For anyone actively developing in the area, it may be a little weird to hear this, but Web3 is still in its early days. That doesn’t mean that decentralised blockchain layers on top of the existing internet infrastructure aren’t already changing a lot. Many developers are already creating game-changing apps.
From music and video streaming to decentralised email clients and storage, Web3 has it all. So, let’s look at some of the Web3 applications that are challenging their Web2 counterparts’ dominance. P.S. How early are we exactly?
The king of innovation claiming that email is a decentralized replacement to Twitter is the clearest 'still early' sign I have ever seen 🤦.
Time to build, build, build! 🚀 https://t.co/oVlFfeWTOg
— Sam Williams 🐘 (@samecwilliams) March 24, 2022
Web browsers and plug-ins
However, the Brave browser is one step ahead, offering rewards in exchange for your attention. These rewards come in the form of crypto tokens. These tokens are automatically sent to Brave’s built-in crypto wallet when paying attention to certain ads within the browser.
Even though Brave might be doing a great job on the crypto frontier, along with fighting for the privacy of individuals by allowing them to control the content they see, it is not 100% decentralised. It is instead owned and controlled by Brave Software Inc.
Perhaps in the near future we will witness a genuinely decentralised browser with no single entity able to control the data.
Another plug-in, which is native to Arweave, is the Arweave wallet plug-in. Other than working as a wallet for Arweave’s native AR token, it also allows you to save a website forever to the permaweb in just a few clicks.
When looking to buy a domain name, usually the first thing that comes to mind is looking at Google domains. Alternatively, maybe you search for the domain via GoDaddy. No matter the case, there aren’t a lot of options out there, and the Web2 domain name industry is near-monopolised by big tech companies.
Web3 brings alternatives to the “how” and “where” for this issue.
Instead of renting your domain name and paying a monthly fee to any of the big tech companies, users are now able to pay once and own their domain name forever. This is possible through Web3 services like Unstoppable Domains. They offer domain terms in the form of NFTs.
Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive are all (cloud) storage solutions on Web2. Using them requires you to pay a monthly fee and have your data stored on servers controlled by single entities. This means your storage is at risk of being lost or deleted, as this single entity also acts as a single point of failure.
Decentralised Web3 and blockchain services can fix this. The best solution to it is Arweave’s Permaweb.
Arweave allows you to pay only once to upload your data to the network, where it will be immutably stored for at least 200 years. Dealing with new tech may seem daunting for the average user, but access to Arweave has been made effortless via applications like Akord, Evermore, and ArDrive. For anyone transitioning from Web2 to Web3, these applications offer a familiar user experience to their legacy Web2 counterparts.
Another notable mention is Sarcophagus, and its Dead Man Switch protocol. It allows it’s users to securely encrypt and lock up their data on Arweave until a predetermined date. Users can set a recipient of their data in case something were to happen to them or if they were to lose access to their access details (aka, on Web3, private keys).
Music and video
Artists and creatives trying to get their digital content out into the world have been getting the short end of the stick for a long time.
Music streaming platforms like Spotify and Deezer take a significant cut from their artists’ sales. What’s more, when these platforms compete for the lowest subscription fee, sometimes as low as $0.99 for three months, it’s the artists that suffer.
Video streaming platform YouTube requires creators to have thousands, or sometimes even millions, of views before any significant payout.
Web3 allows artists to take back control of their content and deliver it to their fans in alternative ways.
Glass protocol allows users to upload videos to Arweave’s Permaweb, which then can be auctioned directly to buyers. As recently seen by a sale from content creator Nader Dabit, he earned more in 24 hours on Glass than over 5 years on YouTube.
Digital identity has never really been a thing in Web2. Everyone would log onto a website with their unique username, email, and password created for that page. Unfortunately, when doing so, your login details are usually stored on the remote servers, albeit encrypted. These servers are susceptible to hacks, and the data can be decrypted.
As a result, significant hacks lead to leaks of personal login credentials that spread like wildfire over the web. If you want to see if you have ever been exposed to such a leak, you can check on this website by simply entering your email address.
Now, Web3 brings a new way of carrying your identity across pages, services, and protocols. It will be used as your login for those services.
At the same time, many digital asset wallets allow you to sign a message to log in to services that offer such integration.
Probably the closest you can get to an encrypted and less centralised email client today on Web2 is Proton Mail.
Legacy email clients like Gmail and America Online work for most people, but others raise questions about privacy and tracking.
One of the most significant changes Web3 has brought along is Decentralised Finance (DeFi).
This is a big one to talk about, but we’ll keep it light.
The biggest difference between centralised and decentralised trading platforms is: who holds the actual assets.
In DeFi you hold your own assets, in your custodial wallet – e.g., Metamask and Phantom. Whereas with centralised platforms, your assets are held in non-custodial wallets – the exchange’s wallet. That exchange is in complete control of whether or not they will allow you to access your assets—a frightening perspective. DeFi could alter the future of banks and financial institutions in a major way.