They say Web3 is the future of the Internet. But how?

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneurs are their own.

Today’s blockchain landscape has a lot in common with the early Internet; it is a dysfunctional, insecure and unregulated “wild west” of loosely coupled protocols that are unlikely to shape the future trading infrastructure. Early critics of the Internet were clearly wrong that no one would ever want to use email. With blockchain, however, the jury is still out.

Concrete usability is one of the biggest challenges for blockchain to move past its wild west phase. Using crypto for the original purpose of financial transactions is still relatively difficult. But more importantly, the broader Web3 ecosystem still lacks the practical functionality and UX to form an infrastructure to replace Web2.

Web2 is an incredibly well-oiled and easy-to-use organism. Think Facebook, Google, Uber, DoorDash, and your favorite banking app. Crypto enthusiasts often complain about focus issues on Web2, but the end user sees decent functionality and an excellent user experience. In Web3, on the other hand, they only see a trendy UX dumpster fire with potential.

Related: Web 3.0 is coming, and here’s what it really means for you

One of the major players in current and therefore Web2 IT technology is, of course, Microsoft and its Office Suite. Microsoft Office has found its way into almost every business and every home since the late 90s. Excel handles finances, Outlook handles email. These programs were so functional that even severe critics and competitors had no choice but to use them. Nowadays, we can say almost the same thing about Google. Try as hard as you can to cut yourself off from Google products, but you can hardly last a week.

Web3 doesn’t have a Microsoft or Google equivalent. Most usable crypto wallets, such as MetaMask, which often serve as a portal to Web3 platforms, have limited functionality. For now, interoperability is only a promise for some of the more ambitious projects.

Until now, most ad crypto projects have focused on Play-2-Earn games, developing pixelated frog NFTs or bling monkeys. Today, however, Web3 projects are building the infrastructure that matters, paving the way for traditional companies to join the fray. Infrastructure can overcome blockchain because businesses that need services actually need usability and use cases that help them. Products can now be as functional as Web2, but designed to embrace the crypto ecosystem.

For example, a group of former AWS executives got together and created Mailchain, which facilitates messaging on the Web3. It looks and works like a basic email setup, but in the background it serves crypto, recreating the rich functionality of current IT technologies in the Web3 space.

Other solutions take it further. Rather than aiming to replace the Web2 infrastructure, they fundamentally improve it with new functionality. One such example is Document GPS, one of ShelterZoom’s signature solutions. It uses blockchain to tokenize email attachments and other content.

The extension enables users to track their email attachments and revoke access, even after the recipient has opened the email. It also prevents downloads, which can significantly reduce unnecessary carbon emissions and data pollution from the multiple uploads and downloads of tens of billions of apps shipped daily.

For the past decade, it’s only been the domain of Gmail that actually improves email. But by using blockchain, the crypto industry can quickly catch up to Google’s dominance.

Related. If you don’t know what Web3 is, you’re not alone. Here is the breakthrough of the future of the Internet.

Decentralized building is changing the fundamentals of building infrastructure

Blockchain creates a new dynamic where you may not need one dominant company like Google or Microsoft to handle all functions in one project. Instead, you can have a collection of projects within a single ecosystem, in the democratizing spirit of Web3.

Ethereum has been able to offer a home to many amazing projects. But given the difficulty of securely managing bridges, and the hackneyed nature of L2s and sidechains, perhaps other systems have greater potential for more inclusive ecosystems.

Decentralized building is still one of the strengths of blockchain technology. Not depending on one authority, the direction and future of the system will not be guided by parochial interests. Progress can be messy, but messiness can also be seen as a complex form of collective deliberation. A once-killer project can blossom into a whole landscape of new potential.

Polkadot, for example, was designed to facilitate cross-chain interoperability, allowing multi-layer-1 solutions to communicate efficiently, thereby enabling highly functional ecosystems. So far, Polkadot has suffered from a lack of killer apps, and progress on the project has been slow.

Replacing Web2 is a tall order for any technology, and it’s questionable whether blockchain has the goods to do it. Finally, however, the industry is stepping up to the plate. Funky NFTs will continue to garner headlines and imagination, but infrastructure companies will be the ones to bring Web3 to the fore.

Related to: Web3 is more than a technology because of its inclusiveness

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