For many years, people have been worried about the problems of their own dependence on big corporations, banks and even governments. With the gradual shift of activity into the virtual space they begun to worry about the work and reliability of the servers, censorship and possible blocking actions.
Users wanted to solve their problems directly, bypassing financial and technical intermediaries, share files, make financial transactions, communicate in messengers and chats.
Decentralized services has become the solutions that allow to solve such request. Despite the mass misconception the appeared long before the advent of blockchain technology. One of the first decentralized services has become the torrents, a p2p systems allowing to share files directly between users. With the help of a special client program, such as the popular Bittorrent, any user can find files that others share in the network.
In such a network server brings function of a distributing lists of transferred files addresses but the files themselves are stored on end-user computers which distribute them to each other on free-of-charge basis. Such an approach has both advantages and disadvantages. Independence from any third parties is a good thing but torrent networks are actively used to distribute unauthorized (non-licensed) content.
Many experts believe that decentralized networks and services can become the basis of a new Internet or Web 3.0 era. It can radically change the principles of interaction between users as well as between commercial and government agencies. In this article we will look closer at what decentralized services based on blockchain or similar technologies can be used now.
Most of the users faced up with p2p file sharing systems based on torrents. The most famous of them is the BitTorrent project. A logical continuation of a p2p-file exchange technology development the use of blockchain technology has become. And its main benefit is the user’s data privacy.
This is how the concept of “misty data storage” appeared as opposed to the traditional “cloud storage”. Misty services are called so because of the inability to determine from the outside where and what files are stored. This technology provides the division of any file into some parts in such a way that even the user who stores this data on his own computer does not know what exactly he stores and does not have access to these files.
All the information is encrypted. The further decryption happens only with the special owner’ keys or the user who has the appropriate rights. At the same time, file storage on your computer or server is paid option. The user who provides their resources for storage receives payment in the appropriate cryptocurrency of the blockchain network to which it is connected. Such platforms as Filecoin, Storj, Sia, Oyster shell and others work exactly on this principle.
Although they differ by functionality, the basic principles of such systems are the same, they provide private and distributed file storage and data exchange between users within the current network.
Chats and messengers
In contrast to the tightening state censorship users began to think about the privacy of their correspondence. Messengers and chat platforms that allow to use new communication technologies allowing to bypass the blocks with the help of strong encryption for transmitted data can solve this problem. For example, FireChat messenger based not on usual Internet connection but on so-called mesh-network that connects smartphones and other similar devices with each other directly via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi without the need to connect to any public network. This messenger was actively used in recent events in Hong Kong.
According to various reports, in Hong Kong it is used by more than 100 thousand of users. Among the disadvantages of this messenger is the limitation of the distance at which the communicating devices should be located (about 70 meters), so that the autonomous network can be organized only in a place with large audience, such as stadiums, concerts and other. In addition to Hong Kong and China, the messenger is actively used during the the Burning Man event in US, as well as in Iran to bypass the state Internet blockade.
The decentralized DEEX ecosystem recently has launched a beta test of its secure messenger. The presence of such a communication channel between traders, investors and users gives them the opportunity not only to privately discuss transactions on the exchange, but also to implement secure communication in the business processes.
Social networks and decentralized blogs
Social networks and blockchain-based blogs have become an interesting area of decentralization implementation. Among the most common are Steemit and its Russian-language Golos.io analogue. User registers in the system and gets the opportunity not only to create and publish author’s content, but also to receive a reward for it in cryptocurrency. The more popular the author and his content is, the more he can earn. At the same time, the platforms are fully decentralized and have all the advantages of blockchain services, such as independence of a particular company or server, decentralization, and lack of censorship.
The market for distributed computing is growing every year. Even the large companies that are able to create their own data centers use outsourcing computing processes in non-core or project activities. Blockchain technology has made it possible to simplify many processes, ensuring the transparency of accounting and distribution of resources, as well as the timeliness of their payment through the use of smart contracts.
So, the iExec and Sonm services have appeared. Positioning itself as a distributed supercomputer, such services are not yet effective enough and are not in great demand. However, with the grow of this technology the decentralized computing can become a part of our live and replace cloud storages.
Decentralized Internet, DNS, and VPN (dVPN)
Decentralization is the future of Internet. Even the most notorious skeptics are unlikely to argue with this fact. For the decentralized Internet some new approaches and new routing mechanisms were needed. So, the IPFS Protocol (interplanetary file system) appeared. Now it is used in many browsers, allowing you to access information without servers accessing. Any user can provide access to the sites and any other content to other users with the help of special services using this protocol.
The key feature of the decentralized IPFs protocol is that the sites in this system are almost impossible to block, so that the most popularity it gains with the tightening of Internet censorship. Among the interesting projects in the field of DNS it should be noted ENS (Ethereum Name System, .eth domains), Namecoin (.bit domains), Emercoin (.coin domains) and Zilliqa (.zil domains).
They all share several peculiar blockchain systems features. These are the lack of censorship (no one can arbitrarily block or restrict access to a particular domain), anonymity, the use of blockchain or similar distributed technologies for data storage. Among the disadvantages it should be noted the need to use a special browser, as usual ones are not yet able to work with distributed DNS.
Opera browser is actively following the way of implementing Dapps in its applications. There is already a built-in browser wallet that supports Ethereum, as well as a number of decentralized applications that use this browser as a platform or as an access point.
Among the other browsers, initially aimed to support of a decentralized Internet the most popular is Brave which already has its established audience. There were also decentralized VPN services. They usually use a mesh network, a peer-to-peer p2p network based on the principle of cells working.
In such networks there are no specific servers to obtain the IP address. Each connected device can be both a user and a connection point. Thus, the user himself becomes a provider for others.
Among such networks a SAFE (Secure Access for Everyone) network can be noted. It provides data encryption directly on the user’s device. The impossibility or extreme complexity of hacking and censoring of such services leads to their popularity among users interested in unrestricted access to information and lack of censorship.
The decentralized marketplaces
With the advent of blockchain and peer-to-peer networks, there were also projects related to anonymous and uncensored trading — marketplaces, where everyone can sell and buy goods directly with each other, bypassing any intermediaries. Among such projects is the OpenBazaar, originally called DarkMarket, the name that fully reflects its original concept. Amir Taaki, the founder of this project said that this platform was intended for hackers and other adherents of the “black markets” denying the control of states and governments. Subsequently, the project not only changed its name but also changed its positioning to a more legal one, that allowed it to attract more law-abiding users.
After some time, the more decentralized marketplaces appeared. However, their reputation was partially spoiled during the cryptocurrency hype and the ICO boom. For example, the Storiqa project, which announced the creation of a large decentralized marketplace, completely disappeared after the ICO. Now the project site does not work, users and investors were fooled.
Flogmall is another project with Russian roots. It managed to launch its own marketplace after the ICO, but its development was quite difficult and many users criticized the site for a small audiences and products, as well as for other difficulties. Nevertheless, with the development of decentralized applications, marketplaces appear not only as separate sites, but also as built-in applications (wallets, exchanges, browsers, etc.).
Decentralized ad networks
The idea of increasing the transparency of the advertising Internet business and the exclusion of intermediaries led to the creation of decentralized advertising and partner networks. Among these projects are quite successful BAT (use the infrastructure already mentioned for Brave browser), QChain (decentralized marketplace for influence marketing), AdEx (decentralized market advertising), HOQU (decentralized platform) and many others.
The general essence of all these projects in the field of decentralized advertising is reduced to several fundamental conditions: the absence of intermediaries between the advertiser and the customer, a transparent mechanism of statistics, as well as the ability to earn the user to view advertising and engage the user in advertising processes as a full participant. Despite the fact that such projects are very logically commercialized they have not yet received mass adoption and do not deserve the special attention of advertisers. The main reason is the relatively small audience of specialized browsers users and still questionable status of cryptocurrencies in many countries.
Decentralized exchanges are for decentralized services
Most of decentralized services use its own cryptocurrency or tokens to motivate users, increase their loyalty and organization of a variety of additional services. In addition to circulation within a particular platform, such tokens are gradually become a value beyond it as well. So, that’s how the market for the exchange of some tokens and currencies to other, as well as to fiat currencies appear.
It is interesting that many services are tending to enter the large centralized exchanges poorly aware of the absurdity of such an approach. If decentralized services are almost impossible to block, the centralized exchanges are more and more strictly regulated by the laws and financial rules, so the project can easily can become the target of sanctions in future. At the same time, decentralized (DEX) exchanges are successfully developing, and they are much more suitable for the exchange of tokens of decentralized systems.
Starting with the well-known IDEX and ForkDelta, focused on the Ethereum blockchain and providing its users with the exchange services only for tokens based on this blockchain, the new decentralized exchanges have significantly advanced in their development, becoming the centers of attraction of decentralized services.
DEEX Exchange is directly positions itself as a point of growth for decentralization, not only providing projects and services with good cooperation conditions, but also offering a number of additional services within its own platform, from the IEO to the integration of various dApps (decentralized applications) into its ecosystem.
Built on the BitShares blockchain, the Deex Exchange organized the release of stabilcoins and token-analogues of other blockchain’s cryptocurrencies. This allows traders to use all the advantages of decentralization, obtaining tools similar to those that are present on centralized exchanges.
IEO conduction, automatic tokens listing, attracting project funding, makes the Deex Exchange the centre of the development for decentralized projects and applications. In addition, the Deex user’s toolkit is expanding. Thus, one of the directions a secure decentralized messenger has become. It will allow users of Deex Exchange to write private messages without leaving the trading system.
The further growth of decentralized services is directly related to the development of the entire ecosystem and necessary for the user tools. DEEX is a pioneer in many of these directions.