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Redecentralize Digest — June 2021

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Cross-linking your accounts

Keyoxide is a newly published project that “aims to offer comparable functionality as services like Keybase while reducing friction and being more open”. Its basic explanation:

“Keyoxide allows you to prove “ownership” of accounts on websites, domain names, IM, etc., regardless of your username.

That last part is important: you could, for example, be ‘alice’ on Lobste.rs, but ‘@alice24’ on Twitter. And if your website is ‘thatcoder.tld’, how are people supposed to know that all that online property is yours?”

Keyoxide solves this using PGP-signed attestations, linked bidirectionally by putting a verification code in e.g. a profile’s bio. No central server needed, and no such thing as a “Keyoxide account”. That’s how we like it!

A somewhat similar project also just saw the light: InterRep aims to enable reusing ‘reputation’ between networks, but without publicly linking the accounts; for which it trades off some decentralisation to gain some privacy. The first version lets you prove that your Ethereum address belongs to someone with a popular Twitter account (and not yet another bot), without telling people which Twitter account.

All your domain are belong to US

“Domain seizures by the U.S. government are more common than you think: The United States government says it has the right to seize any .com, .net, or .org domain name because the companies that have the contracts to administer them are based on U.S. soil, according to Nicole Navas, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson.

Independent internet infrastructure expert Amelia Andersdotter says, “It’s not an issue unique to domain registries, but only goes to show that U.S.-based businesses are not reliable partners for non-U.S. based entities. Being at the mercy of the U.S. government is undesirable not just because of the spying, but also in general.””

From the I* newsletter, basing on this Wired article.

Paul’s pivots

Paul Frazee gave up on his recent CTZN decentralised social media experiment (see February’s digest):

“At some point I found myself going through “one more feature” sprints that were designed to make CTZN a stronger product, and that’s usually a give-away that the core premise isn’t working.”

Paul’s building, failing and thinking in the open can be quite inspiring. In a follow-up post he shares more thoughts about the ‘why’ of P2P and its challenges, and how personal home servers might provide a product–market fit where P2P can shine. Extracts:

“Client/server leads to closed, black-box programs. While p2p apps don’t have to be free and open-source, they do store user-data on the local device and (ideally) communicate via an open protocol, adding political power to end-users. I believe the decentralization effort of today is the modernization of the FOSS efforts of yesterday.”

“I’ve lately been convinced the ideal deployment model for p2p might be through dedicated hardware — home servers or “personal data servers” in the cloud. … A peer-to-peer home server could run any public-facing service a user wants —effectively a private AWS — and would enable other users to interact via their home servers without sacrificing data ownership.”

“We’re often looking to have open alternatives to software we already use, which means we tend to create undifferentiated clones of market leaders. (I’m guilty of this.) … We should instead be looking for novel ideas and use-cases which may not necessarily share a direct relationship to the technology itself.”



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About this digest

The Redecentralize Digest is a monthly publication about internet (re)decentralisation. It covers progress and thoughts relating technology and politics, without ties to a particular project nor to one definition of decentralisation — figuring out its meanings and relations is part of the mission.

This edition was written by Gerben, with thanks for all tips & suggestions.

The digest’s format and content are not set in stone. Feedback, corrections and suggestions for next editions are welcome at hello@redecentralize.org. We don’t spy on our readers, so please do tell us what you think!