Unleashing the Power of Web3 and Blockchain in iOS — Part 1

Dino Bozic
Azikus
Published in
12 min readMay 22, 2024

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Embracing the Future with Web3 and Blockchain in Swift & iOS Development
Part 1

In the dynamic landscape of mobile app development, staying ahead means embracing emerging technologies that redefine the way we interact with digital platforms. Enter Web3 and blockchain — revolutionary forces reshaping the internet as we know it. As iOS developers, harnessing the power of Swift, Apple’s sophisticated programming language, we have the opportunity to pioneer the integration of Web3 and blockchain into the iOS ecosystem.

Web3 represents a paradigm shift towards a decentralized internet, where users have greater control over their data and interactions. At the core of this evolution lies blockchain technology, offering immutable ledgers, smart contracts, and cryptographic security. The potential applications of Web3 and blockchain in iOS development are as diverse as they are exciting, from decentralized applications (DApps) revolutionizing finance and gaming to NFT marketplaces redefining digital ownership.

This initial article serves as an introductory guide, outlining the essential components of blockchain technology and how they can be utilized in iOS environments. As we delve deeper into this series, I will provide practical examples involving NFTs and showcase a real-world application to demonstrate how these technologies can be innovatively applied in iOS apps. This sequence aims not only to educate but also to inspire iOS developers to explore the burgeoning possibilities of blockchain technology in their projects.

Stay tuned for part two, where we turn theory into practice with engaging, hands-on demonstrations.

Whether you’re a seasoned iOS developer or a newcomer eager to explore the cutting-edge of technology, this exploration of Web3 and blockchain in Swift & iOS development promises to ignite your creativity and propel you towards the forefront of digital innovation.

Key definitions

Web3 - Web3 refers to the next generation of the internet, characterized by decentralized protocols and applications that prioritize user sovereignty and data ownership. Unlike Web2, which relies heavily on centralized platforms and intermediaries, Web3 aims to empower individuals by enabling direct peer-to-peer interactions and fostering trust through cryptographic principles. In essence, Web3 represents a shift towards a more open, transparent, and inclusive internet where users have greater control over their digital identities, assets, and interactions.

Blockchain - Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that enables the secure and transparent recording of transactions across a network of computers. At its core, a blockchain consists of a chain of blocks, each containing a list of transactions cryptographically linked to the preceding block. This immutable structure ensures that once a transaction is recorded, it cannot be altered or tampered with, thus providing a high degree of trust and security. Blockchains can be public, allowing anyone to participate in the network (e.g., Bitcoin), or permissioned, where access is restricted to certain entities (e.g., enterprise blockchains). Blockchain technology finds applications in various fields, including finance, supply chain management, voting systems, and decentralized applications (DApps).

Decentralization - Decentralization refers to the distribution of power, authority, or control across a network of nodes or participants, rather than concentrating it in a single central authority or entity. In decentralized systems, decision-making processes and resource allocation are distributed among multiple participants, often through consensus mechanisms, without relying on a central intermediary. Decentralization can foster transparency, resilience, and democratization by reducing single points of failure, mitigating censorship, and empowering individuals to have greater autonomy and sovereignty over their data and interactions. This concept is fundamental to various technologies and movements, including blockchain, Web3, decentralized finance (DeFi), and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).

Centralized vs decentralized visualisation

Smart contracts - Self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code. They automatically execute and enforce the terms of the contract when predefined conditions are met, without the need for intermediaries.

Worthy mentions:
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) - Unique digital assets stored on a blockchain, representing ownership of a specific item, artwork, or collectible. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, NFTs are not interchangeable, as each token has its own distinct value and properties.

Decentralized Finance (DeFi): A financial system built on blockchain technology that aims to recreate traditional financial services (such as lending, borrowing, trading, and investing) in a decentralized manner, without relying on intermediaries like banks or brokerages.

Bored Ape Yacht Club, infamous NFT collection

Web3 in iOS apps

By leveraging blockchain technology, iOS apps can offer decentralized and transparent solutions that do not rely on central authorities. This enhances trust among users by ensuring that data and transactions are immutable and verifiable.

Next to that, blockchain technology provides robust security features such as cryptographic encryption and decentralized consensus mechanisms. This helps in safeguarding user data and preventing unauthorized access or tampering, which is crucial for maintaining user privacy and protecting sensitive information.

Web3 and blockchain iOS apps empower users by giving them greater control over their digital assets, identities, and interactions. Through features like self-sovereign identity and ownership of digital assets (such as NFTs), users can have more autonomy and agency in the digital realm.

Building blockchain and Web3 iOS apps opens up opportunities for innovation and disruption across various industries. From a decentralized finance (DeFi) to supply chain management, gaming, healthcare, and beyond, these apps can revolutionize traditional systems and create new paradigms of interaction and value exchange.

Embracing blockchain and Web3 technologies in iOS app development helps future-proof apps against evolving technological trends and user preferences. As the Web3 ecosystem grows and matures, iOS apps that integrate these technologies will remain relevant and competitive in the rapidly changing digital landscape.

Q: How do I use Web3 in Swift?

Here’s an overview of key concepts and components related to implementing Web3 in Swift:

Blockchain Networks - Web3 in iOS allows developers to connect and interact with various blockchain networks such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, or other blockchain platforms that support the Web3 standards.

Wallet integration enables users to manage their cryptocurrencies and interact with decentralized applications securely. Developers can implement features like creating wallets, importing/exporting wallets, and signing transactions within their iOS applications. This includes transactions for transferring cryptocurrencies, interacting with smart contracts, and executing other blockchain operations.

Smart Contract Interaction - Web3 libraries enable iOS developers to interact with smart contracts deployed on blockchain networks. This includes functionalities like deploying smart contracts, calling methods, and listening to events emitted by smart contracts. They also handle communication with blockchain nodes and APIs. This includes sending and receiving transactions, querying blockchain data, and subscribing to real-time updates from the blockchain network.

Libraries

In iOS development, leveraging Web3 technologies is made accessible through libraries such as Web3.swift, EthereumKit, and web3swift.

Web3.swift
https://github.com/Boilertalk/Web3.swift

With Web3.swift, developers gain a powerful toolkit for seamlessly integrating Ethereum-based functionalities into their iOS applications. Offering an intuitive interface and robust functionalities, Web3.swift empowers iOS developers to effortlessly engage with Ethereum-based blockchains. This library encompasses a wide array of capabilities, spanning transaction management, blockchain data querying, smart contract interaction, and Ethereum wallet management

EthereumKit
https://github.com/yuzushioh/EthereumKit

Meanwhile, EthereumKit is a Swift framework designed to simplify the integration of Ethereum blockchain functionality into iOS applications. Tailored to streamline complex tasks, EthereumKit offers a range of features essential for iOS developers entering the realm of blockchain development. It facilitates seamless interaction with Ethereum nodes and smart contracts, enabling tasks such as transaction signing, data retrieval, and smart contract interactions. With EthereumKit, developers gain access to a suite of tools that streamline development, empowering them to create robust and efficient Ethereum-enabled iOS applications.

web3swift
https://github.com/web3swift-team/web3swift

Additionally, web3swift provides a comprehensive solution for Ethereum wallet management, transaction handling, and smart contract interaction, empowering iOS developers to easily build decentralized applications.

Whether it’s interacting with smart contracts, sending transactions, or managing Ethereum wallets, these libraries offer essential building blocks for crafting innovative Web3 experiences within iOS environments.

Keep in mind that the Web3 ecosystem in Swift is still evolving, so you may need more support in these libraries. It’s essential to review the documentation, community support, and updates before integrating any library into your iOS project.

Web3 Platforms & Data Providers

Exploring alternative avenues, iOS developers can effectively leverage blockchain technology by utilizing Web3 platforms and data providers. These tools provide a robust foundation for seamlessly incorporating blockchain capabilities into iOS applications, enhancing functionality and user experience.

Integrating blockchain technology into iOS applications requires a robust infrastructure that can handle the unique complexities of blockchain data. Web3 data providers like Alchemy or Infura are pivotal in this integration, providing APIs that facilitate a seamless connection to blockchain networks. These providers enable iOS developers to implement a wide range of blockchain functionalities, including but not limited to, managing user wallets, executing smart contracts, and accessing detailed transaction histories.

Furthermore, the use of these data providers not only enhances the functionality of iOS applications but also scales with the application as user demand increases. Providers like Alchemy boast high-performance node infrastructure which can handle increased queries as blockchain usage grows, without compromising the speed or reliability of the application.

Q: How to integrate data providers?

Integrating blockchain technology into iOS applications can be achieved through the strategic use of Web3 providers by embedding them into the networking layer or the backend endpoints of the app. This approach enables iOS developers to harness the full potential of blockchain functionalities while ensuring the app remains responsive and user-friendly.

By incorporating Web3 data providers into the networking layer of an iOS app, developers can establish a direct line of communication with blockchain networks. This integration allows for real-time data retrieval and interaction with blockchain services, such as executing transactions or querying blockchain states, directly from the user’s device. Implementing Web3 at the networking layer means that blockchain data can be processed and handled at the same level as other network operations, ensuring that the data handling is seamless and efficient. It allows the application to maintain a consistent performance standard, managing blockchain interactions as part of its native network operations.

Alternatively, integrating Web3 functionalities at the backend allows for more complex operations and enhanced security measures. By handling blockchain interactions server-side, sensitive data and blockchain logic can be managed away from the client side, minimizing security risks associated with client-side exposure. Backend integration involves setting up endpoints that interact with the blockchain, processing requests such as wallet management, smart contract deployment, and other blockchain-specific actions. These endpoints then serve the processed data to the iOS app as needed, similar to any other API service. This method not only secures the blockchain operations but also offloads the computational burden from the user’s device, leading to better app performance and lower latency in user interactions.

Ethereum transaction fundamentals

Understanding the key elements of Ethereum transactions can provide insight into how Ethereum operates and how it supports more complex operations like smart contracts. Here are the crucial components used in Ethereum transactions:

Nonce - The nonce is a unique number assigned to each transaction sent from a specific Ethereum address. It serves as a way to ensure that each transaction is processed only once and in the correct order. The nonce starts at zero for each address and increments by one for each subsequent transaction sent from that address. This prevents replay attacks and ensures the integrity and order of transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.

Gas Price - Gas is a unit used to measure the computational work required to execute operations on the Ethereum blockchain. Gas price refers to the amount of Ether (ETH) a user is willing to pay per unit of gas to have their transaction processed by miners. It essentially represents the transaction fee paid to incentivize miners to include the transaction in a block and process it. Transactions with higher gas prices are typically processed more quickly, as miners prioritize transactions with higher fees.

Gas Limit - Gas limit specifies the maximum amount of gas that a sender is willing to consume for a transaction. It represents the upper bound on the computational resources (gas) that can be utilized to execute the transaction. If the execution of a transaction exceeds the specified gas limit, the transaction will fail, and any unused gas will be refunded to the sender. Setting an appropriate gas limit ensures that transactions do not exceed the sender’s resource constraints and protects against potential infinite loops or other resource-intensive operations.

v, r, s (Signature Fields) - These fields make up the cryptographic signature generated from the private key of the sender, which is used to verify the authenticity of the transaction. The signature ensures that the transaction cannot be altered by anyone once it has been issued.

Chain ID - Introduced in EIP-155 to prevent replay attacks across different Ethereum-based chains, the chain ID indicates which Ethereum network the transaction is intended for (e.g., mainnet, testnet).

ABI Contract transaction - In the context of Ethereum, an ABI contract refers to the contract’s Application Binary Interface, which specifies the methods and parameters that can be used to interact with the contract.

An ABI contract essentially serves as a communication interface between Ethereum smart contracts and external applications or clients. It defines the structure of the contract, including its functions, inputs, outputs, and events. By adhering to the ABI specification, developers can ensure that their smart contracts can be properly understood and interacted with by external parties.

ABI contracts are typically generated from Solidity or other smart contract programming languages during the compilation process. They provide a standardized way for applications to interact with Ethereum smart contracts, enabling seamless integration and interoperability across the Ethereum ecosystem.

Dynamic contracts - In blockchain terminology, dynamic contracts are smart contracts that possess the capability to adapt or modify their code or behavior over time. Unlike static contracts, which are fixed and unchangeable once deployed, dynamic contracts incorporate features that enable adjustments based on specific conditions or triggers.

Dynamic contracts often utilize functionalities such as upgradeability, allowing certain sections of the contract’s code to be substituted with new implementations, or parameterization, which enables flexible adjustments to behavior without altering the underlying code.

Real-World Example: Dynamic Leasing Agreements in Real Estate

Imagine a commercial real estate platform built on the Ethereum blockchain, designed to manage lease agreements dynamically. This platform caters to various properties — offices, retail spaces, and warehouses. Each property has different leasing terms and conditions, which can change based on market demand, duration of the lease, and specific tenant requirements.

Every time a property is listed for lease, a new smart contract for that particular lease agreement is dynamically generated. This is essential because each property might have unique terms based on its size, location, and the tenant’s business type. For instance, a warehouse might require different lease terms than retail space in a city center. By using dynamic contracts, the platform can create customized contracts on the fly, ensuring that all specific terms agreed upon between the landlord and the tenant are legally binding and automatically enforced via the blockchain.

Once these contracts are created, they must be managed and interacted with by various stakeholders, including property owners, tenants, maintenance services, and regulatory bodies. Here, the ABI comes into play. The ABI defines how interactions with these contracts occur, allowing software to understand how to read from and write to the contracts. For example, a tenant might need to verify terms, make a payment, or even terminate the lease. The ABI makes these interactions straightforward and standardized, ensuring that all actions are executed according to the underlying smart contract provisions.

Thanks for reading!

In summary, the incorporation of Web3 and blockchain technologies into iOS development represents a groundbreaking frontier for application advancement. Through the capabilities offered by Web3.swift and its seamless integration with Ethereum and other blockchain networks, iOS developers now have unparalleled opportunities to craft decentralized applications, integrate blockchain features, and engineer innovative solutions that redefine various sectors. By leveraging decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), smart contracts, and beyond, iOS developers stand at the forefront of shaping the digital landscape. As we delve deeper into the potentials of Web3 and blockchain in iOS development, we embark on a journey toward a more decentralized, transparent, and interconnected digital realm.

The current article serves as an introductory piece, laying out the essential components of Blockchain and Web3 to equip iOS developers with the necessary theoretical knowledge. Upcoming in the series, Part 2 will delve deeper, featuring hands-on examples involving Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and a detailed case study on a real-world application. This progression from theory to practice aims to provide a comprehensive understanding and inspire innovative uses of blockchain technology in iOS app development.

Explore These Resources Before Our Next Deep Dive

GitHub Libraries

Forums and communities

Educational

Dino is our valuable team lead.
At Azikus, we design and develop top notch mobile and web apps.
We are a bunch of experienced developers and designers who like to share knowledge, always staying up to date with latest and newest technologies.
To find out more about what we do, feel free to check our website.

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