Tag Archives: DWeb

Introducing the 2022 DWeb Fellows

A discussion session from DWeb Camp 2019 led by Fellows.

How do we ensure that the decentralized web fulfills its potential to create a better web for all? That the technologies, organizations, and approaches that gain traction and succeed (by any measure) uphold the security, privacy, and self-determination of everyone, especially those of marginalized populations who have the most to gain? 

The first step is to recognize that there are many people around the world who are already doing this work. They’re not only imagining and theorizing about a better web, but are actually creating and employing digital tools to uplift communities facing systemic inequities. They bring about justice and enable individual and collective agency, both through network technologies and by also creating and maintaining communities of care.

As the Decentralized Web (DWeb) San Francisco team, we help grow networks of solidarity among these individuals and organizations by creating opportunities for them to build relationships with each other and the DWeb community. Our Fellows from DWeb Camp 2019 strongly influenced our thinking as we defined a set of shared Principles and continued to hold virtual and in-person convenings in the three years since. 

As the Director of this year’s Fellowship program, one of my strongest hopes is that the DWeb Fellows are able to build lasting, fruitful relationships with each other and other DWeb Campers. My other hope is that the Fellows’ projects and approaches continue to shape the DWeb community overall – to connect and empower the most under-resourced, and ensure that the decentralized web we’re building truly addresses the needs of all.

The 2022 DWeb Fellowship program was made possible with generous support from the Ford Foundation, Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web, Mysterium Network, donations through the Gitcoin grant challenge, and others.

2022 DWeb Fellows

Alice Yuan Zhang, Media Artist/Researcher

Andrew Chou, Digital Democracy

brandon king, Resonate.Coop

Cody Harris, Seattle Community Network

Dana Beltrán, Colnodo

Esther Jang, Seattle Community Network

Hiure Queiroz, Portal Sem Porteiras

Jaime Villarreal, May First Movement Technology

Johan Michalove, Cornell University

Kemly Camacho Jiménez, Sulá Batsú Coop

Kola Heyward-Rotimi, COMPOST Magazine

Luisa Bagope, Portal Sem Porteiras

María Alvarez Malvido, Redes por la Diversidad, Equidad y Sustentabilidad A.C

Michael Abraha, Tigray Art Collective

Ngọc Triệu, Simply Secure | Decentralization Off the Shelf

Nicolás Pace, Association for Progressive Communication

Remy Hellstern, Xinjiang Documentation Project, University of British Columbia

riley wong, Independent Researcher

Rudo Kemper, Digital Democracy

Sanketh Kumar P, COWDe.Net | Janastu Servelots | GramSevaSangh

Shafali Jain, COWDe.Net | Janastu Servelots

Tania Silva, Coolab

T B Dinesh, Janastu Servelots

Vaipunu Ian Tairea, Project Sunrise | Tai Collective

Ying Tong Lai, Halo2 | ZCash

DWeb Camp 2022: A Grounded Convening of Those Building a Decentralized, Values-Driven Web

Much has changed since 2016, when the Internet Archive held the first Decentralized Web Summit. Scrappy teams with lean funding have grown into formidable organizations with budgets in the millions. Niche technologies and far-fetched debates from a few years ago have dominated headlines and are shaping entire economies.

Each of the DWeb events reflected a moment in a quickly shifting landscape of protocols, institutions, and ideologies. In the three years since DWeb Camp in 2019, some major trends have transformed people’s thinking. The explosion of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into the mainstream. The renaissance of projects centered on shared ownership and governance of assets. The reckoning with the power and potential of decentralized technologies: to either further entrench existing social inequities and exacerbate ecological harm, or radically reconstruct the ways in which individuals and communities can meaningfully address these and other crises of our time. 

As organizers of this community, the defining change was the development of the DWeb Principles. The Principles help us to define what we stand for, instead of merely what we stand against. They emerged out of discussions and alignment between many members of the DWeb community, and are just one part of a growing awareness of the ethics and beneficiaries of decentralized digital ecosystems. 

DWeb Camp 2022 will be held from August 24-28 at Camp Navarro, California. As the programming takes shape, the themes, spaces, and participants of this year’s event clearly reflect where we are in this still nascent movement. At DWeb Camp, we’ll be hacking and live testing cutting edge decentralized protocols, platforms, and hardware. We’ll tackle thorny topics about who these tools serve and how to govern and steward them sustainably. We’ll confront questions about power, marginalization, community, identity, ecology, and human rights. 

With all the DWeb events, we aim to create spaces for people to share their ideas, projects, and research among warm, supportive peers who believe in a plurality of approaches and solutions to build a decentralized values-driven web. By meeting in-person, outdoors among towering redwood trees, DWeb Camp is about manifesting that ethos as we invite all those participating to bring their full selves. We’re designing this event to be a place for us to be curious and humble. Not to come with all the answers but to be open to having your mind and heart changed.

Below are some of the Spaces, or thematic sessions, that will be held throughout the five-day event. In addition to the Spaces described below, we will build a local Mesh Network across the campground for participants to share locally-hosted materials, test hardware, and experience a community network first-hand.

Spaces

  • Hackers Hall  – Tech projects, Science Fair, and User testing
  • Healing Waters in Cambium Pavillion – Conversations, music, tea, and storytelling
  • People-2-People Tent – Exploration of emergent wisdom through play
  • Open Source Library – Storytelling, books and games
  • Redwood Parliament Pavillion – Imagine and co-inspire a governance layer for the DWeb
  • Filecoin Foundation Forest Hang Out – Connect with new friends while lying in hammocks
  • Redwood Cathedral – Wellness, meditation, and conversation 
  • Universal Access Amphitheater – Talks and breakout discussions
  • Be Water Waystation – Art and hands-on programs for children
  • Thunder Salon – Lightning talks

We’re lucky to have an incredible group of people stewarding the programming in each Space, ensuring that the sessions invite collective practice in discussion, imagination, and play. Continue reading below for more detailed descriptions of some of the Spaces, written by the stewards. An online schedule of all the sessions in each Space will become available the week of the event.

Hackers Hall

The Hacker’s Hall is the place for people of technical and non-technical backgrounds to meet each other at all hours of the day and night. We will have Wi-Fi, couches, whiteboards, and tables. It will be the Mesh Network Hub of the Camp. Come to the Science Fair on Thursday, where everyone can try interactive demos of existing decentralization projects and meet the people who are building them. Then on Friday, come to “Dogfooding Decentralization,” a User Testing Lab for DWeb project. Each team will have office hours where you can come deep dive with them.

Come build on and improve projects, test software, be a user tester, meet developers and designers, ask questions, and learn new things about the decentralization all around us! 

The Redwood Cathedral at Camp Navarro, the venue of DWeb Camp 2022

Healing Waters in Cambium Pavilion

Oceans and creeks, rivers and lakes, from the clouds in the sky to the pipes in our homes, water connects us all. This is the focus of Healing Waters at DWeb camp, an Indigenous-led, multi-modal celebration of this precious substance that supports all life on Earth. By the meeting place of the Navarro River and the Pacific Ocean, Healing Waters invites DWeb campers to explore their relationship to water and what it means to be fluid, literally and metaphorically. Our programming navigates the currents leading from Indigenous technologies and storytelling to hyper-modern science and cartography, with ports of call in art, music, policy, poetry, history, and mythology.

Programming Highlights:

  • A conversation led by Haudenosaunee artists Asha Veeraswamy and Amelia Winger-Bearskin about the parallels between open-source technology, decentralization, and the consensus-building practices that led to the formation of the Iroquois Confederacy, and deeply influenced the U.S. Constitution 
  • Data visualization workshop using real water data from the US Geological Survey led by data manager/designer Martha Bearskin 
  • Real-time data-driven VJ session featuring artist/technologist Devin Ronneberg
  • Morning communal singing rituals led by artist and opera singer Amelia Winger-Bearskin
  • Musical performances and night raves in the majestic redwood forest
  • Sound baths (meditative experiences in which the audience is “bathed” in immersive spatialized audio)
  • Martial arts instruction, guiding students to access the deep aquifer of intuition that flows just below the conscious mind

People-2-People Tent

Let’s myceliate!

Let’s root and spread our hyphae through the ground: tree-to-tree, person-to-person, peer-to-peer, and node-to-node.

Let’s relieve networks of the extractive transactional usage and explore in earnest what it’s like to design, form, and experience networks the way fungi do. The way the complex systems of our bodies do. The way humans do when we weave our relational webs. Our webs have connections, overlapping points, tensions, resistances, and anchors.

Let’s weave, let’s twine, let’s interwingle. Let’s use our technologies of language, of frames, of digital media to better see and play with these patterns of relating in real time, in real life, with each other.

Those working on peer-to-peer (P2P) projects are invited to do a Kindergarten Lightning Talk to share  their technologies using crayons and paper and pipe cleaners. We’ll have interactive sessions from different P2P projects like Scuttlebutt, Holochain, and Fluence. There will be a full on battle session (playful, of course) between blockchain folks and fully distributed folks over what the “D” in DWeb stands for. Think arts and crafts and workshops meet P2P technology!

Hammocks at Camp Navarro!

Filecoin Foundation Forest Hang Out

Our Venue Sponsor, Filecoin Foundation, invites you to hang out in the trees and meet Foundation leaders. This is the place to come to chill, meet new friends, and enjoy late night pizza cooked to order in a wood-fired oven on Wednesday and a Silent Disco on Friday. 

Open Source Library

Looking for a place of quiet contemplation? Come to the Open Source Library to peruse some favorite books of your fellow campers. We’ll ask each person to bring a few meaningful books to give away. Authors’ talks and storytelling, game nights and children’s films will all take place in the Library.

Redwood Parliament Pavilion

Imagine an Internet where democracy is at least as available as autocracy.

The decentralized Internet is a complex network of technical and social interdependencies; a mix of protocols and the communities that thrive in and across the network. However, the Internet as it currently exists has been flattened and consolidated to render these socio-technical complexities into top-down, autocratic defaults for social organization. And yet, these interdependencies continue to grow, challenging and proving the current form of the Internet socially unsustainable; calling us instead to develop more collective means and intuitions for how we govern our commons.

Redwood Parliament is a collection of events at DWeb Camp that will address these interdependencies in all of their complexity and practice alternatives to autocracy.

The track will bring together practitioners, researchers, artists, builders, and dreamers to actively imagine and co-inspire a governance layer for the decentralized Internet. Over four days, campers will have the opportunity to participate in a collection of distributed activities, workshops, and discussions designed to give us the conceptual and experiential tools and frameworks that we can take with us to help us do this work.

Together, we will:

  • Explore ways of flexibly composing and experimenting with different decision making structures through workshops and hands on engagement with new digital-native tools;
  • Immerse ourselves in a black-box modular governance Live Action Role Play (LARP);
  • Collectively develop a map of governance practices and protocols existing across the decentralized Internet;
  • Read, annotate, and be guided through various constitutions forming around the decentralized Internet;
  • Design ecological patterns, protocols, and mechanisms, guided by the ethos of the DWeb, to shape and inform the inter-relationship between our physical and economic environments; and
  • Engage in speculative writing and world building exercises focused on imagining approaches to governance past, present, and future;

These activities and happenings will complement and inform a series of meta-level discussions around research that the organizers of the Redwood Parliament have been conducting on this topic of a governance layer for the decentralized Internet.

— 

Redwood Parliament is a joint collaboration between Metagov, the Internet Archive, and RadicalxChange, with support from the Unfinished Network and the National Science Foundation.

Decentralized Apps, the Metaverse, and the “Next Big Thing”

In the fifth session of “Imagining a Better Online World: Exploring the Decentralized Web” – a joint series of events with Internet Archive, METRO Library Council, and Library Futures – “Decentralized Apps, the Metaverse, and the ‘Next Big Thing,’” Internet Archive Director of Partnerships Wendy Hanamura took a deep dive into the metaverse and NFTs through an exploration of virtual worlds with pioneering metaverse developer Jin.

Watch session:

In this engaging session, Hanamura and Jin explored the technologies that would transform the future and the world as we know it within Web 3.0: the immersive spaces and built communities of the metaverse. As indicated by participants, to some, NFT and metaverse means “cyberspace on steroids,” or “Second Life,” while for others it holds a more negative connotation. From the “read-only” Web 1.0 to the forthcoming “read-write-trust verifiable” future of Web 3.0, the evolution of the web is leading to an enhancement of reality to create new and augmented realities.

An NFT, or an entry on a blockchain, can be anything from a document to even a virtual representation of a physical space like the Internet Archive. Jin, for example, is able to create a complete virtual desktop where their entire life and memory lives in 3D, and where they conducted the virtual reality interview with Hanamura. From hacker spaces to raves to the virtual representation of the Internet Archive they built as a central space to conduct their work, Jin’s life is mediated and defined through their virtual world building.

What makes Jin’s world unique is their commitment to building with other people in the open source community in an “interesting, collaborative, co-creation.”

Within these worlds, one of the key provisions is interoperability: the ability to carry these worlds between each other. For Jin, this is still a work in progress, with new modes of interoperability still being built. In addition, privacy is a major concern – Web 3.0 provides a new form of privacy through avatars and other obscuring technology, but Jin cautions that due diligence is still warranted, just like in the real world.

The conversation ended with a discussion of the democratizing aspects of NFT creation and independent artists. As an artist, Jin’s first NFT earned him more money than he ever had previously in his career. One of the most exciting aspects of this kind of creation is the way it removes the middle person from the art market: rather than creating for museums or other art markets, Jin is able to reach their audience directly.

Jin ended the session on a positive note: “In virtual reality, you have a lot more bandwidth for empathy. There’s a lot of nuance that is lost in text-based communication platforms. It’s more asynchronous. The sense of presence, of being there with other people, you experience a lot of genuine and good connections… there’s a lot of genuine appreciation of art. That gives me hope.”

GITCOIN Grants: Donate a Few Tokens, Defend a Public Treasure

CALLING ALL COMMUNITY MEMBERS:

In just a few months, the lawsuit Hachette v. Internet Archive will be heard in court. In 2020, four of the world’s largest publishers sued our non-profit library to stop us from digitizing books and lending them for free to the public. The publishers and the corporations who own them, including News Corp and Bertelsmann, are demanding $20 million in damages and that we destroy 1.4 million digitized books. What’s really at stake? The right of all libraries to own, digitize and lend books of any kind. (Here’s what Harvard’s copyright advisor has to say about the consequences of our case.) Starting today, make a small donation through Gitcoin and have an enormous impact for the defense of Internet Archive, through Gitcoin’s quadratic funding.

Today, Gitcoin Grant Round 14 opens, supporting advocacy groups around the world. When you donate even $1 worth of crypto to the Internet Archive, it can result in $3-400+ from the matching pool. Quadratic funding rewards the number of community members who give, along with the amount. So many small donations can really have an enormous impact.

This is an example of the matching funds allotted in a previous Gitcoin Grant round.

HOW TO DONATE:

  1. First you’ll need to create or log in your Github account. 
  2. Use that account to authorize in to Gitcoin.  
  3. Choose one or both of our gitcoin grants here:
  1. You’ll need a crypto wallet like Metamask or Rainbow Wallet with some Ethereum or other tokens.
  2. Select how much you want to donate. (For example: .003 ETH = about $5.00 US)
  3. Do you want to also add some money to the matching pool? Be sure to set an amount in that field as well.
  4. Hit the “I’m Ready to Checkout” button.
  5. In the drop down menu, pick Standard Checkout, Polygon, or zkSync.
  6. Connect and log in to your crypto wallet to pay.
  7. BONUS: You can verify your identity by creating a Gitcoin Passport via Ceramic to maximize the matching funds (up to 150%).
  8. The more people who give, the greater the percentage of the matching pool we receive.
Checkout module for the Gitcoin Grant 14 Advocacy Round.

Thank you for taking these steps to unleash huge support for the Internet Archive, helping us pay the millions of dollars in legal fees we have already incurred. Your support helps ensure the Wayback Machine, Open Library, and all our games, concerts, books and films will be available to you for free for a very long time.

Goodbye Facebook. Hello Decentralized Social Media?

The pending sale of Twitter to Elon Musk has generated a buzz about the future of social media and just who should control our data.

Wendy Hanamura, director of partnerships at the Internet Archive, moderated an online discussion April 28 “Goodbye Facebook, Hello Decentralized Social Media?” about the opportunities and dangers ahead. The webinar is part of a series of six workshops, “Imagining a Better Online World: Exploring the Decentralized Web.” 

Watch the session recording:

The session featured founders of some of the top decentralized social media networks including Jay Graber, chief executive officer of R&D project Bluesky, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of Matrix, and Andre Staltz, creator of Manyverse. Unlike Twitter, Facebook or Slack, Matrix and Manyverse have no central controlling entity. Instead the peer-to-peer networks shift power to the users and protect privacy. 

If Twitter is indeed bought and people are disappointed with the changes, the speakers expressed hope that the public will consider other social networks. “A crisis of this type means that people start installing Manyverse and other alternatives,” Staltz said. “The opportunity side is clear.” Still in the transition period if other platforms are not ready, there is some risk that users will feel stuck and not switch, he added.

Hodgson said there are reasons to be both optimistic and pessimistic about Musk purchasing Twitter. The hope is that he will use his powers for good, making it available to everybody and empowering people to block the content they don’t want to see. The risk is with no moderation, Hodgson said, people will be obnoxious to one another without sufficient controls to filter, and the system will melt down. “It’s certainly got potential to be an experiment. I’m cautiously optimistic on it,” he said.

People who work in decentralized tech recognize the risk that comes when one person can control a network and act for good or bad, Graber said. “This turn of events demonstrates that social networks that are centralized can change very quickly,” she said. “Those changes can potentially disrupt or drastically alter people’s identity, relationships, and the content that they put on there over the years. This highlights the necessity for transition to a protocol-based ecosystem.” 

When a platform is user-controlled, it is resilient to disruptive change, Graber said. Decentralization enables immutability so change is hard and is a slow process that requires a lot of people to agree, added Staltz.

The three leaders spoke about how decentralized networks provide a sustainable alternative and are gaining traction. Unlike major players that own user data and monetize personal information, decentralized networks are controlled by users and information lives in many different places.

“Society as a whole is facing a lot of crises,” Graber said. “We have the ability to, as a collective intelligence, to investigate a lot of directions at once. But we don’t actually have the free ability to fully do this in our current social architecture…if you decentralize, you get the ability to innovate and explore many more directions at once. And all the parts get more freedom and autonomy.”

Decentralized social media is structured to change the balance of power, added Hanamura: “In this moment, we want you to know that you have the power. You can take back the power, but you have to understand it and understand your responsibility.”

The webinar was co-sponsored by DWeb and Library Futures, and presented by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO).

The next event in the series, Decentralized Apps, the Metaverse and the “Next Big Thing,” will be held Thursday, May 26 at 4-5 p.m.EST, Register here

What’s in Your Smart Wallet? Keeping your Personal Data Personal

How Decentralized Identity Drives Privacy” with Internet Archive, Metro Library Council, and Library Futures

How many passwords do you have saved, and how many of them are controlled by a large, corporate platform instead of by you? Last month’s “Keeping your Personal Data Personal: How Decentralized Identity Drives Privacy” session started with that provocative question in order to illustrate the potential of this emerging technology.

Self-sovereign identity (SSI), defined as “an idea, a movement, and a decentralized approach for establishing trust online,” sits in the middle of the stack of technologies that makes up the decentralized internet. In the words of the Decentralized Identity Resource Guide written specifically for this session, “self-sovereign identity is a system where users themselves–and not centralized platforms or services like Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn–are in control and maintain ownership of their personal information.”

  Research shows that the average American has more than 150 different accounts and passwords – a number that has likely skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. In her presentation, Wendy Hanamura, Director of Partnerships at the Internet Archive, discussed the implications of “trading privacy and security for convenience.” Hanamura drew on her recent experience at SXSW, which bundled her personal data, including medical and vaccine data, into an insecure QR code used by a corporate sponsor to verify her as a participant. In contrast, Hanamura says that the twenty-year old concept of self-sovereign identity can disaggregate these services from corporations, empowering people to be in better control of their own data and identity through principles like control, access, transparency, and consent. While self-sovereign identity presents incredible promise as a concept, it also raises fascinating technical questions around verification and management.

For Kaliya “Identity Woman” Young, her interest in identity comes from networks of global ecology and information technology, which she has been part of for more than twenty years. In 2000, when the Internet was still nascent, she joined with a community to ask: “How can this technology best serve people, organizations, and the planet?” Underlying her work is the strong belief that people should have the right to control their own online identity with the maximum amount of flexibility and access. Using a real life example, Young compared self-sovereign identity to a physical wallet. Like a wallet, self-sovereign identity puts users in control of what they share, and when, with no centralized ability for an issuer to tell when the pieces of information within the wallet is presented.

In contrast, the modern internet operates with a series of centralized identifiers like ICANN or IANA for domain names and IP addresses and corporate private namespaces like Google and Facebook. Young’s research and work decentralizes this way of transmitting information through “signed portable proofs,” which come from a variety of sources rather than one centralized source. These proofs are also called verifiable credentials and have metadata, the claim itself, and a digital signature embedded for validation. All of these pieces come together in a digital wallet, verified by a digital identifier that is unique to a person. Utilizing cryptography, these identifiers would be validated by digital identity documents and registries. In this scenario, organizations like InCommon, an access management service, or even a professional licensing organization like the American Library Association can maintain lists of institutions that would be able to verify the identity or organizational affiliation of an identifier. In the end, Young emphasized a message of empowerment – in her work, self-sovereign identity is about “innovating protocols to represent people in the digital realm in ways that empower them and that they control.”

Next, librarian Lambert Heller of Technische Bibliothek and Irene Adamski of the Berlin-based SSI firm Jolocom discussed and demonstrated their work in creating self-sovereign identity for academic conferences on a new platform called Condidi. This tool allows people running academic events to have a platform that issues digital credentials of attendance in a decentralized system. Utilizing open source and decentralized software, this system minimizes the amount of personal information that attendees need to give over to organizers while still allowing participants to track and log records of their attendance. For libraries, this kind of system is crucial – new systems like Condidi help libraries protect user privacy and open up platform innovation.

Self-sovereign identity also utilizes a new tool called  a “smart wallet,” which holds one’s credentials and is controlled by the user. For example, at a conference, a user might want to tell the organizer that she is of age, but not share any other information about herself. A demo of Jolocom’s system demonstrated how this system could work. In the demo, Irene showed how a wallet could allow a person to share just the information she wants through encrypted keys in a conference situation. Jolocom also allows people to verify credentials using an encrypted wallet. According to Adamski, the best part of self sovereign identity is that “you don’t have to share if you don’t want to.” This way, “I am in control of my data.”

To conclude, Heller discussed a recent movement in Europe called “Stop Tracking Science.” To combat publishing oligopolies and data analytics companies, a group of academics have come together to create scholar-led infrastructure. As Heller says, in the current environment, “Your journal is reading you,” which is a terrifying thought about scholarly communications.

These academics are hoping to move toward shared responsibility and open, decentralized infrastructure using the major building blocks that already exist. One example of how academia is already decentralized is through PIDs, or persistent identifiers, which are already widely used through systems like ORCID. According to Heller, these PIDs are “part of the commons” and can be shared in a consistent, open manner across systems, which could be used in a decentralized manner for personal identity rather than a centralized one. To conclude, Heller said, “There is no technical fix for social issues. We need to come up with a model for how trust works in research infrastructure.”

It is clear that self-sovereign identity holds great promise as part of a movement for technology that is privacy-respecting, open, transparent, and empowering. In this future, it will be possible to have a verified identity that is held by you, not by a big corporation – the vision that we are setting out to achieve. Want to help us get there? 

Join us at the next events hosted by METRO Library Council, Internet Archive, and Library Futures. https://metro.org/decentralizedweb

Links Shared

Links shared:
Resource guide for this session: https://archive.org/details/resource-guide-session-03-decentralized-identity
All resource guides: https://metro.org/DWebResourceGuides
Decentralized ORCID: https://whoisthis.wtf
Internet Identity Workshop: https://internetidentityworkshop.com/
Jolocom: https://jolocom.io/
Condidi: https://labs.tib.eu/info/en/project/condidi/
TruAge: https://www.convenience.org/TruAge/Home
DIACC Trust Framework: https://diacc.ca/trust-framework/
PCTF-CCP https://canada-ca.github.io/PCTF-CCP
TruAge Digital ID Verification Solution: https://www.convenience.org/Media/Daily/2021/May/11/2-TruAgeTM-Digital-ID-Verification-Solution_NACS
NuData Security: https://nudatasecurity.com/passive-biometrics/
Kaliya Young’s Book, Domains of Identity: https://identitywoman.net/wp-content/uploads/Domains-of-Identity-Highlights.pdf

In an Ever-Expanding Library, Using Decentralized Storage to Keep Your Materials Safe

Memory institutions know the headaches of storing their ever-expanding physical collections: fire, flood, access & space over the long-term. But storing digital assets presents even more diverse challenges: attacks by hackers, deep fakes, censorship, and the unforeseeable cost of storing bits for centuries. Could a new approach—decentralized storage—offer some solutions? That was the focus of an Internet Archive webinar on February 24. 

The online event was second in a series of six workshops entitled, “Imagining a Better Online World: Exploring the Decentralized Web,” co-sponsored by DWeb and Library Futures, and presented by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO).

In the utopian version of decentralized storage, there would be collaborative, authenticated, co-hosted collections. Wendy Hanamura, Director of Partnerships at the Internet Archive, said this would make information less prone to censorship and less vulnerable to a security breach. “Taken together, resiliency, persistence, self-certification and interoperability — that is the promise of decentralized storage,” she said.

Librarians and archivists are a key part of creating a solution that is networked, said Jonathan Dotan, Founder of the Starling Lab, the first major research lab devoted to Web 3.0 technologies. 

“As a community, if we can all come together to guarantee the integrity of information, we’re in a unique position to create a new foundation of digital trust,” Dotan said. “When we think about decentralization, it’s not a single destination. It’s an unfolding process in which we continually strive to bring more and more diverse nodes into our system. And the more diverse those notes are, the more that they’re going to be able to store and verify information.”

Other speakers at the webinar included Arkadiy Kukarkin, Decentralized Web Lead Engineer for the Internet Archive, and Dominick Marino, Senior Solutions Architect and Ecosystem lead at STORJ.

The series kicked off on January 27 with an introductory session establishing some common vocabulary for this new approach to digital infrastructure.

Download the Session 2 Resource Guide 

Register for the next session:
Keeping Your Personal Data Personal: How Decentralized Identity Drives Data Privacy
March 31 @ 1pm PT / 4pm ET
Register here

The Decentralized Web: An Introduction

Amidst the hype and hoopla for decentralized tech, what should everyone really understand? Providing that baseline of knowledge is the goal of a series of six workshops called “Imagining a Better Online World: Exploring the Decentralized Web.” The series kicked off on January 27 with an introductory session establishing some common vocabulary for this new approach to digital infrastructure.The event was hosted by the Internet ArchiveDWeb and Library Futures, and was presented by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO).

On our current web, most platforms are controlled by a central authority—a company, government, or individual—that maintains the code, data and servers. Ultimately, consumers must trust that those central authorities will do what is in their best interest. 

“In order to have ease of use, we have ceded control to these big platforms, and they manage our access to information, our privacy, our security, and our data,” explained Wendy Hanamura, Director of Partnerships at the Internet Archive, who led the workshop.

In contrast, the decentralized web is built on peer-to-peer technologies. Users could conceivably own their data. Rather than relying on a few dominant platforms, you could potentially store and share information across many nodes, addressing concerns about censorship, persistence and privacy.

“It is still very early days for the decentralized web,” Hanamura said. “All of us still have time to contribute and to influence where this technology goes.”

View the session resource guide.

At the event, Mai Ishikawa Sutton, founder & editor at COMPOST Mag, explained how her publication can be viewed over the decentralized web using IPFS and Hypercore, while using Creative Commons licensing to openly share its contents. In addition, Paul Frazee demonstrated Beaker Browser, an experimental browser that allows users to build peer-to-peer websites on the decentralized web.

Using the current system, Web 2.0, relies on content living on web servers in a certain location. 

“This is a problem because [publishers] want to change it. They want to update it. They … go out of business. They want to merge with somebody. And it goes away,” said Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, noting that the average life of a web page is 100 days. The Wayback Machine was built to back up those web pages after-the-fact, but there is a need to build better decentralized technology that preserves a copy as the content is created, he said. “The Web should have a time axis.”

According to Kahle, in the future a decentralized web would look much the same to the user, but could build features such as privacy, resilience and persistence right into the code. It could also create new revenue models for creative works. For example, a decentralized web could enable buyers to make direct micropayments to creators rather than licensing them through iTunes or Amazon.

“This is a good time for us to try to make sure we guide this technology toward something we actually want to use,” Kahle said. “It’s an exciting time. We in the library world should keep focused on trying to make robust information resources available and make it so people see things in context. We want a game with many winners so we don’t end up with just one or two large corporations or publishers controlling what it is we see.”

Download the Session 1 Resource Guide.

Register for the next session:
Using Decentralized Storage to Keep Your Materials Safe
February 24 @ 1pm PT / 4pm ET
Register now

DWeb Meetup Nov 2021 — Centering Respect, Trust and Equity in the DWeb

At the November 2021 DWeb Meetup, we heard the latest from a range of projects across the DWeb ecosystem and from our featured speaker, Coraline Ada Ehmke, on what a DWeb built on the foundation of mutual respect, trust and equity would look like. You can watch the recording of the event and learn more about the speakers below. You can also read the chat stream that accompanied the discussion here.

Featured Speaker

Our featured speaker at the November DWeb Meetup was Coraline Ada Ehmke, the creator of the Contributor Covenant, a code of conduct for Open Source communities. She is also author of the Hippocratic License, an open source license designed to promote and protect human rights. Coraline is a leader of the ethical source movement. In 2021, she founded the Organization for Ethical Source and currently serves as its Executive Director. She recently wrote “The Sacred Geometry of Respect, Trust and Equity,” exploring the third DWeb Principle.


		DWeb Meetup Nov 2021 — Centering Respect, Trust and Equity in the DWeb image
Featured speaker, Coraline Ada Ehmke

In her powerful essay “The Sacred Geometry of Respect, Trust and Equity,” Ehmke suggests a new way forward. She challenges us to go beyond a begrudging nod to leveling the playing field. “To effect meaningful change, those whose authority and privilege are sustained by inequity must yield power and distribute agency to those who are most impacted by systemic disparities.”

At the meetup, Coraline discussed what it would mean to build a new decentralized web centered on the values of respect, trust and equity. She explored how centering the values of mutual respect, trust, and equity can help us address the challenges of promoting justice and human rights in the code we create.

Watch Coraline’s talk here:

Lightning Talk Speakers


		DWeb Meetup Nov 2021 — Centering Respect, Trust and Equity in the DWeb image
Jenny Ryan

Jenny Ryan, Project Manager at eQualit.ie for the CENO Browser. enabling you to route around censorship with a peer-to-peer web browser. Jenny is passionate about connecting grassroots communities and global initiatives. She has co-founded and stewarded three Oakland, California nonprofits: Sudo Room, Omni Commons, and Sudo Mesh.

Watch Jenny’s talk here:


		DWeb Meetup Nov 2021 — Centering Respect, Trust and Equity in the DWeb image
Eyal Ron

Eyal Ron, Co-founder of Esteroids, the search engine for dWebsites. Eyal received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the Free University of Berlin. He was also a co-founder of Almonit (discontinued) and Alpress projects, a former member of the Bisq-core team, and the main author of a couple of DIN (German standard institute) blockchain specs.

Watch Eyal’s talk here:


		DWeb Meetup Nov 2021 — Centering Respect, Trust and Equity in the DWeb image
Savannah Lee

Savannah Lee, Brand Director of Mysterium, an open-source Web3 project creating a censorship-resistant layer of the internet. She plugged into the Web 3.0 matrix four years ago, now focusing on R&D and strategies to grow P2P communities. Her goal is to help builders and users defend their digital rights and protect access to free information.

Watch Savannah’s talk here:


		DWeb Meetup Nov 2021 — Centering Respect, Trust and Equity in the DWeb image
Mask.io

Suji Yan, Founder of Mask.io which is building a decentralized web on top of the current giant platforms. Mask helps protect users’ privacy on social media by encrypting users’ posts right before sending them out, so users control their data autonomy with their own keys.

Watch Suji’s talk here:


		DWeb Meetup Nov 2021 — Centering Respect, Trust and Equity in the DWeb image
Mauve Signweaver

Mauve Signweaver, Creator of HyperGodot, a set of tools for the Godot game engine which enable developers to create local-first peer to peer games based on the protocol handlers in the Agregore browser. Mauve is a Canadian tech enthusiast with a passion for decentralization. Their main project for this is Agregore, a web browser that combines different peer to peer protocols together.

Watch Mauve’s talk here:


		DWeb Meetup Nov 2021 — Centering Respect, Trust and Equity in the DWeb image
Joy Zhang

Joy Zhang

Joy Zhang, Founder of Quark. Quark is a Web 3.0 browser x social platform that shows you paths across the internet. Joy is an award-winning designer, engineer, and entrepreneur specializing in human-computer interaction. She has led projects at Apple, IDEO, and four early stage startups, two of which were her own. Joy was featured on Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards for her sustainable online shopping plugin, shADe.

Watch Joy’s talk here:


		DWeb Meetup Nov 2021 — Centering Respect, Trust and Equity in the DWeb image
Bernhard Borges

Bernhard Borges, Ph.D, Research scientist at the Fluence Project. Fluence is a peer-to-peer application platform which allows the creation of applications free of proprietary cloud providers or centralized APIs. His areas of expertise are Web3, IoT, enterprise integration, and privacy. Prior to Fluence, Bernhard was the Chief Scientist.at Dock Systems and an IBM Distinguished Engineer.

Watch Bernhard’s talk here:

You can register to attend the Holiday fair on December 8, 2021 at 10am PT here.Visit GetDWeb.net to learn more about the decentralized web. You can also follow us on Twitter at @GetDWeb for ongoing updates.

DWeb Meetup September 2021 — Preserving Humanity’s Greatest Assets

The September 2021 DWeb Meetup explored the potential and reality of decentralized storage with two projects leading the way toward storing highly valuable cultural data at scale.

Watch the recording of the event and learn more about the speakers below.

The September 2021 DWeb meetup was held virtually on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 10am PT, optimized for American/European time zones. Wendy Hanamura welcomed attendees and kicked off the meetup. Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, set the stage for the discussion by emphasising the need for a more secure and decentralized web. The Meetup also broached the possibility of a DWeb camp in the Fall of 2022.

The discussion explained the differences between the IPFS and Filecoin systems, how they work together and delved into the two projects led by Arkadiy Kukarkin and Jonathan Dotan which are at the cutting edge of storing large scale data of high cultural significance in the Filecoin network. They discussed the challenges, successes, and future opportunities presented by these efforts.

Lastly, attendees welcomed Eseohe “Ese” Ojo, the new DWeb Projects Organizer and said farewell to Mai Ishikawa Sutton as she goes off to grad school in Japan. Mai will continue to stay connected with the DWeb community and can be reached on Twitter @maira. Ese can be reached at dweb@archive.org or on Twitter @EseoheOjo. The meetup wrapped up with socializing and networking in Gather.town. 

The next DWeb Meetup “DWeb Meetup Nov 2021 – Centering Respect, Trust and Equity in the DWeb” is scheduled for Thursday, November 4, 2021 at 5pm PT, optimized for Asia time zones. At this meetup, we will hear the latest in the DWeb and from our featured speaker Coraline Ada Ehmke on centering respect, trust, and equity in the DWeb. You can read Coraline’s blog post on the DWeb principle of Mutual Respect here

We’re interested in hearing from DWeb projects about the breakthroughs, challenges, and new roadmaps they might be exploring. For anyone interested in participating in lightning rounds at this meetup, let us know here.

Featured Speakers


		DWeb Meetup September 2021 — Preserving Humanity's Greatest Assets image

Image of Arkadiy Kukarkin (Twitter: @parkan)

Arkadiy Kukarkin, DWeb engineer for the Internet Archive. Arkadiy explained this nonprofit’s history with decentralization, from BitTorrent to today. He is leading a new project to explore how the Internet Archive could better decentralize its historical archives using Filecoin. He’s starting with End-of-Term data — all US government websites as they appear at the end and beginning of each Presidential Administration — starting with the 2016-2017 transition. At this talk, Arkadiy revealed his roadmap, lessons learned, and future direction.


		DWeb Meetup September 2021 — Preserving Humanity's Greatest Assets image

Image of Jonathan Dotan 

Jonathan Dotan, Founder of the Starling Lab, the first major research lab devoted to Web3 technologies. It is affiliated with Stanford and USC. Jonathan returned to the DWeb Meetup to bring us up-to-date on the USC Shoah Foundation Project, which preserves testimony of survivors of genocide on decentralized storage at huge scale. How does the process work and how do we keep these precious artifacts safe.

Visit GetDWeb.net to learn more about the decentralized web. You can also follow us on Twitter at @GetDWeb for ongoing updates.