Article

Phone Home: A Mobile Key to Web3

// March 26, 2024

The power of the sun in the palm of your hand? Not quite, but smartphones have nevertheless completely rewired how we, as a society, function. They took an emerging robust internet and suddenly gave it to everyone, everywhere, always. It condensed vast computing power into something that could fit in your pocket.

Whether as a wallet, a flashlight, a map, or even sometimes as a phone, our mobiles are now the primary interfacing unit through which we humans interact with both each other and the world around us. Our bureaucracy, our taxes, our business, our leisure, our consumerism, or our socializing. The one thing you can’t lose is your phone. As long as you have that - you’re still a functioning member of society. 

We should take a second to marvel at just how incredible smartphones truly are, that even those who grew up without them could never envisage not using them today. They feel as natural as a Tricorder or a Star Trek away team. Our all-in-one Swiss tech army knife to take on the world as we encounter it.

Now that a computer lives in every pocket, decentralization through the Internet of Things is a fast-approaching reality. Within ten years, it will be commonplace to use the supercomputer in your pocket to contribute to a communal, distributed open internet that breaks the on-rail stranglehold of data-raiding and privacy-invading apps we see today. 

Yes, we made a Faustian bargain to trade our personal data to give incentive capital to build the closed, but admittedly effective, internet we see today. Now that we have distributed technology like blockchains, databases, and hardware networks that are mediated and governed through crypto being developed at a breakneck pace, we have the ability to alter the deal. And that’s exactly what Source Network is doing.

Crypto’s Awkward Relationship with Smartphones

Crypto still currently has an awkward relationship with mobile. Nowhere is this more apparent than the obvious, the easy lure of CEXs. Creating a GUI interface on mobile for crypto transactions is hard, unless of course you never had custody of your coins in the first place. For many traders, particularly retail users who expect managing their crypto portfolio to be as easy as ordering Uber Eats, CEXs are the natural choice. Even those who are passionate about crypto often use CEXs to trade on mobile, and 55% of trades are executed on mobile devices. There are options, but DEXs like Uniswap often use semi-custodial partners like Coinbase wallet, or their own specific wallet - rather than an interoperable function with all mobile wallets.

And that’s just trading. Crypto functions on mobile as a whole are still in their infancy. Infrastructure to launch dApps on mobile is nascent and often homebrew, and often extends developers far beyond their means, choosing instead to stick to desktop, or use Web2 structures or relationships to mediate mobile access to their dApps, including storing data on centralized servers, access management, or simply having an off-chain web2 portal that through a centralized custodian, performs on-chain transactions. Web3 mobile games often rig up white-shelf mobile game storefronts or interfaces, recording features like points or in-game currency on SQL databases before ‘cashing the player out’ when requested through separate and discrete webpages or dApps. Essentially, not decentralized at all. 

It is, of course, a completely natural progression point. It’s fair that passionate crypto advocates are still using Web2 hierarchical structures to smooth access to their dApps to show their promise. These incredible dApp developers are creating the foundation for a future driven by their user-incentivised ecosystems, contributory economics, and horizontally scaling networks. 

It’s not their fault the tools for full decentralization are only just being built. Blockchain potential is still in its infancy. As we write, the financial system is being tokenized, but that’s just the beginning. Now that people are emerging into a full consciousness of what these decentralized computers can achieve, it’s time to build the infrastructure to make it reality.

Source Network helps developers migrate to an entirely decentralized tech stack. One that effortlessly bridges the divide from a desktop to mobile dApp, because the infrastructure that powers it is entirely decentralized and device-agnostic in the first place. With DefraDB’s modular deployment any DEX can create a mobile dApp with DefraDB embedded, automatically syncing data like say order books from the edge to the network. 

A Key, and the Key, to Everything

That's just developers. For users, data on mobile can be kept sacrosanct, instead of being pillaged at every turn. Imagine an internet where instead of your interface device (currently the smartphone) betraying your location, your habits, your spending, your behaviors, it instead protects you. An all in one cypher key to your ownership of the digital economy, that also contributes to and yields from the network only with your permission

A device that, although powerful, can still be lost. To counteract this, mobile devices would have a local node embedded within the dApp - that node can sync the data between the user devices, should you want full control over your data, so wherever the app is installed, the data will sync across. Resyncing is easy, and only requires installing the app on a new device. Alternatively, you could have DefraDB backup the data to one of many decentralized data networks, like Arweave, Filecoin, Dfinity, or Akash, no longer needing to keep in-sync copies on multiple devices. 

This paves the way to a world where your internet, your services, and all the profit from it are locally sourced and widely distributed, not monopolized by huge actors. And where the only giant, global networks that exist are the basic utilities of life - money, identity, healthcare records - and anyone with a smartphone profits from their stake in sustaining it. 

It’s a bold vision. And in a few years it will become an expanding reality. Our smartphones will be our access points not just to an internet that’s everywhere, but an internet of everything. Bringing Web3 to mobile may start with just helping user’s trade better non-custodially, but it ends with an open dynamic internet right in the palm of your hand.


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