Just as the Justice Department and lawmakers threaten antitrust action against Google, Facebook and others, a new market-based challenge has been launched that may be a harbinger of the decentralized web of unlimited entrepreneurship envisioned by tech prophet George Gilder.
It’s none other than the inventor of the World Wide Web himself, Tim Berners-Lee, who is unveiling the first major commercial venture built off a decentralized web platform called Solid, as Fast Company reported.
Gilder told WND in an interview Monday that the project by Berners-Lee, who Gilder mentions in his new book “Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy,” is a “really important event.”
“He’s a semi-divinity in the history of the internet,” Gilder said of Berners-Lee. “He launched the World Wide Web and imagined this vast efflorescence of activity that we see today.”
Gilder said Berner-Lee is essentially endorsing a “new architecture for the web,” a concept Gilder champions in his book, where he spells out his vision of a new internet, “after Google,” of limitless entrepreneurship and prosperity, rooted in human creativity.
He said Berners-Lee’s project, however, is much less developed than the current blockchain technology, the basis for cryptocurrencies such at bitcoin. Blockchain, using complex codes, allows users to navigate the web and make transactions while protecting their identities and information.
“He’s obviously an important part in this whole movement, and his endorsement of it is extremely exciting,” Gilder said.
Gilder explained that the Berners-Lee startup, called Inrupt, complements the “cryptocosm,” the newly emerging decentralized architecture, and doesn’t replace it.
Backed by Glasswing Ventures, Inrupt, Fast Company reports, aims “to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it.”
It’s “a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open.”
Gilder’s 1981 book “Wealth and Poverty” was Ronald Reagan’s guidebook for his economic revolution, and his 1990 book “Life After Television” predicted the current digital world with astounding specificity. The 1994 revised version described a future personal digital device that sounded almost exactly like the iPhone that was introduced 13 years later by Steve Jobs, who read Gilder’s book.
In a recent three-part, WND interview series, Gilder explained what he sees as Silicon Valley’s “fundamental flaw,” showed why Google’s “free stuff” isn’t free” and described a new internet, “after Google,” of limitless entrepreneurship.
In another WND interview, he explained why he believes the Trump administration’s threatened antitrust action isn’t necessary, warning that the “powers of government can be devastating.”
Beginning this week, developers around the world will be able to start building their own decentralized apps with tools through the Inrupt site, Fast Company reported.
The business tech magazine noted to Berners-Lee that it’s unlikely “the big powers of the web” will “give up control without a fight.”
He replied: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.”
Gilder said that, in his opinion, Berners-Lee is “a little behind the times.”
“He’s got, I think, a more sophisticated and complete solution,” Gilder said.
At some point, Gilder said, all of the various new projects will need to get together and submit industry standards that make them interoperable, or compatible with each other, as they did in the early days of the web.
One of the many benefits of the new architecture for the user is that “rather than having to come up with a username, password, pin and other personal data for every web page with which you want conduct commerce,” Gilder said, “all the web pages will have to come to you.”
“They will respect your own identity, which you establish on the blockchain,” he said.
“You are not multiple identities; you have a single identity, and you and your device should participate on the internet on your own terms – not on different terms for all the millions of web pages.”
Gilder noted that in August, Intercontinental Exchange, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange and other global marketplaces, announced a new venture called Bakkt that will offer a federally regulated market for bitcoin.
“This is moving really fast,” Gilder said of the broader movement, “and it’s an enormously exciting time.”