Web3 developer growth accelerated in 2021, but newcomers face obstacles.
A decentralized platform to host decentralized applications has long been a crypto community vision. While some blockchain businesses started developing Web3 applications four or five years ago; the Web3 area has only lately gained popularity.
Unveiling the recent rise of Web3 was a new study from Electric Capital, a Web3 investor since 2018. According to the “Electric Capital 2021 Developer Report,” over 34,000 new developers contributed code to Web3 projects in 2021. This is the biggest amount ever.
According to the report, 66% of active developers and 44% of full-time developers started working on Web3 last year. Today, over 18,000 monthly active developers contribute code to open-source crypto and Web3 projects, mostly on the Ethereum network.
Web2 developers invade Web3
According to Electric Capital partner Maria Shen, 2021 was a historic year for Web3 development, bringing in the most monthly active developers ever. In addition to open-source developers, she added:
“While there are many closed-source crypto developers, Web3 is highly open-source. This is the key distinction between Web3 and Web2. Before Web2, everyone develops privately. Web3 developers ship and build openly.”
Despite these changes, Shen noted a significant increase in Web2 developers moving to Web3. She feels this is because Web3 provides a more flexible access point.
Shen highlighted how part-time developers may quickly build Web3 projects. You either work for Google or not in Web2. There is no middle ground, but Web3 allows enthusiasts to join. The open structure of Web3 allows developers to work full-time, part-time, or even on occasion, Shen explained. said:
“Full-time developers work on a project for 10 days or more every month, while part-time developers only work weekends. Web2 developers are coming in because Web3 supports it.”
Mainstream adoption is another reason Web2 developers are interested in Web3.
Shen noted that the advent of nonfungible tokens (NFT) has ushered in a new breed of developers focusing on art, design, and creator support. According to Tegan Kline, co-founder of Edge and Node, the development team behind open-source indexing protocol The Graph, developers worldwide are dabbling in Web3 due to decentralized finance and NFTs. Traditional companies can now easily enter Web3.
Kline said that Edge and Node recently hired engineers from Google, Amazon Web Services, and Airbnb, as well as traditional banking institutions. “The enormous exodus into Web3 is here, and I believe it will continue,” added Kline.
Aside from better access and general usage, solutions are evolving, making it easier for developers to design products for decentralized Web3 ecosystems.
Web3 incorporates centralized data points with decentralized protocols, for example.
API3’s co-founder Heikki Vänttinen told Cointelegraph that the company’s goal is to bring off-chain data sources, such as meteorological data, to blockchain networks at scale. To enable decentralized apps and smart contracts based on real-world data and events, he added the API economy to the blockchain. A single first-party oracle powers the “Beacon” capabilities, making it easy for Web3 projects to build atop API3’s technologies.
Vänttinen also stated that Beacons obviate the necessity for third-party oracles such as Chainlink. The use of beacons allows APIs to directly link to smart contracts, eliminating the need for a middleman off-chain. Querying data for Web3 development has become more cost-effective, faster, and controlled, according to Vänttinen.
Aside from data, Web3 developers must now integrate new products into crypto wallets. Wallet integration is typically the fastest and, in some cases, the only option to build a product’s user base in Web3.
Web3 developer will continue to grow.
Experts predict that the Web3 developer community will continue to increase as the Web3 environment matures. Shen believes this is based on prior crypto-space maturation. Prices peaked in January 2018 during the 2017-2018 bull run, but developers didn’t start crowding the market until a year later. “If this market is like the last, developers will continue to come in until 2023.”
A crucial requirement of Web3 is interoperability, which allows disparate ecosystems to communicate. Maly Ly, co-founder, and CEO of the Laconic Network told Cointelegraph that interoperability and utility require multiple blockchains to be able to communicate with each other.
To communicate across chains, bridges have sprung up, requiring faster and more flexible access to verifiable blockchain data, or proofs. Ly expects a variety of solutions to emerge this year to solve these challenges:
Incentives for networks, builders, and users rely on trustless systems where data availability and verifiability are critical. This will assist address basic decentralized application development and adoption challenges.”