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A easy information to the web3 developer stack

A information to the initiatives and firms working to make web3 improvement as straightforward as web2


Around the Block, from Coinbase Ventures sheds gentle on key tendencies in crypto. Written by Jonathan King, Connor Dempsey, & Hoolie Tejwani

Particular due to Mike Armstrong, Aaron Henshaw, Michael Atassi, Steven Willinger, and Shan Aggarwal for serving to to tell this article.

Regardless of the rise of Bitcoin and Ethereum, together with the emergence of latest classes like DeFi, NFTs, GameFi and DAOs, web3 builders characterize lower than 1% of the 31.1M software program builders globally.*

So why are there so few builders in web3 in the present day? For one, the instruments and infrastructure accessible to web3 builders are a lot much less sturdy than that of web2. This merely makes it harder to get began constructing, experimenting, and deploying in web3. That’s all shortly altering nevertheless, because the variety of month-to-month energetic web3 builders hit all-time highs on the finish of 2021. And to help this rising contingency, is a vibrant ecosystem of groups working to simplify your complete web3 developer journey, which can finally assist unlock the subsequent stage of web3 development and innovation.

On this version of Round The Block, we’ll discover the rising web3 developer stack.

The Web3 Developer Stack


Constructing in Web2 vs Web3

Software program improvement is the method of constructing pc packages. There are three essential parts to a given program:

  1. The front-end (what customers work together with)
  2. The back-end (what customers don’t see)
  3. Database (the place vital information is saved)

The front-end {that a} typical consumer interacts with by way of a cellular or desktop browser is mainly the identical in web2 and web3. A web3 app like Uniswap seems much like a typical web2 app as a result of each front-ends are largely created utilizing React — a well-liked developer framework for internet and cellular apps.


It’s beneath the hood the place web2 and web3 differ. The backend frameworks and varieties of databases that make web3’s defining attribute — user-defined possession — potential are new and distinctive.

The place web2 purposes largely depend on centralized databases, web3 purposes are constructed on decentralized databases (blockchains). This requires fully new backends and new primitives like wallets.

The instruments that help within the creation, deployment, and upkeep of web2 purposes are extremely developer-friendly, due to many years of cumulative improvement. Out of the field options, mature infrastructure, shared code libraries, and simple to make use of frameworks largely make constructing in web2 a breeze.

Web3 however nonetheless requires specialised experience to interface with advanced infrastructure and generally entails many redundant processes provided that the stack is much less developed, leaving groups to should reinvent the wheel. That stated, the tooling that may assist onboard the subsequent 1M+ web3 builders is quickly bettering.

Let’s take a (non-exhaustive) have a look at the evolving Web3 developer stack layer by layer (* denotes Coinbase Ventures portfolio firm).

Protocol layer


The primary resolution a web3 developer has to make is which blockchain protocol to construct on. Constructing on Bitcoin is fully completely different from constructing on Ethereum, and Solana differs from Ethereum, and many others.

For quicker and lower-cost purposes, builders may need to construct on a layer2 protocol — Optimism*, Arbitrum*, and many others. For purposes that have to port worth from one chain to a different, builders will need to leverage cross-chain bridges like Hop* or Synapse*.

As soon as these selections are made, builders can begin to incorporate constructing blocks that make consumer purposes potential.

Infrastructure primitives

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The subsequent factor a developer wants to determine is how their software will finally work together with the underlying blockchains. That is the place infrastructure primitives come into play.

Node infrastructure — Nodes are the place an app’s interplay with a blockchain “occurs.” They’re computer systems that learn the state of the blockchain and write updates to it as soon as a consumer interacts with an software. Node infrastructure suppliers like Coinbase Cloud, Infura*, and Alchemy* let builders simply set-up, handle, or entry blockchain nodes, saving builders appreciable time and sources.

Pockets & Key Administration — Blockchain wallets, like Coinbase Wallet, permit customers to handle the non-public keys wanted to carry out transactions inside web3 purposes. Pockets and key administration suppliers like Web3Auth* or Pine Street Labs*, allow builders to construct safe connectivity between blockchain wallets and user-facing purposes.

Identification — protocols like ENS* function a consumer’s identification throughout purposes. Spruce* gives frameworks and toolkits that builders can use to confirm consumer credentials to authenticate actions on Ethereum. For instance, builders can use the Spruce ID toolkit to empower customers to signal into apps with their ENS accounts. Moreover, firms like Lit Protocol present developer tooling for granting entry to content material, software program, and different information using their tokens or NFTs.

Decentralized compute — Compute sources present processing energy that purposes depend on to hold out computational duties. Presently, many of the internet’s compute is offered by centrally owned suppliers like AWS. Decentralized compute is a shift in direction of community-owned networks, during which compute sources are distributed in a permissionless method at low-cost. Firms like Akash Network and have emerged to offer peer-to-peer compute sources which might be highly-performant and optimized for sensible contracts and blockchain purposes.

Decentralized storage — Storing each piece of knowledge related to a given web3 app straight on blockchain nodes is dear. Quite than storing information on a centralized database, web3 builders can use peer-to-peer information storage protocols like IPFS, Arweave*, and Ceramic Network* for sure information. For instance, web3 running a blog web site Mirror is constructed on Ethereum, however shops precise weblog content material on Arweave.

Oracles — For a typical Ethereum software, the blockchain shops transaction historical past and “state” (balances, sensible contracts, and different variables). It may possibly’t, nevertheless, natively retailer and work together with information from exterior sources — i.e. transaction historical past from different blockchains or “actual world” information just like the climate in San Francisco. That’s the place oracles like Chainlink or Flux*are available, connecting blockchains to on-chain and off-chain information sources.

Interoperability — many alternative blockchains exist however few have the power to alternate worth and make use of knowledge cross-chain. Interoperability protocols like LayerZero*, Axelar Network*, and Astar Network* present SDKs and APis for builders to construct apps which might be transportable and may talk with completely different blockchains.

Developer instruments

Atop the infrastructure primitives that permit purposes to work together with blockchain networks are instruments that permit builders to extra seamlessly work together with the above-named primitives.

Frameworks & IDEs — Developer frameworks include libraries of code that different builders have created that make improvement simpler. Web3 frameworks like Truffle, Moralis*, Tatum, and ThirdWeb*, let builders leverage current code for sensible contract purposes so that they don’t should construct every thing from scratch. Additionally they let builders take a look at and deploy purposes. Built-in improvement environments (IDEs) like Foundry and HardHat mix widespread supply code editors, and construct automation and debugging instruments right into a single, simply accessible interface.

Low-code / No-code — These platforms allow user-facing purposes to be shortly designed/deployed fully through drag-and-drop interfaces. Firms like Settlemint present builders with sensible contract templates for NFTs to stop web3 builders from having to reinvent the wheel.

Index & question — Knowledge indexers assist individuals find and entry particular information inside an underlying database. In Web2, Google search is the preferred information indexing service that enables customers to question information saved in on-line databases with sub-second response occasions. In Web3, decentralized indexing providers are rising to assist app builders fetch, course of, and question blockchain information. The Graph Protocol*, Covalent*, and Coherent* all present APIs for extracting and making use of knowledge from decentralized information storage suppliers and EVM-compatible blockchains.

Take a look at, simulate, & monitor — It’s essential to check and simulate web3 purposes earlier than they’re launched into the wild. Firms like Tenderly* and Kurtosis* provide a wide range of instruments for simulating how sensible contracts and transactions will behave as soon as reside, in addition to instruments for debugging any points. Blocknative* gives dashboards and instruments for monitoring transactions earlier than they’re submitted on-chain.

Safety & audit — Given the potential for sensible contract exploits, these platforms let builders apply safety and audit greatest practices to their purposes. OpenZeppelin, Forta*, Certik*, and Certora* all present a wide range of providers, frameworks, and monitoring instruments for builders to mitigate potential safety dangers and vulnerabilities.

Messaging — Web3 apps typically contain sending numerous communications to finish customers. For instance, a crypto pockets might need to push a consumer alerts concerning transaction confirmations. Firms like XMTP Labs* and EPNS are constructing safe messaging protocols and decentralized communication networks that drive consumer engagement and energy these notifications inside Web3 purposes.

Analytics — There’s a bunch of platforms and providers that allow builders discover, analyze, extract, and visible blockchain information. Dune*, Nansen*, and Messari* every provide a wide range of APIs and reporting capabilities to construct information visualization options inside web3 apps. Flipside Crypto* presents SDKs (software program improvement kits) and APIs to create and share information insights on numerous crypto initiatives.

App Enablement Layer

The applying enablement layer ties the entire above layers into particular web3 makes use of. NFTs, DAOs, DeFi, and gaming every have their very own bespoke developer options.

NFT targeted instruments provide infrastructure for creating and managing NFT belongings. DAO instruments provide options for DAO creation (Syndicate*, Samudai*), governance (Snapshot*), and treasury administration (Utopia Labs*). DeFi targeted instruments provide APIs that allow builders entry numerous DeFi primitives. Gaming targeted instruments ( Venly*, Joyride*, Horizon Blockchain Games*) present options for creating digital worlds and blockchain primarily based video games.

The ever-evolving dev stack

The protocols, infrastructure, and developer instruments talked about above make up the nascent, but evolving web3 developer stack. The modular and interoperable nature of web3 implies that the stack could be mixed in limitless methods to create new and fascinating purposes.

Whereas the framework and layers we highlighted will seemingly stay unchanged, we proceed to see new developer tooling primitives emerge and count on your complete stack to evolve dramatically within the coming years.

Coinbase Ventures will proceed to spend money on the subsequent era of platform and developer tooling that may finally onboard hundreds of thousands of builders into web3. When you’re as devoted to constructing out the web3 dev stack as we’re, we might love to listen to from you — JK’s DMs are open!

Additional Studying

This web site doesn’t disclose materials nonpublic data pertaining to Coinbase or Coinbase Enterprise’s portfolio firms.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on this web site are these of the authors who could also be related individuals of Coinbase, Inc., or its associates (“Coinbase”) and who don’t characterize the views, opinions and positions of Coinbase. Data is offered for normal academic functions solely and isn’t meant to represent funding or different recommendation on monetary merchandise. Coinbase makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any data on this web site and won’t be chargeable for any errors, omissions, or delays on this data or any losses, accidents, or damages arising from its show or use. Until in any other case famous, all photos offered herein are the property of Coinbase. This web site incorporates hyperlinks to third-party web sites or different content material for data functions solely. Third-party web sites will not be beneath the management of Coinbase, and Coinbase isn’t liable for their contents. The inclusion of any hyperlink doesn’t indicate endorsement, approval or suggestion by Coinbase of the location or any affiliation with its operators.


A simple guide to the web3 developer stack was initially revealed in The Coinbase Blog on Medium, the place persons are persevering with the dialog by highlighting and responding to this story.

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