# Creating Autonomous Futures in the Post-Web [draft] #### Author: Black Sky Society The internet was not originally built with the autonomy of its users in mind. Its roots trace back to the [ARPANET](https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects-and-stories/arpanet-internet) (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), a project by the U.S. DoD, created primarily as a tool for swift communication and knowledge sharing among universities and research institutions. As the internet evolved from its academic origins into a commercialized platform, user autonomy was often overlooked, leaving significant control in the hands of ISPs and major tech companies. Web3, i.e. the union of cryptocurrency with the internet, promised a more decentralized and equitable digital landscape that avoids the monopolistic and privacy-invasive practices of Web 2.0. Yet, incessant legal obstacles, multi-million dollar hacks and the threat of pervasive surveillance have instilled skepticism about Web3’s vision of a better internet. These existential threats to crypto, combined with the challenge of compliance for protocol developers, accentuate the fact that laws and regulations are inherently local, whereas the internet is global. Consequently, designing next-generation Web architectures aiming to empower communities is a daunting task. Furthermore, building these protocols on top of Web architecture not originally designed to work with cryptocurrencies is akin to fitting a square peg into a round hole. These struggles often divert the greater Web3 community’s attention from privacy and sovereignty as essential system components. While we could propose a Web4, Web5, or Web6 to counter these issues, we believe the root of our troubles may lie in the foundational infrastructure of the Web itself. Hence, we propose a new path to address the deeper problems of the Web as whole. Our aim is not just to rethink network technologies, but to venture into unexplored territory: **the Post-Web**. ## Six Principles of the Post-Web 1. **Privacy & Security**: User privacy is upheld by minimizing data and metadata exposure, ensuring end-to-end security, and fine-grained personal control over information disclosure. Financial transactions must be private and shielded by default. Users can decide where, when, and to whom, their information is disclosed, while remote services handle only encrypted content without access to sensitive details, such as user location. 2. **Local-First**: Develop protocols that can be implemented locally first and connected in a confederated manner from the bottom up. Applications should operate offline and asynchronously when feasible, enabling access to cached content like wikis, messages, and forums, while allowing users to search and discover information on their devices, within their communities and groups as well as globally, using privacy-preserving protocols. Focus on designing robust tools effective in real-world, local contexts before considering global standards and remote services. 3. **Sovereign Identities for All Agents**: Organizations, individuals, and non-human agents alike can exercise full control over their identities and associated data. By employing context-dependent pseudonymous cryptographic systems, it is possible to establish privacy-preserving trust relationships without relying on biometric data. While there will be no unified identity system, standards are in place to facilitate interoperability and portability across various protocols. 4. **Organizational Cybernetics & Rights Portability**: Organizations are recognized as unique digital entities possessing abilities to adapt and self-regulate. Additionally, they utilize interoperable permission models for outlining organizational structures, roles, and access rights, which enables efficient interactions and portable rights across multiple applications used by members of particular organizations. By emphasizing organizational agency, interconnected digital ecosystems are fostered, enabling organizations to adapt and thrive within a network ecology. 5. **Efficiency, Scalability, & Resilience**: Protocols are designed to use resources efficiently, minimizing overhead and maximizing throughput. Additionally, protocols are scalable, capable of adapting to growing user bases and network demands, ensuring consistent performance. Resilience is key, with built-in fault tolerance and recovery mechanisms that maintain system stability and prevent data loss, even in the face of unexpected network disruptions or failures. 6. **Pluralism, Interoperability, & Community Governance**: Post-web culture encourages a diverse ecosystem of protocols, applications, and tools developed by various teams, and also facilitates the use and exchange of multiple cryptocurrencies and tokens, both locally and globally by ensuring interoperability through common protocols, data formats, or transport layers. Its ethos embraces community-driven funding and decision-making processes which distribute power across diverse stakeholders and jurisdictions, thereby enhancing the system’s resilience and adaptability to evolving needs and priorities. ### **Additional Considerations** * **Hardware**: In envisioning a Post-Web future, the relationship with hardware plays a crucial role, as software ultimately relies on hardware to function. A comprehensive understanding of the interplay between hardware and software is essential for creating a more resilient, secure, and privacy-preserving ecosystem. * **Communications Infrastructure**: It will also be necessary to evaluate and potentially rethink the existing telecommunications infrastructure, including elements such as SIM cards and cell towers. The current system designs often compromise privacy, and addressing these issues will be integral to the development of a Post-Web environment. * **Financial Privacy**: The Post-Web paradigm favors shielded-by-default system designs, as that aligns with the first principle of **Privacy & Security**. When developing new crypto financial protocols, the focus should not be solely on capturing Ethereum liquidity since every new shielded system will inherently do that in one way or another. Instead, it is essential to devise strategies for onboarding individuals who have yet to self-custody any crypto, expanding the reach of decentralized financial solutions. ## Final Remarks **Post-Web** offers a unique perspective on the future of the internet, emphasizing privacy, resilience, antifragility, and sovereignty by defining principles related to technical architecture. This vision diverges significantly from the prevalent Web3 perspective. Additionally, when a larger scale movement prioritizes pluralism, the narrative stands a greater chance of enduring and thriving in the face of challenges, such as state control and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), rather than merely competing with other protocols. While we harbor reservations about Web3, it's undeniable that its experimentation with public ledgers paved the way to conceptualize the Post-Web. Importantly, Web3 culture identified a formidable adversary: Moloch. However, such a contest demands readiness on many levels, along with well-established principles. It necessitates revisiting fundamentals and initiating anew. As Moloch's roots are deeply entrenched, the Post-Web's mission is to painstakingly extract them, fostering a more sovereign and private base for future collaboration and economic systems. --- *In developing these principles, we have drawn upon insights from work and thought within the Anoma, Cosmos, DarkFi, DWeb, Espresso, Ethereum, Filecoin, Holochain, LoFiRe, Mel, Penumbra, SSB, Urbit, Zcash and many other ecosystems. It is important to note that the principles presented above are in draft stage.* :::warning We welcome feedback and collaboration as we collectively work towards realizing the potential of the Post-Web. Add comments directly to the document, or visit [our Telegram group](https://t.me/BlackSkySociety/274) to review the live chat discussing this document that occurred on June 1st 2023. Note: We will be distributing a v0.1 version of this paper at [Autonomous Ecologies #2 in Paris on July 16th](https://autonomousecologies.xyz/). :::