2022 saw both an insane rise and then fall in the interest of Web3 and blockchain development.
In the first half of the year, it felt like every time I logged onto Twitter, I’d see an update from a new brand that secured funding or an update on a project’s incredible growth.
The latter half of the year saw things slow down. As the hype dried up, so too did many of the projects that were — if we’re being honest, not exactly useful.
The good news is this current bear market has left only the most intrepid of developers and builders behind—people who are working to solve real problems with great solutions.
As I spend the best part of my day analyzing Web3 projects, I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight a few great Web3 open-source projects for you to check out in 2023.
Wait, why should I care if a project is open-source?
So look, if you want to TL;DR of this, there’s a great summary in this post.
Open-source software has already proven its potential for improving accessibility, connecting developers together, and reducing costs.
That really highlights the key benefits.
However, there’s a little more nuance in the conversation, especially if you consider its relationship to Web3 and blockchain.
Here are a few key points that really highlight the overlap between open source and Web3.
Open source allows developers and users to work together without explicitly trusting each other
That sounds terribly familiar.
People can collaborate without explicit trust, almost like a public blockchain.
A lot of focus in Web3 and blockchain tech is centered on the features and benefits, like all the people talking endlessly about permissionless blockchains being more transparent and censor-resistant.
That’s great, but there’s a cultural element here as well.
Web3 is, by design, more collaborative.
It enables people from different areas and walks of life to collaborate on projects and work towards common goals without lengthy application processes and checks.
Collaboration > code
There’s been a long history of engineers being the driving force and most prized assets in tech company growth.
Code itself has been the moat upon which many brands have built and maintained a market leader position.
However, I’m pretty certain this will change in the next few years.
First, you’ve got the open-source nature of Web3. As more brands adopt open source, the moat created by code alone will diminish.
Add to that the growing use of AI to handle complex tasks like coding, and there will be a much faster cycle of code writing and improvements.
Brands are going to have to look at different ways to differentiate.
One of the best ways is for brands to create a community and develop a guiding mission that attracts more users to their cause.
Much like many of the best Web3 brands are already doing.
This is what many open-source projects also achieve by allowing anyone to contribute and have some feeling of ownership.
The cost of open source is creator-friendly
Web3 has a strong focus on the creator.
We want creators to be fairly compensated for their work and to be able to pursue their goals.
Much proprietary software — both in terms of usage and development — is slow to improve and costly to use.
Open-source software is generally cheaper for all involved, which will enable more creators to build solutions that solve real-world issues.
And all at costs far more friendly than established methods.
I could keep going on the overlaps between open source and Web3, but you get the idea.
They share a lot of the same core concepts.
Open Source Social Media
In the spirit of Web3 and decentralization, there’s been a push from developers in the space to democratize social media (and remove the controlling influence of centralized entities).
There are a few open-source projects worthy of note; let’s start with the big one you probably already know.
Mastodon is an open-source, decentralized social media platform allowing users to create their own communities and share content with others.
It’s been around for a few years now (since 2016) but started to get a large interest when Elon took over Twitter and started flexing his muscles.
Mastodon is built on ActivityPub, a protocol for federated (or distributed) social networks.
This means that any user can join any Mastodon instance, allowing them to communicate with people from all over the world.
The only issue with Mastodon is it can be a little difficult for users to get to grips with. If you can persist, it’s quite a cool network.
Farcaster’s a relatively new open-source social media platform that’s been gaining traction in the Web3 space.
It’s built on top of IPFS, allowing users to store their data and content on a distributed network.
Farcaster also has an interesting feature called ‘stacks,’ which allows users to create their own custom feeds from multiple sources.
This means you can follow people from different networks (the equivalent of Twitter, Reddit, etc.) all in one place.
The great thing about Farcaster is that you can build your own app to interact with the wider Farcaster network.
Open Source Crypto Wallets
If you’ve spent any time in Web3, you’ll know that a wallet is basically your passport to use the dApps and projects in the space.
There are plenty of great crypto wallets to choose from, but the most popular is an open-source project.
MetaMask is a browser extension wallet that allows users to store, send and receive Ethereum-based tokens.
It’s been around since 2016 and is one of the most popular wallets in the space — mainly because it makes syncing to dApps incredibly easy.
In addition to connecting to dApps, you can use it to store crypto and buy/swap cryptocurrencies.
MetaMask is an open-source project and probably one of the first wallets you should consider using.
Open Source Cryptocurrency Exchanges
If we’re being honest, crypto exchanges are where most interest in Web3 still resides.
Probably because this is where the money lies.
The good news is there are a few great open-source crypto exchanges available for you to check out and use as inspiration if you ever consider building your own crypto exchange.
Uniswap is, without a doubt, the most popular decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. It’s an open-source project that allows users to trade Ethereum-based tokens directly from their wallets.
Uniswap is built on the Ethereum blockchain and uses an Automated Market Maker (AMM) to facilitate trades.
This means that users don’t need to rely on order books or centralized entities to make trades, making it incredibly secure and efficient.
HollaEx is an open-source cryptocurrency exchange platform, but it’s also a little different. HollaEx’s USP is that it allows users to create their own decentralized exchanges.
It’s built on top of the HollaEx Kit, which is a suite of tools and services designed to make setting up a crypto exchange as easy as possible.
HollaEx also offers a range of features, such as multi-currency support, an order-matching engine, liquidity management, and more.
It also supports both fiat and crypto payments, making it a pretty versatile exchange.
Open Source Decentralized Storage
The digital storage game is dominated by AWS right now.
but several brands are popping up that offer decentralized file storage. Often that comes with a much lower cost and often with faster transfer times. Here are a few to note:
Storj is an open-source decentralized storage platform that allows users to store and access data in a secure, distributed network.
It uses blockchain technology and cryptography to ensure data integrity and privacy.
The platform is powered by its own cryptocurrency, STORJ, which is used to pay for storage space on the network. Storj also has a marketplace where users can buy or sell storage space.
Storj offers a range of features such as end-to-end encryption, sharding (splitting files into smaller pieces), and redundancy (storing multiple copies of files).
Web3 is Being Built on Collaboration
Collaboration and community are at the core of many Web3 projects. The above are just a taste of the solutions people build you can get involved in and help with.
There are plenty of options for you to choose from, be it NFT collections with real use cases and communities or more tech-heavy options related to the Metaverse. There are plenty of options out there; the only struggle you’ll have is narrowing down your selection.
If you want a little help and to see what people are working on in Web3, check out our growing list of Web3 projects and brands at Decent Reviews.
And if you want another round-up piece like this, let us know, and I’ll put another together.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by ThisIsEngineering; Pexels; Thank you!