Decentralized Internet Services
We live in a world where Internet has opened flood gates of opportunity for millions of people today. The dream of an Information Superhighway where anyone will be able to participate is now a reality. But, an impending doom still surrounds the core principals of the Internet. Despite the recent advancements in the protocol, it still remains vulnerable to attacks and intrusion by governments and corporations of the world. They exploit this vulnerability to impose censorships or to keep an ongoing survelliance.
The current architecture of the Web was design by a formal employee of CERN, Tim Berns Lee. He inherited the decentralized design philosophy of ARPANET, the precusor of today’s internet. The Web that we use today is decentralized in it’s structure, in a sense that there is no official central authority or a central point failure, but instead each content serving website relies on its own independent server. These servers are connected to the Internet by using a shared protocol which then acts as a single network among the millions of similar networks connected to the Internet. The problem lies here within this individual server which is called a ‘node’ in computer networking terminology. A single node of the Web is vulnerable to central point of failures. It’s a major flaw in the design, but nothing that can’t be worked on. For instance, if a single node can be shut down or controlled, there needs to be a solution where a website can still function without it.
The solution? Ever since the rise of Bitcoin, Peer to Peer (P2P) technology is being looked at by different developers from all four corners.
In a post on the official BitTorrent blog, CEO Eric Klinker announced an invite-only private alpha test for a P2P-based web browser called Project Maelstrom.
“It started with a simple question. What if more of the web worked the way BitTorrent does? Project Maelstrom begins to answer that question with our first public release of a web browser that can power a new way for web content to be published, accessed and consumed. Truly an Internet powered by people, one that lowers barriers and denies gatekeepers their grip on our future.”
The browser that BitTorent is working on will serve content without relying on a single node but instead distribute the data to an extensive network of computers in the world. This may be just the beginning of a decentralized web.
Earlier in 2014, a similar but more ambitious project called, MaidSafe, which stands for “Massive Array of Internet Disks, Secure Access For Everyone” held a crowd sale for it’s currency like tokens known as ‘safecoins’. The developers of MaidSafe who have been working on this project since the last seven years aims to create a decentralized peer to peer Internet platform which will also allow other developers to build applications in which all data is secure, private and protected from deletion.
“The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen.” As Julian Assange points out, the future of Internet is at stake right now. In the future, when these projects come to fruition, maybe we’ll be able to free the Web from the shackles of it’s enemies.