In the past few months, plenty of naysayers have quickly predicted the doom of crypto and its uncertain future outlook. However, the only uncertain thing in practice is the future of individual coins and their blockchain networks. As an overarching concept, Web3 is undoubtedly where the Internet is heading. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at the Web3 landscape as it stands now
Web2 and Web3
There are a lot of parallels to draw between the early Internet and the nascent blockchain landscape. In their initial inception period, both were relatively unregulated and unwieldy — a lawless jungle of barely connected protocols. However, the Internet grew from its initial phases into becoming the default infrastructure for most of the world’s commerce — and Web3 is poised to make the same ascent.
You can find plenty of people who claimed that email would never catch on, claims that they’ve probably spent decades trying to disown since. And the same thing is happening to the blockchain. So, what kind of objective hurdles is the blockchain-based Web3 space facing in its current existential phase?
Right now, practical usability is a major challenge. For starters, despite its astounding market cap, crypto’s original purpose has yet to enter the mainstream: financial transactions. Also, the Web3 ecosystem based on those financial transactions has a long way to go in terms of UX and practical functionality.
Yes, Web2 is still the dominant force. By now, it’s become a well-oiled ecosystem, with plenty of stable giants like Google, Facebook, DoorDash, Uber, and your banking app of choice. And while centralization is still a major issue with Web2, end users still see it as a system with a proven user experience and the functionalities they’ve become accustomed to.
In comparison, Web3 offers an unstable but trendy user experience with great potential. However, that’s slowly changing — as Web3 services and platforms become more established and start growing into their initial potential.
Promising Web3 Platforms and Web2 Titans
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft remains one of the biggest Web2 industry giants. Their operating system and its Office software package have been the default choice for most homes and businesses for over 30 years. Outlook is the world’s most famous email platform, and Excel is its equivalent in finance.
Their functionality and design quality are so unquestionable that even their biggest competitors — like Google’s G-Suite of productivity apps — are never brave enough to stray too far from imitating the basic design of Microsoft Office. On the other hand, Google has become the dominant force in Internet browsing; even the likes of Firefox and Opera have been forced to bow to Chrome’s tabs and other “under the hood” solutions.
Right now, there’s no Google or Microsoft equivalent in Web3. The most stable crypto-based platforms are still digital wallets and online exchanges designed to facilitate their transactions. However, interoperability is still something most ambitious projects have yet to achieve.
That’s something the recent crypto winter and the few subsequent crashes that have caused it can actually help with. Before the crypto crash, the landscape was dominated by NFTs of bling-carrying monkeys, pixelated animals, and play-2-earn gaming platforms with little promise and actual gaming value.
However, the crash has swept away anyone looking to make a quick buck in Web3, similar to how the burst of the dotcom bubble in the early 2000s removed most fake Internet companies from the equation. Now, everyone left is serious Web3 players that are fully invested in the future of the Web3 paradigm.
Finally, we’re seeing Web3 projects working on the vital infrastructure necessary to bridge the gap between traditional platforms and the Web3 future. It’s time to take blockchain over the hurdle of its initial hype and into functionalities that create truly valuable use cases.
Platforms like Brale make it easy for financial institutions to manage and create their own stablecoins — the process is now as easy as filling out a form. This eliminates one of the biggest hurdles for financial institutions that want to create stablecoins: the astounding technical complexity of the process.
You can literally create a stablecoin on multiple chains in about an hour — forget about hiring an entire department of Solidity developers; you pick and choose the chains you want from a simple dropdown menu.
There are similar examples across the broader Web3 ecosystem — Mailchain makes messaging across different Web3 platforms as easy as using a Web2 email client, for example. And other solutions take this kind of approach even further by creating fundamental improvements to Web2 concepts and imbuing them with brand-new functionalities.
The crypto industry has the momentum to catch up with Web2 leaders like Google and provide blockchain-based alternatives to solutions like Gmail. However, it will take some faith, initiative, and above all else, a lot of hard work.