Advancing Toward a Decentralized Internet in the Real World

The recently aired Season 5 of the popular HBO comedy Silicon Valley features a decentralized internet powered by end-user devices and an internal blockchain-based crypto economy. As usual, the fictional treatment in the show, which has been rightly praised for providing an entertaining but accurate portrait of contemporary tech trends, is based on real developments.


The first Decentralized Web Summit, a gathering of developers striving to make the internet open and decentralized, was held in San Francisco in June 2016. The summit was organized by Tim Berners-Lee, the “father of the web,” and Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. Blockchain technology was considered an important part of the push to decentralize the web, as shown by a high-profile workshop titled “Blockchain and the Web,” organized by MIT Media Lab and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) soon after the Decentralized Web Summit.

The Internet Archive has recently announced that the Decentralized Web Summit 2018: Global Visions/Working Code, organized by the Internet Archive and Aspiration will be held from July 31 to August 2 in San Francisco.

“Our goal is to bring the builders, policymakers and the global community members who will use the Decentralized Web together to explore the visions, values and working code needed,” reads the announcement. “What could it look like at scale? How can people around the world use and benefit from these technologies? What code is working and what is still missing? What do we need to collaborate on in the future?”

At the Decentralized Web Summit 2018, Berners-Lee will present SOLID, a modular and extensible protocol and toolbox under development at MIT. The SOLID project wants to build decentralized social applications while preserving, as much as possible, compatibility with existing W3C standards and protocols. The SOLID platform, described in the project’s Github channel, doesn’t seem to rely on blockchain technology at the moment.

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