Devs Sound Off on the Future of Web3

The latest Stack Overflow survey find a mixed take on Web3 technologies.

The latest edition of Stack Overflow's sprawling developer survey solicited opinions from more than 70,000 respondents about a new tech category: Web3.

Web3 is still somewhat of an amorphous term that Wikipedia relates to "an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchain technology, which incorporates concepts such as decentralization and token-based economics." Thus it has to do with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), crypto currencies, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and so on.

In the Stack Overflow 2022 Developer Survey, Web3 was added as a tech category along with traditional segmentations for most popular, loved, dreaded and top-paying technologies and so on.

The results?

"Developers are torn on blockchain, crypto, and decentralization," Stack Overflow reported. "32 percent are at least favorable, 31 percent are unfavorable and 26 percent are indifferent."

How Favorable Are You About Blockchain, Crypto, and Decentralization?
[Click on image for larger view.] How Favorable Are You About Blockchain, Crypto, and Decentralization? (source: Stack Overflow).

Those percentages come from all respondents, as the report also breaks down responses into those from professional developers and those learning to code.

"While those learning to code are more favorable than Professional Developers, more of them are also unsure," the report said. So it was a mixed bag all around for the emerging technology.

Stack Overflow investigated the issue in more detail in an April post titled "New data: Do developers think Web3 will build a better internet?," which reported on a survey that sought information about Web3, blockchain, crypto and whether they are all hype or truly the future of the internet.

"Of the 595 developers surveyed, a sizable portion had no idea what we were talking about: 37 percent responded with 'What's Web3?' Of those in the know, 25 percent think Web3 is the future of the internet, 15 percent think it's a bunch of hype, 14 percent think it's important for crypto and related apps, and 9 percent think it's all a scam. TL;DR: the split still stands," the company said.

What Do Developers Think of Web3?
[Click on image for larger view.] What Do Developers Think of Web3? (source: Stack Overflow).

Other data highlights of that April report as presented by Stack Overflow include:

  • Blockchain experience is built outside of work: "An overwhelming majority (85 percent) haven't developed using blockchain, more or less even with our blockchain experience findings from 2021. Of those that have, we see that most of blockchain development is done as a side project or hobby."
  • Blockchain novices are still believers: "Experience or not, developers still think it could be a game changer. Among developers that know what Web3 is but without blockchain experience, 40 percent think Web3 could be the future, 25 percent think it's all hype, 20 percent think it's important for crypto, and 15 percent think it's all a scam. Those with blockchain experience under their belts feel similarly -- 41 percent think it's the future, 29 percent think it's important for crypto, 19 percent think it's all hype, and 10 percent think it's a scam."
  • Learning is skyrocketing: "In our previous post on blockchain trends, we saw that questions peak around major Bitcoin price milestones ($19k and $60k). We experienced another period of massive growth since then, but not because Bitcoin hit another all time high; rather some people feared a Crypto Winter."

    The company looked at how many blockchain-related questions were posted on its flagship Q&A site and found many related to the Ethereum currency, Solidity, a language similar to JavaScript that can be used for working with Ethereum, Web3, and smart contracts -- small programs stored on a blockchain that are triggered when certain predetermined conditions are met.
  • JavaScript and Python continue to dominate: "JavaScript connects the top blockchain tags on Stack Overflow. We looked at what non-blockchain tags are most common among blockchain tags. On Stack Overflow, you can have up to five different tags. It is no surprise to see JavaScript and Python at the top of the list, as both have been among the most common programming languages for years now. JavaScript has been number one for nine years running and Python just took over third place in 2021."

So, again, as with the developer report question in the big June survey, it was a mixed bag for the April report, too.

"The jury is still out, so to speak, when it comes to the future of blockchain and Web3," Stack Overflow concluded. "Most are building experience with blockchain in their free time or haven't touched it at all. And as developers are learning and building, they are turning to the languages they use most: JavaScript and Python. Regardless of hype cycles and trends, inexperienced blockchain developers still think Web3 is the future of the internet. The popularity of blockchain and Web3 is undeniable, and we're seeing people learn and collaborate with blockchain at an astronomical rate. The question remains -- will this all stand the test of time? We're excited to find out."

So are we. Stay tuned.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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