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

The time has come to combat towards the dominance of the web giants. In Europe, numerous rules have been introduced that goal to power 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 an alternate path of a very decentralized web attainable?


A handful of firms maintain a digital monopoly throughout the web in important areas of providers (serps, e mail, and so forth.), infrastructures (international transit, content material distribution networks, cloud computing providers, and so forth.) and even, to some extent, web standardization (IETF, ICANN/IANA, W3C, and so forth.). The equation is unprecedented, and their place has change into nearly 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 fascinating it turns into for the next customers to affix that participant and never one other one. The providers supplied are all of the extra enticing, as they look 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 the intention to deliver their content material as shut as attainable to the person. 5 years in the past, these “precedence entry paths” represented 25% of the world’s net visitors. At present, they account for 64%.

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

In the long run, we have now all change into depending on a small group of omnipotent service suppliers.

Cloud 3.0

Decentralizing the web has change into a holy grail, and a number of 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 a substitute for hyper-concentrated information facilities and centralized cloud suppliers.
  • To ensure higher safety of person privateness and “information sovereignty.”
  • Enable functions to be deployed with a stage of high quality and scalability much like what the web affords.

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

Nonetheless, the means to realize these targets differ from mission to mission.

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

Dfinity proposes the Web Laptop Protocol, or ICP, which the mission 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 impartial information facilities.

ThreeFold deploys a peer-to-peer (P2P) grid fashioned by a worldwide community of impartial 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 — information travels immediately between individuals and is saved on the nodes of their alternative, fairly than being despatched by and saved by a 3rd celebration.
  • Safety: Information saved in information facilities is prone to safety breaches. In bypassing information facilities and exchanging information immediately between friends, larger safety may be achieved, because it reduces code and again doorways considerably.
  • Scalability: In a many-to-many system, scale is actually limitless. {Hardware} (nodes) may be added comfortable in any dwelling or workplace by anybody, which isn’t the case with the present information heart 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 information. This results in far more power and value effectivity, in comparison with the centralized information heart mannequin.

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

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 reminiscent of data search, decentralized area identify administration, digital id, digital messaging, information storage, computing energy (synthetic intelligence), confidentiality, traceability and digital signature.

These providers have change into common assets of the web and, as such, must 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 will probably be learn and interpreted by all elements of the community infrastructure (routers, switches, servers).

In doing so, providers — common or important — are introduced again to the protocol stage of the web. Certainly, the packet (routed in line with the principles 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 may be both present web service suppliers, specialised firms (software program publishers, information facilities, and so forth.), or public authorities. Possession of those nodes is also hybrid, shared between these completely different actors.

Belgian public utility basis IOUR Basis promotes this sort of method and presents a set of protocols that brings the native providers all the way down to the decrease layer of the web. A proposal like this has elementary 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 cellular and pill search visitors comes from Google).

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

Becoming a member of forces

It’s actually necessary to advertise energetic collaboration and complementarity between all of the aforementioned initiatives (and others) that pursue the identical targets.

Synergies should not solely attainable, they’re apparent. The ThreeFold Grid, for instance, can add tangible worth to Dfinity or Strong and different comparable initiatives in the event that they wish to profit from a very decentralized and sovereign infrastructure, as an alternative of counting on present information heart fashions. The longer term 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 wish to construct.

This text doesn’t include 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 choice.

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

Thibault Verbiest, an lawyer in Paris and Brussels since 1993, is a associate 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 guide on blockchain in French. He acts as an knowledgeable with the European Blockchain Observatory and Discussion board and the World Financial institution. Thibault can also be an entrepreneur, as he co-founded CopyrightCoins and Parabolic Digital. In 2020, he grew to become chairman of the IOUR Basis, a public utility basis aimed toward selling the adoption of a brand new web, merging TCP/IP and blockchain.