Whereas finance stands out as the first killer app for blockchain, the know-how has spawned many different ideas pertaining to decentralization. The IOUR Foundation is searching for to make the most of blockchain to re-think and redefine the web. Briefly, IOUR desires to merge TCP/IP and blockchain, launching a brand new customary that’s “respectful of elementary rights” and offers management of the information again to the person. If you’re , the Foundation’s whitepaper is available here.
Immediately, the web tends to be dominated by massive tech companies like Google or sure social media platforms. These massive tech companies leverage person knowledge to promote their providers resembling focused promoting. Some folks consider this management is simply too dominated by these companies. IOUR desires to make the Web a real “frequent” for humanity.
So is IOUR the way forward for the web? Decentralized, open and personal?
Crowdfund Insider spoke with the IOUR government workforce of Govt VP Jonathan Attia, COO Lisa Loud, and President Thibault Verbiest, co-founders of the inspiration, to study extra about their imaginative and prescient and the place issues stand as we speak.
What was the genesis of IOUR? How did your workforce come collectively to launch a blockchain-based competitor to HTTP?
It began when two of the founders (Jonathan and Thibault) met about 4 years in the past in Paris. Jonathan is a researcher and inventor. He had already been working for years on revolutionary initiatives in cryptography. Thibault is a lawyer and coverage adviser. Within the 2000’s, he was lively within the Web regulatory and standardization organizations. And extra not too long ago, he was concerned within the first working teams in Europe to legislate on digital belongings and regulate using the blockchain. This has led to a steady collaboration that has resulted in scientific publications and help for complicated initiatives within the subject of blockchain and synthetic intelligence. Little by little, our mental worlds and our previous experiences merged and this led to a imaginative and prescient, which grew to become a conviction, that it was attainable for the web to evolve from an web of communications to an web of providers.
Then it was the assembly, in Malta, with Lisa, who was then main an alternate. Lisa has a background in programming and has a effective data of the Fintech sector (having labored for a very long time at PayPal) in addition to the blockchain sector. She brings each femininity and rigor, construction and readability, which is crucial on this complicated challenge.
Immediately, IOUR is a workforce of 20 folks, with complementary expertise, and sharing the identical imaginative and prescient of an Web that’s extra open, pluralist and respectful of the elemental rights of customers.
How are you funded? I see you intend on elevating capital. Have you ever accepted VC cash? Are you bootstrapped?
IOUR is a public utility basis acknowledged by royal decree in Belgium (September 2020). Due to this fact, it can not settle for financing by VCs. The muse is at present financed by particular person membership charges. We’ll quickly launch a global fundraising marketing campaign by way of the platform www.transnationalgiving.eu. This platform permits foundations like IOUR to obtain tax-deductible donations from 25 nations (Europe, USA, and Canada).
Are you able to share how you’ll leverage blockchain know-how to create IOUR and the way superior is the know-how? And which blockchain are you using?
We now have formulated a proposal to create “common” Web providers. This entails coupling the present Web protocols (TCP /IP) with blockchain know-how. This “merger” will foster an Web that’s able to natively providing important providers resembling info search, decentralized area identify administration, digital id, digital messaging, knowledge storage, computing energy (AI), confidentiality, traceability, digital signature and so forth. Whereas the blockchains of as we speak weren’t designed to offer all of those options, we envision a coalition of blockchain suppliers designing the long run web along with IOUR. This collaboration will produce a second layer answer that elegantly ties collectively all the current blockchains.
By counting on new internationally standardized protocols, this innovation has the potential to make the Web a real “frequent” for humanity, a community that’s extra respectful of elementary rights and freedoms and consistent with the sustainable growth aims set by the United Nations.
We now have described our proposal in a guide (to be revealed on the finish of October). And now we have additionally launched a white paper that focuses on the technical a part of the IOUR proposal. This white paper is a primary framework doc, which will likely be complemented by different extra focused publications (notably on the totally different decentralized providers that IOUR makes attainable).
The Basis has simply been created and that is solely the start of the journey. There’s a lot to be performed within the months and years to come back to make this proposal a actuality. We’re already engaged on partnerships with blockchain initiatives, ISPs and knowledge facilities to deploy the primary parts of IOUR.
Maybe a greater query is how do you intend to overhaul established protocols along with your distributed iteration? What about difficult established governance for the present community? How does this enhance on TOR?
Our proposal doesn’t goal to interchange the present web, however to extend it. The innovation is to make TCP/IP (the datagram to be exact) “clever” in order that it turns into able to recognizing the providers being transported. ISP routers redirect the providers thus recognized to specialised servers (nodes) that help these providers, in a decentralized method. The confidentiality supplied by the TOR community considerations the nameless session of content material accessible on the Web and never the direct use of providers. These providers, most frequently accessible from a centralized infrastructure, contain person authentication and the mandatory sharing of person knowledge inside the framework of the mentioned service. IOUR proposes a brand new paradigm: the Web itself turns into the principle service supplier based mostly de facto on a decentralized infrastructure and governance.
And the way will you generate income?
The Basis is of public utility and is due to this fact not supposed to generate revenue. It can act within the public curiosity, making certain that the IOUR protocol suite turns into a actuality and is deployed. The Basis will type partnerships with personal firms, which is able to have the ability to deploy the protocol and generate revenues.
The IOUR proposal assumes the deployment of nodes which can be owned by ISPs or different gamers wishing to make it a brand new enterprise, in partnership with ISPs. So an entire ecosystem, each native and international, must be arrange. This can be a probability to invent the brand new, decentralized web economic system.
Your predominant concern is the rising dominance of firms like Google and ISPs/platforms that harvest person knowledge and data. Is this type of like Open Banking for the web?
The Basis doesn’t goal to counter the giants of the web however to suggest a brand new protocol, appropriate with the TCP/IP suite, with the goal of providing an “web of common sources”. The giants of know-how may also be invited to take part on this new web, if they need.
Do you anticipate central governments to simply accept your mission? What in regards to the European Fee?
We’re in common contact with the European Fee, which is starting to look at our proposal in additional depth. We anticipate sturdy help on this regard as a result of the IOUR proposal might be the “third method” that Europe has been searching for for thus a few years.
And what about unhealthy actors? The darkish internet?
With IOUR, Web customers regain management of their digital id. They are going to have the ability to establish themselves natively, with an id acknowledged by the States, or conversely to develop into nameless. They may also have the ability to signal electronically, natively, any content material they create on-line. With this provision, anonymized content material will lack an recognized writer. It can nonetheless have the ability to flow into however could naturally be thought of suspicious. We’re pondering specifically of faux information. We now have rigorously thought of the troublesome stability between privateness and the necessity to respect sure regulatory constraints (anti-money laundering specifically).
Lastly, IOUR doesn’t intend to struggle in opposition to the Darkish Internet (which is a dropping battle) however to suggest an Web of belief that’s extra respectful of the elemental rights of customers who may in any other case be part of these networks to say their rights.
You envision a common blockchain that’s operated by all states in a decentralized method. Aren’t states by nature centralized?
The blockchain, coupled with TCP/IP, is not going to essentially be operated by the States. It could very effectively be operated by personal entities (ISPs, knowledge facilities, or current public blockchain nodes for instance).
However, the query of governance nonetheless must be debated and we can not resolve it alone. Different organizations (European Fee, Web Society, universities, personal gamers, and so forth.) must be concerned in our work.
What’s your timeline to have an operational community that individuals can truly use on a worldwide foundation?
We’ll first deploy the protocol on a small scale, incrementally, by way of POCs, fairly than making an attempt to deploy the protocol on a worldwide scale from the beginning. That is the benefit of the incremental protocol – it may be additive fairly than a wholesale substitute.
We’re at present evaluating totally different deployment initiatives, together with ISPs and datacenters and “new web” initiatives which are near our philosophy.