Web3 reference architecture

There is no doubt that Web3 is one of the hottest topics today as mainstream industries begin to recognize its potential. However, one angle that doesn’t seem to get a lot of coverage is Web3 architecture. It is believed that Web3 will replace the current internet architecture with blockchain, solving many existing problems in the process. However, as a first step, we need to clarify what Web3 is made of. This article defines the reference architecture for Web3, illustrating the main building blocks and the key interactions between them. It is not intended to go into the technical details here, if you are interested in the details, you can refer to [4] .

Definition : The Web has many definitions (e.g. here [5] and here [6] ), but the general consensus is that Web3 represents the next Internet, which will be based on blockchain technology and protocols, eliminating existing intermediaries, And Web3 will be decentralized, open, and more useful.

In a way, this sounds a lot like the definition of its predecessors more than 20 years ago, and like Web1.0 and Web2.0, we can expect Web3 to have a substantial impact on the business models of most industries. However, it did take more than a decade to develop and mature the service, creating the associated architecture, design patterns, controls, monitoring, and other essential elements before the promise was fulfilled. I think it’s reasonable to expect Web3 to go through a similar maturation process in the next few years. A reference architecture is a method that can be used to guide and track the evolution of technology in an industry.

Everything is connected : nothing exists in a vacuum, and Web3 is no exception. Just as Web2 and the cloud technologies it increasingly relies on are fundamentally a collection of services hosted in someone else’s physical data center, Web3 is inherently connected to the real (“off-chain”) world. Web3 application consumption also complements various services offered outside of blockchain-centric ecosystems. These services include data centers and the IaaS/PaaS services they host, operational risk, anti-money laundering and fraud related services, financial functions, market data, and more. Some distinctions may blur over time, creating complementary “on-chain” and “off-chain” ecosystems. Again, reference architectures are one of the useful ways to clarify the interdependencies and interactions between these two worlds.

Reference Architecture

The diagram below is the proposed Web3 reference architecture. Conceptually, there are three distinct layers: channel, application, and infrastructure and tools

Web3 reference architecture

Web3 Reference Architecture


This layer is mainly the user interface through web browsers or mobile applications and wallets. They are connected to the “off-chain” world in order to accomplish things like funding them with fiat currency, user onboarding, already accompanying related services like proper KYC, etc.

  • UI interface: Currently most are typical react frontends, using Web3.js and similar libraries.
  • Wallets: They come in different forms and brands, but ultimately serve the same function: enabling you to store and trade your digital assets in a safe and secure way. In the Web3 world, a wallet represents your identity and token balance.
Web3 reference architecture


Here is the logical part of distributed applications (DApps) and smart contracts to meet a growing number of use cases. They interact with the underlying infrastructure and support user interaction through Channels. Just like infrastructure components, DApps and smart contracts need to run somewhere; therefore, rely on the blockchain and various “off-chain” service providers to ensure that functional and non-functional requirements are met.

Web3 reference architecture

infrastructure and tools

This layer has 3 main parts: namely “front-end enablement”, blockchain kernel and tools.


    Front-end enablement:

    • Data indexing is part of “front-end enablement,” a broad category of protocols and development platforms that allow for more efficient interaction with underlying blockchains and tools such as Ethereum, IPFS, etc.

    Hosting and domain services are also part of “front-end enablement,” which includes various tools and platforms for building and running Web3 sites and applications. It also includes naming resolution services like ENS (which also crosses over into the realm of identity).


    Node and browser services are the last part of front-end enablement. It is a key building block of Web 3, and as outlined here [7] , almost all calls to the blockchain protocol layer are made here today. Obviously, this undermines the premise that Web3 is decentralized. It will be interesting to see if light clients [8] or similar developments change the current status quo.

  • blockchain kernel
    • The blockchain protocol is the foundation of Web3’s existence. Importantly, there are distinct differences between L1 and L2 protocols (for example, affecting the scalability of the solution), and blockchain protocols also contain assets: ERC-20 tokens or NFT tokens (ERC-721), etc. , and an emerging category of cross-chain bridges [9] .
    • Exchanges and on-chain/off-chain channels also function as part of the blockchain kernel. They are composed of traditional order book exchanges (CeFi such as: Coinbase, BlockFi), emerging decentralized exchanges (DEX) such as: Uniswap, for example, is an AMM protocol that automatically makes markets. In addition, services such as deposits and withdrawals (such as fiat currency) and data (such as market data Oracles), emerging social protocols (such as Lens), and decentralized governance based on the DAO community concept are all in this section.
  • Utilities
    • Includes storage protocols and P2P networks built for various purposes, security services and identity-related toolsets, analytics tools, and more.

Web3 reference architecture

As mentioned above, there are various intersections between the Web3 infrastructure layer and the “off-chain” world. This includes physical infrastructure hosting services such as storage, networking, and computing provided by hyperscalers, as well as IaaS services such as LevelDB required by Ethereum. This also includes the ability to integrate “fiat” financial functions, AML/CFT, fraud and risk-related capabilities, off-chain dependencies, and more.

Architecture Panoramic View

Web3 reference architecture

Web3 Reference Architecture – Detailed View

route map

The nascent Web3 world is rapidly evolving, adding new service providers, tools and capabilities. While there is still a long way to go to maturity, I think we are already starting to see new ecosystems taking shape driven by the aforementioned modularity. However , there is still a lot of work to be done before it becomes mainstream . Some notable areas include:

  • Interoperability: There is an urgent need for a seamless, pervasive, and decentralized way to share information and assets across blockchain ecosystems. If this is not achieved, the liquidity of digital assets will remain relatively low, greatly discounting usage. Currently, the technical options to mitigate this fragmentation are limited to protocol cross-chain bridges. When their development and maintenance are complex, and security incidents are frequent. Another obvious problem: from a development, operations and ownership standpoint, many cross-chain bridges are central, which is the exact opposite of what Web3 represents.
  • Scalability: Most existing L1 protocols are struggling to compete with the demands of the “real, “off-chain” world. This is fundamental to the success of Web3, and why the upcoming upgrade of Ethereum is so critical – the Ethereum bearer The majority share of Web3 interactions. Also the progress of camps like Solana, Cardano and others is worth watching. Over time we may see a more balanced L1/L2 protocol ecosystem that will match and surpass What the traditional internet world sees today.
  • Trust: Still unimplemented, as it needs to be based on end-to-end security and auditability, not just claims from the service provider. Taking NFT as an example, users rely heavily on their trust in service providers such as OpenSea. However, the ability to independently verify what actually happened on-chain is limited, and all API calls are proxied and mediated. Also, using a simple URL on-chain is clearly problematic and lacks end-to-end verification.
  • Identity: Ethical issues aside, there are situations where user anonymity makes sense. However, if Web3 blurs the lines between “on-chain” and “off-chain” commerce, there will be a need to better manage risk when certain types of transactions (such as land title transfers) occur, providing real identities when necessary. As a result, KYC and other digital ID-related capabilities are slowly starting to find their way into Web3.
  • Service management and observability: Things can fail, and Web3 is no exception, and faces that too. The Web2 platform spends a lot of time and effort ensuring end-to-end monitoring, observability, and proactive management of services, and for many Web3 projects, the same cannot be ignored.
  • Design Patterns: Just like cloud computing, design patterns for specific usage scenarios are bound to emerge. Includes “technical” level patterns that show where and how the different components interact, and more business-centric patterns that focus on data flow and stuff like that.
  • User Experience: Even with the rapid adoption and growing interest in Web3, this is still a world of hobbyists, crypto nerds, and geek gamers of all kinds. Making it easier, simpler, and more secure (better user experience) are key elements in expanding the reach of Web3 and turning it into a utility.

in conclusion

Web3 is an exciting development, however, it is still some time away from becoming a general-purpose technology (GPT). Likely development trajectories will include new interoperability standards, improvements related to security and trust, scalability, and more. In this process, we should first grasp the macro and start to break it down, split it up, and then focus on the key areas of interest.

Although not exhaustive, I think the article basically captures the essence of Web3 and what it is made of, and I hope it will help you.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/web3-reference-architecture/
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.

Like (0)
Donate Buy me a coffee Buy me a coffee
Previous 2022-08-05 10:52
Next 2022-08-05 10:53

Related articles