ERC-4804 enabled Web3 URLs on Ethereum, allowing internet users to access Ethereum applications and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) without worrying about centralized censorship.
The proposal was first proposed on Feb. 14, 2022, and was co-authored by ETHStorage founder Qi Zhou, Ethereum researcher Sam Wilson, and Chao Pi.
ERC-4804 was approved and finalized on the mainnet on March 1.
1/n, I am delighted to announce that the first web access protocol for ETH ERC4804: Web3 URL is approved by EIP editors and finalized!
web3:// (w3url) is decentralized http://. It allow users to directly browse the rich web content on EVM, pages/images/songs!— Qi Zhou (@qc_qizhou) March 1, 2023
Anthurine Xiang, a spokesperson for layer-2 storage protocol ETHStorage, explained that the ecosystem still relies on centralized web servers to access “decentralized” apps, such as Uniswap and GoDaddy.
“Right now, all the DApps claim to be decentralized apps, but how do we get on the webpage? You have to go through the DNS. All those are centralized servers.”
HTTP is the protocol used to access the internet.
Under ERC-4804, internet users can type in “web3://” in their browsers to bring up DApps such as Uniswap or on-chain NFTs directly.
This allows users to directly run a query to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
Ethereum-based websites can be accessed by storing content on the Ethereum blockchain or a compatible layer-2 protocol, but the costs are prohibitive.
Ethereum’s storage cost is high, with 1 Gigabyte of on-chain data costing roughly $10 million. Layer-2 storage solutions could help mitigate some of the costs.
Xiang suggested that the new URL standard should be tailored to specific applications.
“Not everything needs to go decentralized. If you are running a pretty good Web2 business and you don’t have to worry too much about centralized censorship. […] You can just go for that.”
The new standard would be useful for DApps or websites at risk of censorship, such as Tornado Cash, which can’t access their website due to censorship.
If a DApp has already been decentralized, why are they still using a centralized website for access?
Bad actors may use the new standard to engage in illicit activity, Xiang said:
I *use* IPFS to store my blog. It has serious UX issues (took ~1h for my last update to propagate). Sticking the blog on-chain would have been way easier.
For blogs, that’s unfortunately too expensive, but for short text records the logic applies.— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) May 27, 2022
ERC-4804 will allow for dynamic data and interact with websites, making it easier to interact with other blockchains.
Credit : cointelegraph