The term Web3 is used in the programming and marketing context a lot. But what does it mean?

  • What does Web3 mean for a programmer?
  • What does Web3 mean for a user?

1 Answer 1


Web3 originally meant three different APIs injected into a web context. This was circa 2015-2016.

  • Web = web context

  • 3 = three different APIs

  • Web + 3 = web3.

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It tells how applications (developed by a software developer) can communicate with other applications that they have not developed themselves. For example, how your wallet can communicate with #Ethereum is defined by API.

"Context" in this case means simply "within a web page." Any web page could access these APIs and build applications on top of them. These applications become known as decentralised apps, or Dapps. APIs are provided by a browser plugin (usually MetaMask).

The original Web3 APIs were

  • eth = Access Ethereum blockchain data and make transactions.
  • bzz = Swarm. Decentralised storage.
  • shh = Whisper. Peer-to-peer encrypted messaging.

However today Web3 can mean anything related to blockchain technologies and is mainly used as a marketing term.

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