Disclosure: I am a Blockstack Evangelist and earn a small amount of Stacks in that role.
If you read Part 1, you heard about web 3.0, why decentralization matters, and that the world of crypto is really for innovators and early adopters at the moment. And by that, I mean the tech is not quite user friendly at times, still has major bugs, and some of these protocols you spend all your time learning about or building up a corpus of profiles and data on could go away. Think back to failed tech like laser disks, HD DVD, or even somewhat successful technology that died off rapidly, like the Virtual Boy. Anyone that bought these did not get much use out of them before they faded away into obsolescence. And not just the monetary cost, think of all the people that spent days, weeks, or months perfecting the special Palm Pilot strokes that will never again be useful (include me in that category).
That is the cost of jumping on the tech bandwagon early. But there is also the potential reward if that technology does hit mainstream.
I believe Blockchain Technology is going to reach massive levels of adoption across a multitude of industries. But how can people other than software engineers start learning and using crypto services?
Early Adopters Start Here!
So you want to use web 3.0, but you are not sure where to start? Let me point you in some good directions, but know that this technology is still early in the game. In order to start using these dApps, it may take a few steps, but you will be rewarded with a taste of the decentralized and secure future.
The best resource I have found for dApps is the website app.co that attempts to curate every decentralized app on any protocol’s platform.
Protocols: How to get started
- IPFS – A distributed file system that seeks to connect all computing devices with the same system of files. (Via Medium)
Getting Started: If you have never run commands from a shell (Terminal on the Mac, or PowerShell on Windows) then I recommend you shy away from the apps that require IPFS. Some of them may use several file systems, in which case you will be fine. Follow these instructions if you dare.
- Ethereum – A platform in which you can write programs that are uncensorable and impossible to modify, and these programs can send a receive money natively. This allows for building financial applications that have no central authority. (Via Reddit)
Getting Started: Using this platform is much easier, but there are more options to choose from. The most user friendly option in my opinion is to use Ethereum dApps is to install the MetaMask browser plugin. These instructions on medium should get you up and running with MetaMask. Once you have installed it, go back to the app.co site and pick an Ethereum dApp from the list to try out.
- Blockstack – A new internet for decentralized apps where users own their data. Blockstack’s platform helps entrepreneurs and engineers build these apps and deliver better end-user experiences. (Via Blockstack)
Getting Started: Since this is my favorite project, I wrote a whole post about getting started with it. Like Ethereum’s Meta Mask, you will need to download the Blockstack Browser, which adds web 3.0 functionality to your current browser. You will also need to buy an id using Bitcoin, but soon that process will be simplified. If you want those step by step instructions, check them out here.
Good Today, Better Tomorrow
The first time I used IPFS, I was hooked on web 3.0. A decentralized and encrypted internet seems like the next logical step in the evolution the web. With the above protocols you can begin to engage with this new internet, and you too may see the potential that exists.
You really can start using many of these dApps as substitutes for current solutions, but some can still be clunky, with rough edges and confusing user experiences. The polish of these apps will come last, once the hard problems have been solved.