Post Tagged with: "decentralized web"

Ethereum: A Platform for Building Bitcoin-style Applicatons

Ethereum: A Platform for Building Bitcoin-style Applicatons

I wrote about Ethereum, next generation cryptocurrencies and distributed autonomous corporations for Wired:

Most people think of bitcoin as a form of money, if they think of bitcoin at all. But 19-year-old hacker Vitalik Buterin sees it as something more — much more. He sees it as a new way of building just about any internet application.

The bitcoin digital currency is driven by open source software that runs across thousands of machines around the globe. Borrowing code from this rather clever piece of software, independent hackers have already built applications such as the Twitter-style social network Twister , the encrypted e-mail alternative Bitmessage , and the unseizable domain name system Namecoin . But Buterin believes that many other applications can benefit from the genius of the bitcoin software, and that’s why he’s joining forces with several other hackers to create something called Ethereum .

He envisions Ethereum as an online service that lets you build practically anything in the image of bitcoin and run it across a worldwide network of machines. At its core, bitcoin is a way of reliably storing and moving digital objects or pieces of information. Today, it stores and moves money, but Buterin believes the same basic system could give rise to a new breed of social networks, data storage systems and securities markets — all operated without the help of a central authority.

Full Story: Wired: Teenage Hacker Transforms Web Into One Giant Bitcoin Network

January 27, 2014 1 comment
Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet

Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet

Harlan Wood

My article for Wired on the Indie Web movement and the IndieWebCamp event:

One guy is wearing his Google Glass. Another showed up in an HTML5 t-shirt. And then there’s the dude who looks like the Mad Hatter, decked out in a top hat with an enormous white flower tucked into the brim.

At first, they look like any other gaggle of tech geeks. But then you notice that one of them is Ward Cunningham, the man who invented the wiki, the tech that underpins Wikipedia. And there’s Kevin Marks, the former vice president of web services at British Telecom. Oh, and don’t miss Brad Fitzpatrick, creator of the seminal blogging site LiveJournal and, more recently, a coder who works in the engine room of Google’s online empire.

Packed into a small conference room, this rag-tag band of software developers has an outsized digital pedigree, and they have a mission to match. They hope to jailbreak the internet.

They call it the Indie Web movement, an effort to create a web that’s not so dependent on tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and, yes, Google — a web that belongs not to one individual or one company, but to everyone. “I don’t trust myself,” says Fitzpatrick. “And I don’t trust companies.” The movement grew out of an egalitarian online project launched by Fitzpatrick, before he made the move to Google. And over the past few years, it has roped in about 100 other coders from around the world.

On any given day, you’ll find about 30 or 40 of them on an IRC chat channel, and each summer, they come together in the flesh for this two-day mini-conference, known as IndieWebCamp. They hack. They demonstrate. They discuss. They strive to create a new set of tools that can give you greater control over the stuff you post to the net — the photos, the status updates, the blog posts, the comments. “The Indie Web is a community of folks interested in owning their own content — and identity — online,” says Tantek Celik, another developer at the heart of the movement.

Full Story: Wired: Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet

See also:

List of Indie Web projects

Wiki Inventor’s Latest Creation Decentralizes the Web

Open Source Project Mimics Yahoo Pipes on Your Own Machine

August 14, 2013 6 comments
The Federated Web Should Be Easier Than It Sounds

The Federated Web Should Be Easier Than It Sounds

My response to Twitter’s suspension of journalist Guy Adams’ account and recent calls for a more open alternative to Twitter:

I’m interested in plans to build federated versions of the internet, including “darknets” like Freenet, Cryptosphere or wireless internet alternatives like Project Meshnet and the many many other project like it. But for those of us living in relatively free countries, just having an internet where everyone owns their own portable identity is good enough. Owning a domain name is a bit on the geeky side, but it’s not like asking people to learn to program or configure their own Linux servers. We can still rely on hosted services – as long as we can pack up and move out of them when the time comes.

What we need to build an open alternative to Twitter isn’t more standards. We already have Dave Winer’s microblog namespace for RSSPubSubHubbub and Activity Streams. What we need is a self-hostable, single user Twitter clone that can publish these formats (and optionally push to Twitter and other social networks). That was the idea that Winer was seemingly getting at last week with his own post on a Twitter alternative, but he focused more on all the tools that are out there for building something like this, and didn’t come out and say what it is we actually need. And that’s something that power users can get up and running relatively quickly without having to write it themselves and with the least amount of server fiddling possible. A WordPress of microblogs.

Sure we have StatusNet and other clones already. But these are designed for groups who want a private Twitter. I’m talking about is giving every user control of their feed by attaching it to their own domain name. One such thing exists already: PageCookery, but the site is in Chinese. Another option is to just run StatusNet and be the sole user on your server. There are also some WordPress microblog themes, but that seems like a clunky solution. It might be nice to see something that isn’t in PHP, but hey – PHP gets the job done and it’s easy for non-developers to get PHP apps running on commodity web hosting.

TechCrunch: The Federated Web Should Be Easier Than It Sounds

August 4, 2012 2 comments
Wiki Inventor’s Latest Creation Decentralizes the Web

Wiki Inventor’s Latest Creation Decentralizes the Web

New from me at Wired:

Ward Cunningham, the creator of the wiki, is proud of his invention. “We changed the world together,” he says of those who contributed to his software development site C2, which spawned the online collaboration software that underpins Wikipedia and countless other services across the net.

But there is one thing about the wiki that he regrets. “I always felt bad that I owned all those pages,” he says. The central idea of a wiki — whether it’s driving Wikipedia or C2 — is that anyone can add or edit a page, but those pages all live on servers that someone else owns and controls. Cunningham now believes that no one should have that sort of central control, so he has built something called the federated wiki.

This new creation taps into the communal ethos fostered by GitHub, a place where software developers can not only collaborate on software projects but also instantly “fork” these projects, spawning entirely new collaborations.

Wired Enterprise: Wiki Inventor Sticks a Fork in His Baby

I’m thinking about getting this up and running and moving the dossiers to it.

See also:

Smallest Federated Wiki on Github (requires either Ruby and Sinatra or Node.js and Express)

One-click installer for Amazon Web Services (there are also instructions for getting it up and running quickly on Heroku)

July 4, 2012 0 comments
Has a New Yorker Reporter Found Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto?

Has a New Yorker Reporter Found Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto?

Bitcoin Batman

Bitcoin has its own version of Batman and a New Yorker reporter has gone out hunting for the cryptocurrency’s Bruce Wayne.

It’s been three years since the inception and introduction of Bitcoin to the world and while it started out extremely fringe and invisible to the general public, lately the cryptographic currency has managed to make quite a splash. The system involves a complex mathematical theory that allows users to slowly coin their own money, essentially limiting the volume of currency and making it something of a commodity. Of course, now that Bitcoin has appeal generated from sites such as Slashdot the creator should be basking in the limelight of his or her invention—but here lies the mystery: Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin, happens to be a reclusive enigma.

SiliconAngle: Has a New Yorker Reporter Found Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto?

October 5, 2011 0 comments
A Bitcoin-based E-Bay for Illegal Drugs

A Bitcoin-based E-Bay for Illegal Drugs

Drugs

Gawker is running an unbelievable story on website called Silk Road – an open market for mail ordering illegal drugs. And it’s only accessible through TOR:

Mark, a software developer, had ordered the 100 micrograms of acid through a listing on the online marketplace Silk Road. He found a seller with lots of good feedback who seemed to know what they were talking about, added the acid to his digital shopping cart and hit “check out.” He entered his address and paid the seller 50 Bitcoins—untraceable digital currency—worth around $150. Four days later the drugs, sent from Canada, arrived at his house.

“It kind of felt like I was in the future,” Mark said.

Gawker: The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable

Buyer beware: TOR is not untraceable. And an update from Bitcoin’s development team indicates that Bitcoin isn’t 100% anonymous either.

For more information on how Bitcoin works, see my interview with developer Gavin Andresen.

From a comment on Facebook:

The only thing that Jeff Garzik, the Bitcoin developer, forgot to mention are the extremely useful Bitcoin Laundries. They allow you to obscure and obfuscate the origin of a Bitcoin, allowing you to effectively ‘launder’ the Bitcoin so that network analysis would be futile. And they are free, simple, and widely available. They probably “forgot” that because it would make it seem even EASIER than it already is to buy drugs online.

I would still urge caution in using this service.

June 2, 2011 2 comments