The launch of Apple’s App Store in 2008 significantly popularized mobile apps among mainstream consumers. While Apple was not the pioneer in creating a dedicated app store, it set a new standard for how applications are utilized by billions of people.

Fast forward to the present, the emergence of decentralized applications (DApps) is creating a distinct segment in the app industry. For example, Ethereum supports over 3,000 DApps, spanning a variety of categories such as gaming, social media, and marketplaces, all developed on Web3.

Central to this development are smart contracts, which significantly reduce the centralization risks associated with Web2 apps. This innovation is not only streamlining global financial transactions but also reshaping the concept of digital trust.

Assembling the pieces of a fragmented ecosystem

Reflecting its increasing importance, the smart contracts market is projected to reach $2.5 billion by 2032. Beyond smart contracts, McKinsey & Company highlights a fundamental value driver of Web3: the possibility of eliminating intermediaries in data, functionality, and value transactions, empowering users and creators, fostering innovation, and scaling through open-source rather than proprietary applications.

“Intermediaries may no longer be required with respect to data, functionality, and value. Users and creators could gain the upper hand and, through open-source rather than proprietary applications, would have incentives to innovate, test, build, and scale,” according to a McKinsey & Company report.

However, the challenge of interoperability looms large with more than 1,000 blockchains. This makes it difficult to connect DApps operating on different protocols, complicating the development process in the highly fragmented Web3 ecosystem and challenging builders to keep pace with its rapid evolution.

For end-users, delivering a seamless experience remains a crucial issue. Rachel Lin, Co-Founder of SynFutures, stresses the importance for Web3 entities to focus on user experience and strong branding, particularly in 2024: “Web3 players must create products emphasizing user experience and a strong brand. That’s especially the case as 2024 looks set to usher in a new stage of development for crypto finance.”

Simplifying complexity: Web3’s path to user and developer-friendliness

1. Facilitating ease of development practices

Web3 appeals to a wide range of developers by supporting various programming languages. Solidity, Ethereum’s language for smart contracts, was crucial in Web3’s initial stages. However, it has security issues, including reentrancy vulnerabilities that can lead to malicious DApp interactions.

In contrast, Solana utilizes Rust, a language more familiar to conventional developers, making it easier for them to shift to blockchain development. As of 2022, there are approximately 2.2 million Rust developers globally.

This variety of programming languages opens Web3 development to a more diverse group, improving the security and functionality of DApps. Unique Divine, CEO of Nibi Inc., emphasizes the importance of accessible advanced resources: “Enhancing the Web3 ecosystem hinges on making advanced resources readily available, like native oracles, SDKs, APIs, and even smart contract royalties. These are fundamental to truly enhancing the development experience for builders of all technical backgrounds.”

2. Carving out niches and the role of specialization in Web3 ecosystems

Ethereum initially functioned as a versatile blockchain, accommodating various DApps including NFTs and DeFi. To meet the demands for swifter, more cost-effective, and scalable DApps, numerous blockchains have emerged, each offering specialized infrastructure.

Avalanche, for example, has introduced its customizable Subnet blockchain, which offers improved scalability and speed, making it particularly suitable for gaming applications.

Another example is the Layer 1 Nibiru Chain, supported by Tribe Capital, NGC Ventures, and HashKey. This blockchain appears to be focused on supporting the growth of consumer applications, gaming, and finance DApps within its global ecosystem. Utilizing the battle-tested Tendermint Core (CometBFT) consensus that can process over 40,000 transactions per second, parallelized optimistic execution, and instant finality, it facilitates interoperability among Cosmos-based blockchains, simplifying access to a wide array of Web3 applications.

For games, using smart contract royalties allows developers to earn revenue shares from their creations. For instance, when players swap game items on NFT marketplaces, developers who contributed to the marketplace can receive commissions on all platform trades, without having to build the sophisticated smart contract royalty from scratch.

Galaxy Digital reports that more than $1.8 billion in royalties has been distributed to NFT creators on Ethereum-based platforms.

3. Bridging the gap for a fluid user experience with SuperApps

Innovations such as account abstraction are making significant strides in improving the Web3 user experience. This method streamlines interactions with blockchain wallets by eliminating the need for users to handle complex wallet seed phrases or keys. A notable development in this area is the implementation of 1.8 million smart accounts, which saves time and reduces costs for Web3 interactions.

Drawing on the success of major platforms like WeChat, Paytm, and Grab, Web3 is adopting the SuperApp model to substantially improve user engagement. Nibiru Chain’s Web3 SuperApp acts as a comprehensive portal for Web3 services, addressing the disjointed nature of the DeFi experience. This approach spares users from navigating through a myriad of disparate options, offering a seamless Web3 experience comparable to that of today’s mainstream superapps.

As Web3 continues to evolve, it stands on the brink of a new era in digital innovation and accessibility. This progress is underpinned by a technological shift towards a more unified ecosystem, with a focus on the most critical elements: developers and users.

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In 2024, Web3 must rewrite its user acquisition playbook