This wiki article lists practices and tools related to different decentralized web technologies. If you are brand new to this topic, you’ll likely find it helpful to read this blog post about it, from an introductory video call held May 2020.
This list is not an exhaustive map of the space, but features definitions and specific projects that Bloom’s crew has identified to be synergistic with regenerative culture development.
What is the Decentralized Web?
The decentralized web involves a number of different protocols, technologies, and development ecosystems that have the potential to “lock the web open” (for commons production, freedom from monopoly and censorship, etc). You can choose to block content you don’t want to engage with, control your data, and external companies are less likely to determine what you see through surveillance capitalism or state propaganda. Ultimately, the Dweb provides incredible creative possibilities for peer-to-peer economic interactions and regional production networks. Europe uses the phrase Next Generation Internet, which overlaps with the decentralized web. It is also sometimes referred to as Web3.
Money and tokens
- Bitcoin – a decentralized electronic currency and payment system. Coindesk is a good news resource for all things bitcoin
- Grassroots Economics is working in Kenya, South Africa, and Congo – communities are designing their own community currencies, represented as tokens on their POA blockchain (Proof of Impact). It’s helping everyone see the exchanges happening and understand better how to support each other.
- SEEDS – a digital currency and financial system that serves, rewards and finances the people and organizations committed to creating a healthier and more equitable planet.
- LitCoin by Cosmos Cooperative – to give you a sense of how creative token design can get!
Identity is an important part of the decentralized web. As Christopher Allen describes, “governments and companies are sharing an unprecedented amount of information, cross-correlating everything from user viewing habits to purchases, to where people are located during the day, to where they sleep at night and with whom they associate.”
With self-sovereign identity (SSI), you no longer have to give up control of personal information to dozens of databases each time you want to access new goods and services. Instead of “log on with Facebook or Google or email”, you log on from your own portal to the web, from your own data store that you control.
These are a few projects working on self-sovereign identity. As far as we know, a few are stable enough to use but probably not for large-scale adoption just yet.
- JLINC is designed to work with web2.0 services.
- BrightID – Ethereum-based (it’s reputation feature is something to be cautious about though, like Black Mirror’s “Nosedive” episode)
- OneName on the Blockstack blockchain
Privacy is one of the reasons decentralized web tools exist. Below you’ll find a section on “power asymmetry” which describes a few reasons why a company like Facebook having a huge amount of data about you is concerning. Censorship and cultural persecution are a couple other reasons why digital privacy is important in the 21st century.
Document storage tools:
Privacy tools for cryptocurrency:
- Samourai wallet – a cryptocurrency wallet that protects privacy
- ZCash – a privacy-protecting digital currency
Decentralized Project Management:
Open Co-op organizes conferences and runs projects to help create decentralized collaboration at scale.
- Socialroots.io – a lightweight way to connect multiple networks, with individual project representatives sharing insights across them
- Scuttlebutt – a decentralized protocol for community development
- Liquid democracy – a higher fidelity form of representational democracy, enabled by blockchain. In liquid democracy, a person can choose someone to represent their vote on an issue, and another person to represent their vote on another issue, and change those representatives at any given time, including reclaim their own direct vote on that issue.
- DAO’s / smart organizations / programmable organizations – a blockchain-native organization that has the capacity to decentralize power. Decisions and resource allocation can happen among customizable sets of people, peer-to-peer, without having to funnel decisions and money up a hierarchy of people who extract value.
- Aragon – a platform for making decentralized organizations + a digital jurisdiction for resolving contract disputes. On Ethereum.
- MetaGov – a set of portable tools for the governance of virtual worlds, designed so that users of platforms can self-organize governance
- Democracy Earth – liquid democracy platform. It’s been used in the state of Colorado.
Financing Decentralized Projects
- Open Collective is a platform where communities can collect and disburse money transparently, to sustain and grow their projects. It itself is not decentralized but it is a good tool for distributed or open source projects.
- Giveth is a collaborative philanthropy Dapp (decentralized application) built on Ethereum that supports transparent community funding. Funds are released once the work is complete and verified.
- Bounties – a way to list a piece of work that needs doing in an organization, for any freelancer or contributor to complete. Bounties Network and CoMakery are two examples of software built to do this.
SuperRare – art marketplace to collect and trade unique single-edition digital artworks
Bloom is looking into decentralized tools designed to support artists and content creators. More projects will be posted here as we come across them.
These two applications are connecting carbon credit markets with regenerative agriculture and land management practitioners. Regen Network also serves Indigenous communities for the purpose of protection from deforestation.
Women of Color in Blockchain
Development Ecosystems and Blockchains
There are many different nooks across the decentralized web, and communities of developers who are building on a specific blockchain, or protocol, etc. Here are a few development ecosystems that we know have regenerative culture-specific projects going on in them:
Theory / Why Decentralize
Power asymmetry is when individuals and groups have differential ability to take action or cause action to be taken. It is relevant to the decentralized web, because monopolization and centralized control of data on the internet has resulted in companies with hugely disproportionate power, who are at the cutting edge of machine intelligence development. These companies are not rooted in humanitarian values nor ethical business models. This has resulted in the election of presidents who increase racism and genocide, as well as information chaos on a social level due to filter bubbles, and much more. Decentralized web tools protect against power asymmetry.
- Facebook is malware AI, uninstall. Shoshana Zuboff offers a good analysis of it. Please let us know if you come across great analyses of why Facebook is a parasitic platform. In a nutshell, the business model of this platform is to use users to sell advertising. Your interactions on the website are sculpted by machine intelligence to increase amount of time spent on the website. This is counterproductive to taking action in your real communities to reverse climate change. And it’s counterproductive to your economic sovereignty. Lastly, the lack of transparency or ability of a user to control how their own data is used, means that Facebook has tremendous knowledge of your political, social, sexual, and economic behavior, that it uses to manipulate you and others you interact with. There is no way to fix this, and you should leave the platform.
—“Discriminating Systems: Gender, Race, and Power in AI.” 2019. AI Now Institute.
—“A study of the implications of advanced digital technologies (including AI systems) for the concept of responsibility within a human rights framework.” 2019. Council of Europe.
—“Weapons of the weak: Russia and AI-driven asymmetric warfare.” 2018. Brookings.