Is The Idea Of Decentralized Internet Viable?
Technology giants (you know which ones) are regularly accused of privacy breaches, misuse of private data, and monopoly. Such corporations rule the key services on the Internet. So, it is impossible to escape accommodation with them. Fortunately, the WWW generation suggests is an absolutely different approach.
For instance, DWeb – a decentralized system that offers Internet privacy, provides greater competition among companies, and less dominance of the famous media giants.
Undoubtedly, for the moment, many projects are trying to transfer certain services based on the Client-Server principle to ones based on the Client-Client principle. You may have used them, even not realizing that. That’s why we consider it is a vital concept to know.
From this article, you will learn what decentralized Net is, its history, where it is realized, and what our vision of it.
What is Decentralized Internet?
Decentralized Internet is a new network type where the people of the whole world can exchange data without existence of large organizations that accumulate the users’ data for comfortable global surveillance.
One of the essential principles that are used in decentralized projects is the Zero Trust concept. Read more about it.
In simple words, a service can be considered entirely decentralized if it is enough to simply set up the application without further entering any data to start using it. Zero trust means that a MITM type attack should not be feasible due to the implementation of the protocol. The network will automatically reject the malicious host. It can function even if all the nodes except you and the one to whom you are hijacked are I2P.
Let’s consider the example: Now, you have probably noticed that Http(s) links at the website address bar but never thought about what they mean. They are the links that are used to catalog info on the Net. These links indicate the content by its location, instructing devices to find and reclaim it from these places using a certain protocol. But DWeb uses links to identify the data first, and then where it is located.
Such a content-oriented strategy allows you to store and transfer sites and records from device to device, instead of relying on one server as the only channel for exchanging info. In the standard network we use, all the data is stored in one place. So, it is possible to control our location.
The history of attempts of decentralized Internet implementation
The DWeb project was discussed at one of the summits, an Internet Archive event held in Silicon Valley. The conference was attended by 800 developers and other IT professionals, including the creator of the WWW, Tim Berners-Lee.
The main aim of DWeb is the ability to work on the net without centralized admins. It is similar to the situation that had happened in 1980-1990 when the WWW was just beginning to exist, users directly connected to each other’s computers, or similar to how computers connect directly to others using the torrent protocol.
At the beginning of the century, the situation changed — users started to communicate and share data through centralized services provided by large corporations which now are more powerful than ever.
If to believe the authors of the project, DWeb has many advantages over today’s Internet. Since data does not accumulate in the pockets of one company, the risk of mass leakage as a result of a hacker attack is reduced. In addition, the centralized distribution of data makes it easier for the government to monitor citizens and introduce censorship, which can be avoided in the decentralized Internet.
In the case of DWeb, it will be more difficult for the government, for example, the Chinese one, to block a website, since its data will be sent to the user computer from different places, just like when downloading a torrent. However, this is also a drawback of the idea, since it will be more difficult on a decentralized Internet, e.g. to stop the distribution of child pornography and other materials that violate the law.
Where is decentralized Internet realized?
The first thing that comes to mind is Ethereum. It is a decentralized platform created on the basis of the distributed ledger. It has existed since 2015 and allows conducting encrypted financial transactions using cryptocurrency via p2p networks.
The social network Akasha runs on this platform. Files and user records are not stored on servers and are protected by the blockchain protocol. It can conduct transactions using the Ethereum cryptocurrency, including receiving payments for posts and downloading content.
In addition to it, there are social networks Synereo and Steemit, which work on blockchain technology. Users can communicate, transfer small files, and mine cryptocurrency by adding files or providing the computing power of their device.
Other services work similarly: MaidSafe — a platform that uses the SAFE network to store and transfer data among users, Twister microblogging service, a decentralized analog of Twitter, Yacy search engine running on several thousand devices, or a Project Maelstrom browser created by BitTorrent developers.
Our vision of the decentralized Internet
Utopia Ecosystem is also based on the Decentralization concept. It is a multipurpose enclosed peer-to-peer architecture that is developed for secure and anonymous info access and transfer, communication, and payment processing.
Should we allow anyone to control the Internet, even if they have only good intentions, which is unlikely? We believe, no. Nobody but ourselves should control how we communicate, what we learn, how we perceive the world and make decisions about elections and markets.
Thus, we consider people, ordinary people need the solution that would grant them this possibility to get full control over their own data, currencies, and the information they receive.
Why Is decentralization important?
It should be noted that Tim has never wanted to spy upon his brainchild. The WWW software was developed for free usage, and the chain was decentralized to prevent surveillance and threats of information leaks.
Such a ground-breaking openness caused large-scale free modifications and limitless creativity. Plus, it has given the right of freedom vote to the people on the Earth.
It changed the communication process, education, and business — absolutely everything. However, the main result of such actions was open access to the creation of anything on the net space. These include prohibited materials, platforms, and sites that aimed at building some centralization.
Centralizing certain services is not so bad and not trouble in itself: there are good intentions for a centralized association of people or things. But the difficulty arises when we are denied choice and deceived — we are made to think that there is only one gateway to cyberspace, which, as a matter of fact, we own jointly.
Not so long ago, the idea of an open Internet space in which we pay with our data for a part of the rights that are priori ours seemed incredible. However, today, the situation has changed dramatically, and many users have been blocked in powerful social networks. These media giants collect and store information about absolutely everyone on the Earth. This all happens in their media territory, so they consider themselves both administrators and the judges at the same time.
It is not surprising that this situation is displayed in three global tasks that Tim expressed back in 2017:
- return users the control over their data;
- stop any misinformation and manipulation;
- provide full openness.
Unmistakably, these obstacles are undesirable to be resolved centrally through some commission or committee. This again creates a point of failure, which, even with the greatest aims, is always ‘open’ to misapplication. Eventually, the main problem is not in particular social networks, but in the hyper centralization of data and people, that is power. Control is needed, but a power should belong to all people — like the right to own personal data and created content.
Utopia Ecosystem has taken a step. Now we must consolidate progress in social and economic spheres. It was done for the decentralization of the web. Because when we control the net sphere, we can have the freedom of choice for the most valuable media platforms. And after that, we can say that this Network is for everybody.
We need Digital Democracy. Today.
I believe that at the very beginning of the internet, when it was mostly decentralized, we had the biggest freedom and security. Centralization brought us to the era of data collection and tracking every user. Many don’t care about it, but I want to be safe online. So I prefer decentralized soft, even if it’s not too popular to all these mass used apps that know everything about you.
Good afternoon, Jacob! You’re right. The whole idea of centralization is to make money. No one thinks about ordinary users who want to secure their data on the internet in centralized systems. Large corporations do large businesses and build their empires on the ignorance of internet users. It is a great pity! So, we should choose only decentralized systems to ensure internet security and privacy.