Decentralized Web Summit Lightning Talks

Indieweb - Ryan Barrett

Ryan Barrett:

we of the indieweb are really excited to be here with you tackling these big exciting problems

we have been taking a smaller scale approach reusing existing technology

we thought what is the smallest, most mature technology we can reuse - we started with the domain

if you own your own domain you are in control of your presence on the web

we looked at social networks and there is a lot you can do there - such as events

so how do we do this on our sites? I post an event on my site and see who comes

@kevinmarks sees this event and posts it on his own website -

his RSVP is marked up with microformats showing that it is an RSVP that says yes

To tell my site about this it he uses webmention - source is his RSVP target is my event

my site can read his microformats and show this as an RSVP acceptance

this is just one example of a ton of functionality we have with some very small protocols

~100M sites already have microformats - your site may already be party indieweb

join us at


are microformats something you guys invented, why did you choose html rather than json?

Ryan Barrett:

Microformats were created by people involved with indiewebcamp like @t

we chose HTML because it is already there - there is lots of existing sites to work with


can you explain the connection between indieweb and W3c Social Web Working Group?

Ryan Barrett:

we have brought many of the indieweb building blocks to socialwg and webmention and micropub are on standards track

my slides are at

Dan Gillmor and Richard Stallman

Dan Gillmor:

I'm dazzled by what I see here, and by the people here who see what is going on

I'm not a technologist, I'm a writer and a teacher and we need to explain this better to the wider public

it's about more than a decentralized web, but about control too - net neutrality may be a short term victory

and we are always under surveillance by governments and companies

some journalists have ties to the centralization community - Comcast owns NBC for example

we need to tell journalists how they can use free software - we need to make it more convenient for them

finally we need to tell better stories. People react more to stories than to facts.

we have heard a lot about the Facebook revolutions, but not about FB ToS kicking activists off

please send me email to with your ideas to help

Richard Stallman:

there is massive surveillance that threatens democracy itself

when you're working on distributed systems, try to solve the problems of freedom too

making an internet that respects our freedoms requires thinking about policies as well as code

if you care about free software go to and see how you can help


every time you say distributed systems you weaken the decentralization movement

Richard Stallman:

I was meaning distributed amongst the users, but I take your point

Rebooting the Web of Trust - Christopher Allen

Christopher Allen:

Monday was the 25th anniversary of PGP. Nobody celebrated this on twitterdom

PGP didn't succeed. It is barely used except for code signing.

I started #RebootingTheWebOfTrust to change this - it's like a hackathon for white papers

to join #RebootingTheWebOfTrust the entry fee is posting a reading list

we wrote white papers on "what is the web of trust", "use cases", "creating a distributed registry"

this led to Self-Sovereign Identity - you are the source of your own identity

identity is not an administrative mechanism for others to control

this inspired a UN identity conference #ID2020

we have a lot of white papers in progress, and a 3rd conference in Sept 2016 go to


why do you think PGP failed?

Christopher Allen:

a lot of factors; centralised control has a lot of advantages; competition with S/MIME

also PGP did not allow you to check keys by attestation

Namecoin - Jeremy Rand

Jeremy Rand:

Namecoin is the first global, human-readable and decentralized naming system [he completed zooko's triangle]

namecoin is a fork of bitcoin that represents name -> value pairs as special coins

I have namecoin verified HTTPS working but only in Chrome for Windows at the moment

normally looking up data in bitcoin or namecoin requires downloading the whole chain ~3GB, now SVP enables less

Greg Lindahl:

Dogfood your system -if it isn't useful to you what makes you think it will be useful to anyone else?

Open Annotation - Dan Whaley

Dan Whaley:

Problem: right now you can only have conversations on very small parts of the web

or you can have conversations, but only in silos like twitter and reddit wants to make an open conversation across the web

@pmarca announced an open annotation system in Mosaic in 1993, but turned it off after a few months

in december we announced a coalition fo 70 academic publishers to begin implementing open annotation on their content

we run a service that launched in early 2015 25k registered users; on target for 1m annotation by the end of the year

there's a browser extension and a proxy that you can use

right now it is centralized, on our servers we want to connect the client to any annotation server

lets say we find As We May Think from 1945

and you can see the annotations at the proxy at

here's my annotation: on the site

Kevin Marks:

have you looked at using webmention to tell sites that they have been annotated?

Dan Whaley:

we have and we're very excited by webmention - we'd love to get more done with it

BigchainDB - Alberto Granzotto

Alberto Granzotto:

IPDB is Interplanetary Database - you can create assets, transfer assets and query

you use our driver with a keypair stored in your client

we have a foundation of caretakers we want >50% nonprofir and <50% in the same geography

IPDB is powered by BigchainDB an AGPL-3 licenced blockchain database

we currently have 15 caretakers decide who is in and out, we want this fully decentralized in future

Content Addressing - Ben Trask

Ben Trask:

I am sure you're all sick of content addressing by now, so I'll keep it short

the thing about content addressing is that it is only one thing - a form of eventual consistency

it can't give you real ordering - you can't know which of 2 things that happened first

one thing about content addresses is that they are strictly superior to UUIDs - like RSS

some people like UUIDs in their databases as primary keys

the good thing about content hashes as primary IDs is that they give good collisions - actual duplicates

strong consistency is really cool - they only technology out there now is the blockchain.

you can use the blockchain to decide who gets to vote in a different consistency algorithm, eg use Paxos


your suggestion for the bigchaindb architecture - that is how it works

Ben Trask:

you could elect the caretakers using a blockchain

I only know of 3 consensus models - Raft and Paxos are distributed but not decentralized, but Blockchain is


what is stronglink?

Ben Trask:

Stronglink is a content addressing system similar to ipfs, webtorrent dat and all the others

the unique thing about stronglink is thar it can do full queries and full syncing is a database of mapping between hashes of other things, primarily URLs

so it adds a bit of security to insecure downloads

Brewster Kahle:

DHT as embodied in bittorrent always seems to be slow. Are we doomed?

Ben Trask:

content addressing doesn't require consistency so it can be fast, so you can just do it

things only get slow when you need to traverse the network and talk to other people

Nodesphere - Harlan T Wood

Harlan T Wood:

Core Network is a distributed social network that is visualisation first

you're looking at a direct visualisation of the network which you can manipulate or view differently

or a visualisation could look like a social network wall

friends of mine kept developing new graph viz networks so we defined nodesphere

in VR will we have little windows in front of ours, or will we build our own cathedrals at large scale

Platform Cooperatives - Maira Sutton

Maira Sutton:

I was at EFF fighting international treaties that had IP policy in them, like TPP

the big problem was that these were secret, and they only cared about what big companies said

I shifted to which is a magazine that writes about libraries, platform co-operatives and more

the idea of a platform cooperative is that the site is owned not just by the developers but the owners too

I want to see a decentralized web that is democratic, transparent and co-operative

mass surveillance by states, censorship by copyright and siloization are all people problems

there are concentrations of politics and economic power that lead to these problems

we need to open up the process of bringing diversity to this movement -

we won't be able to assess the values of this movement without bring more people into this who aren't in this room

as @doctorow said, we need to create a Ulysses pact so we can't trade away the values that we hold

please try to do more outreach, so if you run future conferences more people can find out and attend

Zcash - Zooko Willcox


Zcash is a distributed financial system like blockchain, but it has a layer of encryption on top

people know that bitcoin is all transparent all of the time - everything is all transparent all of the time

zcash has selective transparency - you can build transparency on top of privacy, but not the other way round

you can reveal a transaction to someone else that is in the blockchain -

privacy and selective transparency combined with canonical knowledge that is available

Ryan Barrett:

you're both really idealistic and really pragmatic - i like that

how do you get the traditional financial system involved so they don't fight you?


when I talk to banks they are dismissive of the open permissionless thing, but are used to bitcoin and ethereum

it's not just for money you can also have rules that are encoded into blockchains

Harlan T Wood:

could zcash be the primary currency of the planet?


not yet; it still has similar rate issues to bitcoin but we expect to improve that

Wendy Hanamura:

we heard from the OGs and the New Guys - you're an MG, in the middle generation. What's the perspective


in computer science we are privileged to rub elbows with the giants on whose shoulders we stand

I've been impressed here with how far along a lot of these projects are

in the near future you'll be able to do smart contracts on ethereum, then transfer the results into zcash


if we're hiding contracts, how do we solve investigating things like subprime loans?


for the forseeable future, giant rich corrupt organizations are going to use the current banking system

in the long run there are combinations of transparency and privacy that will evolve that are good for society

Archive Labs - Mek Karpeles

Mek Karpeles:

I partied last night too by making slides - they're up at archive labs

my name is Mek and I fight for the users - in this case the archive labs fellows

Archive labs incubates open and community initiatives

IPFS hosting one of our internet archive books - our boo reader in IPFS - @davidar did this

@wumpus said it's OK to hack things together if you make it up in volume

@aeschylus helped me combine a book from fragments at multiple institutions using iiif

we had a volunteer @jessew notice that we have had torrents at the archive so @feross helped us integrate webtorrents

webtorrents is now available for 10M plus files

@btrask the allows us to verify the integrity of software that may not still be available

and @btrask built his own little paper hub at stronglink

Calls to action: apply for a fellowship and join our archivelab slack

Lets write a document for the DW3C - create a repository to work on a document together

Brewster Kahle:

we have had the archive available on bittorrent for a while and it works really well

Mek Karpeles:

this presentation is available at

Wendy Seltzer:

we should work together so you don't get a cease and desist for the w3c logo

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