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Foundation of Web3: Fundamental Building Blocks, Architectural Principles, Design Space
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  • Dirk Draheim ,
  • Ahto Buldas ,
  • Mike Gault ,
  • Märt Saarepera
Dirk Draheim
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Ahto Buldas
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Mike Gault
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Märt Saarepera
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The Web3 vision takes blockchain disintermediation to a next level by making it ubiquitous, encompassing not only payments and financial services but also digital identities, data and business models. Recently, Web3 has gained massive attention by major analysts such as Gartner, Forrester, Forbes Technology Council and the Harvard Business Review. Albeit the current enthusiasm about Web3, we are lost in a state of confusion about what Web3 actually is - or could be. The purpose of this paper is to mitigate the gap between the perceived usefulness of Web3 and its potential implementation. We take a descriptive design science approach. We provide informed arguments for a potential foundation of Web3 in terms of fundamental components,  architectural principles and a Web3 design space. We demonstrate the usefulness of the provided Web3 foundation by describing Alphabill, a platform that allows for universal asset tokenization and transfer as a global medium of exchange. The findings of this research enable policy makers, decision makers and information systems architects alike to make informed decisions about Web3 and its potential implementation as follows: (i) The Web3 can be characterized as the integration of digital rights exchange into the (application layer) internet protocols. (ii) The Web3 has the potential to revolutionize today’s information systems’s landscape by turning today’s information systems into deeply standardized views on a huge, single underlying information structure. The killer application of a well-founded Web3 is the Web3 itself – being the currently missing backbone (value-added middleware) for all of today’s and future enterprise applications and business-to-business communication. (iii) The scenario-based evaluation of the provided Web3 foundation reveals the described Alphabill platform as a Web3 enabling technology.