Let Web3 Flow: Democratizing Data Ownership to Curb Malpractice by@nerv

Let Web3 Flow: Democratizing Data Ownership to Curb Malpractice

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Network Emergency Response Volunteers

We are a DAO committed to help societies become less autocratic by developing and implementing digital tools in politics

In the first iteration of the internet, content was static and based on a server-client architecture.

This meant that although publishers could use the internet to share their content, it was not then an interactive exchange but rather a fixed communication in a one way direction akin to what today, still mostly is, the mainstream media.

With Web2 and the advent of social networks, anyone with a smartphone was now able to publish and get feedback almost immediately from the audience it was targeting. However, in spite of being more interactive, Web2 still inherited the rigidness of the first web server-client architecture, which effectively meant that data was, or rather still is, in the control of the server administrators or service providers.

Web3 is the attempt to come full circle in how data is shared by democratizing ownership; critical data is not stored in a single server but is instead distributed amongst a network of nodes[1] out of which no single one plays a special privileged role.

Additionally, these networks can be permissionless which effectively means that anyone with a decent computer and internet connection can  join forces free of charges and other barriers.

Web3 is the attempt to come full circle in how data is shared by democratizing ownership

Information today is widely recognized as the 4th state[2]; access to correct and updated information is equated as fundamental as the judicial, legislative, and executive powers. Alarmingly, in recent times we've been faced with unprecedented efforts to control key actors and platforms by shadowy forces in an attempt to control both traditional mainstream press, media and the more recent and more powerful Web2 platforms on the internet.

If the ownership of most of the world's trusted sources by a small group of privately-owned companies[3] was not bad enough, the years 2016 to 2020 saw 400 murdered journalists where 9 in every 10 assassinations went on without finding the culprits. Arbitrary detentions and imprisonment are on the rise according to the most recent "World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development" global report by Unesco[4].

This trend should not shock the public considering we are all familiar with the Julian Assange's[5] yet unresolved and infamous case. As young consumers aware of these facts moved from traditional news outlets to more democratic platforms online such as Facebook and Twitter, a new form of red tape-like entities known as fact-checkers surfaced, again, backed not by democratically elected officials but rather financed by questionable billionaires[6], [7].

Deplatforming and shadow banning[8] started to circulate as a new jargon. It's not so much as that we are discussing the social impact of algorithms behind your news feed but rather deliberate attempts to silence sources often critic of governments or other influential entities.

I could continue pointing out a never-ending number of malpractices[9] and attacks on the freedom of expression and why whistleblowers and journalists alike urgently need uncensorable channels of communication but in all honesty if this isn't obvious to the reader by now and with the information presented here then it will probably never be.

As young consumers aware of these facts moved from traditional news outlets to more democratic platforms on-line such as Facebook and Twitter, a new form of red tape-like entities known as fact checkers surfaced, again, backed not by democratically elected officials but rather financed by questionable billionaires

One of the promises and key aspects of decentralized structures inherent to Web3 is precisely the inability or rather difficult task of censoring. One of the first and most iconic examples of the resilience of Web3 to censorship was the failed attempt by the Turkish authorities to barren its citizens from accessing a Wikipedia article regarding the financing of a terrorist group[10].

IPFS[11], one of the most popular tools in addressing decentralized content came to the rescue when a group of cyber hacktivists circulated a copy of Wikipedia by using this innovative protocol, effectively circumventing the governmental attempt to censorship.

Another Web3 blockchain native platform very worth mentioning that emerged as an alternative to YouTube is named Odysee[12]. As the Corona Investigative Committee[13] (a group of lawyers questioning the nature and origins of the current pandemic crisis) saw their content being taken from YouTube during a live streaming session, they found in Odysee a new home where it was possible to establish a communication channel hopefully free of fact checkers and arbitrary takedowns.

As Professor Derek McAuley[14] eloquently pointed out “under data protection law we were supposed to have privacy by design and by default” and “Web3 is about getting control back of your data and understand how to process it for your own value and publishing what you want to publish”.

“Web3 is about getting control back of your data and understand how to process it for your own value and publishing what you want to publish”

Alternatives to centralized social networks are emerging as well with Pleroma[15] as one of the most polished examples. Matrix[16], [17] is also proving to be an interesting distributed chat platform while Mirror[18] hopes to become the new de facto venue for content publishers. Interestingly, Mirror is itself a DAO[19], [20].

Revenue generated by the content creators in the platform remains mostly the propriety of the same creators and of no one else with Mirror taking in a symbolic 2,5% of the generated revenue in clear contrast to most Web2 social media where platforms take most of the profits from user-generated content. By the way, DAOs are a new form of human organization that emerged with Web3 where people coordinate efforts online by voting remotely and deciding how to manage a shared treasury.

Funds from this treasure circulate transparently following pre-signed smart contracts[21] which are by their very own nature transparent and incorruptible as long as properly programmed and the blockchain stays alive. DAOs like Seed Club[22] attempt to accelerate the development of new ideas by pooling resources to other Web3 projects while more esoteric ventures like VitaDAO[23] promise eternal life.

Heck, the whole idea sprung from the will of an anonymous person to fight back the power of central banks.[24] Cryptocurrencies on top of everything that we discussed already are yet another powerful tool native to Web3 unlike previous versions of the World Wide Web.

Not surprisingly, all cryptocurrencies combined form now the world’s 5th most circulated currency by value.[25] Sure some cryptos, and even some DAOs, are full of controversy and scams[26], [27] and many wrongdoings, but that does not mean the whole space is a gigantic ponzi scheme! It just means it is accelerating ever faster, much like the universe is, and that there are people trying to profit from it in illegitimate ways (big surprise, not!).

As always is the case with human nature we will have those siding with evil and those fighting for good; the later the case of DAOs dedicated to the conservation of the planet.[28]

What we are now facing is in all likelihood the early stages of a new dot-com bubble[29]. For some, the whole concept of Web3 is just another daydream of millennial crypto anarchists who want to revolutionize the world by smashing down the old system altogether from behind a computer.

To others, it just means a new way of doing the same old things. The fundamental question we should ask ourselves though; do we want to normalize the Great Firewall of China[30] and export that model to the rest of the World and further centralize online services and information sharing, track every movement of the citizen in a centralized police state akin to what 1984's George Orwell predicted or, are we going to build a more resilient and free internet less prone to censorship and where the user is more in control of their own digital persona?

The years to come will be decisive in answering this question.

Authored by @nerv

Links to Sources

[1] "What are Distributed Ledgers?" on Corporate Finance Institute website,   https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/other/distributed-ledgers/

[2] "Fourth Estate" entry on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Estate

[3] "Big Tech" entry on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Tech

[4] "World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development" report by UNESCO, 2021, https://www.unesco.org/en/world-media-trends

[5] "Six big leaks from Julian Assange's WikiLeaks over the years" by William Cummings, USA TODAY, 2019, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/11/julian-assange-six-wikileaks-most-memorable-revelations/3434371002/

[6] "Bill Gates finances fact-checkers" by Neil Miller, Cairns News, 2020, https://cairnsnews.org/2020/08/30/bill-gates-finances-fact-checkers/

[7] "Facebook's 'Independent Fact Checkers' Funded By Johnson & Johnson's Stockholder: Report" by Sarah Mae Saliong on Christianity Daily, 2021, https://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/13550/20211009/facebook-independent-fact-checkers-funded-by-johnson-johnsons-stockholder-report.htm

[8] "Shadow Banning" entry on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_banning

[9] "Algeria: Journalists sentenced to harsh prison terms amid growing crackdown", Amnesty International, 2020, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/08/algeria-journalists-sentenced-to-harsh-prison-terms-amid-growing-crackdown/

[10] "Block of Wikipedia in Turkey" entry on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_of_Wikipedia_in_Turkey#Circumvention

[11] Interplanetary File System, https://ipfs.io/

[12] Odysee, https://odysee.com/

[13] Corona Investigative Committee homepage, https://corona-ausschuss.de/en/

[15] Pleroma, https://pleroma.social/

[16] Matrix, https://matrix.org/

[17] "The Bundeswehr builds on Matrix" on Element website, https://element.io/case-studies/bundeswehr

[18] Mirror, https://mirror.xyz/

[19] "Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs)" on ethereum.org, funded by Ethereum Foundation, https://ethereum.org/en/dao/

[20] "DAO, The Web 3.0 Business Model, Will Be Everywhere in 2022" by Ann Gynn on The Tilt, 2021, https://www.thetilt.com/revenue/dao-business-model

[21] "What are Smart Contracts?" by Waylon Jepsen on Dev Community, 2021, https://dev.to/0xjepsen/what-are-smart-contracts-16ai

[22] Seed Club, https://seedclub.xyz/

[23] VitaDAO, https://www.vitadao.com/

[24] "To Fight Against a Corrupt and Flawed Banking System, Bitcoin Is Your Only Weapon" by Sylvain Saurel on In Bitcoin We Trust, 2021, https://www.inbitcoinwetrust.net/to-fight-against-a-corrupt-and-flawed-banking-system-bitcoin-is-your-only-weapon-52c8b8c92ed3

[25] "Crypto vs. Cash: Crypto is now the world’s fifth-most circulated currency by value" by Samanth Subramanian on Quartz, 2021, https://qz.com/1954555/all-the-worlds-crypto-is-now-worth-more-than-1-trillion/

[26] "Over 80% ICO projects in 2017 are ‘identified scams,’ Statis study finds" by Gerald Fenech on CoinGeek, 2018, https://coingeek.com/80-ico-projects-2017-identified-scams-statis-study-finds/

[27] "Yearender 2021: More Than 80% Rise In Crypto Scams In 2021, Says Report" by Pushpita Dey on Outlook, 2021, https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/business-news-yearender-2021-more-than-80-rise-in-crypto-scams-in-2021-says-report/407181

[28] "The Conservation DAO — Using Blockchain to Decentralize Conservation" by Bryce Groark & Linwood Pendleton on Medium, 2022, https://medium.com/@wearemoonjelly/the-conservation-dao-using-blockchain-to-decentralize-conservation-baf683f1ae24

[29] "Dot-com bubble" entry on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-com_bubble

[30] "Great Firewall" entry on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Firewall

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by Network Emergency Response Volunteers @nerv.We are a DAO committed to help societies become less autocratic by developing and implementing digital tools in politics
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