EU Funding for Developer Tools for the Decentralized Web

(httptoolkit.tech)

259 points | by pimterry 10 days ago

15 comments

  • wb14123 10 days ago
    I never really understand the hype behind blockchain related technologies. The low transaction throughput, high compute resource demands makes it pretty unusable in most cases. Lots of workaround either has security problem or violated the idea of decentralization of blockchain, which makes it meaningless to use blockchain. Oh, there is also PoS which doesn't need CPU for mining, but doesn't anyone think it's irony that it makes rich people richer?

    Decentralization doesn't mean there shouldn't be one or some centralized nodes. That means open protocol, and server cannot control everything (for example, with end to end encryption). So that anyone can run the server, and user can use the service without trust the server.

    Most importantly, non regulation doesn't always mean good. Otherwise why we need law and government? Why not live in the wild west and let strong people kill weak people? Why not let big company play the monopoly?

    • abetusk 9 days ago
      Cryptocurrency uses the blockchain as a fundamental building block. For good faith proponents of cryptocurrencies, the appeal is that they provide the potential to do low friction digital payments (e.g. "micropayments"), reduce the barrier to entry to participate in financial transactions and allow for a single, global unifying currency.

      You may disagree that Bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency, has the potential to do this or whether it can actually do this, but that's the appeal.

      Proof of Work (PoW) is probably necessary for a decentralized currency [0]. Proof of Stake (PoS) can be a valid cryptocurrency but fails in it's centralization criteria [1].

      The Lightning network provides a layer-2 solution to payments, increasing transaction throughput and, thus, reducing PoW energy usage [2]. This might get into centralization territory but maybe this is a happy compromise between energy usage, throughput and centralization. In some sense, we have many "layer-2" like structures on the internet, with DNS caching, replication and load balancing etc.

      > Most importantly, non regulation doesn't always mean good. Otherwise why we need law and government? Why not live in the wild west and let strong people kill weak people? Why not let big company play the monopoly?

      As a counterpoint, regulation isn't always a good thing when it's been captured by hedge funds, oil companies, pharmaceutical companies or other special interests.

      I'm having a hard time understanding if the line "Why not let big company play the monopoly?" was meant to be rhetorical in the affirmative or the negative. Are you suggesting that company monopolies are a good thing? Or are you suggesting that a decentralized currency unseating what is essentially the current banking monopoly is a bad thing?

      [0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDGliHwstM8&t=490s

      [1] https://github.com/libbitcoin/libbitcoin-system/wiki/Proof-o...

      [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning_Network

      • wb14123 9 days ago
        Yes, the intention of Bitcoin is good, and as a research paper, the idea of Blockchain is very genius and interesting. But back to the use case, it must has the basic function first then add more features to it. With low throughput and high fee, it can barely be used widely in normal life, especially for "micropayments". Then what's the point to make it decentralized?

        I had some experience with L2 solution, Polygon specifically. As you mentioned, it compromises security or/and decentralization. And I don't think it's a "happy" compromise, since the weak point of a system depends on it's weakest point. If L2 chain has a security or centralization problem, then it can be exploited so that the whole system has such problem.

        Even if the blockchain technology can replace current banking system, it's not the solution for problems like monopoly. It just replaced the companies/organizations that are in the monopoly position. Look at the crypto concurrency exchange market and mining farms, you can get a sense.

        To make it clear, by "Why not let big company play the monopoly?", I mean monopoly is a bad thing, which would happen if there is no regulation. So in the system of Blockchains, we still need the regulations we need in the current system. I know there are some problems in our political and economical system, but I don't believe Blockchain is the answer.

      • vkk8 10 days ago
        I'm also puzzled by the fact that EU is funding this. Usually states and state-like entities are exactly the ones who don't want people to use decentralized technologies, because they often make laws difficult or impossible to enforce.

        In fact, wanting to circumvent laws is the only reason why people en mass would ever want to use decentralized technologies. I'm not necessarily always against this (there are some really stupid laws that should be broken), but I'm pretty annoyed by how people try to pretend that there is demand for these technologies for any other reason.

        • native_samples 9 days ago
          The EU sprays grant money around like candy. They'll fund more or less anything that appeals to academic sensibilities - at the scale it subsidizes things there's no time to consider the impact on political strategy.

          This one was pitched as, "a European initiative for a Human Internet that respects the fundamental values of privacy, participation and diversity". So the EU would have just seen the buzzwords "privacy" and "diversity" and said great, have some money.

        • angelzen 9 days ago
          EU is way behind in tech. Centralized web means centralized web in US or China. Probably the push for decentralized web will fail, but at least it appears that EU does something to reduce dependence on foreign superpowers.
          • toomuchtodo 9 days ago
            The EU could also subsidize centralized EU-based tech. What are the largest tech companies in the US and China based around? Ads, payments, cloud computing, and media consumption ("FAANG"). Europe already has solid, utility-priced payment infrastructure. Ads are arguably toxic (especially Facebook), and cloud computing is relatively straightforward to implement with talent and funding.

            Europe could even take a page from China and use regulation to strongly encourage European customers and businesses to not use US products and services (GDPR, for example).

            • pkos98 9 days ago
              > The EU could also subsidize centralized EU-based tech [...] cloud computing is relatively straightforward to implement with talent and funding.

              Exactly this is already happening with Gaia-X[0]. Its mostly pushed by German companies, along with French ones. But because of huge involvement of Deutsche Telekom, BMW and such I dont have high expectations.

              0: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAIA-X

              • toomuchtodo 9 days ago
                I agree with the degree of your expectations. Europe needs a DARPA/YC model led by doers, not entrenched corporate interests or bureaucrats. Europe and America are their own worst enemies, in different ways.
          • CryptoPunk 9 days ago
            >>I'm also puzzled by the fact that EU is funding this. Usually states and state-like entities are exactly the ones who don't want people to use decentralized technologies, because they often make laws difficult or impossible to enforce.

            Ideally, the state represents the interests of the people, and it's in the interest of the people for decentralized technologies to be better funded, so that abusive government and corporate power can be checked.

            Therefore, one of the activities of a truly democratic government will be to contribute to the creation and enhancement of technologies and institutions that act as non-political checks on government and concentrated corporate power, like privacy and decentralized communication protocols, physical and electronic cash, etc.

            • anigbrowl 9 days ago
              Then again, perhaps political tropes about the role and motivations of state actors only partly capture reality, and the dynamics of public vs private interests are not necessarily zero-sum games.
              • account42 9 days ago
                > In fact, wanting to circumvent laws is the only reason why people en mass would ever want to use decentralized technologies.

                There are plenty other reasons, like not wanting private corporations to be gatekeepers of society.

              • Geee 9 days ago
                It's becoming clear that decentralized blockchain isn't worth it for anything else than solving the trust issues in monetary and banking systems, which Bitcoin does.

                Meanwhile, the altcoin "crypto industry" is becoming more and more like a casino and not even trying to solve anything. These people just chase profits, without even thinking of use cases any more. Decentralization isn't important any more; decentralization is old and the next buzzword is more valuable. There are the glorious leaders, the influencers, and the fans. Everyone is doing their part to perpetrate the scam for their own profit.

                • dmitriid 9 days ago
                  > isn't worth it for anything else than solving the trust issues in monetary and banking systems, which Bitcoin does.

                  No, it doesn't solve that.

                • I like crypto, but damn it's inefficient and costly.

                  Even the crypto that's newer than Bitcoin (all of it?) and therefore more efficient (not proof-of-work/stake?) is still not efficient in cost/time/other-resources/etc.

                  • milansuk 9 days ago
                    >inefficient and costly

                    That is the best part of today's blockchains - huge space for improvements! I don't see the same opportunity in centralized services/protocols which are kind of "done" and control by few big tech companies with so many resources, which they use to keep that control.

                • drKarl 10 days ago
                  IPFS is pretty awesome, and the ideas it builds upon like a Merkle tree DAG are really cool. I love the idea of DApps or Decentralized apps. I've played with some cool projects like MetaMask etc. But I really don't like the idea that all (most?) DApps are based on Ethereum and require huge amounts of Gas to run. Can't we have DApps without Blockchain/Ethereum?

                  I know IPFS doesn't use Ethereum, and neither do things like SSB (Secure Scuttlebutt, based on the gossip protocol) but the biggest ecosystem of DApps is based on Ethereum and requires gas...

                  • natural219 10 days ago
                    You absolutely don't need some crypto-based financial scheme to run decentralized web applications. Just some kind of open standard & a set of motivations and incentives to keep the system running and improving.

                    American ideas of decentralization tend to make the root assumption that financial incentives are the only thing that drive human motivation, so almost every decentralization project gets "blockchained" eventually, at which point progress on the core standards or applications gets halted because the attention, focus, and energy shifts to figuring out the myriad, predictable problems with adding "operate a global financial system" to your JIRA tickets.

                    I don't really know any way out of this bottleneck for Americans; they're simply too obsessed with complicated financial schemes to make clear progress on usable dApps.

                    I have slightly more hope for Europeans; if you notice the Matrix project has been chugging along for years, with millions of users, and is poised to actually compete with big tech products via traditional funding and company operation, like normal people.

                    • Geee 9 days ago
                      Someone has to pay for the resources. If you're going to compete with Facebook, then someone has to pay for billions of dollars worth of infrastructure. Voluntarist P2P can work to an extent when everyone donates their computer to the task, but a better way is to allow people to pay and let experts run the nodes. People get better quality service, and experts can make a living by providing the service.

                      Voluntarist networks can't guarantee quality of service. You just get what you get. If you want to have 1 Gbps downloads and 100% content availability, you have to pay someone to provide that.

                      • natural219 9 days ago
                        I 100% get that, and fwiw I'm fully supportive of any scheme that eventually works out to fund traditional app development.

                        I admit I was more skeptical in ~2017 when these grand claims were made, and it seemed like you needed to be deeply up-to-date with latest crypto happenings to be able to navigate the 'blockchain dApp' world.

                        I'm very supportive and admiring of things like Protocol Labs, which have put their money where their mouth is to translate the windfall from the Filecoin IPO into projects that make more sense to my traditional webapp brain, like the latest Matrix. So genuine kudos to everyone involved, I'm happy that this model exists and the ecosystem does eventually deliver in some cases.

                        • Geee 9 days ago
                          I have to say that I don't know any blockchain P2P-networks that have succesfully done this (Sia/Skynet maybe). I don't advocate for 'token for every app' or ICOs, which end up being ponzi schemes. Currently I'm more interested in what's being built on Bitcoin and Lightning Network, such as https://www.impervious.ai and the ecosystem on https://getumbrel.com
                      • oleganza 9 days ago
                        What you call "american ideas" is the only thing that works in the anonymous environment. Communal solidarity works fine in small social groups where "having something at stake" that keeps people cooperate honestly is measured in many things beyond money, which includes the multi-faceted hard-to-quantify reputation. But if you want random people to cooperate on the internet, you can't have any of those properties but stupid cold cash.

                        And, if you try to recreate reputation mechanisms, consider how exposed people would be with persistent perfectly precise digital identification of their cooperation efforts whenever such efforts cross interests of some other group. In non-internet life a lot of things are understood and agreed upon without making those decisions public. Even in private contracts, parties prefer that the details of the contract to remain known only to themselves unless (in rare and unfortunate circumstances) their dispute warrants participation of an arbiter.

                        • someguyorother 9 days ago
                          > What you call "american ideas" is the only thing that works in the anonymous environment.

                          What about BitTorrent or its various file-sharing predecessors? It has no cash, they had no cash. Or Tor? Exit nodes don't demand money as compensation from attracting the attention of people in authority.

                      • cdiddy2 10 days ago
                        It is hard to get away from a gas based system because of spam and resource limitations.

                        Regarding the expensiveness there are a lot of new technologies rolling out today such as optimistic rollups(arbitrum/optimism) and zkrollups(dydx,zksync) that allow for cheaper dapps to run. Then there is also things like Avalanche or Solana that are completely separate chains with different decentralization trade offs that allow for cheaper transactions. The space is still going through rapid advancement and experimentation.

                        • vmception 10 days ago
                          > It is hard to get away from a gas based system because of spam and resource limitations.

                          I went to a Hyperledger workshop just to get a more objective opinion on it.

                          All the demo functions were showing us how it was possible to threads and put the state on an internal blockchain, but that all nodes had to run the threaded functions we wrote.

                          hmmmm, why is this taking so long, oh because everyone in the class was spamming the nodes with arbitrary executions! with no anti-spam resource it was as actually dumb as the theory suggested.

                          that said, I've come to accept that the market can bear many things in the distributed ledger space, so even if other theoretical solutions can make participants cooperate, an out of the box solution is here that the world is selling so hard that it is easy to sell itself.

                        • zwarag 10 days ago
                          I guess http://gun.js.org/ goes into that direction.
                          • searchableguy 9 days ago
                            I looked into their [0]codebase and I'm concerned about stability and maintenance.

                            0] https://github.com/amark/gun

                            https://github.com/amark/gun/blob/master/src/chain.js

                            • gardnr 9 days ago
                              I was investigating GUN for a project last year. The core developer, Mark Nadal, is really inviting and responsive. The project does a good job of publishing numbers and research to prove the technology is a viable option to classic centralised architecture that developers are currently paid to produce. Definitely worth a look.
                            • pcthrowaway 9 days ago
                              There are a bunch of EVM-compatible platforms that can host dapps now, and many projects are running cross-chain or have equivalent projects on those. Personally I think Fantom is worth taking a look at (and as a disclaimer I hold some); it already is handling more transactions per day than Ethereum and has a massive dapp ecosystem, NFT marketplaces, etc. Gas fees are typically 1-2 cents (simple transactions) or 2-6 cents (contract interactions)

                              Others worth looking at would be Avalanche (also PoS and DAG-based) or Polygon/Matic (which is L2)

                              Further away from Ethereum, the launch of smart contracts on Cardano from a few days ago is the beginning of dapps there as well. The fees on Cardano are getting to be prohibitive for casual usage unfortunately (minimum $0.50 per transaction), but what's nice is that the fees are deterministic, and you can't have a failed transaction that consumes or runs out of 'gas' without finishing (though they don't actually use gas)

                              (further disclaimer, I actually hold some of all of the above + Ethereum... but I guess it's fair to say I hold these because of the potential of what they're doing)

                              • Ruphin 10 days ago
                                Only operations that change the state of the Ethereum network require gas. You can use an application and as long as you only perform read operations, you don't require any gas.

                                For example, in a decentralized Youtube-like application, you can browse and watch videos without using any gas. You would only need gas if you wanted to add content to the system, like uploading a video or posting a comment.

                                If such an application required no cost to write data, what would protect the system against spam? Who would bear the costs of operating the application?

                                • opatdchan 10 days ago
                                  >But I really don't like the idea that all (most?) DApps are based on Ethereum and require huge amounts of Gas to run. Can't we have DApps without Blockchain/Ethereum?

                                  Previous generation dapps were mostly on Ethereum because it was the only real solution available. But the ecosystem is maturing, there are chains that consume so little gas it's effectively a negligible cost, and more and more dapps are making use of them. Not to mention that Eth 2.0 is coming soon™.

                                  • esperent 10 days ago
                                    >there are chains that consume so little gas it's effectively a negligible cost, and more and more dapps are making use of them

                                    Can you give some examples? How far along is the development?

                                    • opatdchan 10 days ago
                                      I'll speak for myself, as I just finished developing a fully functional dapp on the Polygon blockchain. Transactions are usually confirmed <30s (not fantastic, but acceptable) and cost less than $0.0001 worth of gas each. There are also other solutions which may work better for certain dapps. For example there is Arbitrum, which has much higher gas costs but instantaneous confirmation times. Regardless, the ecosystem is moving fast, improvements are always coming soon™ and new solutions are popping up all the time. But what's right here, right now is already good enough to be usable.
                                      • PretzelPirate 10 days ago
                                        It’s important to note that these chains that are cheaper to use have to make trade offs to enable that. The trade off they choose is generally to be more centralized. A better approach over using a new “cheap” blockchain is to use a Rollup network on top of a decentralized blockchain.

                                        Rollups inherit the security of the blockchain they are based on, and a user can always leave the rollup network if they become censored.

                                        The downside of current Optimistic Rollup networks is that many still have centralized points of control in place (such as arbitrary contract upgrades), but those are expected to be removed in the next few months for at least one of them.

                                        Zero-Knowledge rollups are also coming out and have key advantages over Optimistic Rollups, including much lower costs.

                                        • pcthrowaway 9 days ago
                                          DAG based networks (rather than blockchains) such as Fantom and Avalanche seem to be emerging as a way to address scalability issues found on blockchain-based smart contract platforms. Currently, Fantom is doing more transactions per day than Ethereum, with gas costing 1-2 cents for simple transactions and 1-6 cents for smart contract interactions.

                                          The tradeoff, based on my understanding, is that there's not as much resilience to node outages (on both of these, 33% of validators by stake concentration going down could lead to block production halting)

                                          • PretzelPirate 8 days ago
                                            Issues like “33% of validators by stake concentration going down could lead to block production halting” is exactly why systems like DAG-based networks would make great Ethereum L2 networks.

                                            They can have speed and low cost, which inheriting the security of Ethereum. At the same time, if block production ever stopped (like we just saw with Solana), all users can still retrieve their funds by forcing a withdraw back to the Ethereum mainnet.

                                            Networks with low attack thresholds shouldn’t be operating as L1s.

                                    • exdsq 10 days ago
                                      Not looking to get into a crypto-war with anyone, but I suggest looking at Cardano which just launched smart contracts. They have much more reasonable gas requirements that are calculated upfront, and there’s a lot of space for innovation as they released this week. Fun reason to look into Haskell too.
                                      • Geee 9 days ago
                                        There's RGB which is built on Bitcoin Lightning Network. [0] It's not ready for use yet.

                                        [0] https://www.rgbfaq.com/what-is-rgb

                                        • whitepaint 9 days ago
                                          Polygon
                                        • shrimpx 9 days ago
                                          With apologies to my European friends (I’m also European), this article illustrates how the EU is a second rate sucker in technology. While they boast and believe that they’re cutting edge because they’re investing in Blockchain, the likely reality is that they’re jumping on a false trend and Blockchain and its thousands of buzzwords will fizzle out, as it’s sustained only by fomo and speculation.
                                          • 908B64B197 9 days ago
                                            I'm curious who oversees these expenditures, and what their qualifications are.

                                            Governments typically have sub-par IT and software engineering (when done in house). When it's venture capital, investors are playing with their own money*, so there's a good incentive to be right and pick the right people/tech. But here, it seems like it's bureaucrats that are going to be deciding what to invest in, isn't it?

                                            DARPA got it right a couple of times in the past, so I could be wrong.

                                            • y4mi 9 days ago
                                              As neither webrtc nor ipfs have anything to do with the Blockchain I'm guessing your talking about their Ethereum focus and I have to agree. but you have to admit that eth probably sounds like a great idea for non programmers.

                                              Implementing smart contacts that do non trivial stuff is just basically impossible, but it's a very interesting concept to run code if it were.

                                              Non-programmers just don't really realize how error riddled the average software is, so they get caught on the promise itself.

                                            • RealStickman_ 9 days ago
                                              That's only one of the protocols they're funding though. The others being IPFS and WebRTC.
                                            • dusted 10 days ago
                                              How is the web not already decentralized? everyone's got an IP address and is free to plug in a server at home.. If the EU should do anything, it should be require by law that any Internet connection comes with a non-carrier-gade-natted ip address, and that it can be made static if the customer desires, for free.
                                              • magila 10 days ago
                                                The web as a whole is decentralized, but the HTTP URL scheme can only reference assets through a single authoritative hostname (or IP address). Thus the ability to retrieve a particular asset is always beholden to a single, privledged entity. When people talk about the "decentralized web" they are generally talking about combining a means of referencing assets in a self-authenticating manner (e.g. using cryptographic hashes and signatures) with a way a retrieving those assets which does not rely on a privledged authority (e.g. using a DHT and a P2P transfer protocol).
                                                • openfuture 10 days ago
                                                  Precisely. The internet is all the protocols, the web is HTTP(S), the dweb would be protocols like bittorrent and now with zero knowledge proofs we can hash executions of programs also...

                                                  The biggest problem is how do you prove your right to participation? Proof of work and proof of stake are both laughably inadequate. Machine learning things are being applied incorrectly imo but it'll converge eventually.

                                                • jitix 10 days ago
                                                  This! Legislating for network infrastructure upgrades and IPv6 adoption will go a long way towards decentralization.

                                                  The market will produce a bunch of privacy focused “Facebook in a box” kind of products on top of such infrastructure.

                                                  • ChuckNorris89 10 days ago
                                                    Yeah, this ain't gonna happen. Telecoms in Europe are way to tightly politically connected (at least in Germany and Austria) to force them into stuff like this.

                                                    Plus, most consumers here don't care about their IP status (most don't know what an IP is), they mostly care if they can stream YouTube and play Fortnite good enough on their connection.

                                                    I wish we could force (and fund) telecoms to extend their fiber network as at least in Germany and Austria it's awful, like going back in Eastern Europe but 15 years in the past.

                                                    • dylkil 10 days ago
                                                      This is funding for developer tools for building decentralised services
                                                    • ThinkBeat 9 days ago
                                                      I think a definition of "Decentralized web" should mean is in order.

                                                      The Internet/Arpa net was created to be decentralized from the beginning.

                                                      If a node, or more nodes went down, the rest of the network may be able to keep working.

                                                      If you, and me and all of our friends and all of their friends all ran out own web servers from our homes it would be decentralized to the extent that if a server disconnected all the others would keep working.

                                                      The information on that server may be gone for all time.

                                                      The prevalence of enormously centralized monopolies on the internet is not a result of its technical architecture, but rather narrow business interests and a terminal lack of regulation.

                                                      Now we are all using AOL v3. (Facebook, Twitter, Google etc).

                                                      It can get semantically confusing. Facebook is massively distributed in some ways. Datacenters in several locations, CDNs all over the place. It would take a hell of a lot (I think) to blow Facebook off the web. Or maybe some servers centrally will shut everything off it they are blown up.

                                                      IPFS is weird when taking about decentralized. Storage is not on one big server located somewhere. It is distributed among many. In theory if one goes down, the data is still available. but only if the server/nodes that make up the IFPS network are reliable and dependable.

                                                      If a lot of nodes are run from laptops that that are shutdown at the end of the day that would become a significant problem.

                                                      Since more and more and more data would need to be stored in IPFS the need for dependable storage servers will increase rapidly.

                                                      I would like a simpler approach more in line with the original architecture, lots and lots of independent small servers. The people who run them can mirror each other in some fashion to persist data. Like FTP used to be (and maybe still is), like NNTP used to be (and maybe still is)

                                                      • fleddr 9 days ago
                                                        "The prevalence of enormously centralized monopolies on the internet is not a result of its technical architecture, but rather narrow business interests and a terminal lack of regulation."

                                                        Neither business interests or regulation have anything to do with something being centralized or not.

                                                        If you would launch "Thinkbeat's blog", in the traditional sense of web publishing, it is 100% centralized. Regardless of its size or your good or bad intentions.

                                                        You would be in full control of it. You could intentionally retire the site, and all information and access is lost, forever. You could accidentally do that by forgetting to pay a bill.

                                                        Another scenario, you publish something fishy on your blog, and get banned from the blogging platform, or whichever dependency you rely on.

                                                        Further, all content on the blog is 100% owned by you, and none of it by the users. So you would also own and control comments to the blog, and arbitrarily edit or delete them.

                                                        You have 100% control on everything, and users none at all.

                                                        A decentralized version of your blog would be radically different. You can't just retire it. You can't permanent delete or overwrite prior entries. Commenters may actually own their own comments.

                                                        I know, a blog is not a good example and a poor use case, just saying that the decentralized web very much is a difference in technical architecture.

                                                        • > Now we are all using AOL v3. (Facebook, Twitter, Google etc)

                                                          ...GitHub (the Facebook of software development)...

                                                        • mhitza 10 days ago
                                                          Got a bit of envy for the people that get funds/grants for their idea. I'm always "lucky" enough to find the call for proposals that match my skills and interest past their closing date. Must be a sign :)
                                                          • Vinnl 9 days ago
                                                            NGI0 is relatively often, and relatively approachable (though not major sums, usually), so there's almost always a call open. I got a grant through them and found the process very approachable, which I can't say of almost every other grant-giving organisation.

                                                            See https://nlnet.nl/NGI0/ and consider following them on Mastodon: https://mastodon.xyz/@ngizero

                                                            • mariusor 9 days ago
                                                              I always look at the problem as the people that actually build cool tech don't really have the time to find grants and submit proposals. I personally haven't really seen something concrete and useful coming out from someone that has won one.
                                                              • black_puppydog 10 days ago
                                                                These NGI grants come around quite regularly. I'm sure they have a newsletter. :)
                                                              • netcan 10 days ago
                                                                One thing "The EU" can do is provide demand. If they want to promote ethereum, IPFS, or WebRTC... use them for their activities in an open way.

                                                                One real difficulty here is the ability of open systems people to communicate, lobby, advocate with governments. The reps, staffers and ministerial professionals aren't that numerous, specialized or inventive... usually. They basically work off ideas, prototype plans and such that are provided by (usually corporate) industry bodies and such.

                                                                Even sympathetic politicians or public servants don't have much to go on. An Australian Shadow Secretary for rural development can pull a bold, $1bn infrastructure plan straight off the shelf in his parliamentary library and start talking it up the next day. It'll typically come with a booklet explaining the main ideas, easy to find allies/advocates. Etc. The "Decentralized Web" section is a sparse mess.

                                                                • Shadonototra 10 days ago
                                                                  promote ethereum?

                                                                  you mean promote speculators with tax payer money? so they can sell their ETH and make ton of profit?

                                                                  remove ethereum from your post, and i 100% agree with you

                                                                  the fact that you included ethereum alongside IPFS and WebRTC is very suspicious

                                                                  i don't believe in "decentralized web" if people wants it solely to make profit from 'trading' aka speculating "decentralized coins" with fiat currency

                                                                  before any decentralization, there should be a global transparency act

                                                                  so before doing anything, one should be able to know what your portfolio consist of, to prevent any form of conflict of interest

                                                                  and even that i'm not sure that'll be enough to move forward

                                                                  if it's to repeat what we lived, there is no reason to lie to ourself into pretending things will change for the better

                                                                  why do you want a "decentralized web"? to maximize your profits? yeah no thanks

                                                                  • atatatat 10 days ago
                                                                    Is it REALLY speculation that humanity needs a digital way to make microtransactions? (e.g. to replace ads)

                                                                    And other new types of payment?

                                                                    • netcan 10 days ago
                                                                      Those are the article's examples, not mine.
                                                                  • IMAYousaf 7 days ago
                                                                    A lot of people might benefit from reading decentralized systems as permissionless systems. That framing unlocked a lot of understanding here, and insight into why regulators freak out about it.
                                                                    • butz 10 days ago
                                                                      How to get EU funding for a new, intependent browser engine and internet browser?
                                                                      • cookiengineer 10 days ago
                                                                        ...the internet browser has to be based on a blockchain, otherwise the NGI fund won't accept it.

                                                                        Source: wanted to apply with my Web Browser that is peer to peer but doesn't go with the blockchain hypetrain.

                                                                        • ognarb 10 days ago
                                                                          I have a project that is currently funded by ngi and it has nothing to do with Blockchain...
                                                                          • cookiengineer 9 days ago
                                                                            On the open calls page [1] it seems that the only open fund in the context of a web browser is the one related to search and discovery.

                                                                            All the other ones specifically mention blockchain based technologies.

                                                                            Or did your project get funded by NLNet directly via another fund?

                                                                            [1] https://www.ngi.eu/opencalls/

                                                                        • adrn10 9 days ago
                                                                          Hey! NGI is funding Nyxt browser as part of the same sub-grant call. Check it out, I was quite thrilled! https://nyxt.atlas.engineer/
                                                                        • soapdog 9 days ago
                                                                          > 3 main protocols that today form the backbone of the decentralized web: IPFS, WebRTC & Ethereum

                                                                          Err... I'm deep into decentralisation and I don't use any of those protocols. Anyone saying that there is a backbone for decentralisation or a dominant protocol is just pushing an agenda.

                                                                          I prefer using SSB and Hyper, I don't go around saying they're the backbone of decentralisation. Also, screw cryptocurrency and its wasteful usage of resources.

                                                                          • superkuh 10 days ago
                                                                            It's disappointing to see this project, like many other decentralized web projects, has tunnel vision with respect to "cool technologies". The real distributed web is not non-web protocols, blockchains, or the like. The real distributed web is THE WEB HTTP servers and every single individual running their own web server to host their content (and then syndicate on whatever walled gardens are most profitable after).

                                                                            Connections are fast enough. Computers are fast enough. Self hosting is entirely viable and it cuts the gordian knot that is the content moderation problem. If it's a static HTTP site then there are almost no attack surfaces; it's magnitudes safer than running JS from an arbitrary site in your browser.

                                                                            These non-web protocols do not dencentralize. Lets start with IPFS. It's a great idea but unfortunately, like other security/anonymization layers, it relies mostly on centralizing gateways to actually let people access content. Additionally it is design to disassociate people from their files. Not a great start.

                                                                            WebRTC is just the sickness of modern browser and in-browser "app" architectures causing them to re-implement what already exists in the host OS. But this time in the browser, the most insecure piece of third party code running software there is.

                                                                            And blockchains like etherium aren't even worth talking about until they actually do switch over to proof of stake like they've been talking about for the last decade and never doing. And even then it directly involves monetary transactions which is sure to make thing suck for everyone.

                                                                            No, the decentralized web is the decentalized web. And it's easy to be a part of it.

                                                                            • imglorp 10 days ago
                                                                              > IPFS [...] relies mostly on centralizing gateways to actually let people access content

                                                                              No, IPFS does not need gateways: they are conveniences for people that don't have ipfs:// support in their browser or run a local daemon.

                                                                              https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ipfs-companion/nib...

                                                                              https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ipfs-companio...

                                                                              https://brave.com/ipfs-support

                                                                              • superkuh 10 days ago
                                                                                That's exactly what I said. I don't appreciate you twisting my words to make a point. No one has IPFS support. I have some IRC friends that are big in to it and they always link the gateways because no one can access their content otherwise.
                                                                                • imglorp 10 days ago
                                                                                  Yeah, but not no one. It's native in Brave and Opera Touch now.

                                                                                  At some point those ^ extensions should be folded into mainstream browsers unless Big Content pushes against it.

                                                                              • lxpz 10 days ago
                                                                                Thank you for stating this. I absolutely agree with you, and this is what we are trying to do with the Deuxfleurs collective which is also getting funded by the EU to work on our project Garage [0, 1]. We are working on making self-hosting easier, and also more reliable, by exploiting geographical redundancy [2]. We will use the grant money mostly to develop Garage, our self-hosted data server (an object store implementing the S3 protocol, and soon also an email inbox server with IMAP access). We are also working on automating opening ports on your router to get around NAT (with our project DiploNAT [3]), and on facilitating distributed deployments with the Nomad orchestrator. Our vision is to help technical users set up local self-hosting collectives by setting up servers at three or four geographical locations for redundancy, which can then be used by their friends, neighbors, etc. We are of course very keen on deploying federated protocols such as Matrix to link all of these communities together.

                                                                                [0] https://garagehq.deuxfleurs.fr

                                                                                [1] https://git.deuxfleurs.fr/Deuxfleurs/infrastructure

                                                                                [2] https://git.deuxfleurs.fr/Deuxfleurs/garage/src/branch/main/...

                                                                                [3] https://git.deuxfleurs.fr/Deuxfleurs/diplonat

                                                                                Not linking our main website because it's in French.

                                                                                • tifadg1 10 days ago
                                                                                  For an outsider, yet one that has a soft spot for decentralization, I can't understand what niche the projects are solving.

                                                                                  Technical users can already rent a vps for very cheap and do it there. HA works only as well as it was tailored to - no generic solutions will change that, unless they impose harsh complexity.

                                                                                  Who are the potential users?

                                                                                  • adrn10 9 days ago
                                                                                    (I'm also part of Deuxfleurs)

                                                                                    With Garage, we are trying to eschew the need for a VPS, or at least provide on-premise failovers for individuals and tiny organisations.

                                                                                    Our argument, as stated by OP, is that domestic connections are now powerful enough to release the load on datacenters. We deem it more ecological and empowering to plug-in an old computer to your home box.

                                                                                • cookiengineer 10 days ago
                                                                                  I agree with your arguments completely, and I've come to similar conclusions (except with dat and ipfs) when I decided how to build my peer to peer web browser network.

                                                                                  Unfortunately, in the real world peer to peer is a different problem due to carrier-grade NATs everywhere. I have to implement malware-like exfiltration and smuggling techniques in order to build an end to end encrypted network, because pretty much down the infrastructure is unreliable and manipulated by ISPs wherever they can, including unencrypted DNS or even DNS via TLS ports being blocked completely off the internet. [1]

                                                                                  Without those protocol in protocol techniques there'll always be a single point of failure, like with all "dApps" that are actually just gatekeepers on a centralized domain as a point of entry for their network. Those usually can be blocked off so easily that it's ridiculous to call them decentralized.

                                                                                  Somehow, between the 2000s and now, the internet got so crippled for endusers that it boggles my mind how that happened without resistance.

                                                                                  [1] https://github.com/tholian-network

                                                                                  • MaxBarraclough 9 days ago
                                                                                    > No, the decentralized web is the decentalized web. And it's easy to be a part of it.

                                                                                    The IndieWeb community deserve a mention here, they're all about exactly this kind of thing: https://indieweb.org/

                                                                                    • yann2 10 days ago
                                                                                      Its not easy at all. Try it out with your family on your LAN.

                                                                                      People are used to so much convenience, its easy to brush under the carpet, just how much work is happening behind the scenes. Just coming up with a basic list of 3 mordern conveniences you want to support for your family will be non trivial.

                                                                                      In fact, just try supporting one.

                                                                                      (Worked as an RA in a distributed systems lab back in the day, and just getting everyone who proposed the algos and systems to use them was a nightmare)

                                                                                      • superkuh 9 days ago
                                                                                        Is my family on my LAN the target for decentralized web projects? I figured it was more technical people that would know how to forward a port. I've personally been running a webserver from inside the LAN at home for 20 years now.

                                                                                        Lets not kid ourselves. The vast majority of people don't use the web. They consume it. And they will never care about IPFS or etherium layers. The distributed web is to create a refuge from the types of companies that serve those needs. But adding additional layers of abstraction doesn't help technical users achieve that goal, it's just a fetish. They can easily forward the port and set up a simple static webserver and as a big plus their non-technical friends can actually access the data.

                                                                                    • CryptoPunk 9 days ago
                                                                                      IMHO, there is no object of government funding that is more beneficial than this: open source data/tools/software etc.
                                                                                      • wisethrowaway1 10 days ago
                                                                                        How will bureaucrats burn the next few billions of taxpayer money?

                                                                                        * spins roulette *

                                                                                        • JW1800 10 days ago
                                                                                          • nickik 10 days ago
                                                                                            Among all the things the EU waste money on this is not even in the Top 1000 of things that should not be done.

                                                                                            Fundamental research into next generation technology that is also open source seems like the exact kind of thing governments should be doing.

                                                                                            • wisethrowaway1 10 days ago
                                                                                              Bitcoin!

                                                                                              Devtools!

                                                                                              How about lowering taxes? Have they ever considered aligning with the rest of the world to make it easier to do business, or they pretend to succeed being approximately the most hostile region for businesses?

                                                                                              • netcan 10 days ago
                                                                                                Please relax. You don't have to leave your politics out of it, but you can't just start slinging it around belligerently. Stick to context. Be polite.
                                                                                                • xondono 10 days ago
                                                                                                  Belligerently? He is just rising a point.

                                                                                                  Government “innovation” subsidies move a lot of money into shinny “new” ideas, but in EU there’s no thought about how to create innovation itself.

                                                                                                  Just as an example, a friend of mine roasts coffee for a living. He is considering closing shop, because he is succeeding too much. At the point he is, he’ll be required to register as a business, which in Spain means he will have to pay ~300$ a month whether he makes money or not, plus 20% VAT and 20% in income taxes. Add to it the massive amount of time he’ll have to spend in paperwork (or paying someone another 100$/mo for handling it). Another good side job that will go to waste, instead of growing into a company. And it’s by no means an exception. I’ve work for tens of companies here, all of them have admitted to be flunking regulations intentionally to avoid costs during their creation to be able to exist.

                                                                                                  • nottorp 10 days ago
                                                                                                    > but in EU there’s no thought about how to create innovation itself.

                                                                                                    You mean "innovation" like the predatory monopolies that tend to form in "business friendly" jurisdictions?

                                                                                                    Just a random example because I had the page open:

                                                                                                    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/09/big-isps-fight-t...

                                                                                                    So much innovation...

                                                                                                    Edit: the EU does have a problem with barriers to entry when starting a new business without gobs of funding, but the US solution is not a good answer to that.

                                                                                                    • throwaway739 10 days ago
                                                                                                      Do you realize you are saying that companies shouldn't pay any taxes?
                                                                                                      • xondono 9 days ago
                                                                                                        No I’m not, I’m saying that some tax systems make no sense. The only way to create a company in Spain is to flunk regulations. Some are meaningless and people ignore them all the time, some aren’t.

                                                                                                        Another example. When escape rooms we’re trending, me and some friends considered building one. One of the partners didn’t want to get into trouble on it, so he wanted everything by the book.

                                                                                                        Spanish regulation requires a business to specify their “economic activity” with a codified value. The list is in the thousands, with a lot of non defined ambiguous terms.

                                                                                                        Evidently “escape room” was new, so it wasn’t on the list (and it still isn’t). The closest was “gambling business”, which of course a escape room isn’t. It also has a lot more paperwork and additional taxes.

                                                                                                        Faced with this conundrum, we went around to the 3 or 4 escape rooms that were near enough to visit and asked them. Some of them just wrote a random number and called it a day. One of them was registered as a butchers…

                                                                                                        The legal exposure it represented was simply too big and we abandoned the idea. there was no good reason for that legal exposure.

                                                                                                        The statistics then are hardly surprising. Unemployment here is >14%, just to name one.

                                                                                                        • PaywallBuster 10 days ago
                                                                                                          not really, you can run the business on your name and pay personal income taxes.

                                                                                                          Avoiding to create a separate entity which will carry additional compliance and tax costs is something else altogether, and some governments just make it too onerous

                                                                                                        • stevenally 7 days ago
                                                                                                          There are millions of small businesses in Spain. Tiny bars, cafes etc. it can’t be such a bad environment.
                                                                                                      • wisethrowaway1 10 days ago
                                                                                                        Will they do something about the fact that when YC (to put a very random example) invests, they ask the recipient to move to US as EU regulatory environment is extremely hostile to startups?
                                                                                                        • Kbelicius 10 days ago
                                                                                                          What part of the EU regulatory environment is extremely hostile to startup? I really don't know but if I had to guess my guess would be worker rights and regulators that are unwilling to let startups enter whatever industry doing whatever they want while disregarding established rules. Happy to be corrected.
                                                                                                          • PaywallBuster 9 days ago
                                                                                                            The last few batches they started accepting people remote afaik?

                                                                                                            But the company is probably transferred to Delaware so the paperwork remains the same for IPO and stuff

                                                                                                        • zoobab 10 days ago
                                                                                                          A new chip foundry entirely paid with tax payers money, and where the profits will go to a private corporation? (the 'socialize losses, privatize profits')

                                                                                                          https://twitter.com/EIF4eu/status/1438041794940395523

                                                                                                          "The @EU_Commission announced a new European Chips Act, in order to jointly create a state-of-the-art European #chip ecosystem including production."

                                                                                                          • notimetorelax 10 days ago
                                                                                                            At this point with chip shortages it’s in EU’s interest to attract businesses to build it. Even if it costs us to build it, overall we’ll benefit from it. How much is lost due to stopped Audi plants?
                                                                                                            • zoobab 10 days ago
                                                                                                              "attract businesses to build it"

                                                                                                              I am wondering how that will work with the current "state aid" framework.

                                                                                                              The current crisis is an opportunity to empty the public coffins, full of state aids everywhere, especially to large corporations, and send the bill afterwards to the people that have to pick up the bill. No thank you.

                                                                                                              As for cars, we don't need those chips, cars were fine before without all those useless electronics.

                                                                                                              • throwaway59553 10 days ago
                                                                                                                >As for cars, we don't need those chips, cars were fine before without all those useless electronics. But how will they make sure you need to have your car checked every 12 months and bill you for some vague "electronic component"?
                                                                                                            • throwaway59553 10 days ago
                                                                                                              It's either a private firm that will keep all the profits, instead of sharing a part, as if paying a loan or royalties, beyond paying wages for the created jobs, or a bunch of University teachers that have no clue about managing a company.
                                                                                                              • wisethrowaway1 10 days ago
                                                                                                                The EU Commission is desperate to find niches where it becomes an essential dealmaker.

                                                                                                                To their dismay, after 50 years of trying hard, they are still an irrelevant institution economically, a net negative for businesses and individuals.

                                                                                                                The chip industry will and can sort their issues perfectly on it's own. In fact one of the top chipmakers is already European, and they are doing extremely well, they don't need any political help.

                                                                                                            • wisethrowaway1 10 days ago
                                                                                                              Classic politician.

                                                                                                              They take 50% or more of your income, and then give back 1%, and then ask us to thank them!

                                                                                                              • woodpanel 10 days ago
                                                                                                                Of all the institutions to promote a uncensorable web it is the EU?!

                                                                                                                Talking about Gaslighting.

                                                                                                                Who knows, it could be a gentle attempt at keeping talent from leaving, or FOMO because every other important nation is doing crypto-stuff and lastly, and naturally, the sheer incompetence of this overextended bureaucracy where one tentacle doesn't know what the other tentacles want to ban

                                                                                                                • mojzu 10 days ago
                                                                                                                  The EU is not a monolith, there are many groups within it pushing different ideas. Some of them tech-friendly, some of them not. From my layman's perspective though it seems as though national governments who want to implement unpopular tech policy will often try to push it through the EU first because then they can deflect the criticism. Overall though I'd say the EU has been okay at preventing the most extreme anti-tech legislation, although it usually requires public scrutiny/outcry to make them drop it
                                                                                                                  • snthd 10 days ago
                                                                                                                    >where one tentacle doesn't know what the other tentacles want to ban

                                                                                                                    William: "I'm sure we can all pull together, sir."

                                                                                                                    Vetinari: "Oh, I do hope not. Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.”

                                                                                                                    ― Terry Pratchett, The Truth

                                                                                                                    • akie 10 days ago
                                                                                                                      > the sheer incompetence of this overextended bureaucracy where one tentacle doesn't know what the other tentacles want to ban

                                                                                                                      Tell me, which Murdoch newspaper have you been binging on?