What Is The Decentralized Web And Why Do We Need An Alternative?


Decentralized Web Explained

The Decentralized Web is a system of interconnected, independent, privately owned computers that work together to provide private, secure, censorship-resistant access to information and services.

It is supposed to be like the web you know but without relying on centralized operators. In the early days of the world wide web, which came into existence in 1989, you connected directly with your friends through desktop computers that talked to each other. But from the early 2000s, with the advent of Web 2.0, we began to communicate with each other and share information through centralized services provided by big companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.

It is now on Facebook’s platform, in its so called walled garden, that you talk to your friends. Our laptops have become just screens. They cannot do anything useful without the cloud, says Muneeb Ali, co-founder of Blockstack, a platform for building decentralized apps. The DWeb is about re-decentralizing things – so we aren’t reliant on these intermediaries to connect us. Instead users keep control of their data and connect and interact and exchange messages directly with others in their network.

Why do we need decentralized web technologies?

With the current web, all that user data concentrated in the hands of a few creates risk that our data will be hacked. It also makes it easier for governments to conduct surveillance and impose censorship. And if any of these centralized entities shuts down, your data and connections are lost.

Then there are privacy concerns stemming from the business models of many of the companies, which use the private information we provide freely to target us with ads. The services are kind of creepy in how much they know about you, says Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive. The DWeb, say proponents, is about giving people a choice: the same services, but decentralized and not creepy.

It promises control and privacy, and things can’t all of a sudden disappear because someone decides they should. On the DWeb, it would be harder for the Chinese government to block a site it didn’t like, because the information can come from other places.

The Decentralized Web Awaits

The shift to a truly decentralized web isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take time. The parts of the decentralized internet must be built and perceptions changed.

via Medium, TheGuardian, Feross Aboukhadijeh

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