Field Note #35. On "Web3 without the Hype (part 1)"

Source: Qin Wang et. al, "Exploring Web3 from the View of Blockchain," avail. online at arXiv (June 2022)


"Web3" seems to serve as a floating signifier, at times meaning nothing and everything.  "You can't be wrong if you're vague enough" is the posture many Web3 commentators adopt.

Against this, in the name of understanding, it's better to be specific and wrong.

"Unclear definitions and non-agreed consensus indicate that Web3 either is just a hyped concept without practical development or, has more than one single direction for the development." (Id. at 2)


Properties of Web3:

  1. Open (or, Visible): data accessible and stored on open networks built and maintained by public communities
  2. Trustless: user can interact with applications without intermediation of trusted third parties
  3. Permissionless (or, Portability): user identity is untethered from specific platforms
  4. High Privacy: users can operate anonymously or at a minimum, pseudonymously
  5. High Availability (or, Robustness): decentralized blockchain architecture reduces risk of server crash or point failures
  6. Compatibility (or, Interoperability): applications are untethered from single blockchain platform
  7. Participation: users are not passive consumers, but also contribute to services of the network and receive rewards

3 Entities Involved in Web3 Architecture:

  1. Web3 User: "[A] data owner who can propose the request by sending a transaction from the client." (Id. at 4)
  2. Service Provider: "[O]ffers the user an on-chain interface and the service that can both process the request and interact with blockchain platforms." (Id. at 4)
  3. Blockchain Maintainer: "[P]rovides an operating environment for smart contracts that take the task of processing business and data storage." (Id. at 4)


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