paint-brush
APIs, RPCs, and Node Infrastructure - The Backbone of Web3 Developmentby@mashacryptoprlab
1,985 reads
1,985 reads

APIs, RPCs, and Node Infrastructure - The Backbone of Web3 Development

by Masha PrussoApril 25th, 2022
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Most people are unaware of how the underlying blockchain infrastructure works in practice. The future of Web3 development can be achieved through the use of a provider that offers support for multiple blockchains. The legacy world of Web2 (think Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Apple) is made of centralized, controlled, commercial, proprietary servers. The vast majority of the world’s information is kept in centralized servers, which is kind of scary when you sit down and consider the implications.

Companies Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
Mention Thumbnail

Coins Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
Mention Thumbnail
featured image - APIs, RPCs, and Node Infrastructure - The Backbone of Web3 Development
Masha Prusso HackerNoon profile picture


While Web3 is rapidly disrupting various industries, most people are unaware of exactly how the underlying blockchain infrastructure works in practice. In one sense, it's useful to have applications allowing effortless transition from fiat to crypto, and businesses do not need an understanding of how the network operates.


On the other hand, this is precisely what occurred with the rise of giant internet companies and with centralized Web2. People enthusiastically gave their data away to giant tech monopolies, and they are currently paying quite a heavy price.


To understand the very basics of web development in the new era, it’s helpful to have a rudimentary knowledge of RPCs, APIs, and node infrastructure.

APIs vs RPCs

RPC is short for Remote Procedure Call. One node communicates with another node in a requester/receiver relationship (or client/server relationship). RPCs enable developers to connect with other networks. In the context of Web3, each blockchain can be described as a network. So an RPC provider will allow access to other blockchain networks, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polygon, etc.


API is short for Application Programming Interface. Once a network connection has been established, APIs allow interaction between different devices on a given network. So RPCs would be the first point of contact with a blockchain, while the API would then allow further development between different nodes on that blockchain.


To give an example; a multichain crypto wallet would need to have a number of RPC endpoints to communicate with various blockchains. It sends requests to various blockchains for the purpose of storing and sending coins. The RPC allows connection to a different blockchain, but an API can allow two nodes within the network to communicate with one another. The API offers both read and write access between nodes on a blockchain network.

Node Infrastructure

The word “node” sounds technical, but it's not. A node is just a server - a computer of some kind that stores information. It‘s simply a point of storage on a given network, in this case, a blockchain network. Lots of computers/servers come together to make a network.


The legacy world of Web2 (think Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple) is made of centralized, controlled, commercial, proprietary servers. The vast majority of the world’s information is kept in centralized servers, which is kind of scary when you sit down and consider the implications. Even Web3 firms suffer heavily when they use a centralized server model:


  • Metamask restricted user access due to its reliance on an Infura API.

  • Binance and other exchanges halted withdrawals when an Infura API went down.

  • Twitter's NFT features suffered due to its reliance on OpenSea, which relies on Alchemy servers.


In other words, a lot comes back to the simple fact of server ownership; where are you storing your information, and how safe is it? Time and time again, reliance on centralized servers leads to multiple inefficiencies.


A Web3 company that claims to be fully decentralized isn’t if they use a centralized node provider like Infura. Infura does make building on Ethereum a lot easier, but the price of centralization is too high.


If all the information runs through a single centralized node provider, then it does not matter how many thousands of “decentralized” Web3 firms are changing the world. The fact is that the power lies with the person/firm who holds the data.

Multichain Support And Node Resolution

The future of Web3 development can only be achieved through a node provider that offers support for multiple blockchains. There are not all that many of them.


Right now, Ankr is the market leader in a number of key areas, most notably RPCs. It currently offers 15 RPCs, meaning that developers can send requests to over 15 blockchains, running through Ankr’s suite of protocols. The premium plan allows unlimited RPC requests for engineers looking to build and scale their applications.


Ankr is currently migrating to a distributed architecture. While not 100% of the way there yet, they are considerably more decentralized than other providers and are better value, with a full suite of advanced tools. They have also released APIs for NFT tracking and for rapidly querying multiple blockchains.


Ankr makes it easy to earn and build on Web3 and provides one-click node deployment. Setting up your own node for a given blockchain takes a lot of time and experience - it's rarely worth it from a commercial perspective. The provider is actually the underlying engine on which most of Web3 is being built, and is Binance’s main infrastructure partner. It’s one of the biggest and fastest-growing infrastructure companies in Web3.

Wrapping It Up

The strength of any project is only as good as its foundations. In the case of Web3, the foundation is server storage, and this has to be decentralized, or we’ll run into the same problems at some stage. Web3 firms have already suffered due to relying on centralized storage, and this is a prominent warning sign.


Aside from that, there is the technical problem of interoperability between blockchains. APIs need to be compatible across chains, including the new blockchains that are coming out. For now, however, it’s enough that individuals and small businesses working within Web3 are aware of the importance of node decentralization.


This is the backbone of Web3 development, and increased efficiency, security, and interoperability can be built from the stable foundation of a decentralized node architecture.