Why we need a conference for decentralized systems and protocols…

Distributed vs Decentralized

A distributed system is a network of computers that work toward a shared goal. This is basically a hub and spoke model, where most computers do some work and then communicate with a few, more important computers that act as the central system of record. Much of today’s systems are already distributed. An example of a distributed system is Facebook.

A decentralized system is where no one single computer in a network is more important than another one. I2p is a great example of a decentralized system. A lot of people haven’t heard of it. It’s not as easy to use as Facebook and you wont find its sites through Google. It’s a cryptographically secure internet within the internet. Every peer acts as a router. Traffic bounces around between available proxies. Any peer can leave the network at any time without compromising its overall availability.

Yesterday’s Internet

The Internet’s early pioneers were focused on connecting academics and liberating information from its geographical boundaries. The early Internet was very decentralized. No one owned it, because everyone owned it. And no one was making vast fortunes with it.

Today’s Internet

Today, the Internet is a place where companies own the data you create, they can take it away from you at any time, reappropriate it, turn their services off or even double your rent on a whim. Companies frequently manipulate the information you see to suit their interests. The negative effects are not always intentional, companies do things that get jobs done in a way they can understand. Either way, companies are the driving force behind the evolution of the internet.

Tomorrow’s Internet

In order to re-decentralize the Internet and apply commerce on top of it, we need to illuminate the opportunities! What if a protocol for cooperative computing could be as common as http? Perhaps things like Folding At Home might become easier for developers to build! What if protocols prioritized offline modes? More people might be able to participate! The larger these networks get the better they work and the more available the internet becomes. There are security upsides! Decentralized networks might allow you to worry less about DDoS attacks. With secure, decentralized protocols, the distribution of data (like financial ledgers), could become more accountable and in some cases, immutable for posterity!

A decentralized internet secures the freedom for anyone to participate. I think we need a venue for exploring these opportunities! So, here it is…

A Summit for Decentralization

“Terra nemo” is a Latin expression meaning “No man’s land”. Data Terra Nemo is a technical conference for discussing the ideas behind systems and protocols without centralized ownership and how they impact the landscape of the Internet.

This year we will be holding our conference in Berlin on May 23rd and 24th. Come hear speakers, participate in discussions, eat food and drink coffee with us!