The Internet of today relies on centralized servers to perform functions like storing your emails, processing your credit card payments, and hosting online communities—leaving you with little control over who has access to that data and how it’s used. But there’s another way. The blockchain is an open, distributed ledger where transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded publicly and permanently. Instead of hosting these services on a single company’s servers, the blockchain distributes them across its network of users, who are rewarded with cryptocurrency when they add their own computing power to the blockchain as part of mining operations.
Introducing ‘Web 3.0’
The internet that we know and love has come to an end. In its place, Web 3.0 has arrived, powered by blockchain technology. What does this mean for you? It means that instead of relying on big companies like Facebook and Google to store your data and manage your identity, you can take control of these things yourself. You no longer have to pay those companies for the privilege of using their services–you can do it all from your own computer or mobile device with just a few clicks.
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud, or third-party interference. These apps run on a custom-built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property.
What are Smart Contracts?
Smart contracts are computer protocols that facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract. These programs execute automatically once certain conditions are met. For example, when someone sends an amount of cryptocurrency to another person’s address and the correct private key is supplied, the money will be deducted from the sender’s account and deposited in the recipient’s account. This happens without any human intervention or oversight and so can be considered to be trustless.
Getting started with Metamask
Metamask is a browser extension that allows you to interact with Web 3.0 dapps (decentralized applications) on the Ethereum blockchain. To get started, download and install the latest version of Metamask from the Chrome or Firefox extensions store. The first time you use it, you’ll need to create an account by entering your email address and password.