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Introducing the Blockstack Browser: A Gateway to a New, Decentralized Internet

The internet is broken. It has been for a while. Even the fathers of the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf, say that it’s broken. We realize you are probably reading this on the internet, and it seems to be working just fine. So how exactly is the internet broken?

Imagine a world where people don’t have property rights. In this world, you cannot own a house, and all your belongings are kept in a storage facility owned by a few corporations. And in this world, walking into any store or theater implies that you disclose all your personal information, places you’ve been, other things you’ve bought to the business owners. You are tracked 24/7, your belongings are stolen from storage facilities, and you can’t do anything about it.

Most of us would not stand for this in our real, everyday lives. But on the internet, we tolerate and even expect it. We become dependent on nameless, faceless, remote parties just by connecting. On the internet, we are powerless. Our existence on the internet is defined by others, whether that other be a mega-corporation or a government.

Now, we can change that.

Today we are proud to announce the Blockstack browser, which allows developers everywhere to access a whole new internet. This new internet changes the dynamic and brings the power back to the people. Developers can build apps on this new internet by downloading the Blockstack Mac or Linux app (Windows coming soon) and by using nothing more than existing browsers like Chrome or Safari or Firefox.

Blockchain technology powers this new internet. For the first time ever, you’ll be able to access people, communities, apps, and services built on the blockchain from your browser. This new internet reflects how people interact with each other naturally, as they have for thousands of years. In open marketplaces and societies, people transact directly with other people to offer advice, goods, and services. Human interaction has never needed a middleman. The internet should work how real life works.

We’re a group of open-source developers, and we feel the pain of app developers. The permission-based environment of the traditional internet runs directly counter to true innovation. If you are not an engineer at Google or Facebook, it’s hard for you to innovate. It’s not a level playing field. We simply don’t have the access, and if we do, it can be revoked at any time. Innovating on the internet should not require permission from a few mega-corporations. Our developer tools for the new, decentralized internet remove the reliance on existing infrastructure or third-party servers.

Blockchain-based tech has been around for a while, but the technology is too complex, and the average internet user has not had that “aha!” moment: that moment, as with the first Netscape browsers, when you felt you were discovering something truly new, vastly big, and unbelievably cool. Our platform and the dedicated community of developers will lead us to that “aha!” moment for the average internet denizen experiencing a new type of internet.

As our society becomes more dependent on the internet, its 40 year-old, antiquated infrastructure makes our digital lives more insecure than ever. If hackers today can shut down hospitals at a nationwide level, imagine what the next decade will bring?

A new internet needs to have security and safety as a core of its DNA. Applications and services cannot be owned and controlled by remote third-parties. We can build a digital world of truly peer-to-peer internet utilities not maintained by corporations, but collectively, by the people. We can build a digital world that encodes property rights, where we can own our data, and where the people are powerful.

In the next few days, you’ll be hearing even more announcements from us about our vision for a new internet. Stay tuned on Twitter, and we look forward to welcoming you on the new decentralized internet.

Ryan & Muneeb

Ryan & Muneeb

Muneeb Ali is a distributed systems PhD from Princeton and gives guest lectures on cloud computing there. He went through Y Combinator and was awarded a J. William Fulbright Fellowship.

Before Blockstack, Ryan Shea co-founded a software-as-a-service startup called GraphMuse and worked in an operations role for OmniActive Health Technologies. He received a degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University with a minor in Computer Science.