Archive hosts Decentralized Web Meet-Up

On June 13, nearly a hundred developers, technologists and decentralized web enthusiasts met up at the Internet Archive to learn from each other and share their progress towards building towards a new, decentralized web. Fueled by pizza and beer, the conversation segued into a series of presentations by six keynote speakers interspersed with 1-minute lightning talks by eager participants. Filled with both vigor and technical nuance, the demos provided a sneak peek into next month’s Decentralized Web Summit.

Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle set the tone by welcoming all to the Archive and defining the web as a “radical sharing experiment” that has encountered major issues of privacy, surveillance and manipulation. He challenged the audience with the toughest questions, asking What if we can evolve the Web? What if we can bake our core principles into the Web? What if we can lock the Web open? What if we can build a Decentralized Web?” Brewster’s emphasis on the DWeb’s sharing and collaborative creative process echoed throughout the rest of the night.

Part of the network map of the Decentralized Web ecosystem by the Digital Life Collective’s Christina Bowen.

The Digital Life Collective’s co-founder and knowledge ecologist Christina Bowen was the first keynote speaker up, presenting an interactive map of the decentralized web ecosystem. Sortable by maturity, platforms and other characteristics, the map is a transformational tool for understanding the progress of the DWeb and gaining lateral awareness of our peers. To add your organization to the map, please fill out this survey and check out the map’s progress here!

Feross Aboukhadijeh, Founder of WebTorrent, was up next, informing us about the progress of WebTorrents since the last DWeb Summit in 2016. To much excitement, he explored how P2P torrenting ideas can be integrated into web browsers while also presenting the success of WebTorrent’s desktop application. Feross continually focused on the community aspect of WebTorrent and presented features made by other members. Check out his slides.

Arkadiy Kukarkin of Protocol Labs, the parent organization of IPFS, Filecoin and many other projects, then proceeded to present the recent research they have been conducting, in particular demoing Peerpad, a P2P collaborative editing tool. Other topics presented touched upon IPFS gateways and linking the IPFS network. For more research see here.

The Internet Archive’s Lead for Decentralized technologiesMitra Ardron, presented his progress making the Archive more decentralized, elaborating on how the Archive’s decentralized platforms allows users make copies and use IPFS and WebTorrent links when putting out metadata. Check out for yourself here !

Joachim Lohkamp, founder of Jolocom followed by asking the audience a question: “how many account log-ins do we have online?” With the answer in the hundreds, Joachim presented the case for self-sovereign digital identity to control our online presence and security in a world where we have hundreds of accounts, passwords, and companies holding bits and pieces of our personal identities. Check out Joachim’s open source project.

Mozilla’s Irakli Gozalishvili, Dietrich Ayala and Tantek Çelik presented their work on browser support for decentralized web projects! These new APIs for decentralized development received thunderous applause, especially from the other protocol teams. The overall sense of collaboration and mutual support between groups was best demonstrated in IndieWeb member, Tantek’s call for longevity, for building a sustainable web together.

The lightning talks included an array of projects, from Johannes Ernst’s elucidation on the need for self-hosting and home servers to Devon James’s Open Index Protocol to Christopher Allen’s W3C credentials community. These talks demonstrated the vigor and liveliness of the space, both from the early pioneers and eager new faces.

This was an exciting prologue to what is panning out to be a groundbreaking conference on August 1st and 2nd. To sign up for the Decentralized Web Summit, please visit the conference website !

Video of the event and links towards all the speakers is available here