Web3 is on everyone’s lips, for better or for worse. Some say it is a useless innovation, while others regard it as the solution to all our problems with technology. One thing is sure: a decentralized internet has passed the test and is currently being heavily built. The debate is still in its early stages on how it will evolve, and one thing has made the debate over Web3’s usefulness very intense: understanding Web3's definition.

But what if it was all about infrastructure in the end?

Wait, so what is "Web3"?

Web3 is an extreme decentralization of our digital world. It’s all about the Internet’s infrastructure, its protocols, and the decentralization of usage.

The word Web3 was first coined in 2014 by Gavin Wood in a famous blog post. He considered the protocols and technology of the web as we know it as a first experiment that needed to be iterated upon.

Over the past years, our intense usage of the Internet has led to a deeper comprehension of how we interact through Internet-connected devices and given us a hint of what lies in the future. The core technology of the Internet will most likely have to be re-engineered based on our new understandings of how we interact online as a society.

When Gavin wrote about the “post-Snowden” web and the need for decentralization and a consensus engine online eight years ago, he reimagined all the different models of interaction that currently exist on the web. So while we may use the Web for the same or similar purposes, the way we go about those activities will change profoundly.  

Thus the concept of Web3 was born: an internet that leverages peer-to-peer applications for networks - such as Blockchain technologies or IPFS. And yes, Web3 aims to revolutionize many things, including how we share information.

But its main feature is decentralization.

From the protocols to the infrastructure, everything will be decentralized at every scale and layer possible.

Web3 is not just about the web, it profoundly changes the way we use the Internet in general - well beyond web stuff

Decentralization matters

On a high level, Web3 is a broad category of technologies defined by protocols built on top of open source. It is decentralized and on distributed systems.

When we talk about decentralization in Web3, we hear about how Web3 is created by and for people, without any authority present. But is it the case? If decentralized apps ( also known as DApps) and all the layers needed to run Web3 are exclusively hosted on AWS… Web3 is still just a dream.

If decentralization is the goal, a multi-cloud infrastructure is a requirement.

Decentralization means that the workload is replicated in multiple places and on various providers. And it can be accessed wherever and whenever desired. On-premise, off-premise, your cloud, my cloud. Nobody can stop or corrupt the workload.

Web3 projects and companies that deliver decentralized applications are forced to think about infrastructure differently and adopt multi-cloud from day one - instead of having to retrofit to avoid the vendor lock-in.

Web3 applications will need a distributed and decentralized database. Hosting this database on either a single cloud or relying on individuals’ devices are both unrealistic solutions. Web3 applications should not be on one data center or one single cloud provider. With data distributed across multiple clouds or devices, the network is truly decentralized and can therefore begin to reach Web3’s full potential.

Everybody should leverage a multi-cloud strategy for resiliency and cost-saving. But Web3 applications like IPFS* and the Ethereum blockchain turn multi-cloud infrastructure from a nice-to-have into a must-have. If decentralization is the goal, running on multiple providers - including self-hosting - is a requirement.

Once the industry matures, multi-cloud on Web3 will be the de-facto standard.

*What is IPFS?

The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a protocol and peer-to-peer network for storing and sharing data in a distributed file system. IPFS uses content-addressing to uniquely identify each file in a global namespace connecting all computing devices.

IPFS enables the storage of information in a way that it can be retrieved based on its content, not its name or location. It is used for high-speed storage and information retrieval of fixed content

Not an accurate representation of what web3 is

Web3 and Scaleway

It’s still super early days for Web3, and it’s not clear what role infrastructures will play in enabling it, but one thing is clear: Scaleway will continue to support startups through our Startup Program, and we’ll keep building ambitious support and infrastructure for them.

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