Developments to Watch

Mind-blowing, real, in-progress tech and societal developments that support a transcendent, decentralised world

The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” — attributed to William Gibson, who said it but didn’t write it. Image courtesy Jeremy Bishop

All that’s required to build the world of 2035 is a unique combination of technologies that already exist — or are being built — as well as bold, visionary, empathic technologists intent on rebuilding society. Here’s a (very much in-progress) list of key players to watch. They’re included to show you how close we are to the society described in Postcards from 2035.

[Oct 19, 2017 Update: This page is now only updated with really major launches — developments are simply too large and rapid to adequately track. See instead State of the Dapps, a curated collection of decentralised apps and Josh Nussbaum’s Blockchain Project Ecosystem.]

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Self Sovereign Identity

Refers to the ability to own and control your identity and all data generated by your online activities and quantified self tracking. This is the essential foundation of the Whole Person Index, the Daily Briefing and the Future of Education. Only once we have digital sovereignty in place can we start discussing more transcendent solutions.

  1. Blockcerts: Developed under an MIT licence, Blockcerts is an open initiative for creating, issuing, viewing, and verifying blockchain-based certificates for academic credentials, professional certifications, workforce development, and civic records. These digital records are registered on a blockchain, cryptographically signed, tamper-proof, and shareable. The goal is to enable a wave of innovation that gives individuals the capacity to possess and share their own official records. Guide, Twitter
  2. Blockstack: a new decentralised Internet where users own their data and apps run locally. A browser portal is all that’s needed to get started. Team, Twitter, Blockstack.
  3. Cicada: The foundation of the system is a pluggable, decentralized, people-controlled universal ID, called the HUID or Human Unique Identifier, that is unique to every person on the planet. White paper.
  4. Civic’s identity verification and protection tools give both businesses and individuals the power to control and protect their identities through the blockchain. Founders, Twitter. Brainchild of Vinny Lingham.
  5. Consent: A trust protocol to independently authenticate identity and selectively exchange personal information. Will be on Ethereum blockchain. Developing simple APIs and machine readable standards for consent. Team, Twitter.
  6. Databox: An open-source personal networked device, augmented by cloud-hosted services, that collates, curates, and mediates access to an individual’s personal data by verified and audited third party applications and services. Team, Twitter.
  7. Data wallet: A decentralised wallet to store all of the data a user creates and provides secure, monetisable bridge between data producers and the companies requiring it. White paper, Twitter, DataWallet.
  8. DECODE: Provides tools that put individuals in control of whether they keep their personal data private or share it for the public good. Team, Twitter.
  9. Fermat: A community working to solve the most challenging puzzle in human history: the transition back from central political, economic and financial power to a world where people come first. White paper.
  10. MaidSafe: A ‘crowdsourced internet’, which breaks up and stores data across multiple computers, and pays people who have spare hard disk space in a virtual currency: safecoin. Team, Twitter.
  11. Mysterium Network: a fully decentralised, peer-to-peer and serverless VPN node network, designed to provide privacy to its users and financial incentives to its operators. Whitepaper, Twitter, MarketCap.
  12. OneName: a registrar (like GoDaddy) for the .id namespace on Blockstack.
  13. OpenPDS: An MIT project that allows users to collect, store, and give fine-grained access to their data all while protecting their privacy. Uses technology called ‘SafeAnswers’ which “allows services to ask questions whose answers are calculated against the metadata instead of trying to anonymize individuals’ metadata”. Team, Twitter.
  14. Particl: an open source, decentralised privacy platform. Built for global person to person and business to person eCommerce. Team, White paper, Twitter.
  15. Founded 2015 by Chris Gledhill and Vicky Barton. Envisions a world where every person’s worth is the contents of their character, not the contents of their wallet. A proximity-based social discovery app where users create value tokens backed by their reputations. Raised undisclosed amount in 1 round. Team, Funding, Twitter.
  16. ShoCard: a digital identity card you use through a mobile app. It’s the one identity verification system that works the way consumers and businesses need it to for security, privacy, and always-on fraud protection. Team, Twitter.
  17. Sovrin: Distributed ledger and consortium for attribute-based, self-sovereign identity system (in partnership with Hyperledger). Public permissioned blockchain. Twitter.
  18. Synereo: A privacy-aware social network, and decentralised attention economy. Twitter.
  19. uPort: an open source software project to establish a global, unified, sovereign identity system for people, businesses, organisations, devices, and bots. Whitepaper, Twitter, The uPort Project.
  20. Decentralized Identity Foundation: The pillars of a new society: decentralised identities anchored by blockchain ID’s linked to zero-trust datastores that are universally discoverable. Participants include Tierion, Ideo, Microsoft, Gem, Blockstack, Uport, Sovrin, Civic, Accenture, Danube, Netki, RSA, Consent, BigChain, Iota, Mooti, R3, Blockchain Foundary, Authenteq, Taqanu, Bayonet.
  21. Also see older Personal Data Exchanges.

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Distributed Computing

This is a key requirement to shift the ownership of data from corporations to individuals and potentially powering the Global Brain.

  1. RChain: A new type of blockchain where every individual can own their own identity, reputation and data. White paper, Twitter, RChain Coop, RChain Holdings
  2. Golem Project: creating the first global market for idle computer power. Golem is a global, open sourced, decentralized supercomputer that anyone can access. It’s made up of the combined power of user’s machines, from personal laptops to entire datacenters. Team, Twitter, Golem Project.
  3. an open source mobile DApp browser and messenger built for Ethereum. It’s a new type of network governed by its own users. Twitter, Status.
  4. The Things Network: a global Internet of Things data network, using a long range and low power radio frequency protocol called LoRaWAN. The technology allows ‘things’ to talk to the internet without 3G or WiFi. Team, Twitter.
  5. IOTA: The ledger of things. The main innovation behind IOTA is the Tangle, a revolutionary new blockless distributed ledger which is scalable, lightweight and for the first time ever makes it possible to transfer value without any fees. White paper.
  6. The Quantum-Resistant Ledger: The vault of blockchain transactions. Designed with long-term stability and security in mind for accounts and transactions. Team, White paper, Twitter.

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Making Sense of Massive Data

These platforms mine all of the world’s data to make sense of life. These are the foundations for how ideas spread.

  1. Google Feed: Google probably knows more about every Internet user on the planet than any other company, and their new news feed has the potential to become the equivalent of The Daily Briefing.
  2. Gnosis: Crowd-sourced wisdom, which allows you to speculate on anything with an easy-to-use prediction market. Whitepaper, Twitter, Gnosis.
  3. SingularityNET: The free and open market for AI technologies, built on smart contracts. Allows multiple AI computing agents to work as a whole to provide various services in a distributed and decentralised way. Team, Twitter, Whitepaper,
  4. Oraclize: The state of the art data movement service. Designing the safest data-transport-layer for blockchain that you can possibly get. Twitter, Oraclize.
  5. Intuition Fabric: Democratized Deep Learning AI on the Ethereum Blockchain. Whitepaper, Twitter
  6. IPDB: The Interplanetary Database is a global database for everyone, everywhere. It is built with identity and creators in mind. It allows the management of personal data, reputation, and privacy, along with secure attribution, metadata, licensing, and links to media files. Twitter, IPDB.
  7. BigchainDB: The scalable blockchain database that allows developers and enterprise to deploy blockchain proof-of-concepts, platforms and applications with a scalable blockchain database, supporting a wide range of industries and use cases. White paper, Twitter.

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Decentralised Finance

These platforms are required to remove reliance on a global banking system and to enable fair value exchange in a purpose economy.

  1. NEO: China’s first open source blockchain. Founded in 2014, NEO’s mission is to reinvent the way commerce is done. They strive to be a bridge to the old financial system, with smart contracts, certificates, identity and legal compliance. White paper, Twitter, Analysis, HufPo.
  2. Balance: An app for monitoring your bank balances, card transactions and crypto balances. Aiming to be the browser for the Interchain. Balance wants to help accelerate the shift of balances from private databases to public blockchains. About, Twitter, Blog.
  3. Humaniq: a financial ecosystem built on blockchain, focused on simply and quickly connecting unbanked people to the global economy. Team, MarketCap, Twitter, Humaniq project.
  4. Augur: an open source, decentralised, peer-to-peer prediction market platform built on Ethereum. Augur’s purpose is to democratise and decentralise finance. Master Plan, Twitter, MarketCap, Augur.
  5. WeTrust: A platform for Trusted Lending Circles, powered by people and blockchain, with banks and insurance companies removed from the equation. White paper, Team, Twitter, WeTrust Official.
  6. EarthBenign: Private money you can mint yourself. Early days yet, but developments like these are worth watching. Twitter.
  7. Project Greshm: A digital currency backed by the US dollar and designed to provide an income for every person. White paper, Founder.
  8. Manna: The world’s first digital currency provided as UBI on blockchain. Twitter.
  9. Ripple: infrastructure technology that empowers financial institutions to make real-time, cross-border transactions for their customers. Ripple’s distributed tools and global network enable speed, certainty and reach at a lower settlement cost than previously possible. Team, Twitter.

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These platforms are required to manage how we interact with each other in a society with no government and no law enforcement.

  1. Clause allows you to simply connect your contracts to the Internet of Things and APIs to self-manage commercial relationships and business processes. Twitter, Clause.
  2. Aragon: a digital jurisdiction that will make decentralized organisations and societies efficient and safe. Twitter, Team, Luis Cuende.
  3. BoardRoom: provides a complete blockchain governance platform that empowers organisations (and potentially societies) with the power of the blockchain. Team, Twitter, BoardRoom DApp.
  4. Bitnation: Governance — 2.0 provides the same services traditional governments provides, from dispute resolution and insurance to security, distributed voting systems and liquid democracy. Create your own real or virtual nation. Twitter, bitnation-guides.
  5. Flux is a new political party designed to allow Australians to vote on issues rather than vote for politicians. Team, Twitter, Flux.
  6. DemocracyOS: The operating system for democracy. An open-source platform for voting and political debate that political parties and governments can download, install, and repurpose much like WordPress blogging software. The platform, which is web-based but also works on smartphone browsers, was conceived as a tool to get young Argentines involved in city governance. Team, Twitter.

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Licensing & Value Exchange

Exciting developments that could be used in a peer-to-peer marketplace.

  1. UJO is a creator’s portal. They envision a global, open, decentralized, machine-readable licensing system, owned by no-one in particular, but simultaneously owned by everyone. Its policies are set by the artists, upon which any app developers could build a service to incorporate the artist’s music in their applications. There’s no reason why their approach couldn’t be used for any kind of creative work.
  2. Resonate is a new model for listening to music and supporting artists, built on the blockchain and run as a cooperative.

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Smart Contracts

These are the foundations to enable the elimination of middlemen.

  1. Ethereum: a decentralised platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any chance of fraud, censorship or third-party interference. Created by Vitalik Buterin after a 2013 white paper. Team, Twitter, ethereum.
  2. EOS: Software that introduces a blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralised applications using Delegated Proof of Stake, White paper, Twitter, fascinating Q&A on difference between Ethereum & EOS, Brendan Blumer, Daniel Larimer, Brock Pierce.
  3. Enterprise Ethereum Alliance: Business is joining forces with Ethereum to ensure enterprise-level deployments of the blockchain.
  4. aeternity: blockchain technology designed to deliver unmatched efficiency, transparent governance and global scalability. Whitepaper, Team, Twitter, æternity.
  5. Polkadot: a blockchain technology that coordinates consensus and transaction delivery between chains. White paper, Twitter.
  6. Internet of Agreements: The bridge between the Internet and the deals, contracts, rules and regulations that support our lives. The brainchild of Vinay Gupta and Rob Knight of Hexayurt Capital.
  7. Namecoin: Experimental open-source technology which improves decentralisation, security, censorship resistance, privacy, and speed of certain components of the Internet infrastructure such as DNS and identities. Team, Twitter.
  8. Removing middlemen by developing the Universal Sharing Network. brings the benefits of the Blockchain — transparency, security and auditablity — to real-world objects. Team, Funding, Twitter,

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Societal Wellbeing

  1. Social Progress Imperative: Comprehensive and rigorous measurement of social progress around the world. Their vision is a world in which social progress sits alongside economic prosperity as a measure of development. Team, Twitter.
  2. People’s Report Card: A tool for citizens everywhere to check on how their leaders are living up to the promise of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Team, Twitter.

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Postcards from 2035 is a series of profoundly simple interlinking ideas describing life in a highly desirable society, where everything and everyone is advanced, happy, intelligent and problem-free. It’s a blueprint of the world we need to create. The best thing you can do to help us get there is to share with your friends and get the conversation started.

Project 2030

You made it to the end! If you’re interested in helping us solve some of the planet’s grand challenges with our ambitious Project 2030, please check out the overview, and invite others to do the same.