This article will speak mainly from my personal point of view. Also, this article contains some complicated terms that, for the most part, will only be vaguely explained. I am assuming you already know them.
🇫🇷 Psst you want to read this article in French? Then click here
TLTR: Blockchain is an underrated technology in many fields, but most people use it as a source of speculation, making it ridiculous and unusable for a developer.
Web 3.0 is a technology that many consider the next generation of the web. Web 1.0 was a simple indexing system, where we displayed the list of available sites, like what Google does. Then came web 2.0 where we started to create content on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook... and finally web 3.0 which is supposed to give us back the power and allow us to better control our data, in order to no longer leave the control to big companies.
The first thing that interested me as a developer was coding and creating projects. So I went to learn about the different blockchains, whether Etherum, Solana, Polygon, and so on. The first obstacle I had was the fact that I had to learn 1 new language, either Solidity for most blockchains, or Rust for some of them. Not knowing any of these languages, it was something complicated. Then I decided to learn Solidity, and 2ᵉ problem: no working environment with the modern tools we have. Sure, the tools work, but use very old syntax (and no support for Typescript). And finally, the 3ᵉ issue: too many technical terms. It became very complicated to learn how to create these famous "Smart-contracts". Adding to that the fact that there are a huge number of blockchains, each with their own peculiarities, it became very complicated.
Then comes the difficulty of scalability. All blockchains claim to be scalable, but let's face it, NONE are really scalable. Most rely on the number of miners, and in no way on the performance of the associated technology.
Let's take the example of the Polygon network which recently had issues with network overhead, because a new game appeared on the network (sunflowers), creating an incalculable number of transactions per second. This one being coded in Golang and pretending to be scalable was not.
Nowadays, all network technologies are ridiculous, but the networks boast about their numbers: "We do 450 000 transactions per second". You have to differentiate between 2 things: the network part and the smart contract part. The smart contracts are pieces of code executed on the network in a decentralized way. Concerning the network, it is the network that is supposed to manage the different transactions and execute the smart contracts. The best choice in my opinion would have been to create a network architecture with a scalable technology by default, such as Elixir or Erlang, and execute the smart contracts with a fast and memory efficient language such as Rust. I've already seen projects where Elixir was running Rust code, so it's quite feasible, you just need to have the means to do it.
When we talk about web 3.0, we talk about decentralization. This is something very interesting, allowing to solve many problems such as hacking, data loss... It also allows not to give personal data to different groups such as Google, Facebook...
To connect or use a decentralized platform, called "Dapp", we need a content wallet, a secret key, which finally is a list of words. A dapp is rarely compatible between different blockchains, meaning that we must have 1 wallet per blockchain. I let you imagine how many wallets we should have...
Moreover, we work on blockchains owned by companies, which is a shame for users who don't want companies to have our data easily.
Then, right now all our data is public: you bought this, this day, this date... we literally have a public financial report. Right now, I only know of 4 blockchains with private data:
- Tauri, which is supposed to be the successor of Monero (still under development)
- Secret (yes, there is a blockchain named "Secret")
Then you have to look further: the governments of the different countries will want to get their hands on it, and will not hesitate to limit all this technology in order to have access to it.
In short, all this data should not be visible in my humble opinion, it would be enough to make an algorithm that is public.
At the moment, when we talk about web 3.0, and more particularly blockchain, 3 camps are formed on the networks: those who are for it, those who are against it, and those who are simply tired of hearing about it. The simple term "NFT" has made a lot of people cringe.
To explain what an NFT is, it is a unique object in digital form. It can be ANYTHING. The problem is that the public opinion associates NFT's with online images that are sold for hundreds, thousands, even millions of dollars for some... AND IT WORKS. Countless people have decided to get into the speculative image business, whether they are companies or individuals. Everyone wants a piece of the action, and many are even willing to steal illustrators' work to make money on a collection that doesn't belong to them in any way.
NFT in the form of an image can work for a few cases:
- The owner of the image gets access to something exclusive in return
- We just want to support the artist behind it
All other reasons don't make sense to me. Many people have learned to create NFT collections in the space of a terminal command, creating collections without tails or heads.
I decided to buy an NFT to see what it could do for me, other than having a digital image and supporting an artist I like. At this time, I still haven't earned anything.
Each platform has its token. This is how the Dapp economy works. For the most part, we don't need new tokens, but yet we have to create another one. I'm sorry, but I'm a developer, not a financial analyst.
I think the technology is very good, but deserves more maturity, especially on the development side. When you see that the Etherum network fees are more than $100, it becomes ridiculous. I think that at the moment, it's a huge speculative bubble, especially for the NFT part. The developer part and developer experience is very bad, with little documentation.
Never put money you are not ready to lose! Any money on blockchain is considered lost!
I learned a lot about this technology. I started to be interested in it in January 2021, and I could discover many amazing projects, such as the Hellium project, which allows having a decentralized internet network, or Ultra which aims to revolutionize the video game world. Furthermore, I was also able to learn all the technical terms, like APY, smart-contract, yield farming, and so on. I think it took me 6 months to understand most of the things about blockchain, and I now understand why it's complicated to explain to uninitiated people.
I also lost a lot of money during my tests. Likewise, I even almost lost everything during a hack on the Polygon network and the Zapper platform. Fortunately, more fear than harm, the Zapper team was able to recover our earnings very quickly.
In short, be careful with this technology. We can promise you many things, but nothing guarantees what is said.
Cover image by Shubham Dhage