As we start to commercialise MaidSafe and transition from a research and development organisation into a revenue (token) generating company we are starting to venture out to conferences and events. What has really struck me, as we talk to fellow conference goers and businesses, is the increasing disdain at the status quo and a desire to stop handing control to these large technology companies that know everything about us, serving us ads that we don’t want on supposedly ‘free’ services. This change represents a real shift in mind-set, a willingness to move on and create something better that what we currently have, the real Internet 2.0!
Bitcoin has definitely helped pave the way for this and no doubt about it. The crypto currency has opened up at lot of peoples eyes to the benefits of ‘cutting out the middle man’, not only the financial advantage of significantly reduced transaction fees, but also the fact that it empowers us and gives us more control over our daily lives, with less reliance on others. Other projects have harnessed this power and projects like Mastercoin has built on Bitcoin’s block chain, while others have taken the concept and developed their own, such as namecoin .
With more and more projects being announced daily, it seems to me that this shift in mind-set is now unstoppable. If Bitcoin doesn’t make it (I personally think this unlikely) another decentralised crypto currency will. If decentralised social network Twister doesn’t make it another is sure to replace it. The decentralised Internet is here to stay!
But I haven’t reached this conclusion based on a couple of interesting sounding projects, far from it; one swallow doesn’t make a summer as they say. I think the chances for success are now great as this new set of companies has a flourishing eco system growing up all around it. Venture capitalists who specialise in funding decentralised Open Source projects are emerging, while established and prominent VC’s, such as Marc Andreessen and Fred Wilson, are starting to focus their attention in this exciting new sector. Furthermore, many new projects are now being crowd funded demonstrating that decentralised financing can be a successful model.
What the industry needs now is for these early projects to continue to grow and for the new ones to emerge beyond concepts and prosper into great companies and organisations. I think the decentralised community has a great opportunity to lift the world’s Internet users from a milieu of privacy abuses and security leaks. Legislation alone is certainly not going to make this happen, technology needs to lead the way, and with the new decentralised Internet, it will!