Often we don’t understand the power of certain tools until the need knocks on our door. The internet was just a fancy way of exchanging information for many people in the 80’s, a prime example being the interview with Bill Gates on the Letterman show; However, over time, society evolved along with the world, and today, the problems that the Internet solves are undeniable.
Today technology can be both a solution and a problem, it depends on which side of history you are on. To be honest, we are not only users of technology and its innovations, but we have also become a product for large companies. Sometimes something as simple as a conversation with your friends is processed, stored, and sold without your knowledge, but that doesn’t have to be the case, although many haven’t figured it out yet.
P2P applications are a viable solution, they do not require central servers, therefore your data is not stored, everything is sent from recipient to recipient without intermediaries. But beyond that, there is a real possibility of creating infrastructures that support the defense of our society’s fundamental rights.
Holepunch as infrastructure to build P2P apps
Holepunch, as a company focused on developing P2P solutions, is powered by Hypercore technology (a P2P data network similar to blockchain), allowing any developer to build a new ecosystem of apps collaboratively and friendly based on this technology can build up.
All the technology will be publicly available in December 2022 as an open source SDK (usually a set of software development tools that a developer can use to create a computer application for a specific system). However, what solutions could be created with this technology? ?
Keet is the first example of what can be achieved, a P2P messaging program developed in collaboration with Bitfinex, Tether and Hypercore. Keet enabled a real-time communication channel without intermediaries, private and secure, and plans to integrate payments in BTC and USDt. Currently keet is only available for desktop, but soon there will be a mobile app, which would be interesting since Keet does not impose any restrictions on file sharing due to its infrastructure. The ability to send terabytes of information directly is interesting and, given the capabilities of today’s smartphones, a desirable benefit.
Tether and Bitfinex are big promoters of financial freedom, but now with Keet they are becoming major players in matters of freedom and access to information, for example Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex and Tether announced on April 10 a relief fund of 25 BTC for the Salvadorian to people, followed by another donation of 36 BTC, in addition to encouraging others to send contributions in both BTC, ETH and USDt. We usually see companies in the cryptocurrency space focus their development on only somewhat mundane products when we only consider their social impact, which is why it is so important that players with the history and reputation of Bitfinex and Tether provide support, funding and funding tools , whose main goal is not profit, but freedom.
Keet perfectly illustrates the importance of P2P applications, their operation uses different elements such as private keys that give you the possibility of being the only one who can access and control the data you share. Keet cannot store its users’ data, for that reason it cannot use it, let alone sell it.
Although the main concern is freedom of expression, it cannot be ignored that the abandonment of centralized servers improves the quality of communication, saving the necessary resources to create an optimal channel for the flow of information.
Another attractive solution that could be built on top of this technology could be email services using P2P technology, understanding that multiple computer servers are used to relay emails, each keeping a copy of the email . The vulnerabilities do not end there, passwords can also be compromised as they are stored on these servers.
Troy Hunt, a Microsoft Regional Director, in his article on the leak of 1,160,253,228 unique combinations of email addresses and passwords, makes it very clear that a hacker can have huge databases owned by other companies without them realizing it. Millions of people have leaked their usernames and passwords, waiting for a hacker to use them. However, there are other elements that need to be considered.
An email service that can save and flag emails, can also censor users or simply deny them service can happen in situations where those decisions become arbitrary. The importance of creating censorship resistant solutions should not be underestimated and Bitcoin is a great example of this, if we can create uncensorable money we can certainly go further.
You cannot have freedom of speech without first having the ability to communicate, without a central entity “monitoring” what you say. We can see this on social networks like TikTok, where the algorithm censors videos that use certain words, even to the point of changing the language users communicate with.
As mentioned at the beginning, the usefulness of a technology is often not obvious unless circumstances force you to recognize it. The number of “social” apps creates a false sense of freedom, but now more than ever we’re seeing big companies amplify their narratives while reducing the proliferation of others who oppose them. While we are not yet in a generalized corporatocracy, much of our society’s life takes place in a digital environment with much corporate influence.
P2P apps allow us to empower a society that today must adapt to the policies proposed by new forms of tyranny. If they don’t impoverish us, if they can’t silence us, if they can’t veto us, power ceases to belong to a few and is redistributed among millions of individuals, and that potential can see us through technology to be delivered .
In order to reach the masses of P2P apps, we may need to raise awareness of the dangers of companies massively accumulating our data; However, it is important to acknowledge the steps that are being taken today, and Holepunch is taking a leading role in this.
Fortunately, this technology will soon be open source, and the possibility that anyone with the right skills can build on top of this new infrastructure can lead to very accelerated development growth of a P2P ecosystem. However, it remains to be seen what possibilities the solutions we are building today will have in the future.
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