The Future of Web3: Why PWAs are the Key to Decentralized Applications

Have you ever wanted to build a decentralized application, the core concept of web3 but felt limited by the centralized app store model?

Apple, Google, and Microsoft's app stores provide a controlled environment for apps, with strict guidelines that can result in censorship and discrimination against certain brands and content. In addition, the 30% tax on digital transactions can add up quickly for businesses.

This is where Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) come in. By utilizing the modern APIs available in the browser, PWAs offer a decentralized solution for branding and applications.

Why PWAs are the Key to Decentralized Applications

The web's openness and PWAs' compatibility with decentralized technologies make them the perfect choice for Web3 applications. In this article, we will explore the limitations of centralized app stores and the benefits of PWAs for Web3 applications.

  1. Decentralization offers more flexibility and control for businesses developing applications.
  2. PWAs offer many of the same features as native apps, without the limitations and fees associated with centralized app stores.
  3. Web3 technology can enhance security and transparency for PWAs, reducing the risk of centralized data breaches and identity theft.
  4. Decentralized solutions like PWAs and Web3 technology offer a more cost-effective and accessible option for businesses of all sizes.
  5. By utilizing PWAs and Web3 technology, businesses can create high-quality and functional applications that are accessible to all users, while also enhancing security, user control, and transparency.

Limitations of Centralized App Stores

Apple, Google, and Microsoft's app stores have become the go-to distribution platforms for mobile applications. However, these app stores come with limitations that can hinder the growth of businesses and the development of the decentralized web.

Explanation of Apple, Google, and Microsoft's App Stores and their Policies

Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store both have strict guidelines for app developers to follow, including restrictions on certain types of content and features. These guidelines are meant to ensure the safety and security of users, but they can also limit the creativity and innovation of developers. Microsoft's app store, while less restrictive, still requires developers to follow certain rules and guidelines.

Apple's App Store Guidelines have a strict rule, known as section 4.2.6, that requires apps to provide "more than just a web view of your site." Essentially, this means that native apps must have a certain level of functionality and features beyond simply displaying content from a website.

While this guideline is meant to ensure that apps are high-quality and provide a good user experience, it has also been criticized for limiting the creativity and innovation of developers. This is particularly true for businesses that may not have the resources to develop complex native apps with advanced features.

One potential solution to this problem is Progressive Web Applications (PWAs). Unlike native apps, PWAs are built using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and can be accessed through a web browser. This means that businesses can develop PWAs that provide many of the same features and functionality as native apps, without having to go through the App Store approval process or adhere to section 4.2.6.

Moreover, PWAs are compatible with Web3 technologies and are perfect for decentralized applications. Since PWAs run in a browser, they can be easily distributed through the open web, without the limitations and fees associated with centralized app stores. PWAs can also be used to create dApps (decentralized applications), which can run on blockchain networks like Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain.

This approach also provides several benefits for businesses. PWAs are more cost-effective than native apps since they don't require as much development time or resources. Additionally, PWAs are accessible to a wider range of users since they can be accessed through any web browser, regardless of the operating system or device.

Overall, while Apple's section 4.2.6 may have limitations for businesses, PWAs offer a flexible and decentralized solution that encourages creativity and innovation. By utilizing PWAs, businesses can take advantage of the web's openness and modern APIs to create high-quality and functional applications that are accessible to all users.

Google's Play Store also has guidelines and policies in place that can limit the creativity and innovation of developers. While Google is generally less restrictive than Apple, they still have rules in place to ensure the safety and security of users.

One particular policy that has been controversial in the blockchain and cryptocurrency community is Google's ban on apps that facilitate the sale or trade of cryptocurrencies. In 2018, Google updated its policy to prohibit apps that allow users to "mine" cryptocurrencies on their devices, as well as those that offer trading, exchange, or storage of cryptocurrencies.

This policy can limit the development of decentralized applications that rely on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. However, as with Apple's section 4.2.6, PWAs offer a more flexible and decentralized approach to application development and distribution. By utilizing PWAs, businesses can create dApps that can still access blockchain networks like Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain, without having to go through the Play Store approval process.

Additionally, PWAs offer other advantages for businesses on Google's app store. Since PWAs can be accessed through a web browser, they can be easily distributed without having to go through the Play Store. PWAs are also more cost-effective than native apps, making them a more accessible option for businesses of all sizes.

Overall, while Google's policies can limit the development of certain types of applications, PWAs offer a decentralized and flexible solution that encourages creativity and innovation. By utilizing PWAs, businesses can take advantage of the open web and modern APIs to create high-quality applications that are accessible to all users, regardless of the device or operating system they use.

Examples of Discrimination and Censorship by App Stores

The centralized nature of app stores can also lead to discrimination and censorship against certain brands and content. Apple, for example, has been criticized for removing apps that it deems to be offensive or controversial. In some cases, these removals have been challenged in court. Google has also faced criticism for its app store policies, particularly regarding the removal of apps related to cryptocurrency and blockchain.

  • In 2020, Apple removed the popular game Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games introduced a new payment system that allowed users to purchase in-game items directly from Epic, rather than through Apple's payment system. Apple's section 4.2.6 was cited in the removal of the app. Epic Games has since filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging antitrust violations.

  • In 2021, Apple removed the social media app Parler from the App Store, citing concerns over the app's moderation policies and the potential for it to be used to incite violence. This removal came after the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol, which was organized in part through social media platforms.

  • In 2018, Google removed the popular cryptocurrency wallet app MetaMask from the Play Store, citing a policy that prohibited apps that allowed users to "mine" cryptocurrencies on their devices. The app was later reinstated after Google clarified its policy.

  • In 2019, Google removed the podcast app Pocket Casts from the Play Store in China, citing concerns over the app's content. The app had included an episode discussing the protests in Hong Kong, which had been censored by the Chinese government.

These examples illustrate how Apple and Google's policies can have a significant impact on the distribution and accessibility of certain applications. While some removals or rejections may be justified for security or safety reasons, there is concern that these policies can be used to limit free expression and competition. By utilizing PWAs, businesses can avoid some of these limitations and create applications that are more flexible and accessible to all users.

Explanation of the 30% Tax on Digital Transactions

Another limitation of centralized app stores is the 30% tax on digital transactions. Both Apple and Google require developers to use their payment systems for in-app purchases, and take a 30% cut of the revenue generated. This can be a significant expense for businesses, particularly those that rely heavily on in-app purchases. In addition, developers are also prohibited from providing links or other forms of promotion to external payment systems.

While this policy is meant to ensure that users have a safe and secure experience when making in-app purchases, it can also limit competition and innovation. Some developers have been able to circumvent this policy by offering subscriptions or other services through their own websites, but this can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process.

For example, Netflix removed the ability to sign up for the service from their native apps. New users can only register through the Netflix progressive web application. My research showed this increased Netflix's annual profit by over $300.

In contrast, payment processors like Stripe offer a more flexible and affordable option for businesses. Stripe charges a fee of 2.9% + 30 cents per successful transaction, which is significantly lower than the 30% fee charged by Apple and Google. Stripe also offers a range of features and integrations that can help businesses manage their payments more effectively.

As for the potential of blockchain and DeFi to improve the payment process, there are several exciting developments on the horizon. Decentralized payment systems like Bitcoin and Ethereum offer a more secure and transparent way to transfer funds, without the need for intermediaries like banks or payment processors. Additionally, projects like MakerDAO and Compound are developing DeFi protocols that allow users to earn interest on their cryptocurrency holdings or borrow funds without going through traditional financial institutions.

In the future, it's possible that businesses will be able to utilize blockchain and DeFi solutions to process payments more efficiently and at a lower cost than centralized payment processors. However, there are still challenges to be overcome, such as scalability and regulatory compliance. Nonetheless, the potential of these technologies to transform the payment landscape is a promising development for businesses looking to reduce their transaction costs and increase their flexibility.

Comparison to the Open Web and PWAs

In contrast to centralized app stores, the open web and PWAs offer a more decentralized and flexible approach to application development and distribution. On the web, there are no restrictions on content or features, and businesses have more control over the branding and distribution of their applications. PWAs, in particular, offer many of the same features as native apps, but can be distributed through the open web, without the limitations and fees associated with centralized app stores.

These are just some of the features desired by many apps the web offers the same experience as native apps:

  • Push notifications: This allows businesses to send notifications to users even when they're not actively using the app. This can help businesses stay top-of-mind and increase user engagement.
  • Offline mode: With modern web APIs like Service Workers, PWAs can now work offline or with limited connectivity, enabling users to access and interact with the app even when there is no internet connection available.
  • Camera access: With the WebRTC API, web apps can access a user's camera and microphone, enabling businesses to create immersive experiences, such as video calls or augmented reality features.
  • Geolocation: The Geolocation API allows web apps to determine a user's location, enabling businesses to create location-based features or services.
  • Storage: Web Storage and IndexedDB APIs provide persistent storage capabilities for web apps, enabling businesses to store user data, preferences, or other application data.
  • Touch gestures: With modern APIs like Touch Events, web apps can detect and respond to touch gestures, providing a more immersive and engaging user experience.
  • Native-like UI: With modern CSS frameworks like Material Design and Bootstrap, web apps can have a look and feel similar to native apps, providing a familiar and intuitive user interface.

These are just a few examples of the many features that web apps can utilize to provide a native-like experience, without the limitations of centralized app stores. With the continued development of modern web APIs and the increasing adoption of PWAs, businesses can take advantage of these features to create high-quality, engaging applications that are accessible to all users.

PWA Web3 vs app stores

Benefits of PWAs for Web3 Applications

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) offer a unique set of advantages for Web3 applications, thanks to their flexibility, accessibility, and compatibility with modern web technologies.

PWAs are built using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and can be accessed through a web browser. This means that businesses can develop PWAs that provide many of the same features and functionality as native apps, without having to go through the App Store approval process or adhere to strict guidelines like Apple's section 4.2.6. Moreover, PWAs can also be used to create dApps that can run on blockchain networks like Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain.

One of the primary advantages of PWAs for Web3 applications is cost-effectiveness. Since PWAs are built using web technologies, they require less development time and resources than native apps. This makes them a more affordable option for businesses of all sizes, particularly those that are just starting out.

Another advantage of PWAs is accessibility. PWAs can be accessed through any web browser, regardless of the operating system or device. This means that businesses can create applications that are accessible to a wider range of users, without having to worry about compatibility issues or restrictions on app store distribution.

Additionally, PWAs are compatible with decentralized technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency. Since PWAs run in a browser, they can be easily distributed through the open web, without the limitations and fees associated with centralized app stores. This makes them a perfect choice for businesses that want to create dApps that can run on blockchain networks.

Moreover, decentralized technologies offer several benefits for branding and applications. By utilizing blockchain networks, businesses can create a more secure and transparent platform that can provide a more reliable and trustworthy user experience. Decentralized technologies can also provide a more flexible and innovative platform for creating new services and applications.

Overall, PWAs offer a unique set of advantages for Web3 applications, thanks to their flexibility, accessibility, and compatibility with modern web technologies. By utilizing PWAs and decentralized technologies, businesses can create high-quality and functional applications that are accessible to all users, without the limitations and fees associated with centralized app stores.

How PWAs Can Utilize Web3 Technology

Web3 technology has the potential to transform the way that PWAs are developed and distributed, thanks to its focus on decentralization, security, and user control.

Web3 technology is built on top of blockchain networks like Ethereum and focuses on creating a more decentralized and secure web. By utilizing Web3 technology, businesses can create PWAs that are more secure and transparent, and that provide users with more control over their data and online experiences.

One example of how PWAs can utilize Web3 technology is through decentralized storage. Web3 networks like IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) and Swarm offer decentralized storage solutions that can be used to store and distribute PWAs without relying on centralized servers or cloud providers. This can provide businesses with greater control over their applications, and can also enhance security by reducing the risk of centralized data breaches.

Another example of how PWAs can utilize Web3 technology is through identity verification. Web3 networks like uPort and Civic offer decentralized identity solutions that can be used to verify user identities without relying on centralized authorities. This can provide users with greater control over their online identities, and can also enhance security by reducing the risk of identity theft and fraud.

Overall, integrating Web3 technology into PWAs can provide several advantages, including enhanced security, user control, and transparency. By utilizing Web3 networks like IPFS and uPort, businesses can create PWAs that are more secure and decentralized, and that provide users with a more trustworthy and reliable online experience.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the open web and Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) offer a more decentralized and flexible approach to application development and distribution, without the limitations and fees associated with centralized app stores. By utilizing PWAs and Web3 technology, businesses can create high-quality and functional applications that are accessible to all users, while also enhancing security, user control, and transparency.

The centralized nature of app stores can limit competition and innovation and can lead to discrimination and censorship against certain brands and content. By utilizing PWAs and the open web, businesses can overcome these limitations and provide users with a more reliable and trustworthy online experience.

We encourage businesses to consider PWAs and Web3 technology for their branding and applications and to explore the many benefits that these technologies have to offer. Whether you're looking to create a more cost-effective, accessible, or decentralized application, PWAs, and Web3 technology offer a unique set of advantages that can help you achieve your goals.

In the future, we believe that decentralized solutions like Web3 and PWAs will continue to play an increasingly important role in the development and distribution of applications and services on the web. By embracing these technologies, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and provide their users with the best possible online experience.

FAQ

Q: What are the benefits of using a PWA over a native app? A: PWAs are accessible through any web browser and do not require approval from app stores, making them more flexible and cost-effective. They also offer many of the same features as native apps, such as push notifications and offline mode.

Q: How does Web3 technology enhance security for PWAs? A: Web3 technology is built on top of blockchain networks, which offer decentralized and secure solutions for storage and identity verification. By utilizing Web3 networks like IPFS and uPort, businesses can create PWAs that are more secure and transparent, reducing the risk of centralized data breaches and identity theft.

Q: Are PWAs compatible with decentralized technologies like blockchain? A: Yes, PWAs can be used to create decentralized applications (dApps) that can run on blockchain networks like Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain. By utilizing PWAs and Web3 technology, businesses can create dApps that are accessible to all users, without the limitations and fees associated with centralized app stores.

Q: Do PWAs offer a native-like experience for users? A: Yes, PWAs can utilize modern web APIs to provide a native-like experience for users, including features such as push notifications, offline mode, camera access, and touch gestures. With modern CSS frameworks like Material Design and Bootstrap, PWAs can also have a look and feel similar to native apps.

Q: How do PWAs compare to using a payment processor like Stripe? A: PWAs can utilize payment processors like Stripe for in-app purchases, without the 30% tax required by centralized app stores like Apple and Google. This can provide businesses with greater flexibility and control over their revenue streams, while also reducing costs for users.

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