Who builds a utopia and how? The Future of the Internet: Decentralization and the New Digital Testament

Who builds a utopia and how? The Future of the Internet: Decentralization and the New Digital Testament

The Internet has long been more than just a source of information and a means of communication between people, organizations and corporations. The network, without exaggeration, has become a necessary continuation of reality. No less, and sometimes more important, than physical reality: the average user spends online most seven hours a day-more than a third of the waking time.

Naming this reality safe is difficult. First, a lot of unpleasant things happen online: bullying, fraud, identity abuse. Secondly, what people do and write online has a direct impact on their lives – compromising data can lead to a loss of money, statements can lead to harassment and punishment. How is the modern Internet structured, what threats does it carry, what technologies and services are trying to compensate for the inherent risks?

The idea of creating alternative decentralized social networks became so popular that it led, among other things, to the appearance of Hubzilla platform. Project Hubzilla combines elements of social network, cloud storage, blog, forum and content management system. You can fine-tune access levels to each publication for different users and share data with all the popular decentralized social networks listed above.

The FreedomBox-based computer can become an online storage, wiki, torrent client or VPN server in two clicks

The content publishing system FreedomBox allows a non-professional to set up his own home server to host a blog or wiki. Depending on your wishes, a small box from FreedomBox can also serve as a data warehouse, VPN server, proxy server, messenger.

One replacement for blog platforms can be WriteFreely. Blogs can be created from an app, as well as entire communities of writers with their own rules, a kind of writing federation. Its most important function is to communicate with other decentralized services through the protocol ActivityPub, which will help attract readers and contributors to a blog or community. It will require a server to install the app, at least a small one, but it can be customized to your liking – open source code will allow.


PeerTube-based servers are used to distribute not only entertainment content, but also, for example, human rights content

As it was already said, a decentralized alternative can be found almost for any type of services. Video platforms are no exception: here, lovers of decentralization are offered to replace YouTube and Vimeo with PeerTube. Unlike traditional video hostings, this is not a single service, but a federated network of small video sites. Everyone can install the PeerTube instance on their server, upload videos and invite other users. Instants can communicate with each other using Activity Pub – a protocol that provides interaction between users of different decentralized services; at the same time it opens access to PeerTube to users of Mastodon, Diaspora and others. At the same time, if video becomes virtual, PeerTube connects users to distributed p2p networks in order to reduce load and increase speed, so that they receive video not from the server, but directly from each other.

Storage and Transfer Data

You may be hearing about many of these services and technologies for the first time, but there is at least one protocol that is known to everyone and is built on the principle of decentralization. We are talking about BitTorrent (bitstream), a network protocol for exchanging files between peers.The idea of the protocol is that files are transferred in parts, and each user (torrent-client), receiving these parts, at the same time gives them to other clients. This reduces the dependence on each source client and ensures data integrity. Thus, each file is stored in a distributed way instead of in one place, which reduces the risk of its destruction. In addition, this system reduces the load on each participant in the exchange.

The modern Soulseek client interface

This, however, is not the first example of a protocol for decentralized file transfer – by the time the torrents appeared in 2001 there were already such file exchange networks as eDonkey, SoulSeek, DirectConnect. They are still functional, but in the fight for the mass user BitTorrent has completely defeated them. Moreover, even large companies, such as Microsoft, now offer to download programs from the official website not only directly, but also through torrents.

Currently, a lot of projects for distributed data storage are being developed. One of the most interesting solutions in this area is Tahoe-LAFS. It combines distributed data warehouse and distributed file system. The repository is built according to minimal privilege principle, which means that each node has only the minimal access rights necessary for the entire system to function. Even if one of the data servers fails, the information can still be recovered because it is stored in a distributed way. And an attacker who manages to gain access to one or even several nodes will get only minimal rights and will not be able to decrypt the data or seriously disrupt the operation of the storage.


Interface IPFS codes

Another important project in this area is IPFS (InterPlanetary File System), a file storage and sharing system based on technology similar to BitTorrent. According to the idea of the developers, IPFS can run a great new web future – it does not require centralized servers, reliable and fast. The technology is already used for content distribution, for example, it runs free hosting Neocities. Recently, the creators of the BitTorrent protocol represented their decentralized IPFS-based file system Neocities. The main difference BTFS (BitTorrent File System) is that the node (from node – point, node) of this system will be used by existing torrent users – and there are over a hundred million of them – to ensure its stability.

The speed of page loading in the traditional Internet, not least depends on the distance between the server and the user – against the laws of physics can not trample. To ensure high speed regardless of distance, use the Content Delivery Network (or Content Distribution Network, CDN). Thanks to this network, the content of pages is hosted on several distributed servers, and the user receives information from the nearest to him. As a result, the download speed becomes faster and the connection is more stable, and the user benefits from this. ISPs are also good – the load is distributed among remote servers. Such decentralized networks are provided by different companies, they can be paid or free of charge, and if you want, you can create one yourself.

Cryptovalues and services on the basis of the blockchain

Cryptovalues are another example of decentralized systems, which many people hear. There are hundreds of cryptovolves in the world; historically, the first and best known of them was Bitcoin, appeared in 2009, and the term “cryptovolves” was popularized with the same article in Forbes magazine.

The advantage of crypting is that transaction participants are anonymous and that neither the crypting currency as a whole nor the amount at a particular owner can be blocked – the owners will always be able to use it if they have the corresponding key. Security is ensured, among other things, by the fact that information about them is not stored in any one place – in fact, it is a journal stored simultaneously everywhere, the records in which are confirmed by distributed computing. The technology that underlies the cryptovoltaic is called blockchain.

The increased demand for cryptovalue is one of the leading forces in the revival of interest in decentralization, believes the founder of eQualitie Dmitry Vitaliev. And this can be seen from the number of decentralized projects that are somehow or other connected with cryptov currencies.

Above we have already told how Brave browser offers to use cryptocurrency to support the projects they like, allowing them not to depend on centralized advertising networks. But this is not the brightest example of the symbiosis of cryptovalue with other projects. For example, Filecoin gives users of the IPFS mentioned above the option lease unused hard disk space and get real money for it.

More traditional in this background is Monero, a CryptoNote-based encryption protocol focused on increased transaction confidentiality. Unlike Bitcoin, where more than 21 million currency units will never be issued, the total issue of Monero is not limited. This is to ensure that the miners support the system even after the main issue is completed. The modified version of Monero’s code is based on Loki – “a platform for decentralized and anonymous Internet services” which, according to the developers, aims to give users the chance to communicate and interact as privately as possible, providing them with “censored” tools.

There are other curious examples of the symbiosis between a decentralized project and the cryptographic currency: “decentralized p2p ecosystemUtopia and its currency Crypton. Also noteworthy is the command MaidSafe, which builds an autonomous decentralized network SAFE Network and develops its integrated cryptographic software SafeCoin.

Source: SafeCoin.

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