In the journey to developing Web3, we must understand what is motivating decentralization. We are attempting to reinvent the Web to address deficiencies that have placed individuals in jeopardy of censorship, cancellation, and political persecution at the hands of Big Tech platforms, state actors, and adversarial groups intent on harm. Historical ideals to preserve the “free and open Internet” have been abandoned. If a “free and open Internet” is to be preserved, it cannot rely on the honor and voluntary cooperation of humans. Technologies must become permissionless, trustless, and unassailable, so that dishonorable and uncooperative humans can coexist.
- Protecting a user’s right to free speech by having the user take custody of their own data, and ensuring that data cannot be made inaccessible.
- Protecting a user’s right to free association by ensuring that data in the user’s custody can be published to whatever audience the owner wishes to reach.
- Protecting an audience’s right to free association by ensuring access to data published by others, and ensuring that applications can compose that data for the intended use, including for social collaboration.
- Protecting a user’s access to platform capabilities for providing the application services that process that data.
- Protecting a user’s ability to transact business with others without being subject to third party intermediaries cancelling them.
- Protecting a user’s privacy by ensuring the user can share their data only with others who are granted authorization. In some circumstances, a user may want to remain anonymous, so that their real-world identity cannot be exposed for doxxing. Hostile detractors often try to cancel people by targeting their business, sources of income, reputation, relationships, sensitive information, even their personal safety.
Let’s keep these requirements in mind as we explore technologies that can help realize Web3 in restoring the ideal of a free and open Internet in the face of large factions of society who are hostile to (or wobbly on) freedom and openness.