What the heck is a Web3 browser? Could it be a threat to Google?

Are browsers ready for a decentralized web?

Information from thenextweb, with slight modifications, by Ivan Mehta

What the heck is a Web3 browser? Could it be a threat to Google?

Recently I have seen a lot of news about Web3 on the Internet.

However it is not as common as it sounds. Some Web3 properties and services require you to understand the moving parts involved, such as your cryptocurrency wallet, dApps (decentralized applications like the OpenSea NFT marketplace), and the blockchain they run on.

While this sounds complicated, most Web3 experiences are still built on open web technologies that you can access through a good browser.

In today’s world, when we enter the address of a website, we rely on the browser to handle all the complicated backend stuff and take us to our destination in cyberspace.

While we still use the same application to access Web3, we have to do quite a bit of work (from having a wallet to accessing the right protocol) to experience the decentralized world. Ideally, all of this should be handled by these browsers, but that’s not the case yet.

To get an industry insider’s perspective on integrating these technologies, we interviewed the people building Web3 browsers and standards at different companies—from the challenges of creating a new paradigm for connected technologies to what browsing the web will look like in the future.

Before discussing all of them in detail, we will use some terms over and over again in this article. It might take you a minute to get acquainted with them, so I’ve included a brief (and possibly oversimplified) explanation of some of them here.

Some basic Web3 concepts

Wallet: Your cryptocurrency wallet where you store different coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Matic.

What the heck is a Web3 browser? Could it be a threat to Google?

The wallet will show you the tokens you own and let you send them to others.

dApps : Decentralized applications running on blockchain protocols.

Blockchain : Decentralized protocol for Web3 projects. Think of it as a public ledger that records all transactions. There are many different blockchain technologies now, and various types of projects and applications can run on each technology.

Smart Contract: A piece of program on the blockchain that is executed when the terms specified in the agreement are met. For example, in a simulated world, a document between the buyer and seller of a house. In the Web3 world it is not a lawyer, but a program that checks that all the conditions of a contract are met.

IPFS: The InterPlanetary File System is a peer-to-peer storage protocol network. It works in a decentralized way, so you don’t have to worry about whether a particular server is working. When you try to access a file, IPFS tries to access its content directly, not the location of the content.

Decentralized wallet: The service provider/browser does not store your wallet’s keys. You have to memorize your 12-word secret phrase to restore your wallet on another device.

With a hosting service like Gmail or Twitter, you can generate a new password to access your account by simply clicking “forgot password”. For non-custodial wallets like MetaMask, if you forget this phrase, you will never be able to access your account.

A Brief History of Browsers and Web3

If you view a website on your browser, it’s the result of software handling various functions, from parsing the website address to fetching content from the server the website is hosted on.

The idea is that the browser is just a window to the internet. This means you can access websites and apps with minimal data storage and minimal processing on your computer.

The Web3 browser goes beyond that, in an ideal world it’s just an empty shell while all the other necessary tools for your experience are pulled from the decentralized web.

Fabian Vogelsteller, founder of blockchain infrastructure firm Lukso, said in 2015 that the team at the Elthuny Foundation was trying to build a true Web3 browser called Mist. It’s just an Electron based shell.

The idea of ​​a true dApp is to run code on your local machine and pull data from decentralized storage using IPFS-like hash references. You can download the source code from a trusted source and execute the program locally. Its backend is made of smart contracts.

But the problem with this approach is that it runs a full node in the blockchain, so when you start the browser, it needs to sync all the block data that was created while you were offline. And that slows down the process. As an end user, you definitely don’t want to wait for this process in order to visit a website.

What the heck is a Web3 browser? Could it be a threat to Google?

What the original Mist browser looked like

Issues like these, combined with the insecure nature of the Electron platform, prompted the team to shut down the browser project in 2019. This begs the question of how existing browsers handle the decentralized web.

current browser

In their current incarnations, modern browsers are capable of handling Web3 applications, but you may need to do some work to access them.

For example, if you use the Chrome browser, you will have to install a wallet extension like Metamask to connect to dApps and modify your DNS settings to access some Web3 domains.

There are browsers like Opera and Brave that offer a somewhat native Web3 experience, with built-in wallets and Web3-based domain support. Furthermore, both browsers have this experience on both mobile and computer.

What the heck is a Web3 browser? Could it be a threat to Google?

Brave offers a built-in cryptocurrency wallet that allows you to easily exchange coins.

They even tried to simplify the procedure. For example, during setup Opera will ask you to create an @opera username (like sing@opera) associated with your wallet, so you can use it in place of the 42-character string in various apps Identify yourself.

Earlier this year, Opera even released a crypto browser that brings a directory of dApps, cryptocurrency exchanges, upcoming token airdrops, news and educational content about the Web3 space to the forefront.

What the heck is a Web3 browser? Could it be a threat to Google?

Opera has a cryptocurrency-specific browser and its wallet integration is tighter.

You may not want to use this version as your primary browser. But it’s a good starting point to get acquainted with all things decentralized.

Jørgen Arnesen, executive vice president of mobile and Web3 at Opera, said the company felt obligated to make the browser the gateway to these new protocols. Arnesen explained:

When it comes to Web3 browsing, we have several key values ​​in mind: ease of use, smooth user experience, transparency and security.

The privacy-focused Brave browser offers a slightly different experience. It doesn’t have a dedicated cryptocurrency browser or content center, but it has a cryptocurrency wallet.

The company’s wallet offers convenient token purchases and credit card exchanges thanks to the company’s partnership with payments technology company Wyre, said Brian Bondy, the company’s chief technology officer.

“Our wallet is available on all platforms,” ​​Bondy said. “But currently dApp support is limited to PC. We plan to release mobile integration by the end of this quarter.”

As a means of differentiation, Brave provides users with BAT (Brave Attention Tokens) as a reward for viewing advertisements. With these tokens, it is possible to earn some money (although the returns are not very high), or to provide tips for websites or creators’ content.

What the heck is a Web3 browser? Could it be a threat to Google?

Brave offers Brave “BATs” as a reward for viewing ads.

Current mainstream browsers put users at risk of downloading the wrong extensions, which may not work properly, or contain malware, Bondy said. Also, these are extra processes running on the browser that take up some processing power.

On the other hand, with a built-in wallet, you can go to the NFT marketplace to seamlessly buy digital artwork, or vote on proposals from the cryptocurrency community on Snapshot.org.

The Challenges of Building Web3

One of the biggest challenges in accessing Web3 properties is that you should know what token you are using and what blockchain protocol a particular application is running on.

For example, if you are using Chrome, MetaMask works with all Ethereum-based blockchains and applications. But to use Solana supported apps, you need to use the Phantom wallet.

Bondy said Brave is trying to bridge that gap by slowly integrating more standards on the browser so you don’t have to worry about the backend.

There is also a security issue. In the early days of Web3, many criminals used phishing to lure users to fraudulent websites and steal their assets. Arnesen wants to develop a tool to prevent people from falling into the trap of these attacks. Opera already offers a centralized hub with shortcuts that easily guide you to legitimate websites.

According to Vogelsteller, there are two big hurdles before the Web3 experience. The first is to memorize the 12-word phrase and understand the security reasons behind this authentication method.

The second is that Ether is required to do everything, which is not cheap considering the price of the cryptocurrency and factors such as gas and transaction fees involved.

Browsers can solve the first problem by working with different partners, but the second problem remains.

Vogelsteller addresses these issues in a product he is developing called Universal Profiles. The idea is to merge different parts of a Web3 identity, such as wallets, NFT creation and collections.

What the heck is a Web3 browser? Could it be a threat to Google?

Generic profiles can point to traditional social networks as well as your web3 assets.

The profile will also keep your assets safe by adding a password, physical key, mobile app for authentication, and your 12-word password.

These common smart contract-based profiles can also provide some checks and balances for transactions so you don’t end up sending your coins to the wrong address.

future road

Currently, accessing Web3 properties is complex, and the average user needs to deal with a steep learning curve. After all your main access point wallet is a 42 character address.

These addresses also make it difficult for you to know the owner’s reputation and identity. While anonymity is great in some cases, it also makes it difficult to build trust with this structure.

Then there are questions like “what token should I use here?”, “Which blockchain does this app work on?”, “do they work with each other?” Imagine, just to send a tweet, Just open 20 knobs and settings. This is how Web3 feels right now.

Future standards such as web3 browsers and common profiles will need to work together to simplify these processes. Users don’t have to worry about the world of backend protocols, where there are easier-to-remember usernames, and resolvable information associated with each identity.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/what-the-heck-is-a-web3-browser-could-it-be-a-threat-to-google/
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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