language and framework has its own syntax, features, and advantages, such as readability, security, testing, debugging, etc. For example, Solidity is the most popular and widely used language for writing smart contracts on Ethereum, as it is Turing-complete, expressive, and compatible with various tools and libraries.
To use Web3.js, the developers need to install the library using npm or yarn, and then import it into their project.
IPFS or InterPlanetary File System is the distributed file system that allows the storage and retrieval of files in a peer-to-peer network on the Web3 platform. With IFPS, files are not stored on centralized servers and accessed by location-based addresses (URLs), but on a network of nodes that can share and access them using content-based identifiers (CIDs). CIDs are cryptographic hashes of the file content, which ensure its integrity and uniqueness. IPFS also uses a content-addressable routing system, which allows nodes to find and request files from other nodes that have them.
To use IPFS, users need to install the IPFS client, which can be either a command-line tool or a desktop app, and then initialize a local IPFS node. Users can then add, store, and retrieve files from IPFS, using the IPFS command-line interface or the IPFS web user interface.
The Graph is a decentralized protocol that enables the indexing and querying of data from blockchains, using GraphQL. The Graph allows developers to create and publish open APIs, called subgraphs, that define how to extract and organize data from smart contracts and events. It aims to provide fast, secure, and reliable access to blockchain data, without relying on centralized intermediaries or servers.
The Graph consists of two main components: the hosted service and the network. The hosted service is a free and easy way to use subgraphs, without running any infrastructure. The network is a decentralized and incentivized marketplace for indexing and querying subgraphs, powered by a native token called GRT. The network involves various roles, such as indexers, curators, delegators, and subgraph developers, who contribute to the protocol and earn rewards.
Web3 Development Tools
Web3 development tools act as the building blocks for developers to develop innovative decentralized solutions and thus play a crucial role in Web3 development. Here are some of the most prominent and useful Web3 development tools.
Blockchain Development Platforms
Blockchain development platforms are tools that allow you to create, deploy, and interact with smart contracts and DApps on different blockchains, without having to deal with the low-level details and complexities of the blockchain protocols. Blockchain development platforms can provide you with features such as code editor, compiler, debugger, tester, deployer, explorer, and simulator.
Some examples of blockchain development platforms are:
Remix: Remix is a web-based IDE for Ethereum smart contract development, which supports Solidity and Vyper languages and provides various plugins and modules for compilation, testing, debugging, deployment, and analysis of smart contracts. It can be used with various Ethereum networks, such as mainnet, testnet, or local node, and can also be integrated with MetaMask, EtherScan, and other tools.
Truffle: Truffle is a powerful development suite for Ethereum, simplifying the creation of smart contracts. It provides essential tools like a testing framework and asset pipeline, making the development process smoother. With features like built-in deployment and migrations, Truffle is a go-to choice for Ethereum developers, optimizing their workflow in building decentralized applications.
Hardhat: Hardhat is a development environment for Ethereum that optimizes smart contract development. It offers features like built-in testing and task automation, thereby boosting the efficiency of Ethereum developers. Its extensibility and compatibility with popular Ethereum libraries make it a versatile tool for developing decentralized applications.
Decentralized Identity Solutions
A decentralized identity solution is a system that allows users to create and control their own digital identities in a secure and user-friendly way. Here are the most noteworthy benefits of decentralized identity solutions.
Privacy: Users can choose what information to share and with whom, without exposing their personal data to third parties.
Security: These solutions allow users to protect their identities and accounts from hacking, phishing, and identity theft, by using cryptographic keys and signatures.
Sovereignty: Users can own and control their identities and assets, without depending on centralized platforms or services.
Interoperability: It involves using one’s identity across different Web3 applications and platforms, without creating multiple accounts or passwords.
Self-sovereign Identities (SSIs) and Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) are two very important aspects of decentralized identity solutions.
SSIs allow identity holders to choose what information to share, with whom, and for how long, without relying on third-party verifiers or identity providers.
DIDs are decentralized identifiers, which are unique, persistent, and resolvable identifiers that belong to SSIs. DIDs are associated with DID documents, which contain public keys, service endpoints, and other metadata that enable secure communication and verification of the DID owners.
SSIs and DIDs are being implemented by various Web3 applications and projects. They include:
MetaMask: MetaMask is a browser extension and mobile app that allows users to connect to Ethereum and other compatible blockchain platforms. It acts as a wallet, a browser, and an identity provider for Web3 applications. Users can create and manage multiple accounts, sign transactions, and access decentralized applications (DApps) with MetaMask. It also supports various features, such as token swaps, hardware wallets, encrypted messaging, etc.
3Box: 3Box is a decentralized data storage and identity solution that lets users store and manage their profiles, preferences, and social data on IPFS. It allows users to create and edit their public and private profiles, which can be used to interact with other users and Web3 applications. 3Box provides various tools and libraries, such as 3ID, Ceramic, IDX, etc., to help developers integrate 3Box into their applications.
Torus: Torus is a decentralized identity and authentication solution that allows users to log in to Web3 applications using their existing social media accounts, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It uses a distributed key generation and threshold signature scheme to enable users to access their accounts and sign transactions with a single click. Torus also supports various features, such as passwordless login, multi-factor authentication, cross-chain support, etc.
Decentralized storage is fundamental to Web3, as it allows users to store and access their data and files on the decentralized web in a reliable manner. With decentralized storage, users can access their data and files anytime and anywhere, without depending on the uptime or downtime of centralized servers. They even need not worry about data loss or corruption due to hardware failures or malicious attacks. Furthermore, decentralized storage enables users to protect their data and files from censorship, manipulation, or deletion by third parties or authorities while needing to pay only for the storage space and bandwidth they use.
Some of the most popular and widely used decentralized storage solutions are:
Filecoin: Filecoin is a decentralized storage network that leverages IPFS to create a marketplace for storage and retrieval services. It allows users to rent out their unused storage space to other users who need it, and earn Filecoin tokens in return. Filecoin also allows users to pay for storage and retrieval services from other users, and verify the integrity and availability of their files. It uses a proof-of-replication and proof-of-spacetime scheme to ensure the security and efficiency of the network.
Arweave: Arweave is another decentralized storage network that aims to create a permanent and immutable web. Users can store and access any type of data and files on a distributed network of nodes, without worrying about losing or forgetting them. Arweave uses a novel consensus mechanism called Proof of Access, which rewards nodes for storing and serving data, and penalizes them for deleting or ignoring data. Arweave also supports various features, such as smart contracts, tags, wallets, etc.
IPFS is also a prominent example of decentralized storage solutions. However, we have already covered it previously in the blog.
Best Practices in Web3 Development
Web3 development is an exciting and rewarding field, but it also comes with its own challenges and risks. Therefore, it is critical for organizations to hire Web3 developers, who can ensure the quality, security, and performance of their applications.
Web3 applications often involve sensitive data, transactions, and assets. Web3 developers should be aware of the common security threats and vulnerabilities that affect them. These include smart contract bugs, private key management, and front-running and MEV.
Smart Contract Security: Smart contracts are the core logic of Web3 applications but they can also contain errors or flaws that can comprise their functionality or security. For example, smart contracts can suffer from reentrancy attacks, overflow/underflow errors, or logic bugs that can result in loss of funds, unauthorized access, or unexpected behavior. Web3 developers should employ best practices such as input validation and secure coding patterns to ensure the integrity and security of smart contracts. For instance, they can utilize coding standards like using modifiers, checks-effects-interactions patterns, and OpenZeppelin contracts.
Private Key Management: Private keys are the cryptographic keys that allow users to access and control their web3 accounts and assets. They are also the main target of hackers and thieves, who can use various methods, such as phishing, malware, or brute force, to steal or compromise them. To avoid them, Web3 developers should store and manage private keys using methods, such as hardware wallets, MetaMask, Torus, or 3Box. They should also provide the users with backup and recovery options like seed phrases, social recovery, or biometric authentication.
Front-Running and MEV: Front-running is a practice where malicious actors exploit the public and transparent nature of blockchain transactions to gain an unfair advantage over other users. For example, front-runners can monitor the pending transactions in the mempool and insert their own transactions with higher gas fees to execute before them, thus altering the outcome or price of the original transactions. MEV (Miner Extractable Value) is a broader term that refers to the value that miners or validators can extract from their ability to order, include, or exclude transactions in a block. Effective techniques like encryption, batching, commit-reveal schemes, or Flashbots can be used to mitigate these threats.
As Web3 applications often face high demand and congestion, it can affect their performance and usability. So it becomes essential for developers to be aware of the scalability solutions that can affect Web3 applications and resolve the challenges.
Layer-2 Scaling: Layer-2 scaling refers to the solutions or protocols that are built on top of the base layer of the blockchain, such as sidechains, rollups, or state channels. Layer 2 solutions like Optimistic Rollups and zk-Rollups have emerged as promising scalability solutions. These solutions provide faster, cheaper, and more scalable transactions than the base layer. Having said that, developers should evaluate the characteristics and trade-offs of each solution to choose the most suitable scaling approach for their DApps, considering factors like transaction throughput and cost efficiency.
Sharding: Sharding is a technique that divides the blockchain into smaller and parallel units, called shards, that can process transactions independently and concurrently. It can increase the scalability, speed, and efficiency of the blockchain, but it can also introduce trade-offs, such as communication, coordination, or security. Web3 developers should be aware of the upcoming sharding implementations that will affect Web3 applications, such as Ethereum 2.0, which aims to launch 64 shards that will communicate with the Beacon Chain, or Polkadot, which aims to launch 100 parachains that will communicate with the Relay Chain.
User Experience (UX) Design
When it comes to Web3 applications, the unfamiliar concepts and processes, along with the complexity involved often impact their usability and adoption. This is why designing user experiences that improve user satisfaction and retention becomes crucial.
Onboarding and education: Web3 developers should provide a smooth and intuitive onboarding and education process for their users, especially for those who are new to Web3. They should focus on minimizing the friction and providing clear guidance on account creation, wallet setup, etc., along with clear and concise instructions, feedback, and support for their users.
Responsive UI/UX: Responsive design is essential for delivering an effective user experience across different devices and screen sizes in decentralized applications. Developers should prioritize responsive UI/UX design principles to ensure that dApps adapt dynamically to various devices and provide consistent user experiences. Incorporating intuitive design elements improves usability and leads to positive interactions with DApps.
Future Trends in Web3 Development
Web3 development is a current phenomenon as well as a forward-looking vision. As a result, staying abreast of emerging technologies and trends is essential for developers looking to shape the future of decentralized applications.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi): Building upon the success of DeFi 1.0, the next iteration of decentralized finance, DeFi 2.0, is poised to introduce innovative solutions addressing scalability, interoperability, and sustainability challenges. With advancements in Layer 2 scaling solutions and cross-chain interoperability protocols, DeFi 2.0 aims to unlock new possibilities for decentralized finance applications, leading to broader adoption and accessibility.
Evolution of NFTs: The evolution of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) extends beyond digital art and collectibles, comprising a diverse range of assets and use cases. From tokenizing real-world assets like real estate and intellectual property to facilitating new forms of digital ownership in gaming and virtual worlds, NFTs are set to transform asset representation and ownership verification in the digital age. Moreover, NFTs are exploring new use cases and formats, including 3D models, VR/AR experiences, metaverses, etc, along with the integration with other Web3 technologies and trends, such as DeFi, social media, identity, etc., to create more value and utility for their owners and users.
Potential Impact on Various Industries
Web3 development facilitates new levels of security, efficiency, and innovation, thus impacting various industries and sectors, including finance, healthcare, supply chain, and more.
Finance is one of the most obvious and prominent industries that can be affected by Web3 development, as Web3 offers a more open, inclusive, and transparent financial system. Web3 technologies like DeFi have the potential to democratize access to financial services by enabling peer-to-peer lending, automated asset management, and decentralized exchanges.
Then there is tokenization, which, alongside enhancing the liquidity, security, and efficiency of asset management and exchange, creates new opportunities and markets for asset creation and distribution, as well as new forms of value and ownership, such as fractional ownership, governance rights, or royalties.
Last but not least, Web3 development can impact the finance industry through digital currencies. They can be either centralized like CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) or decentralized like cryptocurrencies. Either way, digital currencies can offer new modes of payment and exchange, such as peer-to-peer, cross-border, or micropayments.
Web3 development holds promise for transforming the healthcare industry by improving data security, interoperability, and patient-centric care delivery. Through blockchain-based electronic health records (EHRs) and decentralized applications, patients gain greater control over their health data while ensuring privacy and security. Smart contracts facilitate secure and transparent healthcare transactions, streamlining processes like insurance claims and medical billing. Furthermore, decentralized research can improve the transparency, accountability, and quality of healthcare research, as well as the participation and incentivization of healthcare researchers and participants.
Supply chain management stands to benefit from Web3 technologies by enhancing transparency, traceability, and efficiency across complex supply networks. By leveraging blockchain-based supply chain solutions, organizations can track and authenticate product provenance, optimize inventory management, and streamline logistics operations. Smart contracts automate contractual agreements, facilitating trustless and transparent interactions among supply chain participants.
As we continue to explore Web3 development, it is evident the principles of decentralization, security, and user empowerment are reshaping how we interact with the web, offering new opportunities for innovation and inclusion. By staying curious, adaptable, and committed to building a decentralized future, we can tap into the full potential of Web3 and create a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable digital world for generations to come.
If you’re eager to join the Web3 revolution, get in touch with us at Codezeros today to discover how our skilled team can assist you with their blockchain consulting services in creating innovative decentralized solutions and exploring the exciting possibilities of the Web3 ecosystem.
As a distinguished blockchain expert at Codezeros, Paritosh contributes to the company's growth by leveraging his expertise in the field. His forward-thinking mindset and deep industry knowledge position Codezeros at the forefront of blockchain advancements.
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