Decentralized platforms are aiming to solve the issue of data ownership. Tom Merritt lists five platforms you should know about.
There's a privacy conundrum out there--people want their data to be protected, but they have to trust the people who have their data to protect it. You have to keep your data on a service's server to use the service after all, right? Decentralized platforms are attempting to make that not so much the case. These are attempts to keep the data off company servers and sometimes keep it under the user's control. Here's a look at five examples of decentralized platforms.
- Dfinity's Internet Computer Protocol. Software that would normally run on a server can run anywhere. Data centers get paid to run ICP in crypto tokens generated by the apps. What the data centers don't have is any access to any of the data in the apps, meaning no easy ad tracking. An app can be released with no owner or controller. Dfinity showed off an example app called CanCan that works like TikTok. CanCan was built with less than 1,000 lines of code using the Motoko programming language.
- The 15-year-old SAFE Network. A peer-to-peer system that shares all data across hard drives of participating computers rather than using data centers. It supports a Twitter clone called Patter and a music player called Jams.
- InterPlanetary File System. This is a peer-to-peer system for storing and sharing files securely. It promises a faster and safer web that doesn't rely on backbone providers to have a network.
- Blockstack. A decentralized network for apps and identity management. It uses the Proof of Transfer used by Bitcoin to let you write smart contracts that self-execute on the blockchain.
- Solid. Tim Berners-Lee wants to let you manage your identity and personal data independently from the services you use. You would control a container that services could access or not based on permission you control and can change. Input is the company formed to market products based on Solid.
None of these have taken the world by storm yet, but they are surprisingly resilient in sticking around. One of these days, one or more of them will break into the mainstream, so it's good to be aware of what they are.
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