Ethereum Based Censorship-Immune Social Media Network “Akasha” Unveiled

By
Lester Coleman
May 11, 2016

The AKASHA Project hopes to deliver an Internet where privacy and freedom of expression are embedded into the code, using the Ethereum and the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS).

Mihai Alisie

Mihai Alisie, founder and CEO of AKASHA, recently celebrated World Press Freedom Day by inviting people to sign up for its alpha release, according to his blog.

Alisie, who also served as co-founder of the Ethereum project in late 2013, noted he has dreamed about how Ethereum could solve what he views as civilization’s biggest problems.

In 2015, he realized Ethereum was close to creating the missing puzzle piece to tackle freedom of expression and creative perpetuity.

Acknowledging that censorship is not new, Alisie noted that mankind has not learned from the mistakes of the past. In today’s information-based society, man has outsourced freedom of expression and collective memory to corporations that don’t have society’s best interests in mind.

Today’s Foregone Censorship

Because established companies need to comply with certain requests to remain in business, some such requests involve censorship. Today’s centralized architecture allows companies to honor such requests.

Censorship has outlived various governments and has evolved into modern superpowers due to centralized information architecture that mainstream publishing platforms have deployed. A simple command can immediately delete anything from the shared collective memory.

Where governments burned books in the past, censorship’s reach now includes millions of petabytes and billions of people.

Website Attrition Is An Issue

Centralized architecture also leads to another serious problem. The average life of an Internet website is about 100 days, according to Internet Archive.

“We are basically living in an information age plagued by arbitrary censorship and digital amnesia, affecting every Internet user.”

If there were no server to delete information from, content would exist forever on a decentralized network, providing data through a fractal of nodes. Alisie noted that this is what his team is about to unleash.

The hacker mindset has allowed the AKASHA team to look beyond blocks and disappointments to see challenges that, if solved, can make a real difference.

The team began examining the AKASHA prototype in 2015 using Meteor. The journey was frustrating and interesting since there are no “right” and “wrong” ways to do things.

The team realized Meteor was not great for their needs since it began to undergo fundamental architectural changes.
They eventually discovered a stack composed of Electron, React with Redux and Node.js, along with Ethereum and IPFS, to be a satisfying stack for creating a minimum viable product.

Possibilities Come To Light

AKASHA soon began to recognize its possibilities. AKASHA was building the social fabric for the nascent “etherweb.”

Such possibilities include social crowdfunding, collaborative journalism, social wikis, reusable annotations and other fractal opportunities.

The team decided to begin blogging as its building block.
A decentralized social blogging network serves as the MVP with the goal of building a product to empower people worldwide with unfettered free expression.

Alisie cited an article, “Locking the Web Open, a Call for a Distributed Web” on the Internet Archive. The article noted that freedom of expression, universal access to knowledge and privacy should be built into the code. At present, those values are not embedded in how the web works.

Also read: First steps toward implementing distributed permanent web with IPFS

Public Key Encryption Vital

Because public key encryption is legal, the tool can support privacy and authentication. Blockchain technology gives the bitcoin community a global database with no central control.
These segments have worked independently but have not joined into a new web.

Ethereum makes the “emergent Web 3” possible, Alisie noted, and AKASHA will be one of the first to decentralize applications.

Ethereum is not the solution to everything, but it is a key part of a solution. The same holds true for the IPFS and the rest of the technology stack.

The point is to leverage existing technologies to create a better web.

Ethereum’s Unique Architecture

Ethereum removes the need for servers, eliminating all the problems associated with censorship from the design stage. IPFS and its permanent web infrastructure ensure access to information via a planetary scale information network with no central points of bottlenecks and failure.

AKASHA makes a new paradigm for Internet publishing possible that removes some of the biggest problems encountered over the last 20 years from the design stage.
AKASHA will begin sending the alpha invites of MacOS, Windows and Linux in the coming weeks.

The project stands for a web where free expression and privacy are fundamental standards embedded into code. “Such basic human rights should not be optional to begin with.”

“We deserve a better web, and we now have the tools to create it.”

Images from Akasha.

Last modified (UTC): May 11, 2016 15:16

Tags: Ethereum
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