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Understanding Web 3 — A User Controlled Internet

Updated: Aug 5, 2022


Coinbase breaks down the motivation and technology behind the development of Web 3

This 3-part post focuses on the why, what and how of the latest chapter in the world wide web’s history, called Web 3. Part 1 explains shortcomings of today’s web and how Web 3 represents an improvement; Part 2 focuses on what the Web 3 stack is; and Part 3 focuses on how developers can build on it.


Today’s world wide web, or the internet, has two key missing properties:

  1. It doesn’t hold “state”, independent of trusted operators

  2. It doesn’t have a native mechanism to transfer state

Lack of state is a result of the simplicity of the protocols that the web is built on, such as HTTP and SMTP. At any moment, if you were to query a node (a device connected to the internet) about its history or current state, it has no idea. From a user’s perspective, this would be like using the internet for the first time from a new browser (no history, favorites, saved settings or auto-complete), every time you use anything connected to the internet. Imagine having to submit your user information every time you’re trying to use a service or downloading all your favorite apps every time you open your device. The internet would not be useable, or at least extremely inefficient.


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