Until a few months ago Fermat was a single project: the Internet of People. Not anymore. One day I found this piece on medium. It was from Daniel Jeffries, a systems architect and sci-fi author who arrived almost at the same conclusions as the core team of Fermat regarding the need to create infrastructure at end user devices, decentralized identity, reputation, etc. After reading his paper and seeing how we were not the only one I contacted Daniel.
We talked a few times and finally decided to join forces. From that moment on Fermat was not just the Internet of People anymore. It was the Internet of People + Cicada combining a lot of concepts and ideas that are the product of countless hours of thinking by Daniel and some other like minded people.
Just after that, a friend introduced me to David Siegel, a blockchain, decentralization, and business-agility expert. One of David’s projects is the Personal Data Locker, a wonderful vision where people’s data is really personal and shared among different applications with agents being able to use it for end users’ benefits. After talking with David, once again we see the overlapping efforts and the need to join forces. Then what is Fermat now?
Fermat has become an alliance of different projects sharing a common set of values and principles. Let’s define an Fermat Project as any project sharing a set of values. All of these project agree on:
- Empowering People: Everything they do is to empower people over anything else: things, robots, AI, companies and nation states. They perceive the dangers of several technological and social trends and they want to spend their resources on creating technology that puts people’s interests first.
- Increasing People’s Freedom: Everything they do contributes to people’s personal freedom. They want to create technology that allows individuals to choose. To achieve this in many cases they need to disrupt monopolies. They consider freedom as a basic human right.
- Respecting People’s Privacy: Everything they do must respect people’s privacy. This is very important in a world where the current technology trends will put devices closer to our senses and later even inside of our bodies. They consider privacy as a basic human right.
- Decentralizing Power: All Fermat Projects believe that unlimited concentration of power is the biggest design flaw of our societies. This principle also involves a mission to decentralize governance.
- Personal Data Ownership: Fermat Projects believe that data generated by individuals belong to them and they own all the rights over it. This is contrary to current business models where personal data is mined and monetized in exchange of supposedly “free services”.
- Respecting Diversity: Fermat Projects understand that humans are a wonderful mix of races and cultures and everything they do is to preserve and encourage that diversity.
- Collaboration: Fermat Projects believe in collaboration in contrast to competition.
We already extended IPFS to become our Content Address Network Node implementation, although the relationship with that project is still distant. IPFS was not built upon these values, I guess it is not a Fermat Project, just a low level technology to be reused.
As part of our search of technologies to complete all the pieces needed for the Internet of People we found value in integrating with Blockstack, reusing their state machine infrastructure. We haven’t gone deeply into this yet, but it is something in the pipeline. I suspect that Blockstack is a Fermat Project according to the previous definition and the vision of their founders, we will find it out soon.
After a short while, we noticed our community was full of people also belonging to other projects with similar principles. One of them is PIVX, a cryptocurrency focusing on privacy and freedom, and after a while we found ourselves collaborating on many aspects, like project governance. I am almost sure PIVX is a Fermat Project according to the previous definition and the principles they exposed at their manifesto.
Fermat is currently self organizing itself into an alliance of different Fermat Projects sharing the same set of principles. The Internet of People is now just one of them.
Our core values are our first differentiator. I love other fascinating technologies like smart contracts, because I am also as geeky as their creators. But to be honest, I wouldn’t spend my time creating a future where machines own themselves unless I can be sure that that empowers humans, and don’t produce the opposite effect. I can easily imagine a world where most jobs are lost to automation with old people struggling to survive. I would prefer that a taxi is owned by a company or cooperative that people can have shares of and receive dividends, rather than a taxi owning itself with no humans benefiting from that.
Thanks to Amadeo Charlé for the editing and Matías Capeletto for the inspiration.
If you are interested in learning more about this technology, this list might help you:
- “Fermat, the Internet of People and the Person to Person Economy.”
The Internet of People architecture dissected.
- “Introducing the Graphchain.”
The cryptographically secured data structure we use to store profiles and their relationships.
- “Introducing Redtooth”
Like Bluetooth with global range.
- “The Profile Server.”
The cornerstone software of the Internet of people.
- “The Location Based Network.”
The geo-located network that help other services to be geo-localized.
A bit about me: I am a systems architect who started his career designing and building banking systems. Later I turned into an entrepreneur. Three years ago I learned about bitcoin and decided I would use the underlying technology to fix the biggest problem we have as humans: “unlimited concentration of power”.