The cryptocurrency boom wasn’t that long ago, and more recently, people started using the term Web3 in everyday speech. However, it feels nebulous and misunderstood. Many discuss these topics in the same breath, but are they the same or different? Do they relate or react symbiotically? Does it have anything to do with the metaverse?
With the new age of the internet on everyone’s doorstep, it’s critical to know how Web3 will influence the future of tech for AI engineers and web developers alike.
What Is Web3?
Web 3.0, also known as Web3, is the third iteration of the internet. Some may have yet to learn there was a second version. So, what’s different now, and how are those in the know changing digital landscapes? Before understanding it, it’s vital to understand it’s still in development, and even professionals struggle to hammer down its potential because it’s still growing.
It’s an expansion of the Semantic Web, where Web1 focuses on webpages and centralized networks, Web2 focuses on apps and distributed networks, and Web3 focuses on sharing and communicating data with decentralized networks. How do people access and use the data they find, and how fast do the internet and its resources collect and store it?
The next level of the World Wide Web wants to give information to the people, and blockchain, machine learning, VR, AR, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and AI are at the forefront of that revolution — no matter what kind of press it gets. These technologies are contentious, yet they have enormous promise. Nobody wants the internet owned by a single person or company, and all of these technologies work together to stop that from happening.
The issue is the stage humans are in — Web3 is still in budding stages, and so is the rest of the technology that promises to help it flourish. Note how ChatGPT took the world by storm in its open-source format, yet it’s still spreading misinformation in its developmental stages faster than the world can manage. These consequences make people fear what Web3 has in store, despite the idealizations of its finished product giving internet users daydreams.
How Does it Relate to Crypto?
Web3 and crypto overlap because they both rely on blockchain to thrive. Web3 employs blockchain technology to decentralize its assets — decentralization is the key to everything in Web3. With blockchain, every request goes through a digital ledger of all the users in the chain, verifying and securing every communication.
The ledger monitors activity to prevent cybersecurity breaches, among other questionable activity online. In theory, blockchain will make the lives of everyone from web developers to cybersecurity experts more streamlined.
Internet users discovered that they wanted the internet, with all of its apps and data, to belong to everyone simultaneously instead of one entity. Everyone is equally responsible for overseeing and authenticating transactions and searches just as much as someone worldwide. It makes resources more accessible and protected because the infrastructure provides greater cybersecurity and verification tools.
How Does Web3 Impact Web Developers?
The most obvious way it impacts these groups is by providing more jobs. The field is changing to adapt to blockchain and its potential, giving developers new ways to employ their favorite languages to create innovative, secure web-searching experiences.
The applications of blockchain started in cryptocurrency and leached into traditional finance landscapes. Transfers across nations that took days now take seconds because of blockchain hashing and authentication. Banks saw the opportunity it gave to reduce fraudulent activity and keep a robust log of transactions. If someone purchases an item, the blockchain keeps hold of that exchange, tracks it, reports it to suppliers, and a medley of other bytes of data. Web developers must see this potential and expand it to other sectors leveraging the internet.
The way companies and nations could use Web3 and blockchain is a mystery. Its potential is sitting, waiting for people to play with its potential. Web3 and blockchain consist of smart contracts, public keys, and proof of work that web developers must learn to manipulate for their clients. How could a smart contract help artists keep their music safe? How could keys protect immigration document approvals across nations?
For example, web developers are responsible for advancing the technology to be less energy-intensive. How could they shape things to be more automated and efficient? It uses so many resources when thousands of blockchain nodes mint and manage everything from NFTs to cybersecurity. Cryptocurrency alone is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and web developers are responsible for manipulating their tools to advance toward a more sustainable future.
How Does Web3 Impact Designers?
User experience (UX) is the most critical change designers will notice during the Web3 transition. Decentralized apps (dApps) require different design properties than old-school versions, especially if they must embrace the core principles of blockchain. The first is transparency, so designers must consider making every communication and transaction as transparent as possible.
They must also consider how navigation influences content creators sharing and posting data. Though this is in assistance with web developers, designers will create the first impression for users. Plus, what they decide will influence programmers and developers every step of the way. The assets have to work symbiotically.
Here are some other questions designers can ask when crafting a webpage or app to make it embrace the strengths of Web3:
- How will they show exchange rates and fees?
- How will they visually provide disclosures discussing data privacy?
- How will the design reflect how the app operates under a decentralized theme?
- How can designers maximize “chain-view” for interfaces reliant upon sharing the intricacies of code while keeping everything user-friendly on the front end?
Additionally, designers will be responsible for crafting experiences in a way that embraces the ideals behind Web3 and must educate the users. The issue surrounding Web3 is confusion — nobody knows what it is because it’s surrounded by jargon. Designers could be unlikely heroes in this regard, translating dApps and online experiences into visual representations of the power of blockchain and Web3 assets.
In a more literal design sense, creations like the metaverse — its longevity, yet to be determined — will require artists to craft digital pieces and styles for avatars and storefronts in an ever-evolving digital world. How can they forge digital art that works well alongside what developers prepare for the world? Will they render at different internet speeds? How high-quality must they be?
The Internet Is Changing Forever
Both parties must accept how they will forge their work and leave it in the hands of users — that’s the nature of decentralization. The way users manipulate resources will keep designers and developers on their toes as use reveals challenges and opportunities for adjustments and improvements.
Web3 is the next stage, and it will change the scope of anyone who works online, especially developers and designers. Developers will need to experiment and learn how blockchain can combine with their existing knowledge to create new tools for sectors worldwide. Designers will need to craft sites to optimize for user interfaces and experiences. Though it’s still changing and continuing to grow, everyone must want to know — if this is Web3, then what will the internet’s fourth iteration have in store for users and their data?
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.