web0 manifesto

I just signed the web0 manifesto an initiaive by the wonderful folks of the Small Technology Foundation. The manifesto is short, so I'll repeat it here:

web3 = decentralisation + blockchain + NFTs + metaverse
web0 = web3 - blockchain - NFTs - metaverse
web0 = decentralisation

web0 is the decentralised web.

In other words, web0 is web3 without all the corporate right-libertarian Silicon Valley bullshit.


I find the entire notion that we need something based on a blockchain to make a decentralised web completely meaningless and outright ridiculous. The web is already decentralised, we just need to embrace the fact and get rid of the structures that try to centralise it.

The thing is, most people today has not experienced the free decentralised web the way it was in the mid 1990's to the early 2000's. Without this experience it's hard to imagine a web without the giant and centralised silos that have taken over the web today.

It used to be that when you signed up for an internet connection, you got an email address and a small "home area" on the ISP's server along with it. This meant that anyone could publish their own website in their home area, something many people did. The "home pages" of various random people around the net became it's own genre, with it's own conventions and style.

The web was full of these pages. Made by enthusiasts, writing about things that interested them. Some were elaborate and had lots of content and detail, while some were more sparse and held a promise for more later. This web of sites were linked together by hyperlinks (or just web links today) that allowed us to jump from one site to another, and often get a bit lost along the way.

At some point this stopped. ISP's began to just provide an internet connection, no email or storage space. No "home area". This increased the threshold for creating your own site or "homepage". The email was handed over to the advertising industry providing "free" email in exchange for snooping on your communication.

The "home area" or homepages were taken over first by blogs and later by social media sites, again for "free" in exchange for you giving them your social graph and relationships. (So they can know you better!)

We definitely need to redecentralize the web. But we don't need more complexity or a blockchain to do so. After we moved from the dial-up internet connections we had in the early days of the web, we now have allways-on wired and soon wireless internet in our homes.

It's easier than ever to just keep an old (or a cheap single board) computer running and serving your web site from it. We just need simple software that makes the setup and maintenance of the site and computer easy.

Now imagine a web where we all have our own sites with our own content running from our own home internet connection? We can link to each other, we can share and collaborate and communicate with each other. Safely and with complete control over who we share what with. All from our own sites, all without any big centralised service in the middle.

This is the web. Not any future web, but the web today. Quite frankly, the web as it has always been.

We don't need any blockchain to decentralise the web. We just need to use the web we have today!