The Decentralized Social Network, Akasha, Launches Web3 Site

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What do you get if you mix Twitter, Medium, Reddit, Ethereum (or tokens/money), the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS) and MetaMask?

Akasha, a project in development for two years and still very much in development, has reached a milestone in launching a web3 front-end, making the decentralized communal space more accessible to all.

Naturally, we had to try it. We’ve been keeping an eye on this since what feels like forever, so couldn’t possibly miss the opportunity of seeing how it has developed in the past two years.

Back then, we had to download an actual client – you still can. That took us kind of off the web into a memorable space where you could say the “cream” sort of secretly convened. A feeling Andrew Quentson well encapsulated at the time.

Akasha has come quite a long way since then, but it is still on testnet and using it does make one aware this is actually, truly, decentralized.

That’s because it can be slow, by perhaps 5-10 seconds, compared to more centralized version. That may well be because the web3 front has just launched, but we think it is because it is actually really decentralized.

We recently took a tour of Peepeth, a twitter like web3 site running on eth and IPFS, but as we used it more we noticed their images were hosted on Amazon cloud, rather than IPFS.

Akasha, on the other hand, is very much on the decentralized IPFS host that sort of uses free laptop space provided by many to then combine it for the use of services like Akasha.

Akasha’s use of IPFS

That’s an image we shared on our first post on the we3 front-end of Akasha. As you can see, it is hosted on IPFS, so we can be fairly sure this is all actually decentralized.

To get to that point, we did not actually have to sign up. We needed metamask of course, but that’s pretty much it. No form, no requirement for any profile, username, no requirement for anything at all.

Instead, we’re straight away met with a blank page that leaves us wondering what do we do now. As it turns out, what you do is you set up a board. That is, you kind of choose what “sub” or what “category” to “subscribe” to.

Akasha dashboard.

If you’re on mac, you can easily scroll these boards horizontally, otherwise you can sort of create tabs for each board where it says “my first board.” So then you can click through them like through browser tabs.

That first of the “latest entries” is our. You’ll notice it has no name, but our metamask eth test and throwaway address, so don’t bother haxoring it kids or indeed donating to it because we’ll probably forget the keys somewhere.

Now you’ll notice at the top it says we have 0.99 eth. That’s testnet, or fake, eth. Akasha has not fully launched yet. They’re still refining it and addressing all the needed aspects before going fully public.

One such aspect, as you might notice, is links. You can see ours up there, it’s not clickable. There is a tab to submit links, but currently it’s grayed out and unusable. Presumably because that’s a hard problem to achieve in a truly decentralized way, but we don’t know why and are just speculating.

Akasha posting.

This is our first post. We have to pay, and in this case it is apparently 31 cent. Quite a lot, but they are not using payment channels, there could be quite a bit of compression, and the fees could be a lot lower.

The idea, however, is to encourage quality content, so that others give you +1s, but in eth. Yet there would need to be some balance between quality and traffic.

This is a work in progress and it does show. Certain features are not there, like links, it can be fairly slow, and for us our computer started being fairly noisy while using it, suggesting it demands quite a bit of our CPU power.

One general point we would make as users is that metmask should perhaps have a whitelisting function because it does become quite annoying if we do have to constantly click that icon and then click submit.

Time is the most precious of commodities. Here at trustnodes we have absolutely none, just as we are sure is the case for others. So users need to be demanded their time preferably not at all, but otherwise to the absolute minimum. You could say there are security considerations, but metamask shouldn’t really be used at this stage as more of a tip jar, with the metamask funds assumed lost.

Another point we would make is that you can kind of feel when something is authentic and genuine. It is easy to say that something is decentralized, but for it to really be decentralized is not easy at all at this stage.

That means there can be a throw-back feeling, especially when these things are just about getting off the ground. But with time they will be refined.

Which means one needs to be charitable to the pioneers, including their mistakes and hiccups, for this space is still at the stage where the TV signal goes off, or the plane crashes, or the computer blue screen shows up.

It will be some time until we get to that nervana when we can be complacent and have demands or indeed drag CEOs through camera Zuckerberg shows.

Until then, and for now, it is mainly the time to build, to pave the new paths, to explore the unknown, to see what we find, to indeed hope and dream we can build a better world even if our first or second attempt fails, in an incremental improvement of sorts, that gradually, and then very much suddenly, gives rise to a new improved reality.

 

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