February 26, 2021

They Found a Way to Limit Big Tech’s Power: Using the Design of Bitcoin

Twitter declined to make Mr. Dorsey available for an interview but said it intended to “share more soon.”

Blockchains are not the only solution for those in search of alternatives to Big Tech’s power. Many people have recently migrated to the encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram, which have no need for a blockchain. Moxie Marlinspike, the creator of Signal, has said decentralization made it hard to build good software.

The experimentation with decentralized systems has nonetheless ramped up over the last month. Brave, a new browser, announced last week that it would begin integrating a blockchain-based system, known as IPFS, into its software to make web content more reliable in case big service providers went down or tried to ban sites.

“The IPFS network gives access to content even if it has been censored by corporations and nation-states,” Brian Bondy, a co-founder of Brave, said.

At LBRY, the blockchain-based alternative to YouTube, the number of people signing up daily has surged 250 percent from December, the company said. The newcomers appear to have largely been a motley crew of Trump fans, white supremacists and gun rights advocates who violated YouTube’s rules.

When YouTube removed the latest videos from the white supremacist video blogger Way of the World last week, he tweeted: “Why do we waste our time on this globalist scum? Come to LBRY for all my videos in HD quality, censorship free!”

Megan Squires, a professor at Elon University who studies new computer networks, said blockchain-based networks faced hurdles because the underlying technology made it hard to exercise any control over content.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/technology/big-tech-power-bitcoin.html

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