For many years OneCommons has been home to personal research projects of mine (I registered the domain more than a decade ago!). The common thread was exploring how p2p and decentralized technologies can enable means of collaboration that are resistant to arbitrary authority and commercial manipulation. And, more specifically, how doing so can unlock and harness the vast potential for creativity and human agency.
Until recently the project never graduated beyond a collection of interesting ideas because I could never convince myself of a practical and sustainable application of these ideas that wouldn’t end up either as a marginal niche accessible to most only the most technical or dedicated. Or – if it escaped that fate – how it would be able to resist re-centralization or some other takeover by proprietary interests. And I think the recent history of the rise and fall of last generation’s federated and decentralized Internet services bears out that intuition.
But now the situation has changed: many of the pieces need to build OneCommons now exists – such as the massive investment into open source cloud native technology, especially around the Kubernetes ecosystem, and the advancement of blockchain technologies. And from the perspective of market readiness, over the years many of the core animating ideas behind OneCommons have become widely accepted, such as the advantages of open source development, crowdfunding models, privacy concerns, and a broad appreciation for the dangers of a few entities exerting control over the Internet.
The world is ready and, after a lot of hard work, OneCommons is ready to graduate into a serious venture with practical technology.