Together with members of Geometry - Tom Walpo and Ben Levy - we’ve been thinking about how we upgrade the Internet and build Web3 directly into the Web, such that it is available by default in every webpage.
Every web app could become a financial app, enabling:
Micropayments - content creators can directly monetise, paywalls can offer one time payment options
Seamless web purchases - assets can be bought and swapped within web articles
Digital content integrity - the authenticity of all digital content would be verified
Web3 today is artificially separate from Web2.
To use a “Web3 app” or “dapp”, you first need to install a wallet and setup a browser extension, such as in Dawn’s Safari Extension. The extension injects a connection to Web3 into the webpage.
This way of connecting to the blockchain however is messy and stunts the adoption of Web3. To simply integrate payments into a web app, a developer needs to learn about esoteric Web3 concepts such as providers, signers and transaction receipts.
Further, it means that every Web3 protocol has to be accessed through a custom built UI. These protocols are actually fundamental financial primitives - sending value, swapping assets, taking out loans - and we believe should be available natively to every web app.
Indeed, the early Internet designers thought it obvious that the Internet would have a native digital cash layer. They left behind the
402 Payment Required HTTP error code.
Taking a step back, there are two technology exponentials that we think will play a large role in shaping the next generation of the Internet.
Only a couple of years ago, a simple swap on Mainnet would cost several dollars - putting Web3 firmly out of the reach of most.
Now, rollups are rolling off the production line and have lowered this cost to the mere 10s of cents. Sending a payment on a rollup costs an order of magnitude less than the Stripe minimum fee.
AI and LLMs are continuing to advance and will start to play a role in interpreting our finances, helping us to secure and execute our digital lives.
Dawn AI is an early attempt to show what is possible right now, giving you a deeply competent financial copilot by your side to help you interpret the Web3 world.
It is also clear that the proliferation of powerful AI will raise challenges. It will soon be impossible, if it isn’t already, to discern human generated content from AI generated content. All human generated content will need to be signed, humans will “Sign Everything”.
So how can we build Web3 direct into every web app? This would enable micropayments across the Internet, new mechanisms to fund digital content and bring hardened, trusted data to the Web in the Age of AI.
We think that the browser and wallet need to take on a much larger role. Tom Walpo came to us recently and discussed this idea - HTML can be upgraded to be Web3 enabled - HTML+.
The idea is to introduce a limited set of new HTML tags, where each tag represents a core primitive of Web3. A “Web3 ready” browser would interpret and execute these, whilst a non-enabled browser would simply ignore.
To make this concrete, consider the below collection of tags and a use case:
# A <w> tag, notifying the browser that the app is connecting to Web3 <w NETWORK="" ADDRESS="" /> <WRITE CALLDATA="" TO="" /> <READ ACCOUNT="" CALLDATA="" BLOCK_NUM="latest"/> <SWAP FROM="" TO="" /> <SEND FROM="" TO="" ASSET="USDC" AMOUNT="" /> <STREAM FROM="" TO="" DURATION="" ASSET="USDC" AMOUNT=""" /> <PRICE ASSET="" QUOTE="USD" VENUE="" />
Imagine a non-web3 developer runs a news website with a paywall. They want to integrate payments, to allow a user to pay to read an article rather than subscribe.
With HTML+, the developer can immediately reach for the
<SEND> tag and enable payments in one line of code. The browser would interpet this tag and render it in Green.
A website visitor could then easily send a payment of $1 via a rollup, to remove the paywall and read the article. They would pay just a few cents in fees:
The developer would not need to learn anything about Alchemy, signers or Ethers. They would not need to integrate a third party SDK.
And micropayments would be the start. We think the browser/wallet of the future will take on the role of verifying what you see online - querying chain state, verifying the authenticity of digital content and guiding your experience of the Web with LLMs.
This is early stages of what it could look like to build Web3 into the Web and we are enthusiastic to hear input and feedback. Interested in embedding micropayments into your site?
Please join our community and get involved!