If Web 2.0
was the era of applications, then Web 3.0
is the era of protocols with several different implementations/interfaces off it. We have already seen several different applications and how an unchecked centralized power is impinging on individual users’ freedom.
Thanks to several applications developing in the Web3
space, it seems most of these applications’ power will be reclaimed by individual users. But we’ll be wrong if we classify all applications of Web 3.0 as merely advocates of individual power. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Web3 is an all-encompassing term that propagates a plethora of applications that are a technological improvement to the previous set of applications.
And for the sake of this article, I will only cover those projects that stand out in this revolution. Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list but merely a guiding one - expect more additions to this list in the future.
Also, please remember that this isn’t financial advice. As with everything crypto, remember to DYOR
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is a necessary revolution in the world of smart contracts and blockchain networks. It is a decentralized oracle network that bridges the world of external information with that of smart contracts
. But why is it necessary? To understand its necessity, let’s quickly explore how smart contracts work.
In a nutshell, a smart contract can be thought of as a dormant organism that gets activated whenever there is an external stimulus. In the context of several blockchain networks, this external “stimulus” is often sent by an externally owned account (EOA) such as that of a user. So, if you were to send some ETH to me, then the smart contract will get activated from your request. Thus, the smart contract is dependent on that external stimulus.
Furthermore, we must remember that smart contracts only operate within the blockchain network (that is they are on-chain). As such, they are unable to interact with the outside world. Thus, if there is a smart contract that gets activated when the price of Tesla stock reaches a certain threshold, it needs to know first-hand when it does so. Since it cannot interact with the off-chain world on its own, it needs an intermediary.
This intermediary is known as an oracle
. Chainlink is one of the most popular oracle networks that helps to bridge the off-chain world to the smart contract. Several different exchanges in crypto rely on Chainlink’s decentralized oracles. And hence, it is one of the most crucial applications of Web 3.0.
Its native coin is known as LINK
and can be bought on most exchanges.
Source: Chainlink Price
Chart on CoinMarketCap
Filecoin is a decentralized storage platform where miners
help store users’ data. In return, they are rewarded in the native cryptocurrency of the network, $FIL.
Users can easily share their own storage space, become miners, and help fellow users store their data. The miners are asked to provide proofs that they are storing the files correctly.
And that is why they are known as miners.
Filecoin is yet another crucial project in the Web 3 crypto coin
space as its central model does not operate on a centralized entity storing all the users’ files and then charging for it. Its peer-to-peer nature of storing data is in contrast to the data storage applications that are in existence today.
This creates a certain level of freedom for users as their files are stored in locations where if the miner makes any mistake, they risk losing participation (and hence, mining rewards) in the network.
The ease with which users can become miners is also worth noting. Any user who has additional space on their device can simply become a miner. Filecoin is a crucial pillar of Web 3.0 as questions around centralized data storage service providers are only increasing. Their native cryptocurrency, $FIL has seen some incredible price action since the protocol was first launched.
Source: Filecoin Price
Chart on CoinMarketCap
Theta Network is a decentralized video delivery network that leverages blockchain technology to help relay video-based content across the entire world. Through the network, users can consume content and earn rewards if they help relay it to other users. Any user who wishes to leverage their available bandwidth to relay video-based information can become a participant in the network.
The Theta Network utilizes its own blockchain network known as the Theta Blockchain which has been purpose-built for relaying video-based information. It was launched in March 2019. The blockchain network follows a unique multi-BFT consensus
design. It consists of 20-30 Enterprise Validator Nodes
along with a dedicated community of Guardian Nodes
that number in the 1000s.
While the model looks centralized from the surface, the presence of Guardian Nodes who act as “checkers” of malicious activity on the network helps keep the overall network decentralized.
Theta, too, is a crucial project in the Web 3.0 space as it helps replace centralized content delivery networks and replaces them with decentralized ones. By letting everyday users participate in the content delivery process, it is creating a much stronger and immutable
network. Thus, whichever area of the world you are in, if you have access to a server of Theta then you can easily have access to your favorite video-based content.
There are two tokens that help power the Theta Network. The native $THETA
token is the governance token
of the protocol and is also used for staking as validator and/or guardian nodes. It supply has been fixed at 1B tokens.
Theta Fuel ($TFUEL) is the token that acts as a mode of payment across the network.
Whenever a node helps relay content across, they are paid in $TFUEL.
Source: THETA Price
Chart on CoinMarketCap
is a novel decentralized wireless network that helps users wirelessly connect to the internet without having to rely on satellite-based services or using data plans. The network runs on its own blockchain and has two core entities: coverage providers and coverage consumers. The network is aiming to decentralize how the internet is relayed across various geographical locations. It has several different core components that help set the network apart. We will only look at two of these components below.
Decentralized Wireless Network (DWN)
Through the DWN, users get access to the internet through the help of independent miners. The miners are the primary source of content for independent devices that want to access information on the internet. In return, they are rewarded with the network’s token.
The network follows non-computationally intensive mining that helps miners provide proof that they are providing wireless internet access to devices. This novel consensus mechanism
helps the network run efficiently and helps miners provide independent devices with the internet.
In an era where centralized internet service providers
are controlling how the internet is accessed, the Helium network provides a novel solution that aims to break that centralization in the first place. In that sense, it is one of the most crucial projects that is today a part of Web 3 crypto tokens
Its native token, $HNT
has had incredible price action since it was first launched.
Source: Helium Price
Chart on CoinMarketCap
is a software that helps solve a key problem that exists for blockchains today - that of data aggregation. If you wish to retrieve and aggregate data about any dApp
on any network, you need to spend hours collating that data manually. However, with The Graph, we can easily acquire complex data about transactions/users/dApps - which would otherwise be too difficult to aggregate. Let’s understand this through an example.
Let’s say that you have a favorite NFT
project on Ethereum, and you would like to know how it has been performing for a particular address. Let’s say you want to know what that contract’s activity has been over the past few months. In this case, you will have to manually check every time there was a transaction initiated by that contract.
With The Graph (GRT
), this can be easily achieved by simply running a query and retrieving that data on-chain. This would shave hours of effort and time that you would otherwise have to spend in acquiring that data in the first place. The Graph thus helps in creating a much efficient process of retrieving on-chain data.
All applications that want to retrieve on-chain data use
GraphQL to query APIs called subgraphs, which further helps in retrieving the data that is indexed on the network itself.
data is crucial for several different applications (and even investors) if they are looking for something specific. While there are several tools that help provide this data, most of them are subscription-based. The Graph, on the other hand, is a decentralized network that can be used by anyone who has the technical knowledge of running the query.
Source: The Graph Price
Chart on CoinMarketCap
protocol is the official decentralized protocol of BitTorrent Inc. that enables users to share files amongst themselves without having to rely on a trusted intermediary. BitTorrent was first founded in 2001 by Bram Cohen whose objective while creating the platform was to facilitate trustless peer-to-peer file transfer without relying on any centralized intermediary.
This peer-to-peer transmission of information is often facilitated by the available bandwidth of the very peers that want to facilitate any type of exchange. The TRON Foundation bought BitTorrent a couple of years ago. It helped create the $BTT
token of the network, which is used as a means of transferring value for all the paid services on the network.
The token has massively helped in providing incentives to people to share files amongst peers and also reduce slow download speeds. The coin is often exchanged between users who wish to download a file over the network and those who wish to share it. The token has also helped in creating a proliferating network of users that are now using the underlying protocol to constantly access files stored on the internet.
It is a crucial project for Web 3.0 as it helps to build on the solution that BitTorrent initially provided when it was launched.
The Basic Attention Token (BAT) is the native token that is used by the privacy-focused browser, Brave. The token is an ERC-20
token, i.e., it was created on Ethereum. While the whitepaper of the token was released in 2018. The Brave browser defines
it as a utility token
that is based on Ethereum and is used as a “unit of account between advertisers, publishers, and users in the blockchain-based digital advertising platform”.
BAT has been created with the objective of revolutionizing the advertising space by helping users avoid the inundation of advertisements that they are often subjected to these days. Brave is quite a popular browser with many crypto users as it is focused on privacy and helps block trackers and cookies. Any private data of the user such as how much time they spend on websites is stored only on their device and Brave does not have unchecked access to it. This helps provide a privacy-focused experience for the user.
Brave is a leading step ahead in terms of enhancing privacy for their users and helps create a space for themselves where their data and personal information is not being tracked and misused. As such, it is a crucial project in the Web 3.0 space.
The issue of centralized institutions having unchecked control over users’ data and private information is an issue that several protocols are solving. Arweave
is one of them. At the leading edge of data decentralization and information preservation is Arweave. It is a decentralized storage network that helps people use the disk space on fellow users’ devices to store their data. This helps in permanent data storage while ensuring that there is no single point of failure.
The protocol runs on its own decentralized architecture, called the blockweave.
It is further comprised of what is known as the permaweb
, which is a collection of data and dApps that help create a whole decentralized web that can be accessed through your browser. The protocol is supported by the Arweave
(AR) token, which is used to reward miners and pay for all transaction fees.
If any user wishes to store their data in the protocol, they are required to pay for the transaction fees in the AR
token. When the protocol was first launched, 55M tokens were issued and an additional 11M were issued as part of mining rewards. The long-term volatility of the token is controlled by what is known as “endowment”. When the user pays the transaction fees, a part of it goes to the miners. As interest accrues on this, miners are paid overtime ensuring that the volatility is significantly reduced.
Siacoin is another Web 3.0 protocol that helps decentralize the data storage mechanism. The protocol aims to give users absolute control over their data storage so they do not have to rely on another centralized intermediary to store it. The protocol has coined its own version of how this control over data storage looks like for users: “your keys, your data”.
The Sia protocol also leverages existing data storage across the world and helps users store their data. There are two primary entities on the network: renters and hosts.
Renters: All users who upload the files are renters. When a user uploads their data to the network, it splits into many parts and is distributed across the worldwide network. When they successfully upload it, they can access it anytime, thanks to the many copies that the network makes of them.
Hosts: These are the ones that store your data. They don’t have full access to your data and/or files because they are encrypted. These “hosters” are the ones who provide excessive storage on their devices where renters can easily store their data.
They are rewarded in the native $SC tokens.
While the Siacoins can be used for multiple purposes, their primary objective is to serve as utility tokens for the network. Whenever a renter wants to upload their files to the network, they must pay the hosters in Siacoins.
Source: Siacoin Price
Chart on CoinMarketCap
Livepeer is a decentralized video streaming network protocol that helps transmit video-based content across a network. It is a crucial “live media layer
” in the Web 3.0 stack and a significant project for the entire Web 3.0 space. The protocol offers what is known as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for organizations that want to offer video content to their users.
Source: Livepeer Price Chart
The protocol runs on the Ethereum network for video transcoding (a process that helps change the format of the video as per the available bandwidth of the user). The protocol aims to reduce the costs involved in live video streaming and leverage its underlying decentralized network in that regard. Their native token, the $LPT is used for operational purposes on the protocol.
The prevailing streaming business model is not cost-effective as various service providers often charge an exorbitant amount. Also at stake is the users’ private data that they often have access to. To counter that, Livepeer aims to introduce a scalable protocol that is decentralized and can support live video streaming without additional costs.
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