Lately I've been thinking a lot about Web 2.5. Not quite Web 2.0, now dominated by your favourite internet giants, and not quite Web 3.0 with its crazy potential but barrier to entry for users and developers, but things in between that help bridge the gap between both worlds. Some general examples are Cloudflare support for IPFS, Infura as the dominant Ethereum gateway, and arguably the archetype of a Web 2.5 component: MetaMask, the first and most adopted gateway to Web3 apps in regular web browsers. Before MetaMask, the only way to use a Web3 app on Ethereum was downloading a completely different browser and spending days to sync with the blockchain. Now it's just a case of installing a Chrome extension or using Brave browser which includes Brave Crypto Wallets based on the open source MetaMask codebase. I see two main approaches to "Web 2.5" apps and services: bring Web 2 to Web 3, or bring Web 3 to Web 2. The above are all cases of the latter. I'll give some examples of both out of the CStack.
Web 3 to Web 2: Fission Codes is building Fission Live, a developer tool to bring apps and websites live on the internet from your laptop with a single command. It uses the IPFS decentralised filesystem under the hood, and the beauty is that you don't need to know about that. Whoever opens your site just opens a normal URL and is served with a website or app. But what happens underneath is content-addressed peer-to-peer file sharing. The other way around, taking Web 2.0 services and making them available through a Web 3.0 protocol is done by SEED (now in private beta for curious bot developers), who are creating a decentralised platform and marketplace for bots. Existing bot platforms and AI services like Google DialogFlow, Pandorabots and IBM Watson are clearly Web 2.0, and using SEED they can be composed into bots that get monetised, licensed and shared in an open protocol. Web 2 wrapped into Web 3.
At Diffusion 2019, we had a dedicated Web 2.5 track and it turned out to be one of the most popular ones. The track winner, Reksio, built a video notarization system that combined smart card technology with a blockchain-based notarization component. And the overall hackathon winner, Decentralify, got great scores in the Web 2.5 track as well. They took Netlify, a service for continuous deployment of web sites, and allowed it to work with decentralised compute network iExec, to make using the decentralised cloud just as easy as the centralised alternatives while keeping the level of DX that Netlify offers. Web 3.0 is here in many appearances, and using it is becoming easier every day. That's great. But going "full web 3" is still not for the faint of heart. Web 2.5 apps and services help the ecosystem cross the chasm, at which point we can increasingly burn the bridges of the old world behind us.
Reading: The Web 3.0 Manifesto by pet3rpan
Listening: Susan H - I'm on fire
Build great things,
PS - Here's a bot built with SEED, using Google DialogFlow, deployed on IPFS using Fission. Web 2 goes Web 3 goes Web 3 goes Web 2. Cheers!
From The Stack
- Toby Simpson from Fetch released an update on what could be expected as the project's main-net goes live in the coming days - Link
- Alkemi and Shift Markets are coming together to offer increased liquidity for digital assets - Link
- Ocean Protocol's November AMA is now released - Link
- Cosmos will have a planned hub upgrade the coming week - Link
- The IOTA team has published their December research update - Link
- Blockcities has released a new app combining NFT and maps from FOAM - Link