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Ace's ZeroNet Exploration

ZeroNet feels different, it works differently, it's opening up possibilities that weren't available before - I'm here to explore what ZeroNet is and what it can be

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21 hours ago · 2 min read 1
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The Next Internet is Already Here

on Mar 07, 2016



Note to self: Need to have drafts.

20 years ago our society was baffled by the idea of the internet. just look at this short video from the Today Show from 1994 and you'll get a good idea of how our culture perceived the concept of the internet back then.
ZeroNet is far easier to explain nowadays, but don't expect the general perception of ZeroNet to be anything else than that of the internet 20 years ago - people today know what the internet is, or at least they think so; The internet is Facebook, it's Google, it's Apple, it's our Smartphone, it's the movies that we download.
We're all pretty used to the idea, we all have a good understanding of how this thing works, even with concepts such as The Cloud we seem to go along just fine - the Internet is where you get content - some server hosts your stuff, you navigate your browser to Google to find that server, you type in some words to google, google checks out it's massive databases to see what is the most relevant website in relation to your search query, presents the results to you the user, and now you can click on a link and go to this different website that has what you need.
All very simple really - users have browsers to download and view content that server are hosting and processing.
ZeroNet is different. It's different first and foremost in the basic infrastructure that holds the internet - while the internet is built on distributed and decentralized client-server architecture, it relies heavily on knowing what server hosts what data and what domain is pointing to what server - a centralized DNS architecture, in ZeroNet there are no servers, there are no DNS servers, there are no Bouncers, there are no cloud providers. With ZeroNet one does not need to pay a hosting company to deliver their content to their users - with ZeroNet all you need is to create your website and then just share it with others - if they like it, they'll share it some more, and your content will reach more users faster.

Reddit, SlashDot, or Hacker News "effect" is different on ZeroNet - while on the regular internet if your puny website that is used to be served to a few dozens of visitors on a weekly/monthly basis is suddenly your content hits the front page of Reddit or Hacker News, you'd experience the Reddit Effect - the effect that causes your site to crash because your web hosting service just wasn't prepared for this - it had the appropriate resources for a small website that serves a few thousands of requests on a monthly basis, now crashes under the weight of millions of viewers that are sent from other popular website.
With ZeroNet the opposite will happen - if your site suddenly becomes popular everyone will have a far better experience with it because of the architecture that puts the hosting of the static files needed by the users to interpret your website are hosted on individual users computers, much like the movies and TV shows that we download from The Pirate Bay (or similar trackers) that are not hosted on any server, similarly ZeroNet content is not hosted on any server - it's all on the users computers - and the more users are trying to access a given website, or ZeroSite, the better the experience they all have - content loads faster instead of slower, the site is more responsive instead of becoming sluggish to a crawl, and the costs of any individual sharing the site is dropping dramatically unlike with traditional webhosting where the owner of the site would need to pay for the storage and bandwidth, here the collective users that enjoy the website are sharing the load of hosting it and serving it and the more individuals have the same file the less they collectively need to do to get it to more users.

This brings me to why ZeroNet is the next internet - one of the largest problems we have on the internet today is the cost of hosting an application or a website. That cost is being offset by the site/app owner implementing either a paywall around the site/app, or blasting its users with advertisements - both of which are hated by the users at large, including the users that are producing the content (see Kanye's recent Pirate Bay fiasco, or RIAA employees employees that were found with dozens of pirated movies on their laptops).

With ZeroNet there is no need to "pay for the quality" - unless you want to profit from your content, you have no reason to erect paywalls or plaster ads all over your application, and the users will also chose to move away from such business models once the alternatives show up. Facebook - keep your ears perked here, your business might be at risk if you don't act accordingly.

To be honest that is just the tip of the iceberg - ZeroNet is much larger than just saying 'There are no servers' - saying just that would be utterly underestimating the value that ZeroNet brings in - which is the empowerment of the open web.
For the past decade I've been building my career as a Front End Developer, primarily focusing on building web sites and apps using Javascript, HTML, and CSS - I've recognized the opportunity and the potential in the open web platform early in my career, and decided to focus heavily on developing those skills and learning anything and everything that might be relevant.
The reason for that is that I think that Javascript will eventually become the Lingua Franca of computer-to-human and human-to-computer of the web - meaning everyone and everything will be able to use this language to communicate - simply because it's good enough at doing that today, and because there are more devices that can run Javascript than there are devices that are connected to the internet, every new connected device such as a drone, or smart thermostat, or a tiny computer like Raspberry Pie that comes out these days supports Javascript out of the box.
One of the key reasons I fell in love with the open web platform is because it is open, look at any website or webapp that you like, right click anywhere on the screen and click 'View Source' - instantly you get all the information you need to understand how to recreate the same functionality and see how the developers did whatever it is that your interested in. This simple fact of life on the internet has enabled the high quality of products that we see now so readily available to anyone who needs them.
Marketplaces like ThemeForest and free content platforms such as GitHub are providing a great service to our society as a whole - they enable us to build on top of lessons learned by others, experiments done by others, and tools developed by others so we can focus on building WhatApp, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and many many others - are products are becoming exponentially better because they incorporate all that the others have learned and on extremely short time scales.
ZeroNet reduces the time between seeing and copying even further by making the Clone ability a core built-in functionality that is available out of the box - if you see something you like, maybe ZeroHello, or ZeroTalk, you can instantly copy it and run your own version (and modify it if you wish) by simply clicking Clone.
This will accelerate the development cycle of the open web even more and we'll see amazing things start popping up everywhere and immediettely their copies using spreading like wildfire - everything we know about memes is absolutely applicable to ZeroSites - these tiny torrent files that contain some HTML, JS, CSS are the evolution of memes from basic textual formats, to images, then images with some text on them, then moving gifs... and now ZeroNet. If you've seen a gif that you like or a meme that you want to use, all you need to do is search for the source - the same is true for ZeroNet sites, only that copying and modifying ZeroNet sites is far easier than modifying a gif file or a youtube video.

ZeroNet is right now a fast, real-time, peer-to-peer, fully decentralized and distributed alternative to often-slow, client-to-server, overly centralized web application delivery stack - the internet.

With ZeroNet right now you can reach millions[1] of people who would gladly help you distribute the workload of storing and sending your data across the users of the site without investing any money into costly servers or any kind of infrastructure - everything is provided for free.

This is Bitcoin's killer app, and it's probably going to be bigger than Bitcoin and much faster. So perk your ears and open your eyes - because we're witnessing the transition from the internet - client-server architecture - to the zeronet - client-client architecture and it's going to be an exciting thing to witness.

[1] More like thousands right now, tbh


user_name1 day ago
teddyddon Mar 08, 2016

Really good article :) A bit too optimistic about replacing client - server architecture but I agree possibilities are exciting.

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