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Setting up a personal website today is trivial. It can be done with a few clicks and a credit card.
But it wasn’t always this way.
In the early days of the internet, setting up a website was time-consuming, cumbersome, and expensive. Companies had to spend tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars building their own hosting infrastructure.
Even big companies experienced this problem.
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Per the Seattle Times, “In the early 2000s, Amazon software engineers complained that they were spending too much of their time creating and maintaining digital infrastructure.”
What the Amazon engineers experienced was not uncommon. It was all too prevalent among companies and businesses worldwide seeking to harness the power of the internet. Yet, by reducing the time and cost of starting a web-based business via their innovations, Amazon and their competitors enabled an entire generation of web-native businesses to become household names — Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Instacart.
Web3 faces similar constraints to early 2000s Amazon as the developers building Web3 today continuously re-build their own asset infrastructure. This is because the underlying blockchain platforms that host Web3, such as Ethereum, are not asset-oriented. The platforms don’t provide developers with the infrastructure to easily create assets, and force developers to have to build this infrastructure themselves — from scratch — every time they need a new token.
Just like Amazon’s decision to create a base cloud infrastructure paid off with billions in annual revenue, Web3 can unlock its true potential by embracing asset-oriented platforms.
Web3 faces constant wheel reinvention
In today’s Web3, every time a developer needs a new token, they are entirely responsible for building all the logic that defines the rules upon when the token can be held, sent, minted or burned. Because no standardized parts or components are provided by the Ethereum network, the logic for creating and managing new tokens is mostly copy-pasted.
In this context, the networks don’t usually provide guardrails or native features to help developers securely create and manage tokens and the corresponding economies. Simply put, existing blockchain platforms aren’t asset-oriented, meaning they don’t prioritize the easy rollout of new assets without relying on time-consuming, repetitive processes.
Like early Amazon developers, in the current Web3 iteration, application developers spend up to 90% of their time “reinventing the token.” By comparison, asset-oriented platforms that streamline these time-consuming development activities can catalyze a dramatic improvement in the economics of constructing Web3.
The enablers that catalyze emerging industries
Web3 is all about leveraging assets — tokens or NFTs — to create systems of incentives to deliver products and services in ways that are more automated, trusted, and permission-minimized.
You can’t have DeFi, identity solutions, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) without assets that grant some form of rights or responsibilities when participating in a network. But building an asset in today’s Web3 is the same as setting up your own web infrastructure in the early 2000s; everyone is doing everything themselves.
To catalyze Web3 adoption, developers must be able to leverage (and improve upon) the work others have done so far. Due to needing to copy-paste code, developers can’t easily reuse others’ code on-ledger. The result is redundant code clogging networks, leading to increased transaction costs and billions of dollars of security breaches.
Then comes the aspect of composability, the feature that allows for interconnected decentralized applications and protocols. Because each token and smart contract is, in effect, a custom build, it’s harder to compose smart contracts together, just like it would be harder to compose a box of Lego if every brick was custom made by different manufacturers. Web3 is screaming out for standardized asset-oriented features to improve composability.
Greater asset orientation
The next-generation infrastructure will change the economics of Web3 business development by offering native asset features at the platform level — a global feature of the platform — rather than being implemented at the smart contract level over and over again.
In these development environments, entrepreneurs and builders can create whatever they want. Since the concept of asset behavior will be available at the platform level, developers can save 90% of the time they spend on security, validation, and auditing and instead focus on developing user-friendly Web3 features. Moreover, this greater orientation towards assets will ultimately simplify the design and introduction of any type of Web3 code while making everything more secure and transparent.
In short, an asset-oriented Web3 era will feature:
- Fewer exploits: Assets, which matter most when users are hacked, are kept much safer by a platform’s native validations and auditing.
- Better scalability: Native standardized assets allow for more efficient contract execution, less redundant code, and a roadmap towards scalability through practices like sharding.
- Faster time to market: Developers can become far more proficient at building decentralized products and services when employing these asset-oriented features.
The bottom line is relatively simple: To help Web3 scale globally, developers need the right tools at their disposal. The premise of Web3 technological success, at least the majority of it, relies on developers building decentralized solutions that are easy, secure — and most importantly, reusable and composable.
With asset-oriented platforms, developers won’t have to build everything from scratch, eventually establishing Web3’s own household names, just like Amazon helped Web2 giants emerge and thrive.
Jeremy Epstein is chief marketing officer at RDX Works.
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