For the Decentralized Web

I’m joining the board of the Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW). I want to tell you about the project’s mission, what I hope to bring to the Board, and what we’ll be focusing on this first year.

The Mission and Purpose of the Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web

The mission of FFDW is “to ensure the permanent preservation of humanity’s most important information by stewarding the development of open source software and open protocols for decentralized data storage and retrieval networks.”

I love that the organization is committed to the long-term preservation of humanity’s most important knowledge. In the digital age, everything can be preserved, but how well are we actually doing it? Where forward-thinking projects like the Internet Archive and Wikimedia are committed to preserving the historical web and encyclopedic knowledge, Filecoin can help spread that burden: creating a system that could allow data to be archived for long periods of time in a reliable but distributed manner.

We especially need this because right now, file storage is basically a monopoly. Much of the modern Internet relies on a single file service – Amazon Web Services—to store and serve literally billions of websites and applications. This means a single corporation—with an agenda, narrow economic incentives, and little accountability—has a powerful ability to shut down access to vast swaths of human information. And we’ve seen the perils of that, including when Amazon Web Services suffered blackouts and hunks of the most popular Internet services were unavailable for long stretches. Centralization of this sort is dangerous and short-sighted. Thanks to the ingenuity of Filecoin developers, we now have new models for thinking about large-scale, distributed, incentivized data storage—so future competitors to Amazon Web Services have a chance at thriving and surviving.

Notably, FFDW doesn’t mention “Filecoin” anywhere in its mission. That’s because FFDW is not about promoting a single blockchain project. Instead, FFDW sees decentralized file storage as part of a larger ecosystem of developers, projects, advocates, and policies that work together to build a future that is more decentralized, more accountable to users, and more resistant to censorship. Filecoin is a key and important part of that, but we must also support the future of the decentralized web overall.

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