Updated: Jan 25
Today, however, web servers store your private data centrally. While this may seem efficient, this central point can be hacked or spied on by governments. Additionally, your data can be sold to advertisers, whether you want it to be or not.
Mega-Corporations Control the Internet
There are components of the Internet that are fairly decentralized, but there are many aspects of the Internet that are not. The centralized components can be under control. Also, these centralized components can result in downtime or compromise. So, for example, there is the domain name system. The domain name system is notoriously insecure. It is also very tightly controlled by a few organizations and corporations. The certificate authority system and other pieces of software that we rely on today for the Internet are also controlled. The companies that provide internet services, such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon, represent a considerable percentage of Internet traffic and an even larger percentage of the advertising volume. So for us to use the Internet, we have to be heavily reliant on these few mega-corporations. In a sense, the Internet is becoming these few corporations. We are becoming more and more dependent every day on Amazon for buying goods. People are dependent on Google every day for accessing information and are becoming more and more dependent on Facebook every day for communication. This is not how the Internet was envisioned. It was not meant to be a fiefdom where we are all utterly dependent on a few lords.
The need for self-organized, censorship-free Internet led to the invention of peer-to-peer networks, which connect people directly. This became popular with file-sharing platforms such as Kazakh, Nutella, or BitTorrent. But peer-to-peer architecture isn't just good for sharing files. It's actually a model for a better Internet, one which lets people communicate freely and directly with each other. Whole economies can run on a decentralized network, but this also needs a decentralized monetary system very different from what we have now, like euros or US dollars. Besides, this is where the blockchain and cryptocurrencies come into play. You may have heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all the other widely successful crypto coins that are skyrocketing in volume. With crypto coins, you don't need banks to send money around the world. While cryptocurrencies have decentralized the monetary system, peer-to-peer technology can also be used for decentralized communication. We no longer need middlemen like Google or Facebook. Today, we can build business and personal relationships decentrally. So, you can connect directly to your customers or friends without going through any third parties. These means of communication are censorship-resistant, private, and cheaper because no middlemen are taking a cut. If you run a business, you can directly target and connect with customers, and you don't have to pay anyone to collect data and hand it over to you. Your future customers will do it themselves and because they want to.
What is the Decentralized Web?
When something is decentralized, it exists throughout a system. Our current Internet is not decentralized. Websites and applications have servers, also known as the central point of failure and control. In contrast, the decentralized web makes these applications and sites run on the entire network of connected computers. There are new domains dedicated to decentralized websites. These websites then connect to a decentralized website that runs on IPFS. Besides, developers have started to come up with decentralized apps. There will be no single place of vulnerability, and no one entity will control everything and do sneaky things with your data.
Organizations such as Ethereum are taking the revolutionary concepts behind Bitcoin and applying them to the entire Internet. This is all made possible by cryptography. In the same way that cryptocurrency allows us to securely make transactions peer to peer without middlemen such as banks, the decentralized web will allow us to use the Internet without trusting a single entity with our precious data. Everything is secure, uniquely encrypted, and distributed across the entire network. The decentralized Internet will be open source, meaning everyone can see exactly how it works.
The Decentralized Web Is Not The Dark Web
The decentralized web is very different from the dark web, even though the possibility of unsavory characters infiltrating the dWeb does exist. Nonetheless, there are many positive implications of such revolutionary technology. Users who make content for blogs, social networks, and other online forums can be paid instead of the website owners making money by farming the users who provide the content. We see this today with services like Facebook, YouTube, and more.
Imagine a world where the Reddit user is paid because he produces some popular content or where the Facebook user posts a photo that gets a ton of likes, and they're paid for it? Imagine how nice it will be if the eBay vendor won't have to deal with eBay taking a percentage? Today, websites like YouTube do offer partnerships, but the services are still charging their users. The decentralized web stops this once and for all because it provides a framework for a world without intermediaries.
Promotion of Free Speech
Another benefit of the decentralized web is that the government can't intervene. Today, the NSA can access our data, and the government is trying to control us by partnering with the biggest Internet services like Google, Facebook, Apple, and even our cell phone carriers. The decentralized Internet puts an end to these prying eyes as well. It even allows decentralized democracy to replace the system we have in place now. Furthermore, let's say you have a website or service that somebody with more money than you don't like. With decentralized web, there's nothing an oppressive regime can do to take your content down because it's running on the whole network. They would have to take down every single computer, which would be impossible without some extraordinary crackdown. And our current society is simply too dependent on computers anyway for that to happen. There are so many political implications for this revolutionary technology.
At first glance, this may seem like something the average person wouldn't understand. Well, that's what people initially thought about the Internet, right? But now the Internet has since been made so user-friendly that the average person can use it without any knowledge of how it works. We already have successful, decentralized, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and we already have the Internet. This will happen with the decentralized Internet as well. One of the actors trying to make the decentralized web user-friendly is dWebguide.com. We maintain a list of legitimate decentralized websites.
At dWebguide.com, we have looked at the web and realized it could be more decentralized. It could be more decentralized in terms of the goods and services that are being provided by companies. Also, it could be more decentralized in terms of the infrastructure, in terms of the control that people have over their data, and in terms of their own control over their identity. We want to help people take back that control.
The Future Is Here
We believe we can help people be in control of their identity and data. If a company decides that something like Google Reader is no longer part of their business model, then they can continue to use their favorite RSS reader. If a company goes out of business, they can still use the software that the company was providing. If a user wants to use different features for a particular application, they could go to a competing service provider and still connect with their friends who are on the same platform.
So, we are working on helping bring about this revolution on the web. Our commitment to decentralization is visible in everything we do, including our choice of logo. Did you know that the jellyfish does not have a central nervous system? We aspire to create a catalog of decentralized websites that'll put more power in the hands of the people and more power in the hands of everyday businesses. That is the vision that we're fighting for. The Internet of people will be the Internet of the future, a place where you can freely interact with your friends, share files, or buy goods without being censored, spied on, or sold out. Get ready for massive changes in our economy.