Decentralized Web Summit pt.4: Panels & Talks

See part 1

See part 2

See part 3

After the Big Guns, others started to talk. There were panels, lightening talks, workshops and informal meal socials.

Peer to Peer Networks

The first talk was a panel about Peer to Peer networks. I was thinking that we already have that when someone else echoed my thoughts. Kevin Marks of Indie Labs was the moderator and the panel included Feross Aboukhadijeh of WebTorrent, David Dias or Protocol Labs & IPFS, Zooko Wilcox of Zocash & Tahoe LAFS and Gavin Wood of Epthcore (sp??), Etheory and Ethereum.

In this section, Kevin asked questions and answers were given by the most interested or qualified person. In some cases, questions were directed at certain panelists. All of the panelists are clearly passionate about their projects.

They don’t think links are as fragile as the Big Guns made them out to be.

Zcash has privacy in the payment system, which prevents censorship.

Public applications are saved to the network without having data in once centralized location. They think this helps find content on a network. I wonder how and if there is an opportunity for content management

Ethereum decentralized http post allows transactions within post request (filling out a form on the web) with no server on the other end.

Webtorrent – they are trying to make a torrent client that runs in the browser. Other torrent clients have to be installed, which is a barrier.

Visitors help host various sites

Torrents area and efficient way to send data across the web

Naming and User IDs in the Decentralized Web

Again this was a panel with a moderator. Participants included:

Chelsea Barbaras – moderator

Muneeb Ali (@muneeb), Blockstack

Joachim Lohkamp, Jolocom and Ouishare

Jeremy Rand, Namecoin

One of the things I liked about this talk was that right away they acknowledged that the decentralization of the web is not an intuitive thought for most people. One person gave an example of 10 sites being involved when a person types an address into the browser bar.

Naming matters.

They want to decouple data from applications. This would help with archiving issues such as not having the software to run and look at data.

Building Values Into the Decentralized Web

Amber Case – Calm Technology

Primavera De Filippi – Backfeed and Coala

Max Ogden (@denormalize) – DAT Project

Wendy Seltzer – W3C

Peter Van Gardenen – Artefactual Systems

One of the speakers said that decentralization should be a means a different object NOT the object itself, which I think is fairly profound. I can’t say I noticed that people wanted to decentralize the web in order to decentralize the web. Many listed privacy, anti-censorship, etc as reasons behind it. I got the impression that there are a limited number of reasons, which might focus the effort, but also not be enough.

provenance of information

  • authentication
  • how do I trust it?
  • does it have good metadata?
  • are there multiple copies?

Bandwidth and storage of commodities of the Internet. I never thought of it like this, but it is true.


    • Ethereum is a public blockchain platform with programmable transaction functionality.[1][2] It provides a decentralized virtual machine that can execute peer-to-peer contracts using a cryptocurrency called Ether. (Wikipedia)
    • The block chain is a public ledger that records bitcoin transactions. A novel solution accomplishes this without any trusted central authority: maintenance of the block chain is performed by a network of communicating nodes running bitcoin software.[15] Transactions of the form payer X sends Y bitcoins to payee Z are broadcast to this network using readily available software applications. Network nodes can validate transactions, add them to their copy of the ledger, and then broadcast these ledger additions to other nodes.[11]:ch. 8 The block chain is a distributed database – to achieve independent verification of the chain of ownership of any and every bitcoin (amount), each network node stores its own copy of the block chain. Approximately six times per hour, a new group of accepted transactions, a block, is created, added to the block chain, and quickly published to all nodes. This allows bitcoin software to determine when a particular bitcoin amount has been spent, which is necessary in order to prevent double-spending in an environment without central oversight. Whereas a conventional ledger records the transfers of actual bills or promissory notes that exist apart from it, the block chain is the only place that bitcoins can be said to exist in the form of unspent outputs of transactions.[11]:ch. 5 (Wikipedia)
    • InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a content-addressable, peer-to-peer hypermedia distribution protocol. Nodes in the IPFS network form a distributed file system. IPFS is an open source project developed by Protocol Labs with help from the open source community.[1] It was initially designed by Juan Benet.[2] (Wikipedia)
    • Cory Doctorow’s presentation
      Tim Berners-Lee’s Solid project
      Twitter hashtag #DWebSummit