Context

Setting the Stage

The internet is fundamentally a decentralized network. Since this network is being used to move huge amounts of valuable data, there is an incentive to become a hub for this data.

The ossification of the web into a handful of major hubs is in no way surprising. Any such system will tend towards capture over time, via social contracts that provide a disincentive to exit (e.g. social networks). The fundamental gravity of centralization needs to be actively and persistently resisted by applying opposing forces.

The web of 2019 is beginning to show signs of social flux: average everyday people are beginning to become conscious of the value of their personal data, and the role that these technologies play in their society, politics, and daily lives. The past decade has seen new approaches to security, distributed systems, and decentralization.

Software continues its march of abstraction

  • Increasing abstraction

    • Containers

      • Specialist DevOps

      • Kubernetes difficult billing

    • FaaS / Serverless

      • Still early in its curve

    • Wasm Isolates

  • Difficult to compete with the rolling weight of the Big Four

  • Data security

    GDPR

  • Lock-in fatigue

  • Scandals: Snowden, Cambridge Analytica

  • Apple has begun selling its services as "more secure"

Paradigm Shift

If you don't like what you got Why don't you change it? If your world is all screwed up Rearrange it! ~ Trooper, Raise a Little Hell

  • Content addressing gives us a single unified namespace

    • Portablility

  • Constraints of this system mean that it should be secure-by-default

Core Assumptions

Humanity

  • People are fundamentally lazy

    • Want to change as little as possible

      • Momentum

      • Familiarity-as-UX

  • Systemically, we tend towards centralization and capture

  • Periodic paradeigm shifts that allow for increased freedom, competition, and efficiency

  • Socially, end-users are becoming aware of the dangers of concentrated technological power

Technology

  • Decentralized IDs will happen

    • W3C

    • Microsoft

    • BC Government

  • Wasm is going to be available everywhere

  • Content addressing will effectively make data location a non-issue

Core Principles

  • Pragmatism

  • Self-sovereignty

  • Universality

  • Modularity

  • UX and DX (broadly HCI) / conveniecne

Open Infrastructure

Progressive Decentralization

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The End of History

The past 60 years have been a progression from bespoke hardware, through mainframes, timeshare, hardware owneership, cloud computing, containers, FaaS, and finally hostless systems