Who controls your online accounts and identities? For most of us, the answer will be some combination of Big Social -- companies like Google and Facebook -- as well as a host of smaller platforms and services, all of them parceling up and selling our information for profit.

But after a series of high-profile hacks, trusting social media corporations to store and safeguard our personal information looks an increasingly bad idea. And many are understandably wary about letting platforms look after their cryptocurrency investments. Custody of our digital assets, it seems, is shaping up to be a key issue for network citizens.

Enter Dark Crystal, a project based around Scuttlebutt (interviewed in a previous episode) and recipient of a recent grant from Ethereum Foundation. Dark Crystal enables users to store private keys -- from Bitcoin to email encryption and beyond -- with and inside their communities and social networks.  To do this, i makes use of the mathematical magic behind Shamir's Shared Secret, allowing groups of friends to safely store different 'shards' of a key,  bringing it together as and when needed.

In this episode, we meet Peg and Kieran from Dark Crystal to discuss the implications of the project: what happens when custody of our most precious digital resources can be taken away from banks and megacorps and entrusted to friends, family and community? And do projects like Dark Crystal signal the beginning of a new, cryptography-based 'information commons'?



In this episode, we meet Primavera De Filippi, author of the recently published 'Blockchain and the Law', from Harvard University Press (co-authored with Aaron Wright). Primavera is interested in how the law will change to accommodate blockchain -- and how blockchain might replace parts of the law. We've already seen how P2P filesharing strained the world's copyright law: what changes will be ushered in by P2P money? We discuss the future of blockchain-based technologies, and whether decentral systems are doomed to create new incumbents and new forms of centralisation; whether (and how) forking could be a solution against this 're-centralisation'; and how Ethereum's smart contracts may have a fatal flaw that the philosophy of law already knows about.
Primavera De Filippi is a permanent researcher at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, a faculty associate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and a Visiting Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute. She is a member of the Global Future Council on Blockchain Technologies at the World Economic Forum, and co-founder of the Internet Governance Forum’s dynamic coalitions on Blockchain Technology (COALA). Her fields of interest focus on legal challenges raised by decentralized technologies, with a particular focus on blockchain technologies. She is investigating the new opportunities for these technologies to enable new governance models and participatory decision-making through the concept of governance-by-design.

Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Lucas Marston (Hollagully) Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch


Presented by TorrentFreak

Sponsored by Private Internet Access

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez.

For sponsorship enquiries, please email [email protected]

In this episode we meet Vinay Gupta: software engineer, disaster consultant and global resilience guru. Vinay served as Release Co-ordinator for the Ethereum project, and is now CEO of Mattereum, 'the first Internet of Agreements infrastructure project, bringing legally-enforceable smart contracts to the internet.' We discuss: the idea of a 'nerd Reich' that has either usurped power from or merged with global governmental power; how and why we now live in a market-driven version of Orwell's 1984; and Vinay's concept of de-governance, and why the modern nation state is the wrong platform to solve the problems that face us today.
Starting out in the 1990s as a computer programmer, Gupta shifted his attention to environmental and infrastructure risk around the turn of the century, becoming involved with the Rocky Mountain Institute, a leading US think-tank dedicated to the sustainable use of energy and resources. He was on the editorial team for two of its books, the Pentagon-funded Winning the Oil Endgame and Small is Profitable, winner of the 2003 Economist book of the year. Since then, his work on state failure and critical infrastructure has seen him contribute to US Department of Defense research projects, consult for the engineering and design firm Arup on urban resilience and most recently, take on a role as an associate fellow at the UCL Institute for Security and Resilience Studies in London.
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In this episode, we meet Ryan Shea, co-founder of Blockstack -- the bold, ambitious project to create a new, decentralised internet in which users own their data and keep control of how their apps run, not Big Content. We discuss why the internet needs re-decentralising, if and how to pull users away from reliance on monopoly platforms like Facebook and Google, and look at some of the interesting disruptions being caused by blockchain based currencies. Plus, Ryan and Jamie float a scheme for a blockchain-powered 'rare meme' economy - drop us a line if you want to get involved!

Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Riley Byrne Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch


Presented by TorrentFreak

Sponsored by Private Internet Access & Premiumize

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez.

For sponsorship enquiries, please email [email protected]