We’re lying to ourselves what web3 is about. Just because someone named it web3, we’ve forced ourselves to come up with a usecase that is incremental to web2.
Web1 - read
Web2 - read, write
Web3 - read, write, own
In the web2 world, you don’t trust your data or service provider unless they’re very large or publicly listed. Different people have different thresholds on when they trust a company with their data, life savings, service provider etc. But one thing that is common is no one trusts their life savings on a company that’s only a day old.
That changes in web3. You can trust a company with your life savings on day 1. Infact many companies, firms, DAOs trust their *entire* working capital to Gnosis Safe. Gnosis Safe is only a few years old and is managing $2B per day! This is not possible in the web2 world. The reason it is possible in the web3 world is, no single person can shut down Gnosis Safe - even if the founders want to. You can look at the code and immediately trust that the money here will be safe.
Even if a founder wants to shut down the company or product - they can’t. We saw recently that the founder of Yearn Finance, a popular DeFi app, abandoned the project. No-one lost any money, the project continues to operate even today.
Not being shutdownable is a feature. Someone somewhere can’t just arbitrarily pull the plug on the product.
Not only can users use Gnosis Safe or Yearn Finance without having to think about it being shut down, but builders can build on top of them without the fear of the underlying products/protocols/infrastructure being shut down.
In web2, APIs being shut down and companies having to shutting down is commonplace. You cannot trust an upstart with their APIs to build your product on top of them.
But in web3, you can build on top of projects from day 1 - knowing that they can’t be shut down. You don’t have to re-innovate, you can just reuse existing projects and build on top.
A great example is Uniswap. Everyone treats uniswap as the swapping solution on chain. There’s no way Uniswap can just shut down. So all the DeFi apps built on top of them, can flourish without having to rebuild the layers below their own. This has led to a cambrian explosion in the last few years in DeFi. Arguably started immediately after Uniswap launched (and was audited). Lot of scams too, yes - but innovative ones.
All the contracts deployed on chain can be reused by other contracts immediately after the contract is deployed.
That means, a project exposes its APIs on day 1. Unlike web2 where exposing an API is an after thought.
This coupled with the unshutdownable nature of contracts makes them great foundational building blocks that can be reused.