FFDW Grant & DWebCamp: our decentralized community industry debut

-- Wed 17 August 2022

Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web

We have received a substantial multi-year grant from The Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW)! The scope of this effort is significant, so we hope the FFDW's example encourages many others to join us.

Institute founders Christine Lemmer-Webber and Randy Farmer will be attending DWebCamp 8/24-8/28, and would be happy to meet with potential supporters, sponsors, or technical partners in person, during or after the conference (in the SF Bay Area): email contact@spritely.institute and we'll set something up.

Watch for jobs postings very soon!

Here is a copy of the FFDW announcement:

FFDW Supports Spritely Networked Communities Institute to Develop Decentralized Community Standards
Award will further efforts to give people control over identity and relationships online

Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW) is proud to announce an award to Spritely Networked Communities Institute (Spritely Institute) to support the creation of free and open standards for decentralized social media. Spritley’s mission is to put people directly in control of their online identities and relationships, and this award will further the organization's efforts –– ranging from decentralized identity standards to decentralized social networks, to encrypted and portable storage. These standards are open, free, and built to enable a gatekeeper-free path, where users and social content are not tied to a specific server or company.

Since 2004, when Facebook launched, the number of Americans who use social media has risen from 5% to 72%. Across the globe, nearly 5 billion people are active social media users. However, the rise of centralized social media platforms means that a handful of entities have access and control over an unprecedented amount of personal and professional data. And that data is increasingly valuable, as we’ve seen time and time again with incidents that have eroded trust, like Cambridge Analytica and Clearview AI.

Spritely Institute is focused on enabling a new social layer for the internet –– without gatekeepers. This collaboration betwen Spritely and FFDW will support infrastructure, user experience, public standardization, and educational materials to create secure decentralized online communities. And this support will also be used to facilitate the development of user-empowered moderation tools and best practices.

“We are building upon decades of research into alternative architectures for making usable secure networked technology. We're proud to have FFDW as our first sponsor to put our learnings to work for the future of distributed applications and online social experiences,” said Randy Farmer, Executive Director of Spritely Institute. “Our goal is to produce tools that developers can build upon while also delivering social networking protocols that put users’ safety and needs first. Together, we can decentralize the influence of technology on our society, and reduce the toxicity of online interactions through the maintaining of context.”

“We're excited about Spritely because it gives decentralized networks the opportunity to make good on the promises that legacy social media made and then broke: secure, private, and empowering communications between friends, for the benefit of all,” said Danny O’Brien, Senior Fellow at Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web.

Decentralized standards require a new core architecture that changes the way developers approach programming for the internet. “Object capability security” can provide a foundational model for building programs where secure networked programming becomes the default. This can:

  • Ensure safe collaboration over a hostile network: Spritely provides a secure Object Capability Network suite, which provides object-to-object communication.
  • Define new network interface abstractions: These enable peer-to-peer interface instead of client-to-server, with no gatekeepers required, and are composable with existing peer-to-peer technologies such as libp2p and Tor Onion Services.
  • Support end users: Granular and revocable trust that is persona specific, with local human-meaningful mapping to decentralized identifiers, discoverable names across networks, and credential management.
  • Enable developers: Distributed programming is notoriously difficult –– especially to debug. Spritely is developing a new suite of distributed debugging tools that allow for time-traveling to the state of the system when the error occurred.

This new core architecture is based on secure capability semantics on decentralized networks –– and this approach is not the current prevalent programming paradigm, so end-user and developer-focused educational materials must cover the ground from fundamentals up through best practices.

“We’re proud to support Spritely Institute with this award,” said FFDW Board Chair Marta Belcher. “FFDW’s mission is to preserve humanity’s most important information, and this collaboration with Spritely is a natural fit to further these efforts.”