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Best Tech Stack For Web3 Startups?

A comprehensive guide to selecting the ideal tech stack for your Web3 startup
12 min read
Written by
Andre Costa
Published on
November 23, 2023

Alright, let's cut through the jargon and get real about picking a tech stack for your Web3 startup. At first glance, it seems like you're just choosing some tools and languages, right? Well, it's way more than that. This decision is going to ripple through your whole project, affecting not just how you build your platform, but who you hire, how your project grows, and even how you fit into the future of Web3.

It's Not Just About the Code

Choosing a tech stack isn't just geeking out over which programming language or framework has the coolest features. It's a decision that's going to shape your project from the ground up. Think about it: the tech you pick determines the kind of talent you need to hire. Go with something cutting-edge, and you might struggle to find experienced devs. Opt for something too niche, and you could find yourself boxed in if that technology doesn't keep up with the times.

And it's not just about what's happening now. The Web3 world moves fast. What's trendy today might be old news tomorrow. So, you've got to think ahead. Will the tech you choose play nice with the next big thing in blockchain or smart contracts? Can it adapt as your project scales up, or will you hit a wall?

Now, for every project, for every client we take on, we go through this selection process to pick the precise tech stack. After doing this 163 times, we decided to put together the Blockchain Tech Toolkit. We'll walk you through how to align your tech choices with your project's core mission, ensuring that your platform isn't just technically sound but also strategically poised for growth and innovation.

Establishing Your Project's Core Technical Criteria

Before we jump into all the tech options, we need to get our basics straight: what are we looking for in the tech we choose? It's like making a shopping list before hitting the store; it keeps you focused and helps you make smart choices.

Before you make a decision, you have to know what you are basing your decision on, what weighs more or less in the decision making process? It's about laying down the rules of the game before you start playing.

Expanded Criteria for a Holistic View

  • Developer Adoption: It's not just about the tech itself but also about the people who will be working with it. How many developers are skilled in this technology? Will your team need extensive training, or can they hit the ground running?
  • Scalability: Your project won't stay the same size forever (at least, you hope not!). Can the tech stack handle growth? Think about not just more users but also more complex transactions or data processes.
  • Integration Capabilities: Consider how well the tech stack plays with others. Can it easily integrate with other tools, services, or platforms you plan to use?
  • Cost-Efficiency: Evaluate the financial aspect. Some tech stacks might offer lower upfront costs but higher long-term expenses due to scaling or maintenance needs.
  • User Adoption: How accessible and user-friendly are the technologies for your end-users, especially considering the diverse expertise levels within the Web3 community?
  • Compliance and Security: With the regulatory landscape of blockchain evolving, how does your chosen tech stack align with current and potential regulatory standards?

Actionable Task: Developing a Weighted Scoring System

To objectively assess each potential tech stack against your criteria, create a weighted scoring system. Here’s how:

  1. List Your Criteria: Write down all the criteria you've defined, including sustainability, user adoption, compliance, security, developer adoption, scalability, flexibility, integration capabilities, and cost-efficiency.
  2. Assign Weights: Next to each criterion, assign a weight on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how important that criterion is to your project. For example, if scalability is crucial for your project's success, you might give it a 9 or 10. If cost-efficiency is less of a concern, perhaps it gets a lower score, like a 4 or 5.

Smart Contract Platforms Deep Dive

Smart contracts form the core logic of many Web3 projects, and the choice of platform significantly affects capabilities and performance. Beyond Ethereum and emerging platforms like Solana, consider less mainstream but highly specialized platforms that might offer unique advantages for specific use cases, such as Hyperledger for private blockchains or Chainsafe for cross-chain interoperability.

Actionable Task: Conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) for each potential platform, focusing on how they align with your project's specific needs and the broader market environment.

Let's break down how a SWOT analysis might look using Ethereum as an example:  

  • Strengths: Ethereum's extensive developer community and wealth of resources remain unmatched. The transition to Ethereum 2.0 has significantly improved its scalability and energy efficiency, reinforcing its position as a leading platform.
  • Weaknesses: Despite Ethereum 2.0's enhancements, gas fees can still be high during peak times, affecting the cost-effectiveness of transactions.
  • Opportunities: Ethereum 2.0's successful rollout enhances its scalability and sustainability, potentially drawing more projects and users into its ecosystem and solidifying its leadership in the space.
  • Threats: The blockchain sector is fiercely competitive, with emerging platforms offering lower fees and quicker transactions, posing a challenge to Ethereum's dominance.

Additional Platforms to Consider

  • Solana: With its remarkable transaction speed and affordability, Solana is an excellent choice for projects needing high throughput.
  • Polkadot: Its standout feature is interoperability, enabling different blockchains to communicate, making it suitable for projects that operate across various chains.
  • Avalanche: Known for its rapid transaction finality and compatibility with Ethereum's tools, Avalanche attracts developers looking for scalable solutions within a familiar ecosystem.
  • Binance Smart Chain (BSC): BSC is recognized for its high-speed, cost-effective transactions and a rapidly expanding dApp ecosystem, appealing to projects prioritizing accessibility and user base growth.
  • Hyperledger Fabric: Ideal for private or consortium blockchain projects, Hyperledger Fabric offers a modular and flexible architecture, supporting a wide range of industry use cases with its permissioned nature, enhancing security and control.

The Pillars of Frontend and Backend Development

JavaScript's dominance in the Web3 space is due to its seamless integration with blockchain technologies and the extensive support it enjoys from the developer community. 

React.js emerges as the premier choice for frontend development, attributed to its component-driven architecture and extensive library ecosystem, making it ideal for building interactive and complex dApps. While Angular.js offers a structured framework, React.js's adaptability often positions it as the preferred choice for dynamic Web3 applications.

On the backend, Node.js provides a great environment, connecting the server side to the blockchain. Within this realm, frameworks like Nest.js and Express.js stand out. Nest.js, leveraging TypeScript, offers a modular architecture conducive to large-scale, enterprise-grade applications. Express.js, known for its minimalism and speed, facilitates rapid development of APIs and server-side logic.

Next.js: Bridging Frontend and Backend

Next.js is gaining traction as the golden child. A comprehensive solution, streamlining development by consolidating frontend and backend under a single framework. Its server-side rendering capabilities not only enhance application SEO but also significantly improve user experience through faster load times, a critical factor for user retention in dApps.

API Architecture: Choosing Between REST and GraphQL

The decision between REST and GraphQL APIs hinges on the application's data requirements. GraphQL's query language allows for fetching complex, nested data in a single request, offering efficiency for data-intensive dApps. In contrast, REST APIs provide a simpler, more traditional approach to data interchange, suitable for applications with straightforward data retrieval needs.

Navigating the Data Storage Landscape

When setting up data storage for a Web3 project, you're playing a balancing game between what lives on the blockchain (smart contracts) and what sits in a traditional database. Let's unpack this:

Smart Contracts vs. Databases

Smart Contracts: Here's where the immutability, transparency, and security of blockchain shine. Everything recorded is set in stone, which is great for trust and verification. But remember, storing data on-chain can get pricey due to gas fees, and you're somewhat limited in how much data you can efficiently store and process.

Databases: This is where you can breathe a bit easier regarding costs and scalability. Off-chain storage in databases allows for quicker, cheaper, and more flexible data handling. This is your go-to for data that supports your dApp but doesn't need the blockchain's level of security and immutability.

Deciding What Goes Where

Generally, keep core transactional data and critical logic that requires decentralization on the blockchain. Think user balances, ownership records, or anything that benefits from blockchain's transparency.

For supplementary data that's nice to have but not essential for the core logic, like user profiles, activity logs, or historical data, off-chain databases are your friend. This approach keeps your dApp efficient and user-friendly without bloating the blockchain with unnecessary data.

SQL vs. NoSQL in Web3

When it comes to databases, you'll need to choose between SQL (relational) and NoSQL (non-relational) databases, depending on how you plan to use and relate your data.

  • SQL Databases: Perfect for when your data is heavily interrelated. If you need to join user information with transaction histories or connect various pieces of data in complex ways, SQL databases like PostgreSQL shine.
  • NoSQL Databases: Opt for NoSQL, like MongoDB, when your data doesn't fit neatly into tables or you need more flexibility in your data structures. This is great for unstructured data or when your data requirements might change rapidly.

Actionable Task: Plan Your Data Strategy

  1. List Your Data Needs: Start by listing all the types of data your dApp will handle.
  2. Categorize: Mark each data type as 'On-Chain' or 'Off-Chain'. For Off-Chain data, further categorize it as 'SQL' or 'NoSQL'.
  3. Evaluate: For each On-Chain item, consider if the transparency and security of the blockchain justify the cost. For Off-Chain items, think about how you'll access and relate this data to decide between SQL and NoSQL.
  4. Sketch a Data Map: Draw a simple map or flowchart showing where each data type will be stored and how they might connect. This visual can help ensure you've got a balanced and efficient data strategy that leverages the best of both worlds: the blockchain and traditional databases.

Building a Robust DevOps Ecosystem

Creating a solid DevOps setup is crucial for the smooth operation and continuous improvement of your Web3 project. This involves setting up CI/CD pipelines, ensuring thorough testing, and choosing the right hosting and infrastructure solutions.

CI/CD Pipelines: Automating Your Workflow

CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment) pipelines automate the process of integrating new code changes, testing them, and deploying them to production. Tools like GitHub Actions or Jenkins can help automate these workflows, ensuring that every code change is automatically built, tested, and ready for deployment, reducing manual errors and speeding up development cycles.

Testing: From Backend to Blockchain

Backend Testing: Implement unit and integration tests for your backend code to catch bugs early. Frameworks like Jest or Mocha are popular for Node.js environments, allowing you to test your application logic efficiently.

Smart Contract Testing: For testing smart contracts, tools like Truffle or Hardhat are essential. They provide a development environment for compiling, deploying, and testing your contracts on Ethereum virtual machines, ensuring that your contracts work as expected before deploying them to the mainnet.

Server Hosting and Infrastructure: Picking the Right Platform

When it comes to hosting your backend and serving your dApp, choosing a reliable and scalable infrastructure is key.

  • AWS (Amazon Web Services): AWS offers a wide range of services from server instances (EC2) to managed databases (RDS) and container services (ECS), making it a go-to for projects that need scalability and a broad set of tools.
  • Vercel: For projects particularly using Next.js, Vercel provides a seamless hosting solution with out-of-the-box support for serverless functions, edge computing, and more, offering an optimized environment for both static and dynamic content.

Other Key Solutions

  • For CI/CD: Besides GitHub Actions and Jenkins, GitLab CI and CircleCI are also powerful platforms offering robust CI/CD capabilities, with extensive documentation and community support.
  • For Testing: In addition to Truffle and Hardhat for smart contracts, consider using OpenZeppelin Test Environment for a fast and customizable testing setup.
  • For Hosting: Besides AWS and Vercel, platforms like Netlify and Heroku also offer easy deployment solutions, especially for smaller projects or those in early stages. Netlify is particularly friendly for static sites and JAMstack architectures, while Heroku provides a more general-purpose PaaS (Platform as a Service) environment.

Conclusion: Crafting a Tailored Tech Stack

Choosing a tech stack for a Web3 project is a multifaceted process that balances technical capabilities with strategic project objectives. By methodically assessing each component of your tech stack against well-defined criteria, conducting hands-on experiments, and staying adaptable to the fast-evolving blockchain landscape, you can build a solid technological foundation for your Web3 startup. This guide aims to serve not just as a roadmap for selecting your initial tech stack but also as a compass for navigating the ongoing technological evolution

Actionable Task: Mapping Out Your Tech Stack

Now that we've covered the essentials, it's time to put theory into practice. Your task is to create a detailed diagram of your envisioned tech stack, showcasing how each technology interacts within your Web3 project. This visual representation will not only help you understand the flow and connectivity of your chosen tech but also how it aligns with your project's goals and vision.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. List Your Technologies: Start with listing out the technologies you plan to use based on the sections above. For example, React.js for the frontend, Node.js for the backend, and Next.js as your overarching framework.
  2. Identify Interactions: Think about how these technologies will interact with each other. How will React.js pull data from your Node.js backend? Where does Next.js fit into this interaction?
  3. Incorporate Blockchain Elements: Don’t forget to include how your tech stack interacts with the blockchain. Where are your smart contracts running? How does your application connect to the blockchain network?
  4. Detail Data Flow: Include your database choice, be it PostgreSQL or MongoDB, and illustrate how data flows between your application and the database.
  5. Consider DevOps: Show where AWS or Vercel comes into play for hosting, deploying, and managing your application.

Creating Your Diagram:

  • Use diagramming tools like Lucidchart,, or even a simple pen and paper to sketch out your tech stack.
  • Start with your user interface at the top, moving down through frontend technologies, backend services, and databases, finally reaching your DevOps infrastructure at the bottom.
  • Use arrows to denote data flow and interactions between different parts of your stack.

Example Diagram:

Here’s a simplified example to get you started:

  • Top Layer (User Interface): React.js components rendering the dApp interface.
  • Middle Layer (Application Logic): Next.js framework facilitating server-side rendering and backend logic, interacting with smart contracts deployed on Ethereum.
  • Bottom Layer (Data Storage): PostgreSQL database storing application data, with Node.js backend facilitating data management.
  • DevOps: Application deployed and managed on AWS, utilizing services like EC2 for hosting and RDS for database management.

If you want to see if we are a good fit and learn how we would breakdown & tackle your project, book a free discovery call below.