Proton + Dfinity Internet Computer: An ideal decentralised stack?
The “d” in most decentralised applications, or ‘dApps” only tells half of the story.
In most cases, dApps might technically be decentralised on the blockchain layer, while the interface is often a webpage hosted with a centralised company. There have been a few attempts to decentralise web applications, but have fallen short on a number of key vectors.
One of the key vectors is ease of deployment.
When deployment is arcane, it puts unnecessary friction in the way of adoption.
Many Web3 advancements in creating a new type of decentralised interface for the internet have often been difficult to set up and deploy. This hinders adoption, especially for the ideals of an open web that is reasonably easy for nearly anyone to publish to.
The second, key vector is a strong incentivisation model.
There are many interesting decentralised technologies — some of which can already host static sites such as IPFS. This is great, as long as other participants in the decentralised network continue to host your data.
But what happens if all of the hosts of your data go offline? If this happens, suddenly your website/application is lost?
You can always run your own host, to ensure it has one final failsafe condition. But then, as soon as you only have one host serving the data, it stops being decentralised.
And furthermore, often these solutions only cover static websites/applications. Hooking up advanced databases and server-driven code is not straightforward.
So the way around this constraint, has been to look at providing decentralised incentive models, where blockchain, cryptocurrencies and tokens come into play.
But, hooking blockchain into web technologies in a secure, verifiable way is a huge challenge, which often ends up making the technology arcane and difficult to deploy — or other compromises need to be made which break a number of the keys we are mentioning here.
But ensuring that the nodes/hosts continue to serve and maintain your content often relies on a solid incentive model.
A third, key vector is to use standard web technologies for users to seamlessly access.
The vast majority of the people on our planet access the web through browsers on their mobile and desktop computers. Some technologies, such as the Hypercore Protocol and Beaker browser offer a new type of browser and web experience that cater for a non-standard web protocol.
The problem is, most people will need to install new browsers to make this work.
And there is too much momentum with the traditional web for competing technologies to easily break free.
So it is critical, to ensure mass adoption, that using any new decentralised web technology is as easy to use as the standard web we know and love.
Finally, a fourth, key vector is related to replicating server logic on a decentralised network.
This aspect may not seem to be absolutely key — after all the early web had little, if any, logic to create dynamic, data-driven web sites and applications.
But if the goal is to reach parity with the modern web, this aspect is required.
The Dfinity Internet Computer
Launch, with great fanfare, to enter the coveted top 10 marketcap position briefly, the long awaited Dfinity Internet Computer went fully into operation on May 8th, 2021.
Out of the gate, it became possible to launch decentralised web sites and applications — including demos that replicate popular, dynamic web applications like LinkedIn and Tiktok.
All accessible via standard web browsers on mobile and desktop devices.
More than simply decentralised static web hosting solutions, these applications can house logic. It was as if this project replicated AWS or Azure functionality without giant data centers / server farms. Instead, the infrastructure was distributed all over the world in a decentralised fashion.
A rich internet that cannot be shut down
Proton backend + Dfinity frontend
Deploying the web part of the dApp was done before noon, and we had a working prototype of our Freeos dApp fully working and interacting with the Proton blockchain.
And we quickly realised it might be an ideal way to run decentralised applications going forward.
With the Dfinity Internet Computer very focused on running web applications, and Proton providing the secure, fast, and easy-to-access financial backbone, the combination seemed to be perfect match.
Sure, you could have a similar flow with other blockchains, but would the gas fees, transactions fees, resource and account complexity allow for mass adoption?
Whereas Proton, with its slick wallet experience, free accounts, no gas or transaction fees, fast speed and host of DeFi products, blockchain bridges (and more to come!) would put this decentralised dApp stack as being the most accessible in blockchain.
And for Freeos, the KYC built into the Proton wallet experience helps secure the Freeos Economic System against duplicate accounts and bots—necessary for a decentralised, democratic, equitable financial system.
Freeos might end up being the first dApp on the Proton network that uses this stack, but we suspect we won’t be the last.
And that brings us so much closer to the truly decentralised ideal that the internet was built on in the first place.