Web3 Developer Stack: The Ultimate Guide

Learn about the comprehensive suite of tools in the web3 developer stack to gain an edge in building decentralized applications.

Web3 Developer Stack: The Ultimate Guide

Web3 development is not just a technical leap from web2, but it also involves changes in the principles of application development. There are also tangible changes in the technological infrastructure to house the new ethos of decentralization, ownership, transparency, and open-source economic models. 

But starting from scratch to accommodate all these changes is a tedious task. So, developers building web3 or decentralized applications (dApps) employ a plethora of tools, plugins, and resources available.

In this blog, we’ll explain what a web3 developer stack is, its components, how each of them works, and finally suggest some developer tools to build your first dApp with QuickNode.

What is web3 developer stack?

Web3 developer stack refers to the collection of technologies, tools, protocols, and resources employed by developers to build and run dApps. The stack consists of blockchain networks like Ethereum, smart contract languages such as Solidity, decentralized storage options like IPFS, and front-end development libraries like Web3.js or Ethers.js.

All of them come together to form a holistic toolkit required by developers to build blockchain-based solutions, ranging from decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols running on smart contracts to digital assets like NFTs (non-fungible tokens) or even innovate in areas like decentralized social media, gaming, and marketplaces.

Now, let’s learn about the different components of this developer stack.  

Components of web3 developer stack

This section delves into the core elements that form the backbone of web3 development. It includes the non-negotiable components of any web3 product or application.

1. Blockchain

Blockchain is the foundation of the entire web3 developer stack. 

Simply put, it’s a ledger that records transactions across multiple computers, also known as nodes, unlike traditional client-server models which rely on a centralized entity. This distribution of nodes means that no single entity has control over the entire network — reducing the risk of central points of failure and adding resilience and integrity to the system.

Now, there are thousands of blockchains. Which one should a developer build their solution on?

For that, let’s look at a few broad types of blockchain networks and their features.

Layer 1 blockchains

L1 chains are the base layer of blockchain infra and include well-known blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance Smart Chain (BSC). 

They provide core blockchain functionalities like transaction recording and validation, employing various consensus mechanisms, such as proof of work (PoW) or proof of stake (PoS). This influences their transaction speed and throughput. 

Among layer 1 blockchains, Ethereum is the most widely used blockchain, courtesy of its in-built smart contract functionality. This enables developers to write business logic and automate transactions using code. Further, Ethereum is also a tested and robust network with a huge community of developers, tools, and libraries.

This expansiveness of Ethereum also results in frequent congestion and high gas fees.

Now, how can developers overcome the limitations of L1 blockchains? 

Enter layer-2 networks.

Layer 2 blockchains

L2 networks are built on top of Layer 1 blockchains to enhance scalability and transaction speed. They handle transactions off the main chain (L1) and periodically report back to it. This reduces the load on the base layer, allowing for faster and cheaper transactions which is essential for applications requiring quick finalities like gaming or trading.

Examples include Lightning Network for Bitcoin and various scaling solutions for Ethereum like Optimism and Arbitrum. 

L2 solutions also offer flexibility; some focus on privacy, ideal for institutional use, while others prioritize interoperability. 


The "appchain" thesis revolves around the concept of dedicated blockchains for individual dApps or specific use cases, as opposed to having multiple apps sharing the same blockchain infrastructure, like Ethereum.

Appchains allow for the customization of blockchain to suit specific application needs. This could include modifying consensus mechanisms, block times, transaction fees, and governance models. 

Such customization ensures that the blockchain is optimized for specific requirements, like high transaction throughput, enhanced security, or privacy, and helps developers offer a more tailored experience for users. 

Ronin chain and DFK chain are examples of appchain.

So, web3 developers can opt for any of the three blockchain types mentioned above. They are improved iterations i.e. better speed, efficiency, and even increased throughput. 

However, none of these pursuits have been fruitful at facilitating interoperability i.e. making the blockchains talk to one another. For this, the solution at an infrastructure level lies with Ethereum’s compatibility mechanism — the EVM i.e. Ethereum virtual machine.

Build your custom blockchain with QuickNode!

Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) 

EVM is a virtual state machine that provides a secure and isolated environment for the execution of smart contracts. EVM speaks the language of bytecode — a low-level, machine-readable language. Developers can write smart contracts in any language and compile them into bytecode — what the EVM interprets and executes. 

EVM compatibility refers to the ability of another blockchain to execute Ethereum-based smart contracts. This compatibility facilitates interoperability and the transfer of assets and logic across different networks. 

Blockchains like Polygon, Fantom, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), and Optimism are all EVM-compatible.

2. Smart contracts

Smart contracts are the technical vending machines on the blockchain, operating on an "if/when...then..." principle. They are pieces of code that automatically enforce, execute, or document events and actions according to the terms of a contract or an agreement. 

Executing a smart contract requires computational resources, which users pay for in the form of "gas" fees. These fees compensate the nodes that process and validate transactions.

Essentially, smart contracts introduce programmability and make blockchains interactive platforms rather than static ledgers. This way, they are the building blocks of dApps and protocols that run on blockchains.

3. Web3 programming languages

Web3 programming languages are tailored scripting languages developed to write smart contracts and deploy them on blockchains. This varies from traditional web2 programming languages in terms of gas optimization, development environments, and more.

The popular web3 programming languages are:


Solidity's syntax is influenced by C++, Python, and JavaScript, making it familiar and reducing the learning curve for new developers. Also, Solidity is object-oriented, allowing for the creation of complex contracts with inheritable properties and reusable components. This feature is particularly useful for developing sophisticated dApps with multiple interrelated contracts.

Additionally, Solidity is supported by a robust ecosystem, including development frameworks (like Truffle and Hardhat), testing libraries, and extensive documentation. 


A Python-derived language, Vyper is designed for Ethereum with a focus on security and simplicity. Its syntax emphasizes readability and auditability, avoiding some of Solidity's features to reduce security risks. Vyper is also directly compatible with Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) bytecode — which makes it even more welcoming for new developers.

Vyper encourages the use of immutable variables to enhance security. Once set, these variables cannot be modified, reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities due to state changes.

Similarly, Vyper’s simplicity and explicitness make it more amenable to formal verification methods, an important aspect in proving the correctness of smart contracts.


Gaining popularity for its performance and safety, Rust is used in newer blockchain platforms like Solana and Polkadot. Rust's biggest selling point is its emphasis on memory safety without relying on a garbage collector — which manages memory and other resources more efficiently and safely. 

Rust's approach to concurrency is designed to prevent common pitfalls like data races. This makes it an excellent choice for blockchain applications, which often require handling numerous transactions and operations simultaneously.

However, Rust has a steep learning curve and can be difficult for developers to adopt and start building.

4. Oracles

Smart contracts, written in blockchain programming languages like Solidity, Vyper, or Rust, often require data from the outside world to execute certain functions. 

Oracles are the bridge between blockchains and the external world, allowing smart contracts to interact with off-chain data and systems. They fetch data from outside a blockchain and feed it into the blockchain network. This data can be anything from price feeds and temperature readings to flight statuses and election results.

There are a few major types of oracles:

Data oracles

Supply real-world information to blockchains, varying from centralized oracles (single data source) to decentralized oracles (aggregated data from multiple sources).

Computation oracles 

Execute external calculations and relay the outcomes back to smart contracts, enhancing their computational capabilities beyond the blockchain's limits.

Cross-chain oracles

Enable data and asset transfer across different blockchain platforms, facilitating interoperability and broader communication between diverse blockchain ecosystems.

5. Nodes

Nodes are individual computers or devices that store, distribute, and preserve the blockchain data to verify transactions and enforce the rules of the network. They are essential for the proper functioning and security of the blockchain.

The more nodes a blockchain has, the healthier and more secure the network is considered, as it becomes more resistant to attacks and failures. 

There are a few types of nodes. The major types are:

Full nodes

Full nodes maintain a complete copy of the blockchain ledger. They validate transactions and blocks and uphold network rules for security and consistency.

Light nodes

Light nodes download only block headers and rely on full nodes for detailed data. These require minimal resources and are ideal for less-powerful blockchain applications.

Mining nodes

Mining nodes are responsible for adding new blocks to the blockchain and they receive rewards for these efforts. These are core to proof of work blockchains like Bitcoin.

Validator nodes

Validator nodes work by validating transactions, creating new blocks, and participating in network governance. These are especially found in proof of stake blockchains.


Masternodes are powerful nodes in a blockchain network with added responsibilities and capabilities, such as transaction verification, governance, and block processing.

Web3 development tools

These are tools and resources that help in building web3 products and applications. From testing environments to plug-in and play elements, these tools can accelerate web3 development.

Node providers

Node providers offer infrastructure services that allow individuals and companies to interact with blockchain networks without having to set up and maintain a full network of nodes.

Some of the popular node providers are:

  • QuickNode is a web3 infrastructure platform that provides blockchain developers with high-performance node access across multiple blockchains. The platform supports various blockchains, including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and others, allowing developers to connect to these networks easily.

Also, QuickNode facilitates easy access to blockchain data, including transaction histories, smart contract interactions, and real-time block information.

  • Infura is another key web3 infra provider, offering scalable API access to the Ethereum and IPFS networks. They enable developers to connect to these blockchains without running their own nodes. 

Additionally, Infura provides extensive documentation, developer tools, and community support to assist developers in building and deploying dApps.

Development environments

Development environments are a simulation playground for developers to write, test, and deploy smart contracts. They offer built-in testing and debugging tools, which are crucial for ensuring the reliability and performance of dApps. Alongside, these environments help developers reduce the risk and cost associated with live testing and deployment.

Here are two popular development environments:

  • Truffle is a popular development framework for Ethereum development, offering a robust testing framework that allows developers to write automated tests for their smart contracts in JavaScript and Solidity. Importantly, Truffle also provides a migration mechanism that makes deploying contracts to the blockchain easier and more reliable.

The Truffle suite also includes Ganache (a personal blockchain for Ethereum development), and Drizzle (a collection of front-end libraries).

  • Hardhat is another popular development environment specifically designed for Ethereum. It provides a robust environment for testing and debugging smart contracts. Hardhat is built around a JavaScript runtime, meaning developers can write scripts and tests in JavaScript, a widely used programming language.

Crucially, Hardhat has an extensive and flexible plugin system, allowing developers to tailor the environment to their specific needs by integrating additional tools and services.


Testnets are an essential tool for developers to stress-test their code and dApps under real-world conditions. They replicate the conditions of the main blockchain network, giving developers a realistic platform to understand how their dApps will perform.

  • Sepolia is a popular testnet for Ethereum development. It mimics the performance and conditions of the Ethereum mainnet allowing developers to experiment with smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). 

A key thing to note is that Sepolia is closely aligned with Ethereum 2.0, making it a relevant playground for testing new features such as staking and shard chains. 

  • Holesky is a new public testnet for Ethereum and was recently launched on September 28, 2023. It is designed to support up to 1.4 million validators, exceeding the combined validator numbers of Ethereum's mainnet and the Goerli testnet — the popular testnet that Holesky replaces. Like Ethereum's mainnet, Holesky incorporates a staking mechanism for validators using Holesky ETH. 

And most importantly, Holesky serves as a key testing environment for the upcoming Dencun upgrade in Ethereum, which introduces proto-danksharding.

Native libraries

Native libraries refer to libraries written in a language that is native to the blockchain the code is being deployed on. They significantly simplify the process of building and interacting with dApps by allowing developers to write in languages like JavaScript or C++ which are more developer-friendly. 

  • Web3.js is a widely used library for Ethereum development, written in JavaScript, and developers can use it to interact with a local or remote Ethereum node. Developers can access blockchain data like block details, transaction details, and Ethereum network properties.
  • Ethers.js is a lightweight JavaScript library that is known for its compact size and modular nature. Developers building protocols or functionalities that require a smaller footprint opt for this. The library allows for Ethereum wallet creation and management, connecting to Ethereum nodes, signing transactions, and interacting with smart contracts.

Also, Ethers.js has a strong and active community, ensuring continuous updates and support.

Front-end libraries

Front-end libraries in web3 bridge the gap between blockchain and its intricacies with the user interfaces of dApps and protocols. From handling authentication, transaction signing, and managing user accounts to deploying and calling smart contract functions, front-end libraries help web3 developers on multiple fronts — essentially making web3 development simpler.

  • React.js is a popular front-end library for building user interfaces of dApps. It offers dynamic and responsive UI components that can react to blockchain data in real time.

The component-based architecture of React.js allows for reusable components making functionalities like wallet connections, token transfers, and contract interactions — simpler and easier to integrate with dApps.

  • Angular is a front-end library developed and maintained by Google. Along with front-end components, it is amazing at handling asynchronous data stream real-time updates, making real-time updates like wallet balances or transaction confirmations easier to build. 

Further, Angular can be integrated with web3 libraries such as Web3.js or Ethers.js, enabling easier interaction with smart contracts, oracles, and nodes.

API and SDK providers

Web3 API (application programming interface) and SDK (software development kit) providers help developers build and deploy dApps easily by abstracting the complexities of blockchain interactions. 

  • QuickNode is an infrastructure-as-a-service provider, offering APIs that enable developers to connect to various blockchain networks without managing their own nodes. Similarly, their NFT API makes the creation, distribution, and management of NFTs simple for developers.

Tools, APIs, and resources for web3 development across 20+ networks are what QuickNode offers for web3 developers.

  • Thirdweb offers a range of API and SDK services for blockchain and Web3 application development. Their Web3 APIs simplify the development process by handling tasks like reading blockchain data and managing smart contracts, user wallets, and transactions.

Similarly, they also offer powerful SDKs — ranging from contract SDKs to wallets — all being compatible with several blockchains.

Decentralized storage

Decentralized storage providers distribute data across a network of nodes, enhancing security and reducing the risk of data loss or censorship.

Here are two major projects that offer decentralized storage solutions:

  • IPFS or Interplanetary file system is a decentralized storage solution that allows users to host and receive content like a peer-to-peer network, as opposed to relying on centralized servers. Files stored on IPFS are immutable, meaning they cannot be altered. Each version of a file is stored under a unique hash, enabling version history tracking.
Build your IPFS project with QuickNode

Also, IPFS de-duplicates files across the network, which means that identical files are stored only once, saving storage space and bandwidth.

  • Filecoin operates as a decentralized storage marketplace, allowing users to rent out their unused storage space or purchase storage from others. Their distributed network ensures data redundancy, meaning that multiple copies of data are stored across different nodes. 

This increases reliability and availability, as the data remains accessible even if some nodes go offline — which is most important for dApps. 

Identity and authentication

Web3 introduces decentralized identity solutions, relying majorly on blockchain to create and manage digital identities. This decentralized approach ensures users have full control over their personal data. Protocols like the Ethereum name service (ENS) allow for the creation, management, and verification of decentralized identities (DiD).

Understanding the ethos of DiDs, web3 developers need to respect user sovereignty while complying with anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations.

Similarly, in Web3, authentication methods involve cryptographic techniques, like using public and private key pairs. A user's private key, which they alone control, acts as a secure method for authentication. When a transaction or request is made, the smart contract checks the validity of the request by verifying the signature against the public key. 

This allows for complex and customizable permission systems within dApps while promoting non-custodial authentication.


Web3 wallets are a crucial component of the developer stack. They enable user authentication in a decentralized manner by holding the user's private keys, which are used for signing transactions and messages. Similarly, wallets facilitate the interaction between users and smart contracts. From trading to voting in a DAO, wallets are crucial.

In the web3 developer stack, wallets are integrated into dApps as browser extensions, mobile apps, or web-based interfaces, making them a key component for user interaction. They are also designed to be compatible across different blockchains, facilitating a seamless user experience in a multi-chain environment.

Application binary interfaces (ABIs)

ABIs enable dApps to communicate with smart contracts on the blockchain. They define how dApps should interact with smart contracts, listing the contract's functions and how to call them. This includes information about function names, their inputs and outputs, and other details necessary for the function's execution. 

More importantly, ABIs standardize the way of interacting with different smart contracts across Ethereum. This standardization is crucial for interoperability, allowing different applications and services to interact with any smart contract, courtesy of ABIs.

Check out QuickNode's Smart Contract Explorer Tool


The web3 developer stack is continually evolving, with new tools, standards, and technologies and this can be daunting for new developers. However, there are resources and tools that can make developers’ lives easier and simpler. 

In this blog, we hope you better understand the developer stack needed to build a dApp from scratch or with the help of tools and resources.

About QuickNode

QuickNode is building infrastructure to support the future of Web3. Since 2017, we've worked with hundreds of developers and companies, helping scale dApps and providing high-performance access to 25+ blockchains. Subscribe to our newsletter for more content like this, and stay in the loop with what's happening in Web3!