How To Discover A New Internet of People
It was when I was in the midst of solving another problem that I discovered a new space — a realm of possibilities that heretofore had been a vacuum.
In the initial development of the Fermat project, I was focusing in creating incentives for end users that would inspire them to adopt apps built within the mobile app framework I had designed. My working theory was if I could just enable mobile apps to talk to each other over an open source p2p network, new business models would be spawned that could take advantage of running directly on end users’ smartphones. With a fully empowered p2p solution, apps would not need to go through companies’ web servers, meaning at least some level of disintermediation could be achieved. Since disintermediation almost always results in lower pricing of transactions, the inherent cost-savings was just the incentive that I was looking for.
The idea made sense on the surface, so I dived deeper to explore if it should work. The world has already vetted successful single purpose p2p systems like bitTorrent or bitcoin. However, it remained unclear what a multi-purpose infrastructure should look like.
It turns out that in general, different end users take differing approaches in how they use an app and what they need from it. For instance, if a user is on Whatsapp, it’s a certainty that each user is there to chat. Those on Tinder are date seekers, and those on other apps may be job seekers, taxi drivers, and so on. Currently, the major app stores are teeming with different varieties of online dating apps — there are dozens of choices — and in every last one of them, the end users are people playing the same role: seeking dates.
Upon close examination, my findings showed that users need to maintain multiple, different profile types to use with the various apps on their devices. Usually, each specific profile-type interacts with peers’ profiles of the same type. For instance, those using chat apps interact with similar “use-case peers” under the purview of that same chat app. And yet, there are some profile types that could interact with other profile types to create a more powerful, functioning ecosystem: one can easily imagine a system where riders interact with taxi drivers, each running an app with its own specific functionality, and they they are completely related to the other.
In a true p2p environment, these profiles would first need to find each other. Once identified, the p2p environment must allow individuals to connect with each other, at least within relevant communities, to fully interact. But to get there, in order for a profile to be found even when hardware like a smartphone might be offline, profiles should be acknowledged and stored by a constantly online, decentralized network. To allow for this functionality, the network must handle a distributed catalog of end user profiles, sortable by category.
Taken together, these features enable a simple messaging network for interconnecting mobile devices to evolve into a multi-layer and multi-functional p2p network, where each stacked layer is a network itself. Think of it like a fiber optic cable, where a single strand of perfectly hewn glass can handle the transmission of thousands of frequencies at once.
In this expansive network, would be a layer of chat users stacked atop layers of date seekers, taxi drivers, job seekers, and anything else. Apps interacting with one or more of these layers can form their own micro ecosystems of interrelated-apps: an online dating apps ecosystem, for instance, can form with many dozens of apps, each of which could capture users whose profile type is a date-seeker. All these similar apps would connect to a date-seeker network layered on top of the basic p2p infrastructure.
Though it shares some concepts and technologies with presently available paradigms, what’s borne is a truly new space, one that could be as significant as the web space or the mobile space, with its own set of extraordinary properties. In this new p2p space, mobile apps will no longer stand alone. Instead, each app could be a part of a distributed system, one capable of spanning multiple devices to accomplish tasks and to connect with multiple human networks in a truly peer-to-peer way.
This new space comes with many advantages. Among these features, this innovation allows for dramatically enhanced user privacy, since the most essential information will be stored on end user’s devices. Moreover, in this space there is universal access to a growing total of global networks, each comprised of people playing their own, individual roles, through apps specifically designed to handle and complement every interaction. Because this technology connects us in a way more human and social and equal than ever before, this space needed a new name. I call it the Internet of People.
Thanks to Amadeo Charlé for the editing.
If you are interested in learning more about Fermat technologies, 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”.