Is a new decentralized internet, or Web 3.0, possible?

The time has come to struggle in opposition to the dominance of the web giants. In Europe, numerous rules have been announced that goal to pressure these giants to respect extra wholesome guidelines of the sport and to be extra protecting of customers’ rights and of competitors. Some even brandish the specter of dismantling among the tech giants, a weapon of mass destruction not often utilized in historical past.

Is another path of a very decentralized web potential?


A handful of corporations maintain a digital monopoly inside the web in essential areas of providers (search engines like google, electronic mail, and so on.), infrastructures (international transit, content material distribution networks, cloud computing providers, and so on.) and even, to some extent, web standardization (IETF, ICANN/IANA, W3C, and so on.). The equation is unprecedented, and their place has grow to be just about impenetrable.

The now-famous “community impact” explains the genesis of the present domination: The larger an internet participant is, the larger it will get. The extra customers it has, the extra attention-grabbing it turns into for the next customers to affix that participant and never one other one. The providers provided are all of the extra enticing, as they seem like “free,” however they arrive on the worth of the commoditization (and typically the violation) of customers’ privateness.

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The web giants have additionally invested massively in their very own “pipelines” (notably, submarine cables) with a purpose to carry their content material as shut as potential to the consumer. 5 years in the past, these “precedence entry paths” represented 25% of the world’s net site visitors. Right this moment, they account for 64%.

That is mirrored within the high quality of service provided by the web giants: a latency time drastically lowered in contrast with their (potential) rivals. Let’s take into consideration a platform that want to compete with YouTube or Netflix, however with a loading time that’s 10 instances longer.

Ultimately, we’ve got all grow to be depending on a small group of omnipotent service suppliers.

Cloud 3.0

Decentralizing the web has grow to be a holy grail, and several other initiatives have emerged to satisfy the problem (e.g., Filecoin, ThreeFold, Strong and Dfinity).

These initiatives usually have the identical targets:

  • To “distribute” the cloud and provide an alternative choice to hyper-concentrated knowledge facilities and centralized cloud suppliers.
  • To ensure higher safety of consumer privateness and “knowledge sovereignty.”
  • Enable purposes to be deployed with a stage of high quality and scalability much like what the web provides.

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The technical problem is immense, as is that of large adoption by customers of the providers provided by the GAFA, an acronym that stands for Google, Apple, Fb and Amazon.

Nevertheless, the means to realize these aims differ from venture to venture.

Strong is a specification that lets folks retailer their knowledge securely in decentralized knowledge shops referred to as pods. Pods are safe, private net servers for knowledge. When knowledge is saved in somebody’s pod, they management which individuals and purposes can entry it. The consumer can get a pod from chosen pod suppliers (some being hosted by Amazon), or the consumer could select to self-host a pod to be extra autonomous.

Dfinity proposes the Web Laptop Protocol, or ICP, which the venture describes as “extending the web with serverless cloud performance, enabling safe software program and a brand new breed of open web providers.” This ICP is supplied by a worldwide community of unbiased knowledge facilities.

ThreeFold deploys a peer-to-peer (P2P) grid fashioned by a worldwide community of unbiased farmers. What differentiates ThreeFold from the opposite serverless clouds is that they began from scratch and constructed a brand new infrastructure from the bottom up. The primary advantages of the ThreeFold Grid are:

  • Privateness: A P2P surroundings means no middlemen or intermediaries — knowledge travels immediately between folks and is saved on the nodes of their alternative, somewhat than being despatched by and saved by a 3rd social gathering.
  • Safety: Knowledge saved in knowledge facilities is prone to safety breaches. In bypassing knowledge facilities and exchanging knowledge immediately between friends, larger safety might be achieved, because it reduces code and again doorways considerably.
  • Scalability: In a many-to-many system, scale is basically limitless. {Hardware} (nodes) might be added comfy in any house or workplace by anybody, which isn’t the case with the present knowledge middle mannequin.
  • Price-efficiency and sustainability: Finish-to-end (direct) connection between friends signifies that the system will outline essentially the most environment friendly path for knowledge. This results in way more vitality and price effectivity, in comparison with the centralized knowledge middle mannequin.

In each initiatives, customers should purchase utility tokens that act as “fuel” to order sovereign capability and retailer knowledge.

The Web of Common Assets

The following stage could also be an precise merger of the prevailing web protocol (TCP/IP) with blockchain know-how . The end result can be an web able to carrying not solely packets of information but additionally providers in a decentralized method. This “merger” would foster a extra open, resilient and plural web that’s able to natively providing important providers akin to info search, decentralized area identify administration, digital identification, digital messaging, knowledge storage, computing energy (synthetic intelligence), confidentiality, traceability and digital signature.

These providers have grow to be common sources of the web and, as such, ought to be natively supplied by the community and managed as commons.

In technical phrases, the problem is to mix the information packet transport (TCP/IP) performance with a sure “intelligence” that enables packets to encapsulate a service marker. This service marker might be learn and interpreted by all elements of the community infrastructure (routers, switches, servers).

In doing so, providers — common or essential — are introduced again to the protocol stage of the web. Certainly, the packet (routed in keeping with the foundations of the protocol) “prompts” entry to those providers from a devoted node, or server.

This node is a part of a decentralized community of nodes. The operators of those nodes might be both current web service suppliers, specialised corporations (software program publishers, knowledge facilities, and so on.), or public authorities. Possession of those nodes is also hybrid, shared between these completely different actors.

Belgian public utility basis IOUR Basis promotes such a strategy and presents a collection of protocols that brings the native providers right down to the decrease layer of the web. A proposal like this has basic implications for the web’s physiognomy, notably: decentralized governance, interoperability of providers, native traceability and confidentiality.

A decentralized, native search engine

No web service is extra concentrated than the search engine (each 63% of all searches and 94% of all cell and pill search site visitors comes from Google).

This important perform might be provided by the web community (by way of its augmented protocol), which might end in a extra goal, extra full and extra privacy-friendly search engine, as all search knowledge can be saved by the community in a decentralized approach and now not be centralized on non-public servers. As well as, customers will be capable to resolve whether or not or to not anonymize their search.

Becoming a member of forces

It’s actually essential to advertise lively collaboration and complementarity between all of the aforementioned initiatives (and others) that pursue the identical aims.

Synergies should not solely potential, they’re apparent. The ThreeFold Grid, for instance, can add tangible worth to Dfinity or Strong and different related initiatives in the event that they need to profit from a very decentralized and sovereign infrastructure, as a substitute of counting on present knowledge middle fashions. The long run IOUR infrastructure may — and will — additionally depend on such a grid to deploy the nodes which might be essential to make the web able to offering “native” providers.

Cooperation is of the essence within the new world we need to construct.

This text doesn’t comprise funding recommendation or suggestions. Each funding and buying and selling transfer includes danger, and readers ought to conduct their very own analysis when making a call.

The views, ideas and opinions expressed listed below are the creator’s alone and don’t essentially mirror or symbolize the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Thibault Verbiest, an lawyer in Paris and Brussels since 1993, is a companion with Metalaw, the place he heads the division devoted to fintech, digital banking and crypto finance. He’s the co-author of a number of books, together with the primary ebook on blockchain in French. He acts as an professional with the European Blockchain Observatory and Discussion board and the World Financial institution. Thibault can be an entrepreneur, as he co-founded CopyrightCoins and Parabolic Digital. In 2020, he turned chairman of the IOUR Basis, a public utility basis aimed toward selling the adoption of a brand new web, merging TCP/IP and blockchain.