Matthias: We want to talk about the peer-to-peer internet, where we think the internet is going, where it should be going, how we’re gonna tackle the problems we’re facing as society and as technologists and how we can enable more people to participate both in the modern economy and technology. Before we dive into all the good stuff, let’s talk about where we are right now. Basically, the current internet, the thing we all access when we open our phones and browsers is rigged. It’s not made for us. It’s very exploitive and has a ton of issues. Think about how many here has smartphones. Probably everybody. Maybe you have more than one smartphone. Maybe you also have a smart watch at home or with you. It is a tech conference, you probably have a laptop too. All of these devices have immense computing power, more computing power than we ever had in civilization. It’s all ours. We all paid for them. It’s not devices we’re renting. It’s devices we bought. Most of them don’t have caps depends on where you are in the world but we have all these resources and we’re just getting more and more of them. We all have data plans. We all have internet at home we paid for. I recently got a TV that has a computer. It’s actually really hard to buy things today without computers in them. The amount of storage attached to all these things is pretty immense. I don’t think you even can buy a phone these days with less than 32 or 64 gigabytes of data. It’s really intense if you multiply that by eight billion people on the planet. We’ve never had more computing power in the world, yet we also never been more centralized than today. We have all this computing power yet we’re forced to rent even more computing power on cloud servers. The way things are structured is completely absurd and running services on your devices is really impossible because the entire thing is working against you. You can’t run things on your devices because it’s hard for the networks, it’s hard to set up, you need to basically have a PhD in computer science if you wanna run actual services on your own devices. That’s why everything is trying to push you into these massive data centers that’s just trying to centralize everything and making you dependent on it. It’s really scary and inefficient. It’s just absurd and very counter-intuitive.

Think about this example, if I take out my phone and I send Paolo a message right now, me and Paolo are standing a meter away from each other but that message leaves my phone, goes to a data center, maybe gets right up to another data center (I don’t even know), it probably gets stored somewhere, gets routed back and then at some point will route to Paolo even though we’re in talking distance of each other. It’s absurd. How do we get to this point in today’s society? It should not be this way and the examples go on. I have smart devices from Ikea, if my outside internet goes off, they stop working, because they also want to leave the premise to communicate with each other. Even though I’m right next to them and I can use the switch to turn on/off, all the technology, all the coolness disappears because everything is designed this way, everything is rigged against us technologywise. That’s how the internet is currently structured. Why is this Paolo?

Paolo: I’m going to be the guy that will do a little bit of ranting. Internet is not made for peers. It’s made for corporations and VCs. Internet was created by people with the profound ethos. They wanted to make knowledge accessible by everyone. So everyone was hosting their website on their home computer. The website was providing information on what they were studying, researching or just personal life, career, etc. But internet was made not to be centralized. With centralization comes a bigger problem in terms of resiliency and many other things that we will talk about. The reason why this is happening is that we are living in a world where big corporations are actually obsessed by your data. They want to collect fresh data continuously because that’s the way they make money. Their cost of running these enormous data centers around the world is growing and it’s growing because the data will never be forgotten. Imagine this massive amount of data that doubles every year because more people connect to internet and more data is stored. They have to find new ways to squeeze every drop of value from the data you are providing. You are saving your photos on your cell phone and because you don’t want to lose them, they will be backed up on the cloud. I’m sorry to break that to you but the cloud is not your friend. Clouds are scams. They are a way to lure you in and never let you go. To download everything and you know it’s parse across many different centers and even more so in many different jurisdictions and that’s one of the things that I’m a little bit more scared about because this also provides a huge issue in terms of privacy. Unfortunately, we are living in a complex geopolitical area where we are seeing wars and a lot of tension. For example, I’m Italian and my family lives in Italy. Content they produce daily is stored on data centers that might be outside of Italy. What do you think will happen in a catastrophic scenario when this data could be accessed by another country that might not be happy on what Italy is doing? Data can be weaponized at multiple levels including a country level. Data gives all information about ourselves and our citizens. That’s the biggest problem we are facing today. Privacy is a right that always is forgotten by many. Of course, it’s easier to use a smartphone. It’s easier to use applications that do everything for us but at which cost? If the cost is basically our entire digital life…

Matthias: We’re in a very fluid world that is consuming more and more data. I don’t know the exact stats but I wouldn’t be surprised if we double the amount of data every year or if we’re even quadrupling it. We’re adding more and more devices every day. We’re telling things more and more about our things. Robot vacuums that are going around your house are getting acquired by big cloud companies. Why do you think that is? They want more data. They want to suck more in so they can build more of that business model. They’re not working for you even though you bought them. They’re working for someone else and things are only moving in this direction. All the cool things, all the tech (e.g. robots and self-driving cars) are basically just gonna consume more and more data. They’re gonna be good for us but if we continue on our current trajectory they’re also going to be incredibly scary because their interest and people who makes them central are not necessarily aligned with ours because they just want to squeeze more and more out of us. I personally think that’s super scary…

Paolo: Yeah, today of course is about bitcoin and bitcoin is financial freedom and a monetary instrument but we have to think that there are three other important industries that are growing crazy, such as: robotics, artificial intelligence and internet of things. What Mathias was saying about connected light bulbs that can even buy their own small share of electricity nowadays, fridges are ordering milk, self-driving cars and especially robots. In 10-20 years we’ll have robots as part of our life. You might have seen the Tesla robot or even more impressive the Boston Dynamics. What do you think will happen if you put artificial intelligence on top of robots? Our lives will be full of robots running around and doing things for us, with us or ruling us (who knows?). All these will require an enormous amount of information that could be volatile information, information we want to store and thinking that all these interactions will always happen through centralized data centers is crazy.

Matthias: If you buy a car, you pay for it, right? And you pay it once but they still want to get you hooked on the data plans because they want to take more data from you. That’s the way things are structured. You’ve got to pay continuous fees for mapping because they just want to squeeze more data out of you. The interests are not aligned. You don’t really own your data. It’s super scary.

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