Tomi, a decentralized cloud computing network, has announced that it has raised $40 million in a funding round led by DWF Labs, Ticker Capital, and Piha Equities, as well as Japanese crypto investor Hirokado Kohji. Tomi aims to provide an alternative to the traditional internet by creating a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that governs a “surveillance-free alternative” to the internet. The funding will be used to attract publishers and further develop its network.
Tomi was launched in 2022 by an anonymous group of crypto industry veterans who sought to create a version of the internet governed by a DAO. The tomiDAO is responsible for network governance, including voting on code alteration proposals and managing content that violates community guidelines.
The spokesperson for Tomi clarified that all monetization efforts on the network are facilitated through the network’s native token, TOMI. The token is used as the primary currency for various activities within the network, such as buying domains, paying transaction fees on tomi’s layer-2 network, and participating in voting activities.
Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are blockchain-based entities with no central ownership that are governed by self-organizing communities. Their utility has grown over the years as more organizations look to implement bottom-up decision-making without hierarchical management. The Marshall Islands have recognized DAOs as legal entities, making them more accessible for organizations to adopt.
Decentralizing the internet can enhance digital ownership by promoting open services powered by decentralized apps instead of centralized applications controlled by major technology companies. This push for decentralization is currently being led by Web3 companies that have raised billions in venture capital to advance their version of Web3.
Tomi’s project seeks to provide an alternative to the tech titans and re-educate the masses that they can have control again. The network’s surveillance-free nature appeals to content creators looking for a more secure and decentralized platform to share their content. Tomi’s unique approach to decentralization through its DAO and native token could disrupt the centralized nature of the internet, empowering users and promoting digital ownership.
The debate over ownership in Web3 has waxed on stronger as prominent figures like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey have continued to fan the flames. This has prompted those in the space to come to the defense of Web3 and provide much-needed explanations about Web3. One of those is a croissant on Twitter which makes informative threads revolving mostly around Ethereum.
This time around, the croissant replied to SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, regarding his stance on Web3. Musk had posted a tweet mocking the innovation asking if anyone had seen it, as he joked that he couldn’t it. Subsequently, the CroissantEth had replied with a thread focusing on explaining Web3 and NFTs to the billionaire.
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Owning The Net With Web3
CroissantEth starts by explaining its foray into independent writing. First explaining how centralized platforms like Facebook and Twitter had managed to end years of hardwork after shutting down its Facebook account. This served as an opening for the argument for Web3 and why it is important for internet users. Basically, with Web3, the users control the space.
Using its own website, The Bakery, as a case study, CroissantEth shows how decentralized everything from payments to subscriptions is. All of it without needing access to users’ bank information or having to involve a third-party payments processor such as Western Union.
It explains how users can access the information on the website by owning NFTs and being able to hold on to these NFTs for life, pass them on as a gift, or even sell them on secondary markets to other users. A completely decentralized system that cannot be stopped by a single platform because everything is under the control of the user, stating that “With Web3, I am the platform.”
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In conclusion, it asked skeptics to read through the read to see that Web3 and NFTs are more than they appear to be.
Others Pile On For Support
The comments by Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey have not been well-received by those in the Web3 community. Most took offense to Dorsey saying that Web3 did not actually belong to the users but rather to the VCs and LPs who are investing heavily in the space.
Related Reading | Jack Dorsey Disses Ethereum, Web3 In Twitter Rampage
Tyler Winklevoss, one-half of the Winklevoss twins, famous for Facebook and being the first bitcoin billionaires, hit back at Jack Dorsey with a tweet that suggests the CEO has benefitted from the technology. The tweet featured a screenshot of a news story that covered the ex-CEO of Twitter having sold his first-ever tweet as an NFT for a whopping $2.9 million, tagging the picture with “Brought to you by Web3.”
The space is still new territory and is in the period where people are having to decide on which side on the fence they sit with the technology. Time will tell if it will be the technology that revolutionizes the internet or just another passing fad.
Featured image from Pexels, chart from TradingView.com
1. Elon Musk changed his Twitter bio to #bitcoin and the crypto jumped 20%, to highs last seen on Jan. 19. The two events are not definitely connected. However, just 15 minutes after Musk made the change, bitcoin climbed 15.7% to $37,050. It’s still ticking up.
Of course, with any rally, celebrity-driven or not, the question comes to stability. Blockchain analytics firm CryptoQuant’s “Exchange Whale Ratio” found that exchange inflows among major bitcoin holders is at an eight-month high, signaling a possible price drop.
However, “Elon’s tweet overrides all other bearish signals,” Ki-Young Ju, CEO of blockchain analytics firm CryptoQuant, tweeted. In a follow-up tweet, Musk appears to nod to bitcoin, saying “In retrospect, it was inevitable,” a quote later imbedded into the cryptocurrency’s blockchain by mining pool F2Pool.
The sharp rise to a 10-day high of $38,020 sparked $387 million worth of bitcoin short liquidations on major exchanges including Binance, Bitfinex, BitMEX, ByBit, Deribit, FTX, HuobiDM and OKEx.
Musk has frequently shown support for crypto broadly. Industry publication Protos found nearly every time he mentions a cryptocurrency, it rallies.
DOGE was the most talked about cryptocurrency on Twitter, including a cryptic picture of a dog in a sweater posing on the cover of a magazine, which Musk posted in the midst of a market rally. (The symbol of dogecoin is a shiba inu while the featured dog in Musk’s tweet appears to be an Italian greyhound.)
Dogecoin climbed 800% Thursday to a record high of about $0.082 per coin. At one point, the meme coin entered the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap.
2. In another story about meme-driven market mayhem, Robinhood has limited cryptocurrency buying due to “extraordinary market conditions.” Traders can “still use settled funds to buy crypto,” a spokesperson said.
This is the second day in a row that Robinhood trading functionality hit up against the limits of memetic demand. Yesterday, a near-revolution formed after the popular trading app placed limits on stocks favored by the Reddit day-trading community WallStreetBets.
In what is shaping up to be the biggest trade of the century, a loosely organized group of retail traders attempted to put the squeeze on short-selling hedge funds. It started with GameStop, but spread to other company stocks with less than ideal prospects, like Kodak and AMC. And the mobbed moved markets, even raising questions of whether it was “manipulation.”
Just as the “degenerate traders,” a term often used sympathetically in Discord cesspools and on Reddit, the “man” looked to put its foot down. Lines of communication were cut (sorta) and Robinhood and Webull, the very disruptors that – per their own adverts – were democratizing finance, limited trading in a move that benefited short sellers.
Amid swirling rumors of collusion and political grandstanding, Robinhood said yesterday the pause on trading has been misunderstood. CEO Vlad Tenev said the company wasn’t “directed by a market maker or any other market participant, to pause stocks that had seen triple-digit returns, but made the decision based on a “technical and operational” considerations.
3. Coinbase is about 3.5 times the size of Robinhood, which is definitely notable and also a lame way to segue into news that the massive exchange intends to go public through a direct listing.
Yesterday, the firm confirmed rumors of an IPO through direct listing. Though the official documentation filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is not yet available. The firm’s announcement Thursday included no details on when the stock would be listed or under which ticker.
In semi-related news, MicroStrategy (MSTR) CEO Michael Saylor said the firm will “explore various approaches” to continue buying bitcoin. The company holds 70,784 BTC, and has previously used Coinbase as a means to buy.
The retail-driven rally across several “meme stocks” has become a narrative opportunity for calls to “decentralize.” Painting with broad strokes, crypto influencers have viewed the week’s events as the power of the masses rising up against centralized gatekeepers and legacy institutions.
Connecting the dots to the crypto industry, noted technologist Balaji Srinivasan said, “Crypto and WallStreetBets have the same spirit: a vision of truly free markets where everyone plays by the same rules.” A disparate group of traders, banned together by social networks like Reddit and Discord, now, conceivably, can have as much influence on markets as Wall Street, Srinivasan argued.
The movement is much bigger than what’s happening with a few stocks. Similar references to decentralization were made after social media giants, including Twitter and Facebook, took the unprecedented step to ban now-former President Donald Trump from their platforms while he was still in office.
In short, the battle lines are being drawn around private companies – which were once seen as democratizing forces but have trended towards “illiberalism” – versus open-source platforms that anyone can use, indisputably and in perpetuity.
The problem isn’t necessarily about companies curating their platforms, like Robinhood temporarily limiting trading of a few overheated stocks or Twitter removing QAnon conspiracies, which, as we’ve covered before, is a First Amendment right, but about who gets to make the call.
The internet was envisioned as an open platform. It still is. But the World Wide Web we have today, the actual system that is so often conflated with the internet itself, is primarily mediated by a few tech giants. These companies – Google, Facebook and other household names – have become the interface people see when they log on. Their dark-house algorithms also surface the majority of content that is consumed online.
Decentralizing this stack, removing the “walled gardens,” is the work of the crypto movement, which is rapidly advancing towards Web 3.0, envisioned as a user-owned network. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is perhaps the highest-profile proponent of creating open protocols for social media.
A project he announced in late 2019, Blue Sky, recently released a report on the current state of the decentralized web. The obvious conclusion: There is much work to be done. One effort not covered in the Blue Sky report is a pretty clear example of this.
Revolution Populi announced the launch of its testnet today. It’s a blockchain-based solution meant “to decolonize the internet.” Developed by Yale computer science professor David Gelernter, sometimes credited as the creator of the first internet social network, and ex-Goldman Sachs Vice President Rob Rosenthal, Revolution Populi hopes to create an open source foundation where “a thousand social nets can bloom.”
It’s an ambitious goal, and one that faces numerous obstacles. When pitching itself as a “Facebook killer,” its founders told Forbes in 2019 it was eyeing a “billion-dollar” initial coin offering. That offering has yet to materialize, caught up in legal questions, Rosenthal said in an interview with CoinDesk’s Blockchain Bites yesterday.
Though Rosenthal said the project is “well capitalized” through private funding, there are other concerns. As experimental as experimental gets, the project is using a consensus algorithm, called random Delegated Proof Of Stake, which builds on the standard used in the EOS blockchain. Then there’s the project’s crypto clearinghouse to match trades.
“The cryptocurrency industry is screaming – screaming – for some measure of backstop against the spiraling crisis of counterparty risk,” Rosenthal said. It’s an infrastructure Rosenthal proposed as a way to monetize the system, though it is still being built. There are a few examples of clearinghouses already being used, like ErisX.
And as Messari notes, a blockchain already functions like a clearinghouse. “The Ethereum blockchain acts as the decentralized clearinghouse for transactions involving tokens and smart contracts. Ethereum currently settles billions in transactions every day without requiring a corporation like the [Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation] to ensure a transaction is completed.”
That said, crypto is inherently forward-looking and foundational technology across the ecosystem is still being laid out. Just weeks ago, for instance, Revolution Populi integrated with the decentralized app friendly Matic Network.
In some sense, what matters most in crypto is intention. The core idea being is to empower individuals, to flatten hierarchies and to lay a technological foundation that could never be co-opted by governments or corporations.
I was curious about Rosenthal’s take on the Robinhood dilemma, given his 19-year career at one of the world’s most powerful investment banks, one that Matt Tiabbi referred to as “a great vampire squid.” If RevPop wants to kill Facebook, what’s next for Goldman?
There will be no bloodshed, the gray-haired former punk rocker said diplomatically.
“The point is, we’re on the right side of history, which is a populist revolution. It’s a philosophy of decentralization, an idea around people controlling their own lives,” he said.
Whether it’s an alternative worth considering, I leave to you, dear reader, to decide.
LAUNCHING STARGATE: Cosmos looks to lead in blockchain interoperability with its coming release. (CoinDesk)
CRYPTO EXCHANGE: Japanese financial giants SBI and SMFG are eyeing 2022 for the launch of a “digital stock exchange.” (CoinDesk)
BITCOIN CORE: Marathon is backing developer Jonas Schnelli’s work, with a year-long $96,000 grant, payable in bitcoin. (CoinDesk)
SPEAKING OUT: “Madison Campbell’s DIY Rape Kit has kicked up a storm, not least because it’s backed by Silicon Valley VCs.” (Decrypt)
BINANCE SURVEY: Crypto buyers 4 times more likely to regret missed opportunity. (Modern Consensus)
THIN DETAILS: “Visa’s Q1 earnings call reveals details about its crypto strategy.” (The Block)
The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a decentralized peer-to-peer protocol designed to make the web less centralized and to avoid censorship, has been integrated into the desktop web browser Brave, making it the first browser to have a native IPFS integration.
The move continues to add accessibility to IPFS, allowing Brave users to access content on the protocol by “resolving ipfs:// URIs via a gateway or installing a full IPFS node in one click,” according to a statement accompanying the announcement.
“IPFS is important for blockchain and for self-described data integrity,” said Brian Bondy, CTO and co-founder of Brave, in an email to CoinDesk. “Previously viewed content can even be accessed offline with IPFS. The IPFS network gives access to content even if it has been censored by corporations and nation-states, such as for example, parts of Wikipedia.”
What truly decentralized access to information can look like
According to Dietrich Ayala, technical product manager of browser integrations at IPFS, while the protocol is still in development, making it easily and directly available is important for users who have real problems in their daily online lives around internet access, trust of data, censorship, and addressing data from blockchains for Web 3.0 apps.
One goal of this integration is to provide an early look at what truly decentralized access to information can look like and get feedback from developers and users so IPFS can start layering on more features and functionality in Brave, according to Ayala.
Read more:Cloudflare Unveils Gateway to Distributed Web With ENS, IPFS Integration
Brave users who enable the IPFS node will have a network that still functions during internet outages and shutdowns and, for example, can access critical information such as COVID-19 news which is censored in some countries.
IPFS keeps what you browse so it can be used while offline, which is key in places with expensive internet access or spotty networks.
“IPFS also provides the ability to share and collaborate in offline or disconnected environments – nodes can discover each other over local networks even when not connected to the internet,” said Ayala. “Easy and direct availability of IPFS through the Brave browser radically lowers the bar for developers to take advantage of these features in the applications.”
IPFS: How it works
As CoinDesk reporter Daniel Kuhn wrote last year, IPFS is “a radical redesign of how people navigate and use the internet.”
Read more:InterPlanetary File System Is Uncensorable During Coronavirus News Fog
“The current paradigm of web-search runs HTTP, which sends requests for online content to a single server that stores information, meaning that if anything is changed or blocked there is no reliable way to access it again,” he wrote.
“IPFS, a peer-to-peer protocol, instead allows users to download webpages and content stored across multiple servers and provides “historical versioning” that shows how documents have been manipulated. “
With this new integration, Brave users will have easier access to the protocol, while also offloading server costs from the content publisher and improving the overall resilience of the internet. There are currently over 4,000 IPFS contributors worldwide; the Brave browser is used by 24 million people, potentially expanding the reach of IPFS.
A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a unique web identifier made up of a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or a Uniform Resource Name and is used to retrieve information on a network.
“Brave users will be able to load ipfs:// and ipns:// URIs, which gives users the ability to load a lot of new content which they can’t access in other browsers,” said Bondy. “Dapps are ideal candidates to be hosted on IPFS, and some dapps make use of referencing IPFS content.”
The news comes less than a week after internet hosting behemoth Cloudflare announced that it will be able to connect to domains hosted on the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) and IPFS, further expanding IPFS’ reach.
“At Cloudflare Research, we have been exploring alternative ways to resolve queries to responses that align with these attributes. We are proud to announce a new resolver for the Distributed Web, where IPFS content indexed by the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) can be accessed,” the blog states.