NFTexplained.info is a team of long term crypto investors who are well versed in the NFT space and have the goal of providing educational content.
In this article, our team will examine what open source means, we will take a look at how open source the NFT and web 3.0 space is, and the relationship open source has with Ethereum and smart contracts.
Before we go any further, it is useful to clearly define open source.
OpenSource means the source code – which is the commands that will be executed in a computer program – are visible for everyone to see. This accessibility, in conjunction with a license grant, means that people have the ability to thoroughly breakdown, enhance, and modify the source code as they please.
With open source code, the owner of the original source code through a cost-free license grant allows everyone to use the code as they please and for any purpose. There are many benefits to having fully open source code; e.g. people are able to find bugs and may improve upon the code base itself.
Some widely known examples of companies that are open source include Mozilla Firefox – one of the most popular web browsers. Trezor is a hardware wallet company for the storing of digital assets and most of the company’s software and hardware is open source.
Now that we have a better understanding of what it means to be open source, we will take a look at the relationship between open source and NFTs.
Are NFTs Open Source?
NFTs are primarily open source as the vast majority or the main aspect that makes NFT possible – smart contracts – are available for the public to inspect. The smart contract source code for NFTs can be viewed on Etherscan.
For example, the smart contract source code for Bored Ape Yacht Club can be found here.
Our team should note that smart contract source code is primarily what triggers a transaction to occur on a blockchain network. If you are interested in learning more about smart contracts in a less technical fashion, click here.
We should also note that Etherscan is a blockchain explorer that allows you to view information including transactions, balances of addresses, and as previously stated, source code of smart contracts.
Now our team will break down the relationship between open source and web 3.0.
Is Web 3.0 Open Source?
Before our team answers this questions, we will quickly define web 3.0.
Our team would define web 3.0 to be a version of the world wide web that is primarily decentralized and not fundamentally owned by any company. We would define web 3.0 to be a version in which users own their assets.
As a general statement, web 3.0 is not fully open source as many web 3.0 companies have proprietary implementations. That being said, much of web 3.0 involves blockchain and NFT technology which is primarily open source.
Owning your assets is an enormous part of web 3.0 and NFTs, but more specifically smart contracts, is what makes that possible (which is primarily open source).
Large web 3.0 companies that are leading the space like Decentraland are considered to be open source. In their terms and conditions, they state, “With respect to the source code of the software of the Tools that has been released under an open source license, such software code must be used in accordance with the applicable open source license terms and conditions as described in Section 13 below.” More on Decentralands terms and conditions can be found here.
As a general statement, web 3.0 will be primarily open source as the majority of web 3.0 will be built atop the blockchain which is open source.
Now we’ll take a look at the relationship Ethereum has with open source.
Is Ethereum Open Source?
Ethereum and Ethereum Classic is an open source blockchain which allows for decentralized applications to be built atop it (like NFTs). The blockchain is open source to allow users to find bugs and improvements in a manner that would be faster than if the blockchain was to withhold source code.
To conclude our article, our team will take a look at the relationship between smart contracts and open source.
Are Smart Contracts Open Source?
The code for smart contracts are available for the public to inspect via blockchain explorers like Etherscan. Additionally, many decentralized finance (DeFI) projects have a GitHub account which makes the source code available. The related license grant then varies by project.
To conclude our article with some final thoughts, our team would say that the blockchain space is largely open source.
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