Redecentralize Digest — October 2021
In this issue:
- What to get right first to protect human rights in ‘Web3’
- DWeb meetup (tomorrow!)
- Other tips & updates and events coming up
What to get right first.
Rebecca MacKinnon’s essay What to get right first describes “five things I wish Web2 had addressed early to protect human rights” — and that ‘Web3 companies’ should pay careful attention to.
To most proponents, the decentralized web offers an exciting opportunity to hit the reset button on many things that went wrong with Web 2.0. While it promises many novel innovations, Web3’s grandest ambitions sound eerily familiar. The Web3 world has adopted a narrative that proclaims it will not only provide a new economy but also set a new course for human freedom. Without an ounce of cynicism, I can say I’ve heard this story before.
Based on broad experience with the current platform-dominated web (“Web2”), the author makes five suggestions for decentralised web (“Web3”) aspirants:
- Recognize that if you think you are neutral, you are not.
- Work to understand what it really means for your business to make a meaningful commitment to respect and protect data integrity and human rights.
- Be proactive in identifying potential human rights risks
- Consider the impact of business models and corporate incentives
- Therefore, establish effective impact assessment, stakeholder feedback, participation, and grievance mechanisms from the beginning.
Each is discussed at length, with examples and links to further reading. While it lacks material for practical action and provides more questions than answers, the essay may help reflect critically on the purposes of projects and the potential pitfalls in achieving those.
The core message is “to prevent history repeating itself by putting commitments and processes in place from the start”. This is of course easier said than done, but important, as the essay concludes: “It will not be easy, but future generations will thank you for being humble and taking responsibility for your creations”
Tomorrow’s DWeb meetup
Tomorrow’s DWeb meetup is about “centering respect, trust and equity”:
Come hear Ehmke explore the nuances of third DWeb Principle of Mutual Respect at our November DWeb Meetup, Thursday, November 4, at 5 PM PDT.
Then we will hear lightning talks from across the DWeb ecosystem. Come learn the latest from these speakers:
Mauve Signweaver with HyperGodot: Peer to Peer protocols in game engines
Afterwards, we will head to Gather.town for socializing and networking.
- James Vasile talks in TWiT’s FOSS Weekly podcast about decentralising social networks: Fediverse vs peer-to-peer/blockchain approaches, portable identities, self-hosted vs serviced, FreedomBox, bridges, etc.
- Filecoin, a crypto-currency based market for file storage (based on IPFS), gives an overview of its ecosystem one year after its launch.
- At ConsensusDays the nitty-gritty details of distributed consensus algorithms were discussed.
- Mozilla Festival will take place 7–10 March 2022, mostly online and a bit in Amsterdam (though this time apparently without a decentralisation-themed space); if you are quick, the Call for Proposals is open until Friday.
- Nov 4/5: DWeb Meetup — Centering Respect, Trust and Equity; see above
- Nov 12–18: #TheNewCommonSense, online & Berlin; conference about cooperative digital economy
- Nov 21: Freedom Not Fear; European NGOs discussing platform power
- Nov 29–1: NGI Policy Summit; conference about the EU’s Next Generation Internet programme
- Dec 6–10: Internet Governance Forum, online & Katowice (Poland); United Nations’ conference on internet governance
- Dec 25: IndieWeb Create Day; work on your personal website with the IndieWeb community
For more events like these, check out and subscribe to the dweb.events calendar!
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 digest was written by Gerben, with thanks to Francis and others 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We don’t spy on our readers, so please do tell us what you think!