envisioning a web that revolves around the user, not the server and not the blockchain
This is an article about a new post-blockchain future technology.
Currently we are living in the centralized — server dominated web communications.
Blockchains did introduce the idea of decentralization but do not go far enough.
This article describes my vision and definition of what a decentralized web — dWeb is.
While many article writers make proposals and share ideas, I did create a project and am actively working on creating and bringing into existence the decentralized web.
2. Variety of existing visions and definitions
There are variety of existing definitions of a decentralized web such as :
- the ‘underdog’ — decentralization presented as small and independent alternatives to what is provided by large corporations, the ‘little man’ fighting against the giant machine.
Some examples are small online media outlet alternatives to large social media sites.
Unfortunately this type of a definition of decentralization is still centralized around a specific web site, which hopes to (eventually) get more and more users.
- a service tied with a blockchain — decentralization at the extent the specific blockchain is decentralized.
Unfortunately everything revolves around the specific blockchain in this type of definition.
One unintended consequence of the success of a specific blockchain is the increasing centralization of the blockchain, as fewer people can afford to run nodes of the blockchain, as described in ‘towards centralized blockchains’ article.
In addition this type of technology focuses mainly on monetizing its crypto coin/token and less on building a marketplace or an economy around it.
In many cases the ‘game’ is rigged from the very beginning of the existence of the blockchain, where insiders — developers and investors hold or can allocate for themselves a large part of the total crypto coin supply.
- a replacement of an existing centralized web service — like for ex. decentralizing the DNS service with a blockchain based service.
The essential problem here is that the proposed blockchain service will still be part of the centralized web — like a substitute player in the ‘game’ played by the centralized web.
In addition, what is currently free for all users, is supposed to be replaced with a paid service with the crypto-coins of the blockchain.
The list above is not exclusive — the variety of definitions of decentralized may include many more.
3. My definition of decentralized web
An article in the ‘let’s get rid of the blockchain’ series — on_decentralization() describes in detail the types of decentralization.
A true decentralization is achieved by direct peer to peer communication between users. I will repeat that there is nothing new and revolutionary in this idea.
However, it requires significant change in the thinking.
While in a centralized web everything revolves around the server and in a blockchain decentralization everything revolves around the blockchain, in the proposed decentralized web / dWeb everything revolves around the user.
Replacements for centralized search engines, for centralized chat/e-mail , for centralized audio/video content., etc , will need to be developed — in service of each user and not the server.
4. Elements of the dWeb project
The project includes the following elements:
- sound in(microphone) and sound out (speaker) service
- video in (camera) and video out (display) service
- text (chat) in/out service
- communication service with encryption
- voice synthesis (text to speech) service
- HTTP server — providing REST API access
- a cloud CPU hosting a database service or a private blockchain to assist connection of users
These elements are not derived through a web browser or by popular programs providing one or another of the elements, but through calling functions on system level of the operating system.
The above elements will be combined in a dWeb engine — used with a default program or by a custom program calling the REST API of the engine.
5. Not an open source project, but…
I may be shamed by others for not believing in making projects to be open source.
In general there is a sea of crappy open source code placed for the purpose of making a ‘portfolio’ and getting hired with a significant salary.
On the other hand there are also small islands of quality open source code which then gets heavily exploited by large and powerful corporations who enjoy both — the free labor and the nice revenue generated.
Most people just use binaries of programs and only few people actually read, when available, the source code. From all the people who did read the source code even fewer do understand what it does. And, from the people who did read and understand the code even fewer did actually build, test and use the resulting program.
As mentioned above the project contains the dWeb engine with a REST API set and a developer will be able to build on top of it. The API set and samples will be open sourced and posted on Github or Sourcefoge sites. The initial samples will support html/java script and python developers as they have the 2 largest groups of developers.
6. Privacy — a side benefit of dWeb
‘Nosy’ governments with or without admitting it love to collect all data of their citizens and residents.
The current model of centralized web is very enabling of this and beneficial for the purpose of government data collection.
A ‘security agency’ can (if it wishes) take in a single scoop all the data of all of the users out of sites similar to — facebook, google, twitter, youtube, where the data is neatly organized by user, date and time, content, etc.
But, when it comes to dWeb peer to peer communication the task grows proportional to the number of users. Instead of getting data from few big sites, a government agency has to record the traffic of a million (or a billion) of users and then sort and arrange it — IP packet by IP packet.
The dWeb project plans to include encryption of the communication, but even without encryption the privacy of the users will be significantly enhanced.
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