A Simple Guide to the Web3 Stack

There are many definitions, but we generally think of Web3 as a trustless, permissionless and decentralized internet utilizing blockchain technology.

The defining characteristic of Web3 is ownership .

The first iteration of the commercial internet (Web1) was read-only for most users, while Web2 allowed users to read and write on centralized platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), while Web3 empowered users with their content, data and full ownership of assets through the blockchain, which enables users to read-write-own.

A Simple Guide to the Web3 Stack

Where a third party like Facebook owns your identity and data in Web2, your identity in Web3 can move fluidly between platforms without your data being captured and monetized by the service provider .

While Web2 applications are centrally controlled, tokens in Web3 grant users the right to help manage the services they use, representing a form of ownership in the platform itself.

With this framework, what does the Web3 stack look like?

Web3 stack

A Simple Guide to the Web3 Stack

The Web3 stack is still nascent and fragmented, but with a lot of innovation over the years, it’s starting to come into focus.

The following is neither mutually exclusive nor completely exhaustive.

Rather, it is a framework for thinking as it is still evolving.

Let’s start from the bottom up.

Protocol layer

At the bottom of the stack is the protocol layer, which consists of the underlying blockchain architecture on which everything else is built.

A Simple Guide to the Web3 Stack

Bitcoin was their granddaddy, and while it didn’t play a significant role in today’s Web3, it pioneered the ability to give people scarce digital assets through the use of public-private key cryptography .

Following Bitcoin, a series of 1-layer smart contract platforms emerged, such as Ethereum, Solana, Avalanche, Cosmos, etc., which are the basis of many Web3 applications that are emerging today.

Both Bitcoin and Ethereum have additional protocols built on top of them.

Bitcoin has networks like Lightning Network (for fast and cheap payments) and Stacks (for smart contracts).

To alleviate its capacity constraints, multiple Layer 2 scaling protocols are built on top of Ethereum.

With the rise of many Layer 1 and Layer 2 networks, bridges need to be built between them.

Enter cross-chain bridges that act as highways, allowing users to transfer value from one chain to another (useful cross-chain dashboards can be found everywhere).

Infrastructure/Category Primitives

The infrastructure layer sits on top of the protocol layer and consists of interoperable building blocks (what we call “Category Primitives”) that are very reliable at performing specific tasks.

A Simple Guide to the Web3 Stack

This is a dense and diverse layer with projects building everything from smart contract audit software, data storage, communication protocols, data analytics platforms, DAO governance tools, identity solutions, financial primitives, and more.

For example, Uniswap supports the exchange of one asset for another.

Arweave enables data to be stored in a decentralized manner, with ENS domains serving as user identities in the Web3 world.

Users can’t do much with each individual application, however, when combined, these category primitives are like Lego blocks that Web3 developers can use to build applications.

use case layer

Above the protocol layer and the infrastructure layer is the use case layer, all of which are gathered here.

A Simple Guide to the Web3 Stack

Take a blockchain-based game like Axie Infinity, which uses Ethereum tokens and NFTs that can be bridged to a low-cost/high-throughput sidechain called Ronin.

Players often use Uniswap to exchange ETH for the tokens they need to play games.

Likewise, the decentralized blogging platform Mirror uses the storage protocol Arweave to store data.

At the same time, it uses Ethereum to allow publishers to get paid in cryptocurrency, usually by directing tokens to their ENS addresses.

You will notice that Uniswap appears in the infrastructure layer and the use case layer.

This is because, while Uniswap is just a series of smart contracts at its core, it also provides a front end that users can interact with directly.

In other words, it simultaneously serves as a standalone user-facing application as well as the infrastructure for other Web3 applications such as Axie Infinity.

access layer

At the top of the stack is the access layer – the application that acts as the entry point for various Web3 activities .

A Simple Guide to the Web3 Stack

Want to play Axie Infinity or get paid for content at Mirror?

You first need a wallet, which is the main entry point for most Web3 applications.

Fiat on-ramps like Moonpay, Wyre, or exchanges like Coinbase help users exchange their fiat currency for cryptocurrency to get started.

With some cryptocurrencies in the wallet, users can head to an aggregator like DappRadar to browse and connect to various Web3 applications in one place.

Other projects like Rabbithole help users discover and learn how to use various Web3 applications.

There are also aggregators like Zapper, Zerion, and Debank that help users track all their activities and assets across various apps.

Finally, we are on the verge of a future where Web2 platforms like Reddit and Twitter have gathered the crypto community and have become the entry point for Web3.

Reddit’s long-awaited crypto initiative will tokenize certain communities, rewarding active users with tokens and possibly NFTs.

Twitter has already touted an integration with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, letting users tip others with BTC.

Evolving stack

The protocols, infrastructure, user applications, and access points mentioned above make up the nascent and growing world of Web3: an Internet owned by users .

Ownership aside, the strength of Web3 is its modularity and interoperability .

Essentially, this means that the above stacks can be combined in countless ways to create new and interesting use cases – a feature we expect will lead to a Cambrian explosion of new, world-changing applications.

While the frameworks and layers we highlight will likely remain the same, we expect the projects and opportunities within them to change dramatically over the next few years.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/a-simple-guide-to-the-web3-stack/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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