The beta version of decentralized social networks Akasha is running on a test network Ethereum

The project is a decentralized social network Akasha – perhaps champion of protracted Ethereum. Officially, its development began in the second quarter of 2015, prior to the main blockchain, and run on the main blockchain will take place no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2018. However, these developments are proceeding, and the deadlines set in the roadmap of the project, published in the fall of 2016, are generally respected.

Despite the fact that the niche of decentralized social networking continues to be free, not one of the implemented over the past three years of projects failed to achieve results anything like comparable with the centralized social networks. Have advanced the project Steemit, but after two years of operation, the platform was under the control of major holders of tokens and, as a result, the degree of centralization and internal censorship Steemit is comparable to traditional platforms. Another unfinished – Synereo, and failed to build an effective economic model and is now going to migrate to Omni to Ethereum.

Why so long and why

The approach of the leader of the Akasha Alice Mihai (Mihai Alisie) – one of the founders of Ethereum, back in 2011 together with the boy Butterini who founded the first media kryptonyte – Bitcoin Magaine, from the very beginning stood out from the competition. Steemit, Synereo and others, have already sunk into oblivion projects focused on monetization of content and their front end was a common applications on corporate servers. In contrast, Alice saw Akasha fully decentralized Ethereum app where all the content is stored in a distributed file system IPFS. This is completely uncharted territory, which from scratch we have to create the entire infrastructure.

The matter is complicated by the fact that the Ethereum to implement POS and sharding is not a full product, but only a demonstrator of new technologies. For example, every «like» (apvat) Akasha is a separate transaction and its completion has to wait a few minutes. The integration of Ethereum transaction with the simultaneous placement and retrieval for IPFS with limited bandwidth of the Internet channel is another challenging engineering problem. Moreover, IPFS, too, is in its infancy and it is not fully decentralized platform mining distributed storage Filecoin
still not working, so storage of information are computers a few beta testers and Microsoft Azure nodes.

However, the optimism of the team growing, especially considering the current state of the Internet and existential problems of social networks, revealed recently:

In retrospect, it seems obvious that the chosen path of radical decentralization was the right decision. Scandal hearings in Congress around the manipulation of Facebook has triggered a paradigm shift in terms of the ways of online communications.

People are starting to ask the questions «how» and «why» the services that for years they used to communicate with family and friends, can be «free» […] Finally, comes the understanding that decentralization is a real necessity, not a marketing ploy.

The question that arises when we first met Akasha: «how is it different from other social networks?» Sample answers can be.

  • Akasha does not track users. Both app and browser version does not contain any analytical applications. All content is created by the user on the client side and sent to the network without any gathers information of the algorithms.

  • In Akasha, there is no advertising and the project team believes that to create a solid business model based on advertising cannot – this inevitably leads to invasion of the privacy of users.

  • Decentralization is not a slogan. For example, in the browser version Akasha code responsible for IPFS, completely rewritten to enable P2P communication between browsers.

  • Complete control of your digital identity – Akasha private keys are created on the user’s computer and the access to it is only it.

  • Akasha is not going to compete with the «big boys» or to build «the next Facebook». Rather, it is a new channel of communication that allows people to keep «big boys» in the bounds of decency.

  • Akasha is not going to provide the ICO with the sole aim to obtain financing. The project is financed by himself. The test network has already released three releases – alpha, beta and now comes the version for the browser. If the team chooses to ICO, it will be a token for the solution of problems that cannot be solved in other ways.

  • On the last point Alice notes that the new concept of the token exists and will be presented at the conference EDCON in Toronto.

    Version Akasha browser

    The new version of Akasha v0.7 with the unequivocal title «Patching holes» (Mend the gap) integrated with browsers Ethereum. Supported Chrome, Brave and Firefox extensions Metamask and IPFS Companion. For fans of hardcore: Akasha now available in the official Ethereum Mist browser. Version in a separate app too, remains: supports Windows, Mac
    and Linux. Dapp works in test network Rinkeby. A unique user ID is his Ethereum address, however, if you want, you can add a nickname. In new version you can import a profile from a previous (0.6, 0.6.2).

    It is important to remember that:

  • In any case you should not believe any advertisements that Akasha holds a presale or ICO. If, however, the ICO Akasha ever will be, the announcement should be obtained only through official channels (Twitter, unreal tournament III, Akasha Dapp)

  • To set Akasha should be only from official repository on Github
    and always check the digital signature: AKASHA International GmbH

  • You should not send the real ETH to the address of the Dapp. Beta testers get when you install a sufficient number of test ETH and AETH (the code name native token)

  • Beta is not a finished product. The development of Akasha is the next few years, and the source of its evolution will be a community.

  • There are more questions than answers

    Problems found in the investigation of the manipulation of Facebook, is relevant for Akasha. While there are more questions than answers. In
    the first responses to the launch of the browser version of the social network developers are trying to give answers. Here are just a few examples:

    Question: Akasha is on the blockchain, transparent and immutable. How the user will control their data, if it cannot remove or modify. (Facebook can do this).

    Response Alice: At the conceptual level, the post to be published at Akasha consists of two parts.

  • IPFS hash indicating the content of the post

  • The transaction is recorded in a smart contract that indexes the hash IPFS indicating the content of the post

  • As for removal: since the post is not in the blockchain, the author can conduct his «delisting» of a network of Akasha.

    Regarding modifications to the current published content: users Akasha can have multiple versions of a post (their story is written on IPFS). Consider a tree of hashes, which contains all the versions, from most recent to original. Editing the post, the author conducts a transaction in the smart contract is written a new hash IPFS. All the wood is still available as long as there are peers.

    Another aspect is Facebook collects a whole layer of data that users do not guess, and certainly not in control. Is information about user behavior. Data is collected – the time between keystrokes (measure of anxiety), viewing a certain area of the screen, and even the fact that the user prefers not to publish at all.

    Question: will users be Able to share their data in exchange for discounts or some portion of income?

    Response: We will explore a number of alternative business models that do not violate the privacy of users. Ideally, Internet users should not «sell his soul» in exchange for «free service» (which actually paid for the endless violations of privacy). One possible example is the rental of unused space on the drive in exchange for tokens or publish posts.

    Finally, the project team once again recalls that if you still want to do some form of ICO participation in crudele can accept only the holders of the private keys obtained in testing alpha and beta versions.

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