Samer Hassan is an activist, researcher and teacher, Faculty Associate at Harvard University‘s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, and Associate Professor (“Profesor Titular“) at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain.
His focus is on decentralized collaboration and how to build free/open source privacy-aware decentralized systems (e.g. blockchain) that facilitate the sustainability of collaborative communities and social movements (from the Commons paradigm).
He was awarded EU’s largest individual research grant, an ERC Grant of 1.5M€, to work on Blockchain-based Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) for bootstrapping a new type of Collaborative Economy. You can find out more at http://p2pmodels.eu
airbnb, blockchain, people, monopolies, open, platform, web, open source, question, technology, rules, alternative, listings, money, run, facebook, users, system, infrastructure, build
Rufus Pollock, Samer Hassan
**Rufus Pollock **00:03
So welcome to our latest episode of The Making Sense of crypto Web UI series. I'm joined today by summer Hassan. Hi there. Welcome very much welcome. Samer, just to give you a little background is an activist researcher and teacher and a faculty associate at Harvard University's Berkman Kline Centre for Internet and Society. And he's also an associate professor at the Universidad Complutense de de Madrid in Spain. And he focuses on decentralised collaboration, specifically about how to build a free and open source, privacy aware decentralised systems that facilitate the sustainability of collaborative communities and social movements from the commons paradigm. And he was awarded the EU's largest individual research grant and ERC grant of 1.5 million euros to work on blockchain based decentralised autonomous organisations. And you can find out more about that project at PDP models.edu. So really welcome, Sam, to the series. It's great to have you here today. As I just mentioned, maybe for new listeners, before we dive in, this is this series is really about diving into the massive phenomenon that has become web three, where they're very bold claims made about its potential impact claims that go far beyond traditional technology boosterism to claim for the radical transformation of our economic and social systems. And while they're also becames, there's, there's also some equally big scepticism about such big claims is, in fact, this topic is exceptionally controversial, perhaps one of the most controversial I've seen, and disagreement cuts across ideological lines, you know, there's people Pro and anti on the left and the right. And in this series, what we're looking at is kind of digging deep, and evaluating some of the claims and the, you know, underlying kind of thinking in this area. And we want to emphasise that throughout it, we're trying to like always give the benefit of the doubt, and come from perspective, we've saved steel mounting, trying to take any perspective and make the best version of it, and then maybe recreate it, but allowing it the benefit of the doubt in that way. So when you hear us put forward a point of view on this series, whether from the guests or from myself, it doesn't mean that we fully endorse it. So don't worry, either way, it doesn't mean we're either crypto and crypto anarchists or crypto libertarians or whatever, right? We're trying to understand this area as best we can. So Sam, I wonder if we could start and maybe you just tell me a little bit about your past no background and interest in this kind of area of decentralised technologies generally and collaborative organising. Now, how did you come to this area?
**Samer Hassan **02:53
So I have been well my background is computer science and social sciences and I have been always well for a long time and activist in Rational activist and whatever. So seeing how I mean, pushing forward horizontal approaches towards organisation or governance. I was quickly interested in Empower or how do we deal with power when we are dealing with platforms and technology? So the question of centralization versus decentralisation came up quickly. And then well, I got interested in decentralised technologies decentralised ways of handling infrastructure in platforms in the web, and not just depending on a central overlord that controls the whole ecosystem. So after a few years within the Federation, umbrella, Blockchain came up. So I was, in the beginning, mildly interested because Bitcoin was not really my thing. And yet, with Aetherium, I mean, it, it was more appealing, let's say.
So just take, let's maybe just for the audience here, step back, because it's also a kind of, maybe at least a part, both you and I went through because I was also very interested in decentralised things at the Open Knowledge Foundation in the 2000s. And it's, you know, and people, and, you know, I remember I'm kind of gonna be old enough now to remember the first wave of peer to peer in the late 1990s, really early 2000s. I have, I proudly have an O'Reilly book from 2001 with like these, this reader of p2p, where the first kind of p2p systems and even Of course, IPFS, which is a big kind of darling of the modern web three sort of its base He based on papers written in the late 90s, early 2000 on cord and a bunch of other stuff that underpinned, you know, the early also peer to peer file sharing system. So one question I have is what? What, you know, we have some really amazing examples of decentralised setups, or technology infrastructure. We have the internet, I think we only have email that you know, one of the things you are working on but you know, did you see successes or failures, we know these kind of plastic successes, but in general, there's been even before blockchain is around late 2000s, early 2010. And there's always the end where we want a more decentralised you want alternatives, these platform monopolies like Facebook, there were a lot of efforts to build decentralised social networks, but they didn't really make it. Is that right? Yeah, it was.
It was very frustrating to be honest. Because we, I mean, plenty of us put plenty of effort, right, in these decentralised protocols, trying to use decentralised platforms alternatives. I mean, there was free net back in the day, there was XMPP or each other, that we would chat with each other not sharing the same. Having accounts in different servers, just like with email, right? Even Gmail when it when it came to the landscape, they joined XMPP with Google Chat, compliant to the product. This was like a big victory for us, because it's like, now even the corporations have to engage with with decentralised technologies. This is gonna be the future blah, blah. The Aspera came in as an alternative to Facebook that was gonna be federated. And now it's just graveyard, right? Landscape of I mean, yeah.
Projects. I just for people here who maybe don't know. So if you're listening, what would XMPP was based around a chat protocol. So most people here are familiar with chat you use what if you use WhatsApp, you use Facebook Messenger. If you remember the days of Microsoft messenger, or use Slack at work, these are all chat systems. And what we're describing here was there was a protocol, and it was open protocols. So if you don't maybe realise, but WhatsApp is not open. You can't, you can't just create your own WhatsApp server and allow people to join WhatsApp is run by Facebook, they control who joins, they control how it works, they control you know the ways to monetize or use the system or, more importantly, build applications on top of it. If you want to build on top of WhatsApp, you would need Facebook's permission if you want to have use their API's. And what we're saying here is there was an entire alternative called XMPP. And entire protocol that was open decentralised, because here's why we're often linked together. But the crucially they and they often are so open and sent anyone to build on it, evolve it. And as you're saying, even at one point, Gmail and Google were adopting XMPP. But basically, it's die, it's died out. And almost every chat system that's dominant or widely used is essentially running on a proprietary closed and centralised system.
Which is terrible because it will be not that it doesn't make sense to to have a list of contacts in discord. A list of contacts is like a list of contacts in Google Chat, a list of contacts in Skype. But I in WhatsApp in telegram we all have all these apps to chat with people and we cannot how many chat applications do we need? Right? Instead of having one protocol where regardless of where you are, have the account you can chat with other people, right? I mean, it wouldn't be that complicated, but it's of course.
So one of the things and this is just you know, Samara and I'm gonna be careful because we just get like commiserating. I mean, this for me is interesting because you emphasise decentralised here, I would emphasise open to make a comment for the audience just to define terms. So open means that the software and the specifications of a protocol are open source, it would also normally mean that the system as a whole would allow people to join as long as they complied with the protocol and perhaps some other rules. They could add nodes to the system. So if you think of even a proprietary your telephone, you know, WhatsApp, Facebook is not running on one server. They will have many, many servers all over the world. Whether you realise it even though you don't see that and in an open WhatsApp Someone, another company would be able to come along and run a whatsapp server and connect into the broader network to be able to route messages around. They might need to comply with certain rules agreed by the kind of community, but they wouldn't say, you know, but they would there wouldn't be it wouldn't be up to one company decide whether they could join or not. And just to be clear, open is therefore almost always a prerequisite for decentralised. It doesn't strictly it wouldn't have to be. But it normally is, but they are, they are distinct in that you can have open systems that are centralised, but they
can signal is a good example is a chat applications. It's to fully open source, anyone can set up their own open source signal server, and yet, I can only chat with the people that share the same server. So in practice, we are all using the same.
So exactly. It's not federated. So
it's not like it is open and centralised.
It's open and centralised. But it's a kind of limited Exactly. Now, just to say anything in this episode, where it can actually make sense is to give maybe listeners will get it. But in this set, we're going to look at a deep thing between the economics background I also came from I came from Technology and Economics and technology point because it'd be kind of worth asking, Why did all of these alternatives fail? And why did email internet make it and just to also emphasise something that summit also mentioned is that in general, at least in the medium term open and central decentralised would mean a better experience for users. It would actually mean like, you didn't have to have like five different applications with your contacts in different places. And more significantly, and this is mainly economist speaking here. There's quite a bit of read kind of both theory and evidence, I think that that will also lead to vastly more innovation and economic wealth generation even then has happened. And the example of course, is the internet, which was fully open and saw the greatest flourishing and speed are flourishing of like new businesses, enterprises, in human history in the 90s and early 2000s. Sometimes they were just so dazzled by the vastness of the monopolies in front of us that we confuse that with innovation, but most of them only came into existence during that period. So one of the great things about openness and decentralisation is in allows for this incredible innovation on top of it. Now, just to go back, why so why do you think there was this graveyard? So are these few early victories? Why was it that that so little that ended up being successful in your view? And I've got thoughts on this too, but I'd love to hear what you what your why why you think it kind of didn't work out so well.
Okay, they said a very difficult question. I will just give my take. I don't have a perfect answer. I don't think that I remember when the high Benkler wrote The Wealth of the networks that it was a very hopeful point of view. We were seeing Wikipedia OpenStreetMaps we were seeing more and more platforms that were open using the internet to move forward nation's federated alternatives. It was a very helpful moment. And yet I personally see it like okay corporations got it, they understood what internet meant, and how they could leverage on the network effects and stuff like that. And well, basically they shape the colour the economy in a way where they could still retain value and yet leverage the the internet without without creating Commons without giving up power, but keeping it keeping it under control using centralised infrastructure. So for me there there were three layers in which we they are the more utopian approaches failed. It was for me it was related with infrastructure governance and economic models. And we couldn't be it then what the Google Google's of the time later on Facebook's and Amazon, etc. Right?
No, because well, can I ask question? So just to come in here? Because I think there's a really simple answer this. I mean, I have to say, I sat there with Benkler and Lessig and others into that, like the early 2000s. I remember sitting in Zurich in sorry, in Geneva with them. I was always I always thought that, that I'd say the Wealth of Networks, I think you're in blanks. Amazing. But it was really, I didn't have a lot of time for the book or the analysis about the the kind of Linux, you know, Kosis paying when and peers based Commons production, I still don't. And I just thought that they just go into this is that there was this kind of naive hopefulness. But the reason was, I think there's a really simple analysis that explains a lot of what's happened for us. So let me run it past you. And we, you can see what you think, which is safe. Okay, um, network effects, you know, 89, I guess, is the first paper. But the basic idea, let's just explain to the audience's imagine. I mean, the easiest thing is to think of two to two snowballs rolling next to each other down the mountain. And if gradually one gets a bit more snow, it moves faster, it picks up more snow, it will end up just taking over the other snowball, or the other. The other example is to say, I, you know, I, I'm picking in, I put in an urn, two coloured balls, a red and a black one. And I pick a random a ball out of the urn. And if it's that colour, I put back the same another ball of the same colour. And if I keep doing that, you can kind of see what will happen which at the beginning, it's a bit random, either pick a red or a black one. But gradually, as one of them just randomly accumulates more red, the probability of picking red is higher, I pick, I add another read, it just gets to a point where all there is, is in the earliest read. Now, that's, that's what we call network effects, which is there's a feedback or in a platform, there's a feedback between the number of existing users and the attraction. If there are more and more users, I want to use that platform. And that's true of obviously a phone network of a chat system. But it's also true of many other things that are not so obviously networks, which why I prefer the term platform effects, which is a fish market. In a city there are two fish markets, I as a buyer want to go to the fish market with more sellers I want to go in, there's more different kinds of fish, where the there's more people selling a given kind of fish because there's more price choice and quality choice. So I'll go there. And then if I'm a fish seller, I want to go where the buyers are. So even if in a city I start out with two fish markets, over time, one will get an edge. And even though I as a buyer don't care about how many other buyers go in. Hey
I am back I think sorry about that. For listeners out there temporary internet glitch, I don't know quite. But I was just saying I don't know if you heard about the fish market. So you know, we've got this fish market. So even in other things that don't effectually directly involve like a network like a phone network, we have this feedback effect. So what we see is that very small early advantages, very rapidly accumulate into standard monopoly. Certainly monopoly, I would call it the law of one that will end up being one fish market, there will end up being one phone network normally, or very few, they'll end up being one operating system because an operating system actually looks like a fish market. There are applications and there are users and then the operating system is in the middle, etc. This is platform economics 101. Now, the question then is that who in that race even though this fish market might be better? Over here? If this fish market has like more money for advertising, or maybe it's got more money to subsidise sellers to come there or to persuade buyers to come there, think of Uber here subsidising their taxis, right you know, their riders or their you know, ride offers, you know, the drivers, that one will can win out now in the case of email and internet and just to be clear, the open marketplace might be better or the marketplace that was different. But it's in this competition at the beginning, which is very, and it's going to only be one, there's going to be a Law of One, there's only been one marketplace in the end or one platform in the end. Now, in the case of email in that, for some incredibly fortunate reason, the US government basically funded that development 3040 years ago in the 60s, well in advance of commercial need. And so when the moment came along, there was already a fully established set of like, open source protocols and system ready to go. And even then, by the way, there were efforts, you know, like, we don't remember it now. But AOL and some people tried to build walled gardens. But the Law of One prevailed, it's extremely difficult. I mean, like the other example, always bring is Microsoft, Microsoft were the biggest, richest company in the world. And they couldn't take out Google's platform monopoly and search in the in the 2000s. It is extremely difficult to take out a well entrenched platform, whether it's open or closed, by the way, and this has come to the point which is a monopoly platform, or a platform becomes a monopoly, ie controlled by one company, if it's closed, and it's owned, you know, and we have got famous open, like, there aren't multiple internet's if you tried to create a different internet with different protocols, you would struggle even if it was better than today. Now, it's interesting explaining the failure story of most decentralised protocols, and also have your I could go into your high banker and the naivety, I thought about open source was, you've got feedback effects, you've got this incredible feedback effect. And you've got this incredible race. Now, in a few situations, if you can either government fund upfront the effort
that you're ahead, or you can regulate it, you could just say, Look, you we're going to force anyone who, who's going to provide chat systems to citizens of the United Kingdom, that their system must be open or whatever, then you can address it. But otherwise, very simple economics, very simple logic dictates that you're mostly going to fail. And you may succeed later, what happens sometimes open source is over enough time the monopolist becomes abusive enough and incompetent enough. And they're just so many, you know, there's such an opportunity gap and and the, the alternative technology gets so cheap, that like the kind of the kind of Commons option can succeed, somehow it can get enough, it's got enough attractiveness in terms of you know, innovation or the things that can see. But normally, that takes a long, unfortunately, a long time. And so, I just want to make the international sort of open source of Benkler, which is your people looked at Wikipedia, like Oh, my God, Wikipedia, so amazing. And I looked at Wikipedia and said, Wow, there's all of this government funded research and knowledge and PhD students, which are upfront funded by the government, who are basically the source of Wikipedia. I mean, Wikipedia is basically a low level curation effort on top of all of this existing knowledge, which is amazing. I don't deny Wikipedia is a wonderful resource. But it's kind of a thin layer on top of the research effort, the PhD students who curate Wikipedia for free in their spare time, basically, and so on, that's provided by governments or someone else. And so I guess what I'm just trying to ask you this question is, does that fit an explanation for you, because it would provide a very simple reason why most of these options were going to fail and even XMPP. Basically, it didn't have investment to market it to make the user experience great. I mean, I, you know, I, you know, to be clear here, I honestly thought I was really angry at my work when we stopped using IRC and switched to like Slack. And I was like, there's a perfectly good open alternative here. What are we doing? But you know, it was even there the investment in the user experience or other things. So does that fit with you have an explanation of why decentralised open models struggle? Without it, particularly in more of one markets, which are what platform markets are?
Yes or no. That is yes, in the sense that that's one of the most powerful forces. I mean, Internet creates monopolies. The Internet that we have today, tends to create, they tend to create one place to go,
yes, standard standards, they become monopolies if they're proprietarily. Owned. Yeah.
I agree. I agree. I mean, one standard eyes door to whatever service you want, right. And yet, we used to in those times, we used to use a lot their browser browser wars of the time, right. Internet Explorer had a monopoly in practice with more than 90% of the share. And a new browser came to the arena with a new model, a model that overcame the old model. Ah, Mozilla Firefox. Mozilla Firefox and this model which was open, it allowed extensions, it allowed customizations, it allowed things that the old model could not replicate in any way. Because doesn't matter how many developers with Microsoft hire to extend Internet Explorer, it wouldn't be able to compete with the wonderful, explosive ecosystem that blew up around Firefox. Right? Well,
I wouldn't I wouldn't read that history that way. I would read that history in a crucial other way, which is that Microsoft probably would have won the browser wars. But the 1995 antitrust case, which came to conclusion at the late 90s, and specifically dealt with their abusive behaviour around Netscape men, that they were constrained, at the very point that Mozilla was open sourced and became a Firefox became a competitor, which was important. But if Microsoft had not been shackled by the antitrust complaint, which prevented them then taking mostly actions, they were found guilty, they were placed under a whole bunch of constraints. Even if they hadn't been found guilty, the amount of scrutiny they were under would have led them. It's like IBM, like IBM was basically what was it they fought a seven year antitrust case in this in the 70s. There wouldn't have been Apple or the PC revolution without that antitrust case. It was government intervention.
I agree. I agree that innovation plays a big role. I totally agree. And yet, within the government dimension alone, we wouldn't have had a break in the I mean, internationally would have continued. Right. So
yes, I don't know what happened. But we got to the point that we needed both
Exactly. There are always multiple factors. It's true that maybe if it came in a different moment, it wouldn't have failed, right? I mean, like other other teachers,
we need to play this through a little bit the way that a platform like because the crucial thing that was a threat, again, for our listeners about a browser was as most of you now know, who are listening, you actually interact, you mostly you use your browser for a lot of stuff, you write your documents, maybe in your browser, you send email in your browser, you kind of live in your browser mode a lot now, you know, maybe do video calls in your browser. And what Microsoft saw in the 90s was the replacement for their operating system platform, which was remote, one of the most successful monopolies of all time at that point, and made them still make some huge amounts of money was the browser and they were very threatened. And they famously even wrote internal memos, which is part of the problem for the antitrust case, where they said this, they said, Look, Netscape, and it's navigator's this huge threat to us, we've got to do something which is taken out. And the question I have here is the way that you take out a competitor, like, of course, they can be open source competitors all the time, why would it have not got traction is the way that you want is like when at that point, I think Microsoft was getting close, like 80 90% market share with Internet Explorer and they were really dominating is you start building proprietary extensions into your browser, you start building API's into your browser, only you can control that. And therefore the open source options, they can do whatever they want, but your users are going to come along, they're going to want to use email, they're going to want to use document system. And it's going to use API's that only your browser can work with. And the open source browser won't. And people go and use able to browse and go, Oh, it's broken, it doesn't work with my application I want and they'll go back to your browser. And crucially, it's not the it's easy to create open source options relatively often, even semi functional ones. But normally, that's how you block them out. You know, there's a bunch of kind of there's there's this feedback effect. Sometimes it hasn't doesn't have to even be the new full stop them having the API's is just you can move at a speed and provide API's that the other people can't do. I mean, sometimes you have to explicitly shut them off, right, which Microsoft also famously did around their operating system in all kinds of naughty ways. But I just want to emphasise that that's that crucial government threat. That meant Microsoft who weren't doing that, by the way, they were adding proprietary extensions, were kind of blocked off from that route. And you still had the W three C, which was quite powerful about selling standards. But the reason we're going into this such depth I think somewhere and for the audience is if you've got your question, and I think I want to remind all of us of myself and the audience and you. We want a more free and fair information economy we want to move, I think equal and participate in free societies and technology, spheres. We live in a world dominated in the technology side by these vast monopolies with an ordinate amounts of power. And I think kind of worrying and unjust amounts of power over our lives, economically and socially to the point Where what you can find out, what you find out is controlled by what Google put in their search results on Facebook put in your newsfeed. This is paint antley, an unsustainable, inefficient, anti innovative, unjust system.
We want a better one.
And therefore but diagnosing why those monopolies happen is quite crucial to finding a solution. If we it's like if we're treating a patient and we, we think that you know, you've got gangrene in your leg and we cut it off. But it turns out you actually had a heart condition. That's not a good thing. We want to treat the illness right. So let's keep going. So guy to use me because I talked about that. What do you think? Is that how, what's the what's the cure for the disease? What's what's, uh, what's the illness, first of all, and what's the cure?
So, if we continue with the metaphor with the Firefox versus the Explorer, today, we have Amazon, Facebook, Google as our internet explorers. And we are seeing more and more government intervention, right? We are seeing GDPR I mean, there's three, they have soft, they are light, they are not breaking up the tech like Elizabeth Warren was promoting but still they we are seeing more cases against these monopolies. And at the same time, we are seeing people are motivated with pushing for alternatives, alternatives, views, narratives, ecosystems and tech, that can be an alternative to this nightmarish scenario that we are today, right? This is when we were discussing the wealth of network we were I remember a quadrant in the this quadrant, the dystopian quadrant was today was our few, a few corporations controlling most of our interactions in we are basically in the dystopian future, right? So I think more and more we are as a society, but government users but also even new, new enterprises are aware that this is kind of fucked up scenario to live in. And they see that federate, federated alternatives, did not manage to provide a new model like Firefox state, a new model strong enough to surpass the central centralised monopolies. And maybe only maybe web three, can web three could be a model that is providing things that the current centralised monopolies cannot provide, don't you? I mean, and with the current with the right conditions with the right factors, may we break up the tech law in the States or in the EU? Maybe with and GDPR version two that forbids that mean? Targeting or stuff like that? Maybe with the appropriate government interventions, or maybe with other factors neosystems can emerge that Amazon cannot compete with, that Facebook cannot compete with is this ecosystem that we want? I don't know
that we have let's let's even go on this one. Because they've policymakers are listening to this. I think this is crucial. Because this is a story one could tell or not about web three, and it goes back to this question of his diagnosis correct. And just to go back, so my thesis was, hey, or the thesis that I'm suggesting, hey, the lore of one is quite natural in a plot in a platform setups. So the question is not whether you're going to get one, like I end up with just kind of like one internet, or one email set kind of protocol. It's whether it's an open or a closed one or a centralised or decentralised one if you like. And there's this kind of feedback effect. And then if that's kind of just to kind of go back, then we say, Okay, well, what, what, what does it take to win in that setup? I mean, and there's a discussion obviously between when you've got an establishment hopefully and when you're at the beginning, so the beginning it's like it's this kind of race and what we agree is that open may be more attractive but classy the problem with open decentralised solutions is they don't have any money. Or it's much harder to get money because you can't charge people in the same way. Our you can't advertise to them. In the same way. So if that diagnosis correct, you've basically a question which is you either need to provide more money early on somehow to an open decentralised model, or you need to handicap in some fundamental way the proprietor once you kind of go
or do both, right. And what we were saying in the Microsoft, sorry, in Internet Explorer was, I would say the fundamental thing was that there was handicapping. I would also say something else Firefox was not is another kind of thing that I think Benkler got, and also banking himself. But it's often said about open source learning is mistaken, which is, oh, you know, the open source community somehow just magically create stuff? I'm like, no, no, Netscape Navigator was funded by lots of VC money. And they happen because they were being killed by Microsoft, they decide to open source the browser, but only because they were being killed. So there was this thing that had been like, funded by VC money that was already really kind of polish that could be open sourced. So I think that there's something here, which is to say, like, let's just come back to let's pick an example. We want to open Facebook today. And I hear this talked a lot about like platform, socialism, or, you know, platform cooperatives. And I, you know, I obviously wrote a book in the Oak revolution, I've got very specific, detailed solutions, and none of them involve blockchain or web three. And I'm just gonna, I want to try and understand this. Because it seems to me for if you want to open Facebook today, you've got a fundamental thing, which is, people are on Facebook, or WhatsApp or Instagram, you'd have to say that they will interoperability, you'd have to say, Okay, we are mandating that you have access to Facebook's photograph and API set. You know, Facebook, from tomorrow, you need to make sure that any startup, maybe there's some rules. So these are not anyone can go in and just spam all your friends. But anyone who is approved and this will be approved, not by you, Facebook, but by some independent body basically has full API access, the same access that you internal developers and Facebook have to the full kind of like ability to get the contact Berg send messages and so on. And of course, the next part of that, by the way, which is what you have in like, internet peering problems, which is who pays, there'll be some question of like, well, Facebook says, Well, I'm running all this infrastructure, I'm running all the servers, you're now able to kind of connect, and you should pay some money. And that's a reasonable, there'll be some discussion about that of like, you know, it's probably quite cheap, frankly. But that same question happens on the internet, where two people have networks and some, you know, one group have to pay the other group for like traffic that moves between those networks have to work out peering agreements, and so on. But it just seems to me that there's like, there's no hope, whether it's blockchain web three, or any other tech solution that doesn't have access to the knowledge graph, or doesn't have the lock, which is that there's some new area, like there was Snapchat, but there's some everyone gets so bored of Facebook that they want some alternative, but our history of networks is not good on that front. There are very, very few examples of that happening. And even Snapchat, which has got high penetration among young people, you know, a it's not a monopoly to some extent, but it's like, it's not really it's like, it's very, they're very rare to come along. So I'm just trying to say is, it seems to me that irrespective what I'm trying to get out in that point is also it requires political action, not technology, innovation, fundamentally, that the technology is not complicated. It's about having API access to Facebook's contact book and ability to send messages and you know, add things to people to news feed or whatever like that. But it's just like that Facebook aren't going to do that without a massive fight because that's their entire business model is based on proprietary control of that. And that's a political action and if all the people who spending time in web three and are not critical if if half the kind of even energy and resources going into web three was going intellectual, like just a simple political campaign to regulate Facebook and that way it might win but there's no but it doesn't there's no money in it in a way there's no there's no way that I'm in a may have diamond hands make a lot of money somehow. But it that's my question to you is what is it? Do you think there's an alternative where we somehow just build it on web three and like we will take over somehow
Okay, so first I agree that we don't need we don't need web three. We can imagine easily alternative scenarios with no web three and still platform cops that use some other other kinds of tech. That I mean, we live happily ever after with without a Facebook but right with appropriate laws and with appropriate ecosystems. We can You silly, right? It obvious about that. And yet there is no money there, right? As you are saying, there is no huge amount of money to make this possible. There are no wonderful laws that are breaking up these monopolies or limiting them, making them obligate to the open source or encrypted or whatever. That's not happening today. What is happening is that web three is attracting a shitload of money. Word from word from XML, since it will have seen from finance aviation of the economy, right? So more and more capital goes to finance and less to productive stuff, which I personally find terrible. But I mean, it's that's the, how the world has evolved. Capitalism has evolved laws has evolved have evolved in that direction. And now a chunk of this insane amount of finance is going into web three. Is it better there than in political campaigning? Probably not? I could probably not. Is it better than in other kinds of speculation? Well, maybe it is better. Maybe it's better than they that they are trying to build infrastructure, giving it a shot on new kinds of experimenting and new kinds of decentralised fracture infrastructure, rather than I don't know sinking currency of global south country to make more money our or are breaking up yet another corporation and selling it in pieces. What are the typical speculative patterns? So okay, and what is this web three money going? Basically, the idea here is that as I see it, if they build the web through Airbnb, it's not that Airbnb is my favourite collaborative economy project. Not at all. I will prefer more Wikipedias than it'll be like this. But but let's take Airbnb because it's right in the ambit right now. Build a monopoly having lucky locking in their users, right, because they have the listings of the houses, they have the reputation of each user, they have the use of login, so of course, they so if even if there is a further b&b, or other small alternatives, housing market platforms or whatever, everyone like the fish market example goes to the one and only door for lodging whenever I go to a new place accommodation on whatever that is collaborative, I do it with people instead of of hotels, it used to be cheaper than hotels. Now it's not cheap anymore. Depending on the city in what three Airbnb at least how it is how the narrative of the house tries to
different douse could provide different Airbnb services. Yes, it's much harder to look do lock in, because you don't have control of the users because they if they are selling the Etherion blockchain, you can't you can't you cannot do locking of the users, you cannot do locking or reputation. Typically, your service, I mean, most of the routes are relying on open source infrastructure. So if if the Dow's competing an open source, even if one one would be larger than the other, it would be much easier the use of mobility across services, and you can have more customised Airbnbs, like, for example, one very much based on privacy, where it is anonymous where you are accommodated or whatever other one, because of the peer to peer nature of these things involve more risk. While there is an incident that this has a deal with this dow and you have, it's more expensive, but you have the guarantee that if the house fails to combine, you would have another one, you know what I mean? So you have different orders that are have local culture rules that are more listings of that area. So yeah, good.
I get the ideas. Let's just break this down a little bit because I think it's useful. Maybe even I share. I don't know if people if people are following the podcast, they won't. They won't see it fully. But there's kind of two things that that if we're making if we're thinking about this going on in a classic platform monopoly, right? That lot that bring you and I talked about this as a piece called fixing Facebook that goes on about this quite quite a lot. But there's just summarise it, that there's there's basically a part, which is the software, and I would call it and protocols. So if we think you have one example and then there's what I would call the order book and associated information. So just to pick a classic example that might be that might let's pick Airbnb because we're talking about it. So now Airbnb if I'm trying to build an alternative to Airbnb,
on, what's the challenge I face today is what we're saying, well, there's the software like Airbnb has got a whole application like a mobile application, a nice front end, and there's a booking system. Okay, fine. But even imagine I replicated that imagine I didn't have that myself. The issue is the Airbnb have the order book they have, I use the term order books, it comes from stock exchanges, which is the other classic platform that we know of that, like an old version of the platform is a stock exchange with our buyers and sellers. And the cool thing in the centre is this database, like Airbnb have the booking database, they have all the history of bookings, they have all of the listings. And what I think just to say, for our listeners and for myself, is what you're saying is okay, what open source helps with the software and protocols? You know, that that's one thing, but then there's still the database. And the question is, how is that database kind of open in a way that works? Now, I'm just saying one way, which doesn't require your tool is just to have an open order book, you know, and in fact, that's one of the things if we go and look at research and history of like, market abuse, which is famously stock exchanges, famously have these problems. By the way, I don't know if you know, NASDAQ got fined a load of money in the 1990s, because a bunch of the dealers got together, and we're like setting commission prices together and things like that. You know, you can ask for things like a transparent order book, you know, you could just be saying on Airbnb, you could, you could just say we want to open database, you don't require the blockchain to have an open database, right? I mean, I, that's why I don't get why you need a distributed ledger, to have an open listing database, it's just open data, you could just say, here's this open, append only database where you can edit your listing, I just want to check something. Now there are certain pieces of information which are private, which, which I understand, I mean, to take another example, like Uber booking on Uber, you wouldn't necessarily want All right, you don't want to make the database of ride bookings open to everyone in the world to look at. It's like private information. So you need some rules about access to the order book. But that's true. Also on Airbnb, for the for the order book information, the actual booking information, which gives me reputation, which gives me like, what people booked before, like, allows me to prevent them. You know, one of the things that makes a good user experience is that I can, you know, be shown properties I lie, you know, there's, I'm sure there's stuff that Airbnb do to optimise their user experience. And that information is kind of semi private. And so I in the blockchain, I don't get like, either it is kind of basically public, maybe sooner on noise, but it's basically public, which is a problem for privacy, or it's not. And if it's not public, then I still have all these problems of who controls and access it. And this is why when I wrote my piece a bit about fixing Facebook, and about how to fix platforms like this in general, several years ago, my question is about control of the order book. And the and the database, is, it doesn't really have a lot to do with technology, it's a regulatory question, which is to say, one is you could go out to those companies or any other company, say, your your database that you as Airbnb or have to declare, you know, if you're, if your platform provider, you have to provide an open API, or at least allow anyone who submits their listing to you, that data should be made available to anyone else under an open API, you know, like, if I'm listing my property on Airbnb, I should be able to put it on booking.com At the click of a button, you know, which is a kind of like, it's, it's a bit like all this regulation about like number portability around mobile phones, I should be able to take my mobile number to a different provider with no transaction costs. i And similarly, by the way, there's bank account portability coming in, I can take my bank account number, and so on and so forth. That that, that that that. I mean, you can put that on the blockchain, but it's not. That's not what makes it open. What makes it open is that someone makes it open. You know, I mean, you don't need a blockchain for that information, which can be public because it is public. You know, if you go on Airbnb, I can see your property for rent, you know, for anyone who goes there, and in the private information. Well, that's a complicated matter. And there are ways to make that competitive. You can't make it open but you can make it like any One who's approved can have access to the order book. And that's what like stock exchanges are supposed to have done stock exchanges and develop elaborate rules to make sure that no one had too special access to the order book. Because that gives you a lot of benefit. If you know what buy sell orders are there, you can do all kinds of naughty things, you can front run orders, you can take advantage of buyers and sellers. So you have this important piece of core information that is kind of cooperative. In the case of stock markets sort of cooperatively owned, to some extent, I mean, there's still abuse that goes on all kinds of questions, but I just try to understand why the web three part helps us in any way. Because it's almost like people are conflating web three with being open. But that's just not true. You can have open databases in a GitHub repo, you know, in a Postgres database, you don't need web three for that. And if it's not that part, and it's the private part, why is web three helped me with that?
So I think that you don't need blockchains to have an open ecosystem. You can have an open ecosystem, like with different kinds of Airbnb, S and whatever. And by law, being obligated to not locking the the users and open the data that is public and open the listings and whatever true, you can totally solve it with, with law. And yet those laws are not coming forward. So easy to regulatory question. Yes, it can be a regulatory question. And precisely I have a paper with Primavera talking about blockchain as a regulatory technology. So blockchain enables us to deal with regulation in a more in a technical way, more than the technologies that we have. I mean, you know, the last six, call this law, right. So so, yeah. You know, you know what I mean? I know you it's the
heart just because your question is, how does it make the regulation easy? Because it's my question. What's crucial here, when you say that about web three is, how does it make making open database easier? Is it because we're saying the next Airbnb will be built on the blog on web three? And because it's built in web three, they will be forced to have an open database from the start kind of by necessity? Is that? Is that the argument? Yeah.
That the idea is that if you since code determines your actions, because codes embed can embed
in the smart contract, or whatever, you mean,
since since I mean, Facebook Cloud is also political, it's also a forcing certain rules for the apps that run on Facebook, if the apps that run on a blockchain will have to respect the rules of that blockchain, if so, in that sense, when you are designing the blockchain, you can decide the rules that these other this other sort of God will have to comply with. So you are forcing them to be open in the certain ways you are forcing them to not be able to lock in their users, you are forcing interoperability on them. You are you are because call this law in that sense. You are using technology as a regulatory mechanism without having the law on your hand, basically.
But wait, wait, just to check that Facebook already can do that. Without a blockchain. Anyone could do that.
Who Has anyone can do that anyone that has a platform where third parties can implement apps Android does that Apple does.
So what is it that is it? Is it that simply we have a hope that the blockchain platform is going to be run by the good guys, is that the story? It's not
necessarily good guys, but on the open, but there'll be but I mean, right now, right now, the main blockchain public blockchains that have succeeded. I mean, they're in their open source projects, manage as an open source community, very similar to the Linux or whatever, right? So that in the event that we're more transparent, they are, they are subject to the same pressures that well known open source communities are right. So so because of because we trust open source more. We do trust these blockchains because of the openness of them, and then we have these open communities, developing the rules. at all this ecosystem of apps will have to comply with? Well, I mean, I don't love to give all the power to the geeks. And yet I prefer the geeks down the board of Airbnb or of Amazon or Facebook. I mean,
so it's kind of like so the question is just happens to be that it's like, let's say a theorem to be concrete. Because Aetherium like to run a smart contract, like to run your solidity app on Aetherium, the code needs to be open source, essentially.
I mean, not essentially, but most of it in practice, is it because I mean, you can always go to that it's very, very little cost to go to a therapist, that is that is transparent.
Right. But that that's often the case of the early, wet, but I'm just trying to say is what we're saying, let's break it, you're on a platform and the people that happens to be the platforms that have been successful in like, web three, that people will sort of build on our, like, encode these rules, because the funny thing here is like we could have done that with like, either way. What I'm trying to get into why confuse that with a distributed ledger technology? What Why? Why do you need that part
because of the server? Because who owns the server has been always that governance problem for for alternatives? Who owns the server has power?
Right? But wait a minute, do we have that problem with TCP IP? Because the fact that someone has to run servers is not been a problem for TCP IP? Like, yeah,
yeah. But for service, it is. For services. We do these complex things of foundations and whatever to manage, who controls the service of Wikipedia? Well, it's a matter of I mean, then we'll have to build the foundation. And we have to make it democratic. And we have to,
why is it that you're saying is it just because services are more expensive than running TCP IP nodes? Because it's like TCP IP nodes are cheap. Well, what why was it? Why was it that? I don't? I don't know. I mean, for me, it's an economic point, just to make a comment, again, people pay their internet bill, the internet bill goes to a network provider who's highly regulated. In UK, BT. And, you know, there's, in most countries, there are whole fights in the 80s. And 90s, unfortunately, reversed in some countries like the US, which is why they have very high internet bills. But basically, there were loads of rules about interconnection fees, and how much they could charge that essentially forced them to charge close to cost. And so I'm just trying to understand, it doesn't seem to me that like running TCP IP nodes is that cheap, or running Internet backbone is that cheap. It's simply that, like, you're saying, like in services, it's just we don't have a regulated infrastructure there. And so the idea is instead, the issue here is that we need an infrastructure where we can run apps that was always the dream around the indie web was we needed an app available, there was Sandstorm there, all of these little things. Yeah, Sandstorm guys did make they sold out, I think, to CloudFlare, and went to work for. Sadly, it was a great project. But the thing is, that the thing is, what you're seeing is to run apps in a sandbox. We don't have an infrastructure where everyone, you know, everyone in the UK or Spain or America pays 20 bucks or 30 bucks a month for the Internet, if we had that, that would find this app infrastructure. But we don't have that. So the blockchain model is like, there's been a successful blockchain Aetherium, in which you can run apps basically. But just then this comes to the technical challenges, which is one point that isn't like in this one is like, maybe we'll just get faster, but it's very slow and very inefficient to run apps on that kind of infrastructure. There's, you know, where's, I guess my question again, is so but that is the dream, I get it now. So the idea is, they'll be this kind of layer, that line inside that will be kind of owned by everyone, because they will everyone who owns a theory and tokens will have some say you got a proof of stake or something. But anyone can write on this system. It's permissionless. But that, yeah, and I just, I just always wondering this question. And so I just want to because several times, people on this call, you've said Oh, but you know, regulation is just not working. And I agree with you. And that's basically a failure of democratic governance, which is not only we are not we're not electing like we, I mean, we the people are not electing or not do it, you know, standing up, you know, like, people say, Google and Facebook so powerful, I'm gonna say, No, I think if governments are way more powerful, you know, like in the history when the US government went after Standard Oil, they were pretty effective. You know, Saudi oil was very powerful and had it was even easier to bribe politicians then than it is now or something. So I but then there's a story of like, oh, but the blockchain will solve it. I'm like, But wait, if the blockchain it successful, is going to be have governance at the scale of a state. It's going to have like that. Scale of participation. Why won't why if we can't get together right now to regulate these things in an almost easy way than building an entire new technology infrastructure? Why is it going to be better on the blockchain? Why is your governance is good now when there's few people but isn't aren't going to have all the problems we have in a democratic system, once we have a theory at the scale of our country,
probably. And yet, it's an reforming the state is much more difficult than doing a commit.
Don't confuse these two things. Because we're, we're that's a sleight of hand that the tech geeks play. I'm a tech geek to Waitomo. Like it just right now is just as easy. It's just as easy theoretically, for me to write something I could just go to the legal office of my Parliament sneak in at night and write something, why it's hard to do a commit is the merge process, commit or cheat even of our law. I could propose a new law marriage is hard. And that's what starts getting complicated in software.
But it's still it's still it's much easier.
We don't have evidence, that's a big claim. That I mean,
today for changing the Linux kernel, which is incredibly difficult, right? It's it's incredibly difficult, there are a lot of checks and balances to do in order to manage to get a commit within the largest open source project in the history of humanity. And the same, it's pretty difficult to I live in Spain to have as a citizen to have my words of mine in a law that passes the parliament, right. And yet, I think it would be easier in Linux,
when we're but why let's just look at that. Yeah, I gotta go. Because Wait, it's an engineering project with a benevolent dictator, and a highly clear purpose in which the innocent in a state, one of the things we don't have, in general, everyone in the state, we have value differences. In a Linux project, there are value differences. How important is this feature versus that feature? There's a general a pretty big agreement and a very big culture of engineering. There's behind evaluating commits, and we have a benevolent dictator for life irrelevant, which is eight, we can also make changes very quickly with benevolent dictators. But it's there's big reasons why when we come to govern things that look more state, like, ie the allocation of resources about, like education versus the military, or, you know, which immigrants we allow in or don't allow in or what, you know, like, really, the questions that bring up a lot for people and a lot of tension. So I'm just checking, which is, is it because it's a code? Or is it because it's an engineering project with a very clear purpose? And
I think it's a matter of governance. It's not about engineering got about being cold, it's about because regardless, or low, I think it's governance and culture. Totally.
Why, right, but culture is maybe more important than the governance process.
Sure. And yet, the culture today has changed a lot. And our democratic institutions have not our democratic institutions have failed to adapt to the times for the last few decades. I mean, since then, I mean, you know, millennials, and Gen Z and whatever, we are still running institutions that are well, that were built many, a lot of time ago, man, they are adapted to kind of a very old paradigm, and it's very, they're they're being very difficult to change. Very, very difficult. They are very slow and unconscious, we basically have to wait 30 years for the people to die, to give in to the next generation to be empowered and be able to implement the reforms and changes that, that we have to wait for the next you know, the paradigm, the cones, paradigm, theory, whatever. We have to wait for the people to die to because we humans are difficult to change the paradigm while we are living, right? Yes. So public institutions are so slow, are desperately slow. I work. I work in a university that was founded in the 13th century. It's desperately is low. It still works like a middle aged institution. It's so slow. That's why we build the startups to build new things and to innovate and whatever right, I think open source with the ability to fork Yes. Innovate much faster than these old institutions. I don't, I wouldn't trust geeks with a lot with all my politics, and yet, I'm just coming During the two, yes, I, in my ideal scenario, it will, I would give all the powers to the assemblies and to social movements not to geeks in that can commit, right? I trust much more non geeks, even though I'm a geek myself. Yeah. And yet, it's true in this narratives. It is true that opens, like in decentralised finance. Now. It was very nice, very interesting. I mean, I to be clear, I don't like decentralised finance, because it's putting them it's putting the focus on a place that I personally don't think should be the focus anyway. But it was very interesting to see that open source projects of of decentralised finance, they are being forked all the time. And people are keep moving their, their assets from one project to the next. Just because the next the next fork makes it slightly better, or gifts or adapts to the rules in a way that it's better for the users or whatever. And they keep changing, and they keep firm forking, and it's a very healthy ecosystem in that way. Because big, okay, the incentives are very important, because it's basically gain more money faster. Okay. Which is not I mean, I guess,
is that there's this there's this fluidity of innovation and and of movement? I, I see that. So I'm kind of Yeah, I mean, we're almost I guess I'm also aware that we're at kind of point Viseu we need to rags there's a lot more to explore here. Maybe we'll even get to do another episode. I, I mean, I just want to try and summarise recreate it, so that it can thesis is in the kind of Airbnb example, even if we went back to it is that the future if the blockchain is sort of successful, people have to run on the blockchain. And as a result, the kind of the underlying blockchain can encode rules in a way that the inset didn't insert, you're saying could have had some rule, like, if you're going to run on top of TCP IP, you've got to be open source or something like that. I don't know what it was. So I'm trying to understand at the moment, what we're saying is that something like Aetherium encodes these rules that have what are the principles? It's encoding at the moment what that you have to be open source? So what are these positive rules? Because why like TCP IP? Couldn't you end up running anything on top of it? Why? Why does it actually encode anything in the way that TCP IP didn't enforce the Amazon or Google or Facebook? We're open or decent? How does the theory of different from that? Oh, yeah, sorry. That's why I'm not getting myself, I think.
So. I mean, it's not just the Etherium any, any Tao platform today, Aragon or colony or dow stack or whatever they are trying to build the consistence of the house with certain rules. So
our thesis was for this to work is there's going to be a dominant one, which there will be a dominant one
that will be platform for now, also, within the Etherium ecosystem. Yes, I
understand this or what I
what I mean is that the rules have not I mean, the blockchain and aggregate rules, and there can be other rules
I got I got that. But what are these rules that are going to be better than what we have?
For example, in the idea that you can create new identities very easily. Instead, Aetherium, you can you can create identities that you can host yourself, or they can be hosted somewhere else. These identities can host they can handle value in the form of tokens. tokens that can be like a digital currency, but they don't need to they can be just giving you
permission. Why does that make it like free or fairer because I can, I mean, I can hold money today, and I can move it around between banks. I'm just trying to get we were saying,
I am just saying I am just saying that Aetherium establishes some basic rules that these apps have to comply with. And they cannot, they cannot just encapsulate their users ignoring this.
basically, it's made with basically making the user the user registration, the same one for all platforms without you being able to handle it in that centralised database
database. You've got your wallet and you can go anywhere. So basically, you are
you are enforcing or like, open of all hours. Remember, you're enforcing these kinds of open protocols in all the network and you cannot include lock lock it in because then you are basically incompatible with the ecosystem.
Okay, so where am I? But where am I? So just to check so let's say we're building this new Airbnb, Airbnb, the differences at the moment I log into Airbnb and like, there's my identity as me Rufus or me, Samina. And on the blockchain, Airbnb, like the web three b&b, I have my login with basically my wallet address or like,
you're not logging on the actual app, you are logging before that, so they don't control I
got it. And then I give them my wallet address. Okay, I got that.
And the same, the same as that identity is apart from the AP, your management of reputation, for example. It's much outside, because it's basically token management, your management of how much money you have, it's outside your management of if you have this vote power, it's outside of the app, all these things, the fact that you have this certain permissions, it's outside because all this is tokenized.
But let's get back to Airbnb where our problem is that there are a platform monopoly. The fact that I like the fact that when you see my reputation management, like the issue with Airbnb, is they've got all the listings.
So how not only the listings, they also have the reputation of each year. But that's actually
kind of minor, to be honest, compared to that, I think, compared to the listings, okay, even if it were important, what how does the web three seller stop them having their database of listings, that's why I understand how
they kind of typically the the, okay, I don't really like the narrative, but this thing of trustless, we are creating trustless apps on whatever, yes, I think trustless is basically you are placing your trust in tech, rather than in certeyn. Me. So, so, within the culture, they use IPFS rather than HTTP protocol for for, for when they are referring to data. Typically, when you refer to an HDD using HTTP, you are controlling that server, you there is a server or infrastructure owner that holds the server and therefore the data, when you're using IPFS, you are not referring to your server and you are not controlling your data. So if you are referring to data that your your solidity smart contract is using, and you are using IPFS address, like the whole ecosystem is doing, you are enabling that anyone can use the same data as you are. If you use listings, that typically can't be that could be public. You anyone can just copy your IP.
That's the same as just making open data. I get that. Yes, but yes. Sustainable. I don't, that's great. I mean, it's just like in the beginning of the internet, boom, everyone was like, oh, yeah, all my stuff open. But soon it wasn't I mean, that I just don't get it's like it, was it. There's nothing that enforces that there's just a cultural norm of the moment that people use IPFS pointers. They,
yeah, if anyone doesn't enforce you that they do enforce the users and the whatever, but not the,
because I can I can point ACTP in my smart contract I can.
And yet, then people would automatically say, why are you using your faculty a smart contract? Just put the code on your server? Yeah. And we can it doesn't make sense. If you want to do a serverless application? You do it serverless if you want to do it.
So that brings me a question. I asked one day about IPFS, which is just the basic problem I had, which is imagine I post a picture of my home that I didn't want to post.
How do I take it down? Yeah, that's complicated. depends, depends. But it that there, the ecosystem is evolving quickly. And there are more and more ways to handle these issues. But yeah, it's complicated. Because the
thing is, you've been you can't have your cake and eat it. If I can't take down the revenge porn, or I can't take down the picture of my house, I didn't want to post. I also I also, if I can do that, then I can also remove other data. I don't want to be around anymore. So I mean, I've been trying to say that you kind of it's difficult to have removal without control. It's
lovely. I mean, they you could use encrypt encryption, you can use fingerprints, you can just give the the owner of the team the impact that they the capability of taking it down, but by default right now is you can't take it down.
Once you have an owner who can take it down. Once you have an owner who could take it out. It's like copyright. I created my song but I signed ownership rights this record label they now control it you that that model is like Airbnb, I'm sure in their fine print say that when I upload photos of my home, I give them permission to then use them. And only them. I mean, I can, in theory, take all the photos uploaded to Airbnb and send them to booking.com. But it's a big pain, you know, and it's a pain to assemble that database. And so I, I just, I just maybe it's, you're saying, well, it will be public by default. So people have cached it, and then they can reuse it. I mean, but I just I, the thing is, you see, the thing is, I feel it doesn't get around the governance problem that's really there, which is who controls the content? And who particularly controls ought automated access to it, which is like what's useful, right? What's, in theory, I could go to every list person listed on Airbnb and ask for permission to get their content to put it on my own listing platform to compete with Airbnb. But it's such it's so hard that I don't do it, either belly, and Airbnb will stop me scraping their site. But I always love my first paper to go back many years. And 2004 was about, you know, the early case like eBay suing people who were scraping their site to build alternative eBays. And what basis did they have to do that? Because it wasn't a trick, they actually were using trespass law. The the argument was, people were trespassing on eBay server by using their resources, not not by actually taking anything because they didn't own the content, but by using their the resources by making requests for web pages. Anyway, I just I saw I struggle when we weren't you the story, I get a lot of identity. But you know, login. I mean, logins useful. I get that. But I mean, we have to probably wrap it, we're at time for you. But I just think I think working through this example of like, oh, okay, I mean, like, that's what I was finding. It became IPFS and like, grabbed, I've seen these for years. But you've got to take down problem. And that's, that's,
I mean, the web has a takedown problem as well. I can copy it. Yes, once it is available, I can copy it and replicate it countless times. Right?
I can, but I have two things. I have copyright enforcement.
In theory, you can also in the in the web, because we are not finishing copyright
you but how do I actually get it? So in this world, I can go I could find the owner of if someone's post it on another server, I can go to them and say, hey, it's on your server. Maybe it's not you, maybe you're hosting it for someone else. But find out who that person is, and have them take it now, in this world. I don't know whose server it's running on.
You, you, you know that there are nodes and you can prosecute the nodes? And I mean, if I mean law will reCAPTCHA Actually,
what I'm trying to say is it not world wide, isn't it not end up looking like today's world? Why does it the fact that it's on web three make any difference to me.
I mean, today, startups attract capital to grow into Facebook, or Airbnb, or whatever. This is basically, their the beginning to end. Past that every startup today that tries to launch a web web service has right or either being bought or become a new, big, whatever. If there were fears start startups, they have less power, they, at least in principle, would have less powers and would have to comply with rules that they have not control off. That would be like low. But it's because they are running on platforms they are running on on blockchains that are running on things. And they don't they cannot unplug the servers, they cannot change things easily. They cannot lock in easily. It's just making more problematic. They they emergence of monopolies, I don't think I don't think that network effects will have no effect or stuff like that.
Would you say? But let's try and what I'm still trying to pin down for myself is what are the principles they encode that are different and one of them we were just trying to get to was somehow the data would automatically open. I think the claim in the background was almost on the block web three today, at least the conventional way to do it would use IPFS basically forces your content and data to be open. And and the question I asked was, oh, there's this issue of then privacy or something taken down, you're like, well, there'll be some way to evolve that. But what the background argument was the way the major system has been set up is it forces content to be basically open? And that's, that's that would then be a strong thing. Like if I love the open content data, then you're saying, Oh, this entire platform content we have to be and I'm just like, Whoa, I just don't while I see that for now. I don't see that being how it can be forever. Just so and somehow they'll have to be awake.
I don't think that anyone can promise the forever thing and if they but but I do see that today's technologies make it easier for the developer to build centralised apps. They don't need to. It's just easier. In Web three, you don't need to do it open you don't need to do it super decentralised and intermediate and whatever is just easier.
I understand well, then all the tools
are on the paradigm all the people pushing this forward. Even fucking libertarians will track capitalist or people that are only interested in the money. They are all pushing forward a vision in which is just easier. Everything that the all the frameworks, all the Roush all the tools or the platforms, I making sure that the easier path, the easiest path is to make it open decentralised up disintermediated.
Yes. Wait a minute, just to go back to this question. So we're gonna keep trying to go back to the like, just the rigour of the analysis of that, like, what's ill with the patient? Why do open source things not struggle day is because of the money now I get this VC money now. But what I'm trying to say is it if it continues to be open, this could come soon, we haven't come to you, which is the fat protocols thesis and like, by the way, you can issue tokens that are bound to your platform, you can somehow keep your platform open yet monetize it, you know that there's, there's an argument that I understand that we could come to that we haven't covered. But in general, I'm just trying to stick with this to say, wait a moment, as as, for example, I have to make money in some way. Like right now there's a VC money, but the VC money is there because some, they might be like, Okay, you're not monetizing. Now, don't worry. But at some point you're going to monetize. As that happens, this stuff will go close. Because what I'm not hearing the moment is there was something that really enforces that openness. Fundamentally, there isn't something in Aetherium, or the DAO structure that forces that I get the potential.
I mean, there's the solidity contract. Yes. You have access to it. Yes. Which, which is great, because you have the code, yes. The data is there is not enforced. But the contract did this. Yeah, half access to the solidity contracts, by default, so the contract
is quite simple, which is normally it's like the rules of your company, or sort of flat. We can look at that. But just the point, I'm trying to get to go back, I want to open knowledge ecosystem, I want an open data, I want an open information ecosystem where all software's open. My question has always been like, how do we pay for it? And the question, the way I went was like, Okay, well, we need, we need to gather the money, the resources to pay for that which requite for the commons of information that requires the state because the state is the best solution, we have to coordinate large sums of money being raised. I mean, we haven't even gone into web three and public goods problems on this one. But I just want to say as a I'm, I'm still not quite getting where there's the enforcement of the rules of these things being open. And if there were the question of ASCII, let's see if I said they were I have this question, what then how will they make money, which is what's crucial? That's the thing that stops open source software today. How do you make your money? Now one of those might be the fact
that they think that in the beginning, I was talking about infrastructure, governance and economics. Yeah. In the old initiatives, like OpenStreetMaps, here, we are experimenting with infrastructure, governance, economics. One Three is experimenting with decentralise infrastructure, new models of governance and new modes of with tokenomics. And whatever, of getting money for your project. With that doesn't pass by, that doesn't involve compromising the privacy, the privacy of your users, and doesn't involve centralising your power and locking the mean. So there might be
some there's quite a bit and that's the question. So the question would be, what are these new whatever we are at timetable, so maybe I really need to be new my new models of economics, but that's one that's crucial, because if that isn't there, then that you're saying it wouldn't work? Yeah,
I agree. I agree with
that. Okay, so okay, I wanted to give you the last word, this has been an absolute such a joy for me. I hope the audience this will have enjoyed it as much as we both have. But I want to summarise for us, I thank you so so much. It's been a real joy and a pleasure, this this conversation. You'd like to get to say like like, maybe even as I said, people could follow up on your work at PDP models.edu. I love that your general like progressive commitment, combined with this technology and also, I think you're I want to acknowledge it, like kind of the wisdom on the call or the kind of, you know, like, you're excited but you're also like, Okay, I I'm not, you know, doesn't mean I'm like, Oh, this is gonna solve everything. And I'm also, you know, I can eat healthily sceptical. I think even one thing we said in the pre call, I just wanted to say now as you're like, Look, if only people were funding like more money on facilitation, that would be even better, but there isn't big grants for that early on. It's very wise. I want to leave you with anything last year I say about your project of people can follow up or just any last thoughts you have before we finish.
I mean, if people are interested, they can always I mean, follow us on Twitter, me or the project or just drop us a line if you think that that might be a nice collaboration going on. And thanks a lot, Rufus. It was really fascinating, and maybe we can do our second version of it.
Absolutely. Okay. Well, thank you everyone, and tune in for the next episode.