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Web 3 For Lawyers Crash Course - Building Blocks



Before I give you a road map on all things Web 3. You need a 3-second background intro to what on earth Web 1 and Web 2 is.  Think of Web 1-3 as phases of the World Wide Web/aka the Internet. The first phase is basic Google searching to read info on the web posted on different web pages. Then came the rise of social media networks and Google. Now we didn’t just read the info on the web; we had now advanced to the next phase which consisted of interacting and socializing on the web, even buying and selling on the web. Large corporations like Google, Meta, and Apple were now the middlemen and custodians of Web 2, without them, there is no use of the web (for the average Joe). In an attempt to combat breaches of privacy and server break-ins of these companies, and even to avoid the costs of dealing with these middlemen, cue Web 3. Web 3 is the current and possibly the last version of the Web. It's decentralized and runs on a peer-to-peer network that is run by public servers. The data in Web 3 is open to the public and is not owned by these mega-tech companies.   


In terms of coding, it's crucial to have an understanding of coding on Web 2 because you will need those skills for the UI of your Web 3 projects. Or else you will have a self-executing smart contract that does not have a front-end. So, for the front end, you will use JavaScript, Next JS, and React JS to interact with your smart contract. 




First, you need to understand the fundamentals of the blockchain.  Understand 1. What a blockchain is. 2. How it works. 3. Why do we even use it?  A blockchain is a network of connected computers through cryptography, that collectively run a ‘blockchain client’.  The chain of blocks that makes up the blockchain is called a Distributed Digital Ledger. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.  


There are many blockchains, but the Ethereum blockchain is the coder’s choice.  It simply has a lot more technical support than the others.  


Next step. Learn how to code a smart contract. Solidity is the primary programming language for writing smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. Try Remix as your IDM before switching to writing your smart contracts on VS Code, which is an IDM used for other coding languages. A smart contract is a software stored on a blockchain-based platform that automatically executes an agreement. And are immutable once deployed (I.e., you can't alter them, as you would other contracts). Smart contracts are how you program on the blockchain in order to execute a specific instruction.  


Smart contracts enable you to exchange anything of value while also eliminating the middleman. In my opinion, the self-executing aspect of a smart contract is what makes it so valuable. I’m sure all attorneys or financiers can appreciate that. They are efficient and fair (due to their immutable quality).   


The last step and definitely the most important step is the compiling, testing, and deploying of the smart contracts that you’ve programmed. Without this step your contract will just be bland lines of code which does nothing i.e., it does not execute. And once the smart contract is deployed, they are immutable. Therefore, it is crucial that you test your smart contract before deploying.   

What testing libraries should you learn? The first one I recommend is Mocha. But there is also Ganache and Chai, which are equally good. Once you have completed testing you are ready to deploy your contract.  


For deployment, I would recommend Infura, Hardhat, or Truffle. Once you have deployed your smart contract, you will have to create a beautiful UI to connect to your smart contract. Now you have a fully functioning decentralized application aka Dapp. It's just a fancy term for applications that are hosted and run on a blockchain. They are decentralized and free from the control and interference of a single authority. This ensures the user’s data is kept out of the hands or reach of the big tech companies. Just like how cryptocurrencies are decentralized monies, Dapps are decentralized applications. A Dapp can be a mobile or web app.   


The Dapp is like your regular web app with JavaScript, CSS, and HTML but with two distinct differences. Dapps have an integration with the blockchain and the integration with a cryptocurrency wallet. For that, you can use a JavaScript library called Web3.js, or Ethers.js, or you can connect your smart contracts manually.   


Step 7 is to learn about Metamask or any other crypto wallet. It's similar to a payment gateway like PayPal, but the exchange is via cryptocurrencies instead. There are lots of crypto wallets out there but first, learn to integrate your smart contract with Metamask before trying out the other ones. Metamask allows you access to your wallet and the blockchain through a web extension or mobile application.  


Then you will be ready to learn how to connect your front end to your blockchain application. The two popular choices that implement the Ethereum API are Web3.js and Ethers.js. Web3.js is a collection of libraries that allow you to connect with a local or remote Ethereum node using HTTP, WebSockets, and all other communication protocols. Ethers.js is a lightweight JavaScript library that connects the JavaScript front-end with Smart Contracts. And it is essentially an alternative to web3.js.   


The next step is to practice your skills by building a blockchain application. Practice makes perfect. Keep working on new projects. Build your portfolio, it shows evidence of your expertise, and it can build trust with clients. A portfolio is crucial to track your progress in job applications.   



About Us

At The Legal Engineer, we believe that harnessing the power of legal software can revolutionize the way legal professionals work, streamlining processes, reducing manual labor, and ultimately saving precious time and resources. Our platform serves as a comprehensive resource, offering expert reviews, insightful articles, and curated lists of the most promising legal software solutions available.


Our platform serves as a comprehensive resource, offering expert reviews, insightful articles, and curated lists of the most promising legal software solutions available.





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