Convergence of Worlds: The Surging Trend of Web3 Applications in Web2
This article provides a basic overview of Web3 and its principles, presents the hurdles of Web3 integration into the existing infrastructure, introduces a few notable current efforts in merging Web3 with Web2, and puts forward some suggestions for the future.
- The internet has come a long way since its inception, evolving from static web pages of Web1 to dynamic experiences and social media interactions with the advent of Web2. Now, a new wave of innovation is sweeping through the digital world in the form of Web3.
- Web3 is driven by principles of decentralization, security, and privacy, promising to reshape how we interact and transact online.
The Rise of Web3 and Its Core Principles
At the heart of Web3 are a set of core principles that define its philosophy and differentiate it from its predecessors. The first one, decentralization, stands as a pillar of Web3. The principle of decentralization envisions a network architecture where control is distributed among participants rather than centralized authorities. This shift towards decentralization is fueled by the desire for greater transparency, censorship resistance, and reduced reliance on trusted intermediaries.
Security is another crucial principle of Web3. Over the years, numerous high-profile data breaches and hacking incidents have exposed the vulnerabilities of centralized platforms and raised doubts about the security of user information. Web3 seeks to mitigate these risks by leveraging decentralized technologies such as blockchain, which provide a higher level of security through cryptographic algorithms and distributed consensus mechanisms, thereby ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of online interactions.
Web3 also places a strong emphasis on privacy. As the world becomes increasingly connected and people spend more time online, the amount of data that governments and tech giants in Web2 can capture for surveillance increase. Recent revelations about social media surveillance programs carried out by the U.S. government have raised serious privacy and security concerns among internet users. These revelations have highlighted the need for a more decentralized and privacy-focused approach to online communication and data storage, which Web3 aims to address by giving users greater control over their data and enabling them to choose who has access to their information. Privacy-enhancing technologies and protocols are being developed to provide users with the ability to maintain their anonymity and protect their digital identities.
The Hurdles of Web3 Integration
The integration of Web3 into the existing Web2 systems presents both motivations and challenges. While the potential benefits are enticing, there are also obstacles to overcome in order to realize the full potential of Web3 integration.
One of the key challenges of Web3 integration is user adoption and education. Shifting from the familiar Web2 landscape to Web3 requires users to understand new, complicated, and highly technical concepts such as decentralized networks, blockchain, and digital wallets. Educating users about the benefits and functionalities of Web3 technologies is crucial for widespread adoption, but the road has not been easy as mainstream media are mostly talking about the shadows of these technologies rather than discussing their potentials and benefits. Additionally, user-friendly interfaces and intuitive experiences need to be developed to bridge the gap between complex and foreign decentralized systems and everyday users.
Another huge challenge in Web3 integration lies in achieving scalability and maintaining high performance. Blockchain networks, which form the backbone of Web3, face limitations in terms of transaction throughput and latency. As more users and applications join the network, scalability becomes a critical consideration. Solutions like layer-2 protocols, sidechains, sharding, and others are being explored to address these scalability challenges and ensure a smooth user experience.
Moreover, Web3 integration raises regulatory and legal considerations due to its decentralized nature and potential impact on traditional financial and social systems. As the decentralization of Web3 has the potential to strip the current institutions of their control and to disrupt the current infrastructure, governments and regulatory bodies are seeking ways to manage and regulate this emerging space.
Real-world Examples of Web3 Integration into Web2
As the adoption of Web3 continues to grow, we are witnessing real-world and practical examples of its integration into Web2 applications. These examples demonstrate the potential and practicality of merging the decentralized principles of Web3 with the existing infrastructure of Web2. Let's explore some notable instances.
Brave Browser and Basic Attention Token (BAT)
Brave Browser is one of the earliest and most notable examples of the merge between Web3 and Web2. Being a privacy-focused web browser, Brave integrates Web3 principles to enhance the browsing experience. It incorporates the Basic Attention Token (BAT), a utility token built on Ethereum, to enable more transparent and fair digital advertising. Users can opt-in to view privacy-respecting ads and earn BAT tokens as rewards, or reward contents they enjoy with BAT. This integration provides users with greater control over their online privacy while allowing content creators to be fairly compensated.
Twitter and the Web3 Integration Boom after Musk’s Takeover
Since the acquisition, Musk is determined to transform Twitter into a "super app," offering users a wide range of services including messaging, banking, and travel. In March 2023, Musk said that Twitter could become “the biggest financial institution in the world” at a Morgan Stanley investor conference. The partnership with eToro since April 2023 is a significant step in this direction, with Musk's vision of expanding Twitter's focus on finance. Under this agreement, eToro offers trading services of cryptocurrencies and other assets directly to Twitter users. When Twitter users search for cashtags such as $BTC, they are provided with real-time prices for those assets and directed to the eToro platform to invest in them.
While the integration of eToro remains somewhat restricted, following Musk's takeover, Twitter has opened up its platform to numerous third-party developers, enabling them to run their dapps on the social media platform.
Mask Network, a platform that aims to connect Web3 and Web2, has introduced the concept of Initial Twitter Offering (ITO). While ITO operates with the same mechanism of Initial DEX Offering (IDO), it allows any Twitter user to buy tokens without leaving Twitter. Users can even purchase tokens using a host of popular cryptocurrencies such as USDT, DAI, USDC, BUSD, ETH, among others. The ITO leverages the existing user base and familiarity of Twitter to provide an accessible entry point into the world of Web3 and decentralized finance.
Besides ITO, Mask Network offers features that facilitate cryptocurrency trading directly on Twitter. Your trades will be facilitated by the biggest DEXes such as UniSwap, SushiSwap, 0x, PancakeSwap, QuickSwap, to name a few. Initiating swaps is as simple as hovering over ticker symbols, typing tickers in the search bar, or going to the Twitter Menu bar on the left. Once the user is in the swap interface, they can choose a token and preferred DEX, type in the amount, and connect a wallet to complete the swap. This integration enables Twitter users to seamlessly trade cryptocurrencies without the need to leave the platform, effectively blurring the boundaries between Web2 and Web3.
There is also a feature that enables users to verify the ownership of their Twitter avatar as NFTs using on-chain data, which adds a layer of certainty and validation in the Web3 space. To utilize this feature, users simply need to connect their wallet, select the desired NFT as their avatar, crop it if needed, and save the changes. Once the change is confirmed, a banner will appear, notifying the user that their ownership of the NFT has been verified through on-chain data. This integration showcases the potential of Web3 to enhance user experiences and provide verifiable digital identities within Web2 platforms.
Web3Auth and Web3 Social Login
A significant challenge for new Web3 users is the complex setup process of a crypto wallet and the need to securely store seed phrases. Web3Auth addresses this issue by integrating traditional sign-in methods, like social media logins, with Web3 login. Users can use their social media accounts of the likes of Google, Facebook, or Twitter, to create and secure crypto wallets, eliminating the need to learn about the technicalities of crypto wallet and to manage wallet information separately. When such a social media-linked crypto wallet is generated, the user’s devices and multiple other factors manage their key pairs in various shares. To use the wallet, the user only needs to provide proof of ownership of at least two shares, which works in similar fashion as the ever-so-familiar two-factor authentication (2FA). The system provides key recovery options, is platform-agnostic, and resistant to censorship. Web3 Social Login enables a frictionless onboarding experience for new Web3 users.
The bridging of Web2 and Web3 holds tremendous promise. As technology continues to evolve, we can anticipate a future where the boundaries between centralized and decentralized applications blur. The seamless integration of Web3 features into Web 2 platforms will empower users, enhance security, protect privacy, and unlock new opportunities for innovation.
However, realizing this vision requires a collective effort. Continued research and development, collaboration among blockchain projects, and partnerships with Web2 platforms will drive the evolution of Web3. By addressing scalability, enhancing interoperability, adapting regulatory frameworks, as well as promoting education and awareness, we can pave the way for a more decentralized, inclusive, and empowering internet ecosystem.
As we navigate the challenges and opportunities of bridging Web2 and Web3, it is essential to remain committed to the principles of decentralization, privacy, security, and user empowerment. By embracing these values, we can build a future where individuals have full control over their digital lives, where trust is inherent in digital interactions, and where decentralized technologies serve as the foundation for a fairer and more equitable society.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are for informational purposes only. This article does not constitute an endorsement of any of the products and services discussed or investment, financial, or trading advice. Qualified professionals should be consulted prior to making financial decisions.
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