Real World Serverless with theburningmonk

#59: Introduction to web3 with Nader Dabit

March 09, 2022 Yan Cui Season 1 Episode 59
Real World Serverless with theburningmonk
#59: Introduction to web3 with Nader Dabit
Show Notes Transcript

You can follow Nader on twitter as @dabit3

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Opening theme song:
Cheery Monday by Kevin MacLeod

Yan Cui: 00:12  

Hi, welcome back to another episode of Real World Serverless, a podcast where I speak with real-world practitioners and get their stories from the trenches. Today, I'm joined by a good friend of mine Nader, who used to work for AWS in the Amplify team. And nowadays, he has jumped right into the brave new world of web3. So I'm hoping that he can teach me all about how it works, what it is. Hey, Nader.

Nader Dabit: 00:34  

Hey, what's up? Thank you for having me. 

Yan Cui: 00:37  

Yeah, so it's been really interesting to see some of the things that you've been posting on Twitter about web3. And I guess a lot, well, like myself. And I'm sure a lot of my audience are also been wondering, what is web3? How does it relate to other things like blockchains and NFTs and cryptocurrencies? And can you maybe just start by introducing yourself, your background and how you got into web3?

Nader Dabit: 01:01  

Yeah. So like you mentioned, I used to work at AWS, I've been a software developer for about 10 years. Before I was at AWS, I was a React Native engineer, I was going around the world for about a year and a half training companies, how to build mobile apps with JavaScript and React Native, before that I was just a front end engineer, mainly dabbling a little bit in some mobile JavaScript, maybe for a year or so doing mobile than the rest of the time doing web. When I joined AWS, I was really, really interested and still continued to be interested in in the serverless technologies that I was working with. So I really was having a blast just working with amplify with DynamoDB, with Lambda with AppSync, things like that. So yeah, so I've been in the traditional software development space for most of my career. I've only really been in the blockchain space for about 10 months. So after being in AWS for a little over three years, I was starting to kind of dabble and look into the blockchain space. And I was kind of not really educated on how smart contracts work or anything like that, up until the end of 2020, when I started really diving into some of that stuff. And after watching a few talks, seeing the underlying technologies from some of these cryptocurrencies that I thought were just there for kind of like speculation, I started really becoming just extremely interested. And I would say, one of the things about this space is that it was like, very, very compelling in the sense that it was like kind of new. And some of the problems that they were trying to solve seem kind of complicated, but also fun. So I just became really, really interested in the space. And over the course of like a month, I decided to just leave, you know, the AWS space and kind of try to find a role and the quote, unquote web3, what they call it what we've been calling it now. But like, you know, it was really just kind of the blockchain space.

Yan Cui: 03:06  

Okay, so I guess in that case, let's start with how would you define web3? And what are some of the technology components that make, you know, web3 web3?

Nader Dabit: 03:16  

Yeah, I mean, to me, the thing that makes the most sense, as a developer coming from a perspective of a developer is talking about it in the sense of like protocols. So the protocols that we're used to using are like FTP, HTTP, SSH. They're, you know, dozens or so protocols that we kind of just use that we build applications with. And when I build a website with HTTP, I can just kind of assume that anyone in the world is going to be able to access it without a centralised intermediary. We don't need a centralised intermediary to kind of make that protocol work. It just works. Because it's a decentralised protocol. It's been around for a long time people understand how it works. Now, the way I kind of look at web3 is that we have the introduction of kind of some new types of protocols that we can use to do things that we could not have done maybe in the past. Or when I say we can't have done them in the past, we couldn't have done them without a centralised intermediary. So one of those things is the transfer of value. So when I think about sending a payment, and this, this especially kind of hits home because of some of the experiences that me and my family have kind of had been going back when my dad was growing up in the West Bank of Palestine, and then throughout him getting older, having some type of involvement with the bank of Palestine and then now with Lebanon and like just seeing a lot of the problems that happen there. Like when you're trying to send payments, and how people can kind of just say, Oh, this is for terrorism or like whatever, when in reality, it's just like you want me to send money. And the reason that, that I think blockchain technologies will for sure. I mean, this isn't kind of just me, but like, the original use case for blockchain technologies was this transfer of value without having a centralised intermediary to stop it. So if I want to send money to Palestine today, through the traditional world, the complexity between me myself and I, my bank accounts, my, whatever account that I'd like to kind of maybe interact with, like PayPal, or something like that, all those things put together a very complex, and that's just me in the United States, imagine someone, you know, in a part of the world that is unstable, that does not have the quote, unquote, like high quality financial infrastructure that we have. And I say, quote, unquote, because, you know, a lot of people might argue that our financial infrastructure here in the United States sucks, but it's still much better than like, you know, most countries think a lot of people don't realise that if they haven't really experienced and experienced that. But, um, but yeah, so like, the one of the really, really big moments for me, was being able to, like start picking up solidity and picking up a smart contract and being able to write the transfer of value between two parties with about three lines of code. Compared to all the stuff that I've done in the past with payment APIs. Along with my experiences with the traditional banking infrastructure, it was kind of like this huge lightbulb moment. And it was definitely a paradigm shifting feel. You know, like, as a developer, I've had a few of those things happen in my career, one of them was definitely serverless technologies, I felt was kind of like a paradigm shifting a little bit. The, the React Native framework to me was, was pretty big deal, because I was, I was able to write these, you know, applications. And I kind of felt like that, but maybe on a bigger scale with this smart contract stuff. So yeah, that was kind of one of the first things that really was was compelling to me that anyone in the world can literally open up a web browser and download a wallet, and I can send them payments, without anyone stopping us from doing that. And like it just was so different than what we have. Previous to that, it is the, you know, fundamental like breakthrough, or I would say it's kind of like the the big innovation that a lot of people I would say that come into it web3 first experience. And then and then from there, there's a lot of other stuff may be that they become interested in.

Yan Cui: 07:27  

Okay, there's quite a few things I want to unpack there. But maybe we can start by just maybe explaining to the audience what is a smart contract? I guess that is very much tied to Ethereum. Are they the only blockchain network that supports smart contracts? And, you know, under the hood, what is a smart contract? Is it just a bit of code that you can write that gets run on every somebody else's machine whenever they decide to open a contract to execute it?

Nader Dabit: 07:53  

Yes, so the original implementation of a blockchain was Bitcoin and Bitcoin is really kind of basic in the sense that you can only really transfer value between parties, you can't actually write any business logic or you can't write an application there. From there, they're then you know, a lot of different people that are building out different blockchains. And they all have different properties and different things. But the next kind of huge innovation, in my opinion, and a lot of other people's opinion too, is was Ethereum. And Ethereum allowed you to kind of write executable code that was then also stored on this distributed ledger. So not only could you just say, Okay, I want to send .01 of this unit, between parties, but I actually can store state. And I can also write functions. And anyone that wants to interact with this application can because it's now running on this network and the network that I'm kind of talking about, or like when you first I would say the first network that supported this type of technology was Ethereum. And Ethereum is run on something called the Ethereum Virtual Machine, the EVM. And a lot of other blockchains and a lot of other people have kind of forked this technology and, and either iterated on it, improved upon or just copied it. So once you kind of learn the EVM, you can write solidity and you can write smart contracts across dozens of blockchains. Ethereum was the original one, but just like all technology evolves and improves Ethereum is kind of slow. It's also expensive, and it's also environmentally unfriendly. So we now have other blockchains like, for instance, Polygon, which are environmentally friendly, and they're really inexpensive to do that. And then I think, you know, down the road, we're going to continue to see these smart contracts, or I would say, actually, these blockchain networks that allow you to execute smart contracts getting cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and, and better.

Yan Cui: 09:53  

So when you say environmentally friendly, how is Ethereum I guess not environmentally friendly and how is the Polygon more environmentally friendly? I guess in what aspect are we talking about here?

Nader Dabit: 10:06  

Yes, so the main thing that you typically hear around with the different networks and the controversies around, maybe some of them, a lot of the main pushback that people have is around the consensus mechanism. So if I want to have the state of the chain, come to an agreement between other people within the network, there are different consensus mechanisms around around kind of writing these transactions, and the original consensus mechanism with Bitcoin which was called proof of work, meaning that if I submit a transaction, then I have all these computers around the world, and they're kind of like competing to solve the result of that transaction. And whoever does it first gets to write to the network, and then they get a reward in the form of payment. And the old way of doing things was basically we're gonna, like, do all this computation. And it's kind of, like, for no reason, you're just kind of like, you know, when I say no reason, obviously, there is a reason but like, you know, theoretically, there has to be a better way and there is, but you're just sitting there writing all of these, you're sitting there doing all these calculations, trying to come up with the right cal—, the right result. And then if you can find a find that result, then you are able to kind of write that transaction, and then you broadcast that to the network. And then it gets confirmed bla bla bla, but it's very, you know, wasteful, because like, all you're doing is just wasting computation. So they've, they have other now consensus mechanisms that are more environmentally friendly, that don't require all that work. So instead of proof of work, you have proof of history, you have proof of stake, you have a couple of others that are kind of also trying to find a way for all of these, these computers within this network to come to a consensus around the state of the network. And, you know, that's kind of a lot of the innovation that you see happening in the space is like finding either better consensus mechanisms all together, just improving an existing consensus mechanisms. But I think it's become pretty clear that for most people, that proof of work is really outdated. And it's not something that we would support a new network using, in fact, we would even kind of lobby for any network using that to kind of move to something else, like Ethereum is currently, you know, in this transition phase to moving to proof of stake, which is, essentially have mine, instead of having a miner that runs an algorithm, you have a miner, that I as a person contributing to the network can stake some of my Ethereum. And the people that are staking their Ethereum into the network are essentially putting up their money or their tokens to say, we want to verify a transaction. And what we're doing is like if we verify false transaction, and the network comes back and says, Oh, you've tried to save the incorrect data on the network, you lose some of that stake. So you're kind of putting up value in return for writing transactions to the network, and you're penalised if you do kind of try to write incorrect data to the network.

Yan Cui: 13:20  

Okay, so I guess the Bitcoin mining would be a thing of the past, and there's no more, I forgot what the last number I saw but people are talking about…

Nader Dabit: 13:29  

Ethereum mining was definitely be a thing of the past, but like big so theory, um, definitely is moving that way. But Bitcoin for some reason. I mean, and there's probably some good reasons, I guess, I don't know, I'm not a big fan of Bitcoin. But Bitcoin doesn't have any plans that I know of, to move to anything other than proof of work.

Yan Cui: 13:46  

Okay, okay. So maybe, maybe at some point, Bitcoin would just become a figure of the past and be replaced by other networks that are more, well, environmentally friendly and conscious of the amount compute resources that they're consuming, and energy, especially in this market when energy is getting more and more expensive all over the world. And I guess, in terms of smart contracts you talked about, you can store state as well so some compute onto the network, which should I guess straightaway brings to mind, you know, as a developer, if I need to update some, update my code, and update my database schema and all of that. Now, this sounds like it is going to be hugely complicated to do that when you’re talking about updating all these different nodes all around the world that I don't control. What are some of the mechanisms for deployment when you have to update your code or update a state or associate it with your with your contract?

Nader Dabit: 14:42  

So the contracts themselves are immutable. And there's a couple of ways that you would think about building applications when you're dealing with smart contracts, I guess. One would be that you're just building them in a lot different a way than what we're used to. We're used to building something and iterating on it and like making updates every day. And we were used to these very large code bases. But typically a smart contract will be a fairly concise piece of code that powers something else. So like, you might have a smart contract that powers a DeFi front end. But that smart contract has a somewhat limited, you know, breadth of functionality. And if you want to upgrade that, like, for instance, we've deployed this DeFi protocol. And we need to kind of make some updates to that logic, then we essentially need to deploy a brand new version of that. Or you can do something called a proxy, meaning that you have the main contract that kind of points to the version of the contract that you want to be executed. That's a lot more complicated. So there's kind of trade offs here. If you do a proxy contract, you can upgrade, but then you have the complexity, the additional complexity around how that actually works. But, but just because the contract is immutable in the sense that we can't just change the code within it, you can actually have mutable functionality within the contract. So if you need to change state, you can obviously do that, you know, you can write your contract in a way that is allows it to kind of be moulded and things like that, if you kind of are experienced as a smart contract developer.

Yan Cui: 16:19  

And I suppose if I've got a contract that needs to be executed between two different parties. Can I encode that? And as part of using smart contracts? And in that case, how would you deal with things like, Oh, the two parties on the network, they have different versions of my contract? How do you reconcile those kinds of challenges?

Nader Dabit: 16:38  

You typically try to upgrade the application from the old contract to the new to the new one. So like, if you're running your application, you'll have a v1 of your app and a v2, and you kind of make that very apparent, I guess, in the UI. So a good example of this is like Uniswap, which is one of the DeFi exchanges that does, you know, a few billion dollars of transactions, I don't know, like per day or per week, but they're, they're doing billions of dollars in transactions, but they have like a v2, v3, and you can kind of like toggle between them. And they offer like a different subset of functionality.

Yan Cui: 17:16  

So you mentioned that DeFi a few times now. I'm totally totally busy trying to Google that while you were talking. What is DeFi exactly?

Nader Dabit: 17:25  

Yeah, DeFi is decentralised finance. And it was kind of one of the you know, big killer, quote, unquote use cases of, of smart contract technology and blockchains. And that were beyond just the transfer value. And when you think of kind of what a bank does, a bank is this centralised intermediary that we go to, for storing our money, for retrieving our money, for lending, for borrowing all these things. So if I want to kind of, say I need $50,000, for a pool, or something like that, I might go to my bank, and they might take out a loan, and they might ask for something for collateral. Now, for this to happen, we need an actual bank. So the bank needs to go and build a building, we need to hire employees, you know, we need to pay insurance, like we have this whole, you know, entire business going to run this bank. And we might have like five or six employees, and you know, we'll probably do a few million dollars a month of, of transactions or something like that, well, you could think of like a smart contract, or DeFi is abstracting away a lot of the mechanisms that you might typically see in a bank. So for instance, again, going back to something like Uniswap. Uniswap, as a market maker, there's also a couple of other different types of DeFi protocols out there, like Aave, Compound, and they do different things. But you often have these smart contracts that are maybe a few 100 lines of code, maybe a few 1000 lines of code, that are doing billions of dollars in transactions. And they might have like, 10 developers, but they're doing a lot of the same stuff that you might see at a bank. And they are doing it with a lot less people. So they're essentially kind of like automating away a lot of the different stuff that you might typically need in a bank. And anyone that that has tokens for that network can kind of interact and use it. So if I wanted to borrow some money, I could do that, I would have to put up some collateral of my tokens, but I would be able to say, I want to put up some some ether as a collateral and then exchange I want to borrow like 50,000 US dollars, and I would be able to do that. And then I could kind of do whatever I would want with that. And then if I pay that back, then I would unlock my ETH.

Yan Cui: 19:38  

Okay. And I guess in that case, if we're talking about smart contracts being executed on the blockchain, are there any security mechanisms in place to stop people from writing malicious code that gets executed on the on the network and affecting millions, well, everybody on the network?

Nader Dabit: 19:55  

Yeah, so I would say that one of the biggest things that you see often in DeFi protocols especially, or really big bug bounties and also really big hacks. Because you are essentially, you know, you're you're trusting this contract with all this money between the different parties. So if I can find a vulnerability, and I can extract $50 million out of it, then it's kind of like this idea of, of dark forests where if you find, if a vulnerability is made known to anyone, then there then there will be someone there that will try to kind of like take it out. So you often see that we have big bug bounties in the blockchain space. So for instance, we have a two and a half million dollar bug bounty Open Graph protocol. And you have like, you know, in the range of like, a few 100,000 to a few million dollars, offered for these bug bounties. And it's because of, of the high value that are often stored in these contracts. So we've seen, we've seen hacks, so far up to like $400 million, I think there was a wormhole hack, where someone exploited the Solana and Ethereum bridge for like $400 million. And it was like, literally one little tiny, like, statement on a lot of code, it wasn't even a whole lot of code was like when missing, you know, like, where, and, and someone found that exploit and they were able to, to withdraw like $400 million. So the stakes are very high. And I think that we're still fairly early and figuring out the most secure ways to kind of write these DeFi protocols. But you know, there's, there's a lot of value that's being created. But there's also therefore a lot of value there to be exploited. So you do see a lot of people in there trying to kind of find those exploits.

Yan Cui: 21:44  

Right. And another thing that's been on the news quite a lot recently is this whole NFT thing, which I find really fascinating. And on one hand it’s giving you a way to represent, I guess, originality, for art and other creative content that we haven't been doing until now in the digital world. But on the other hand, you are seeing all kinds of silly things going for crazy money. And I guess I'm still quite confused about in terms of how does web3 relate to NFT and people are telling me that, you know, web3 is the thing that powers or enables NFT. So can you maybe explain how does NFT work in that case? And how does it relate to blockchain and smart contracts?

Nader Dabit: 22:27  

Sure, so NFT is typically known as kind of like an implementation of a smart contract, that is a standard called ERC721. And this contract allows you to mint these unique digital assets. And often you see kind of like one of ones just stand alone, but you also often also, people do these collections where you have like 10,000, or 5000 of a collection, and then each one within that collection has like some different traits slightly different than the other. Yeah, it's really interesting, when I, you know, when I first got into the space, the things that interested me the most were definitely DeFi, they were definitely having to do with stable currencies, stable coins, and, and, you know, crypto being made available in different parts of the world. But, but I soon after discovered, like NFT, and then of two communities that were very, very, like enthusiastic and very passionate. And I think when I was in, in Paris in July, I went to a conference called EthCC. And that was my first time really kind of like meeting people that were into these NFTs and stuff. And on the way back home, I minted a couple just to try it out. And it's, it's interesting, it's kind of fun. But, you know, there's a lot of people that really, really liked them, and a lot of people that really, really dislike them. And then there's a lot of people that are kind of like in the middle. So, you know, I guess it's more, it’s less less about me trying to say, Oh, these things are valuable, because X Y and Z. And instead of kind of looking at the market and seeing that there like more and more people every day that that kind of themselves see something there that's valuable to them, and therefore, the market cap like just keeps going up. But the general idea is that you have now for the first time, theoretically, the idea of owning something, owning a digital asset, where in the past, the only thing that we could really own was maybe like, you could say, Oh, I have like $100 in my bank account. And I own that because my bank tells me that. Think about if we had a way to kind of like have different value. That again, is like stored on a district distributed ledger, which is the blockchain and instead of thinking about just currency, what about we had different other digital assets, right, like and I think that's kind of the whole idea with NFTs. You have this way to represent something on the chain. And typically, you know, when we start getting into this discussion of NFTs, people have, like an image or a video or a piece of art or something like that, that they are storing in a transaction. And then they can kind of like send that to another person, or they can sell it or whatever. But to them, it means it feels like they own it. And I think I didn't really get it at all, until I did go on my way back from France that day on the plane and kind of bought a couple of NFTs. They showed up in my wallet, I was able to kind of like send them to my friends, they were able to send me their own NFTs now that I had my address, I was able to list one on an exchange, you kind of feel a true sense of digital ownership for the first time, and it's hard to explain until you've actually done it. But I think once you feel that sense of digital ownership, even if you have 1000 people trying to explain to you Oh, you don't really like that, like you do have control over it, you have full control over it, you know, it's no one else can kind of like take it from you in that sense of that token being under your own address, like as the owner. And I think that's just something we didn't have before. And it's it's a very strong feeling once you kind of experience it. And people are using it in all sorts of ways like, I think, I think one of the most interesting use cases is going to be gaming, some people are okay with, like, especially here in places where we have a lot of money, like to spend $1,000 a month, or I'm sorry, a year on like fortnite or a few $100 a year on their gaming. And then and then just like that's cool. But I think it's also interesting if we have the, the opportunity for some people, they want to do this to instead of just dumping billions of dollars to this gaming company. Instead, all these different fortnite skins and all these V-Bucks that I'm buying, what if I could take those and like, give them to one of my friends or I could sell them and get some of that value back? What if I had that option? Again, some people just don't care. They're willing, they're cool with just like dumping as much money as they want and not getting anything in return. But some people do think it's pretty cool that we might have a digital representation of those things and able to get them back. So I think gaming is definitely an interesting place. And I think that's where we're gonna see the really, really big explosion of like NFT adoption, in my opinion. And that's also why you start seeing like a lot of the talks around metaverse stuff. Microsoft getting into the metaverse. Meta getting into the metaverse stuff. Both of those companies are investing heavily in this. And they've also both talked about how NFTs might play a role in there. Again, I think the most I think the greatest part about all this stuff is that if you don't want to do it, if you don't want to, like participate in it, you don't have to, but the people that are in it are having a lot of fun. And it's still early, we don't really know what it's gonna look like.

Yan Cui: 27:45  

Yeah, I guess talking about gaming, I remember reading about this thing called CryptoKitties a while back maybe a couple years ago, and it was massive, and it was generating some ridiculous amount of revenue, I think hundreds of millions, maybe even billions of dollars of revenue a year. I guess that's maybe an early example for what sort of things can come from this blockchain technology and combined with gaming. Are there other big examples that I know of, that you know of, successful stories of applying crypto blockchains to gaming?

Nader Dabit: 28:19  

Yeah, I mean, there's a couple of use cases that, you know, could be looked at as success stories. One of them is I forgot the name of this game. But um, there's a game out there that that was launched. And over the last like six months or so they reached over like a billion dollars and an actual transaction between users. Oh, it’s Axie Infinity. So Axie Infinity is a game that isn't really played maybe that much here in the US, but um, around the world, the adoption is fairly, fairly large and for a time, and I think there's still some people that are doing this, people were making more money, just playing the game than they were in their native country. I think the Philippines was was once a country where there was a lot of people actually playing this and kind of making more than if they were out in a regular job. So that that was an example of a game that had some success, it's still, you know, fairly successful, people are still playing it, and they're still, you know, 10s, or hundreds of millions of dollars worth of value being traded between parties. And again, the coolest part about that is instead of 100% of the money going to the gaming studio 95% of the money is just transacted between the parties, right? So instead of me like giving $100 and going to the corporation, 5% goes to the corporation 95% stays within the gamers. Again, some people don't like that, but there are people out there that find that pretty compelling, you know, and I think that if we can apply that model to a lot of more interesting, maybe newer games like fortnite. There's really nice games with like the nice UI nice UX, then people will kind of definitely be adopting that. And again, Axie Infinity is like a really, really early stage version of this. But it was kind of a terrible game, like I played it. And I was like, this is not fun. But like, if there's that many people using it, the incentive mechanism there is there there, like, the whole idea of like, the tokens and stuff being part of it, that incentive mechanism, ownership is part of it. So I think if we can kind of like apply that ownership to a really nice game, then you're gonna see a lot of people. I personally, you know, would rather spend $1,000 on the game, if I was gonna keep 900 of it. I don't know, like, maybe I'm crazy. But that's me. And I think there's a lot of other people that are out there like me.

Yan Cui: 30:38  

Okay, interesting. Interesting. I’m looking at it now. I think I can't really tell what this game is really about. It's got some really cute graphics, but… Okay, and what about in terms of other use cases that you know of that are gaining some traction apart from DeFi and gaming?

Nader Dabit: 30:55  

Yeah, for sure. I mean music so there's a lot of musicians that are doing NFT stuff. I went to EthDenver. And I think one of the things I love the most about this space is that it's not just developers building business applications. When I was EthDevner, I met actresses and actors and I met musicians and artists, and I met someone in porn, like, you know, like all types of people from all over the spectrum of life. And they're all collaborating with developers to do stuff. So like again, you have like these musicians doing NFTs, you have this idea of a DAO. So I created a DAO called developer DAO. We have over, I think, five or six thousand members now. We have over 50,000 followers on Twitter. We just did a… we just started a hackathon this week. We have $65,000 in prizes that were given to us by sponsors. And the way that we operate is that we want people that are in the developer community that want to help us achieve our missions, values and goals, which are free developer education, free developer events, and open source free so we just want to create free and public goods. So to get into the DAO, all you needed to do was mint a free NFT. And the NFT again like didn't cost any money, but you kind of have this token of ownership. And with that token, you can access the discord. You can help build and participate and like meet people. We had dozens or… Yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t, I wouldn't say hundreds but maybe dozens of people that have landed high quality jobs just by being part of the community. We've had so many great people create relationships. I've met so many friends within that, and kind of the whole DAO was facilitated by this token, and this token getting mechanism that you often see in kind of web3. And the cool thing about it is like if you then you get into the DAO for a couple of months, you land a job, you meet a couple of great people and then you don't have time for it anymore. You have a representation of your ownership that you can then give away to someone else or you can sell it. So you've helped build this community. You've minted this token for free. Now, it's probably worth like .15 ETH which is like I don't know, maybe 500 bucks. So you can now get that get some of that effort back. And you still have all of those things that you had like as part of that. So like NFTs are often used for access. So one example that is with DAOs. Another example is like a lot of events and stuffers now looking at NFTs for getting into the events. So RenderATL I think is experimenting with this. Anyone that signs up for the event gets this NFT and then when they go to the conference they use it to get in but after the conference is over they have like this token that represents their you know, attendance of that and it's kind of cool to go back and look look at that. It's almost like a fact, you know, some people keep all their conference badges or something you know, on the wall, and then you kind of had that that artefact but it also has utility. It's a piece of technology. It's a primitive that you can then use to do other stuff with.

Yan Cui: 33:55  

Okay, so that brings me to my last question. So if someone was interested in learning about, well, and getting into this web3 space, where should they start? Because we talked about quite a few different protocols as getting traction. And if you're just learning about how the whole blockchain works? And where should you start looking? And what are some of the resources that you recommend for people to go to learn about, you know, programming web3 applications and smart contracts?

Nader Dabit: 34:22  

For sure, and this is probably my favourite part of the whole discussion because I've spent the last 10 months trying to create as much educational like material and resources that I can possibly make to help onboard people into this space. And I think the best part about this entire thing is that literally, you're not leaving anything behind when you start diving into these new technologies. You have all of the same skill sets, like I still go and build apps with CDK. I still go build React Native apps, I now have this new skill set that I can make $500 an hour as a solidity developer, though, if I wanted to. I think that's the really empowering part of all of this. It's it's not a lot of new things to learn, in the sense of if you're a developer, you can probably pick this stuff up in a month or two, but it opens the doors to so many more possibilities. So like you take all the things that you know, all that knowledge that you built up over your career, you're just kind of like adding to it. And you don't have to literally learn this and then go and be a quote, unquote like web3 developer, you can literally continue doing whatever you like, but now you understand this new primitive in your head. And you might start thinking, Oh, like, I see a new way that I might apply these technologies. So that's the best part about it. You are able to just have more ways to build stuff. So if you want to get started building, I would say there is a couple of different blockchains. But I mentioned the Ethereum Virtual Machine. And I think the Ethereum Virtual Machine is a really great place to start because it's almost like JavaScript, in the sense that you can learn JavaScript and you can write desktop apps and web apps and mobile apps and and backends and all types of stuff. So you learned this one technology this one language and you can apply it in multiple areas. The EDM is kind of like that. The Ethereum Virtual Machine is essentially solidity and a solidity development environment. And using that you can write apps for Ethereum, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, Celo, Avalanche, like dozens of blockchains. So I would I would recommend starting with the EDM. There's a really great YouTube and also website called Solidity by Example. And the Solidity by Example, kind of gets you started. I have a couple of really great tutorials for learning web3. One of them is the complete guide to full stack web3 development. And then in that tutorial, I have a link to three other ones that are really great. I would also recommend checking out Austin Griffith’s Speed Run. He has an Ethereum speed run which is kind of like a really comprehensive EDM tutorial. And yeah, those two places are probably a really great place to start. And then from there, you'll you'll you'll probably see me linking into a bunch of other stuff.

Yan Cui: 37:02  

Okay, I'll make sure those are included in the show notes for anyone who's interested. And I will make sure that I'll get your YouTube channel included in the show notes as well for anyone to check out the tutorials that you've done over there. Thank you again, Nader, for taking the time to come to the show and explain to us what is web3 and NFT and all these different protocols in the blockchain space.

Nader Dabit: 37:23  

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me and I hope people enjoy looking into some of this stuff. 

Yan Cui: 37:29 

Sounds good. Take care, man.

Yan Cui: 37:43 

So that's it for another episode of Real World Serverless. To access the show notes, please go to If you want to learn how to build production-ready Serverless Applications, please check out my upcoming courses at And I'll see you guys next time.