Web3 will evolve in parallel with Web2 rather than obsolete Web2

When we talk about Web3, most people immediately think of NFTs, crypto assets or DeFi. Because judging by Twitter Crypto’s activity, it’s true.

But as a developer, it’s not all three that really interest me. In fact, I estimate that 95% of current Web3 projects are high risk, and some of them are scams — and are definitely not ready for use by users.

At the same time, I also think that the remaining 5% of the boutique projects are worth promoting.

Deco Software, the developer-focused startup I founded, was acquired by Airbnb a few years ago, and if I stayed at Airbnb, my career options in Silicon Valley would be great. As someone who was supposed to be a Web2 enabler, I quit my job and chose to devote myself to creating free, open source Web3 developer tools, why?

My professional experience at Airbnb has given me a unique perspective on how Web3 is being adopted by many developers in the wider tech world. It has nothing to do with speculation in NFTs or crypto assets, both of which I think are grossly exaggerated and distract investors from the larger potential. I believe what Web3 really offers is a “revolution” in backend architecture .

I was working at Airbnb during the hype around React Native (another disruptive technology). The controversy it caused in the developer community at the time was also very similar to what we see today at Web3.

Airbnb’s response to React Native

This story starts with Deco Software, a company I co-founded in 2015, when Facebook had just open-sourced React Native, their mobile app development framework. At Deco, we create tools for developers using React Native.

We’re really excited about React Native being open sourced. Thanks to the widespread use of the original web framework React.js, millions of web developers can easily develop mobile applications using React Native with a fully consistent development foundation.

Just as importantly, React Native enables developers to create iOS and Android apps using the same codebase. Before that, if you were a startup, you had to hire two development teams to make native iOS and Android versions of the same app. There are some cross-platform solutions, but none of them can really compete with native apps until React Native.

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React Native was so disruptive that it seemed to prompt Apple and Google to admit at the time how difficult app development for iOS and Android was. The two tech giants eventually released SwiftUI and Jetpack Compose, essentially taking some of React Native’s ideas and integrating them into the platform.

It was during this craze that Airbnb acquired our Deco Software and became one of the most prominent companies to adopt React Native.

By then, frameworks had become my specialty as a developer; I even wrote a book on React Native. With little prior experience developing for Android or iOS, mastering React Native was a “game-changing” advantage for me. I am sure – despite the skepticism of many developers – that React Native will be a game changer for the entire industry.

In 2018, however, Airbnb changed. Just a year after acquiring my React Native-focused startup, Airbnb ditched React Native.

As Airbnb’s lead engineer at the time, Gabriel Peal, explained in the announcement:

Due to various technical issues, we are discontinuing React Native… While many teams rely on React Native and plan to use it for the foreseeable future, we ended up falling short of our original goals. Additionally, there are a number of management issues that we cannot overcome that will make continuing to invest in React Native a challenge.

I was in a meeting at Airbnb when this announcement was made, and I remember the announcement was quite controversial in the field. From a developer perspective, React Native has become the core of Airbnb in the tech world. For the Web3 analogy, it’s as if OpenSea suddenly announced that blockchain is no longer for them!

Even though I’m focused on React Native myself, I can only see this as a growth experience, spending the rest of my time at Airbnb working with the development team for iOS. I understand the company’s point of view: Since Airbnb has been unable to completely break away from native iOS and Android development, supporting React Native means adding a third platform rather than unifying around a single platform.

But the decision was also expensive. While there are millions of developers familiar with React and therefore React Native, being able to develop for both iOS and Android is a less common skill set. Therefore, it is more expensive and time-consuming to hire developers who can develop on either platform. Airbnb continues to invest a lot of time and money to build two very strong iOS and Android teams, each with around 30-40 members.

As one of the few unicorn startups, Airbnb has the power to do just that. For most other companies, however, such a shift simply isn’t feasible. While React Native doesn’t work with Airbnb, it’s still a great solution for many other companies.

I believe Web3 may have a similar trajectory.

Web3 in parallel with React Native

Likewise, skeptics at the time thought React Native would fail because it would never be strong enough to compete with native apps. I actually think this is true  commonly used React Native apps are often not as fast or robust as natively written apps. But developers can still develop apps that are 90–95% near-native quality, and save a lot of time and money in the process. Many developers and their companies are happy to have this trade-off option.

That’s why, despite the departure of companies like Airbnb, React Native is still thriving.

At small startups, developers have been advocating the use of React Native within their companies as a cost-effective alternative, even though they are fully aware of the drawbacks.

That’s why — while few users notice or care — React Native is so integrated into their lives, common in the apps they use every day, and widely adopted by Amazon, Microsoft, and other tech giants.

This is probably why I saw React Native as a fundamental shift in 2015, and now see Web3 in much the same way.

Nader Dabit interviewed me on his React Native podcast back in the days when I started using React Native, which he recorded while lying in bed (with his mic on his chest). Now he records a podcast about Web3 in a very professional studio. Nader, also a former developer, saw the great potential of React Native back in 2015 and sees the potential of Web3 today as well. Nader was the first to give me an insight: “Although front-end developers spend the most time working, Web3 is a back-end revolution.”

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For example, consider the back-end costs that any Web2 company would have. At Airbnb, we have a department called Payments that is not only made up of customer service reps, but also quite a few engineers who build transactions across many devices through credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, etc. We had to support every fiat currency from payment providers all over the world, which proved difficult to do!

While many major payment service providers do not support fiat currencies in every country, blockchain is already supported in many countries around the world. Like other payment processors, payments via blockchain still incur transaction fees, but they are typically processed within a minute — not the hours or even days that traditional financial institutions typically require. A large Web3-facing company might still need a payments team focused on KYC compliance and other regulatory issues, but it might be a lot less engineering.

Web2 will not be eliminated

While many developers have raised legitimate concerns about Web3, the tone behind the criticism often reminds me of that heated Airbnb conference where we announced that React Native was dead. My team worked hard to make React Native a success at Airbnb after the acquisition, hoping that Airbnb could very well be the industry leader outside of Facebook. We all believe in the potential of React Native, and while it doesn’t apply to Airbnb, we won’t cause irreparable harm with negative public statements. We know that many React Native critics will repeat anything we criticize on social media, using it as proof that React Native and the developers who use it are sub-par. But the more nuanced point that critics can’t understand or share is: React Native wasn’t the right solution for Airbnb, but it’s still a great solution for many companies.

In fact, many of the critics of React Native at the time were native developers who didn’t want to learn a new framework. If more companies choose to hire React developers, this could affect their careers and compensation – so naturally, regardless of the merits of React Native as a technology, there will be some fear and uncertainty. (Of course, many native developers are still big supporters of React Native today!)

Now, with some of Silicon Valley’s well-paid and highly skilled developers jumping into Web3 roles, many developers working on Web2 have similar concerns.

However, if the history of React Native is any guide, developers in Web2 need not worry. iOS and Android developers are still doing well and are happy to coexist with React Native. Many native app developers have learned React Native as a new kind of knowledge. Likewise, Web3 may become a way for Web 2 developers to upskill. Like mobile applications, Web2  and Web3 can coexist and evolve parallel to each other.

That said, let me be clear: Web3 as a development platform is still highly experimental. We don’t yet know if or how Web3 will evolve into a real company, how it will become an actual application. But the potential is there, at least, Web3 has been able to affordably prototype and test applications at an early stage. In my experience, many Web2 developers who try it go from extreme skepticism to optimism “overnight”. This attitude shift happened to me and many of my developer friends.

However, in a few years, I believe that the Web3 controversy will subside and we will begin to see practical, valuable use cases for actual Web3-based applications. Some applications may soon gain a large number of users who don’t have to know about blockchain and smart contracts – just like most people using React Native based applications don’t know or care about “the controversy the framework used to cause” .

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/web3-will-evolve-in-parallel-with-web2-rather-than-obsolete-web2/
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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