Introduction to Web3 and Ethereum Blockchain

A brief history of the web and why we need Web3, along with an introduction to Ethereum Blockchain, EVM, and smart contracts.

History of the web

Let’s discuss the evolution of the web.

The World Wide Web (WWW) is a huge network of interconnected documents and resources linked by hyperlinks and URLs. It allows users to easily find and access information from various sources. Web 1.0 was the first phase of the World Wide Web, containing static, informational websites. It was mainly focused on providing information and resources to users, rather than allowing users to actively contribute or interact with the content on websites. This was achieved through the use of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) that was used to structure and format the content of a website. Web 1.0 was the dominant form of the World Wide Web in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Evolution on Web 1.0
Evolution on Web 1.0

Web 2.0 refers to the second generation of the World Wide Web that emphasized increased interactivity and collaboration. Web 2.0 allowed users to create, share, and exchange information and content online in a more interactive and collaborative way.

This era brought major advancements in the web technology space in the form of new languages and frameworks, including, but not limited to—React, Angular, Vue.js, XML, CSS, DOM, Tailwind, and TypeScript.

Evolution on Web 2.0
Evolution on Web 2.0

Along with this improvement in the web space, new standards were placed and old languages were improved. This gave rise to information disbursement applications like social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), instant messaging (MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, WhatsApp), blogging (Medium, Quora, Reddit), and vlogging, podcast, and video sharing (YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion).

All these platforms made real-time global communication, information sharing, and remote collaboration possible. However, at the same time, these platforms are prone to issues like Denial of Service (DOS) attacks, censorship, third-party interference, downtime, etc.

Additionally, it’s said that the data and content are centralized in a small group of companies referred to as the “Big Tech.” The term Big Tech is the name given to the dominant companies in the information technology space. Some other names that have been assigned to them are:

  • Big Four: This term refers to Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, also known as GAFA. It has been since changed to GAMA because Facebook rebranded itself as Meta.

  • Big Five: This term is also known as GAMAM, referring to Google, Amazon, Meta, Apple, and Microsoft.

Note: Some people also include the following companies in Big Tech—Netflix, Twitter, Snap, NVIDIA, Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle, and Uber.

Furthermore, companies like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Huawei, Samsung, and Xiaomi are also major tech giants. Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and Xiaomi are collectively called BATX and are often seen as competitor companies.

The term Web 3.0 (also known as Web3) was coined by Polkadot’s and Ethereum’s cofounder Gavin Wood in 2014, referring to the “Decentralized online ecosystem based on blockchain.” The idea gained traction in 2021 due to cryptocurrency enthusiasts as well as investments from large technology companies and venture capital firms.

Evolution on Web 3.0
Evolution on Web 3.0

Web3 is focused more on data-driven development and machine-based interpretation of data. Web3 customizes and improves upon the user’s experience based on the behavior and history on that particular device. Some of these features include personalized searches, personal data control, the Metaverse, and AI. Web3 also incorporates the ideas of decentralization, blockchain technologies, and token economies.

Because this new era gave rise to issues of data privacy and policy, Web3 provides increased data security, scalability, and privacy in addition to combating the influence of large technology companies. However, concerns have been raised over the decentralized web component of Web3, citing the potential for low moderation and proliferation of harmful content. Overall, the concept of Web3 has been well received because it promises cyber liberation and hopes to empower the ordinary citizen by breaking down existing power structures.

History of the web
History of the web

Ethereum and Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)

Ethereum is a blockchain-based implementation of Web3. It’s a platform that runs smart contracts. Smart contracts are applications that run as they are programmed without the possibility of downtime, fraud, censorship, or third-party interference. EVM, or Ethereum Virtual Machine, provides the runtime environment for smart contracts in Ethereum. EVM prevents DOS attacks and ensures that programs do not have access to each other’s states, ensuring the ability to establish without any potential interference.

Ethereum Virtual Machine
Ethereum Virtual Machine

Smart contracts

Ethereum introduced smart contracts, which are considered the building blocks of decentralized finance (DeFi) and are associated with cryptocurrencies. A smart contract is essentially a computer program or protocol that is designed to automatically execute, record, or document events according to the condition of the contract. Smart contracts dismiss the need for intermediates and arbitration costs, and exclude the possibility of fraud. Vending machines are considered to be the oldest technological equivalent of smart contract implementation.

Solidity

Solidity is a high-level, object- and contract-oriented language influenced by C++, JavaScript, and Python. It works with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Additionally, Solidity supports external libraries and complex user-defined types. It’s a typed language that also supports inheritance. The Ethereum white paper considers Bitcoin to be a weaker version of the smart contract concept and proposes a stronger version based on Solidity, which is Turing-complete.