Think of a wild forest, untouched by civilization. What do you feel? Perhaps a sense of freedom, plants being able to grow in any direction they wish to, trees flourishing and nature being able to reach its full potential. This sense of freedom to flourish is what Wildland, an open data management protocol, sees as key to ensuring a healthy way of navigating the ever more complex world of online data.
With Wildland we want to grant users autonomy through allowing them to choose how they store, organize and access their data. We are doing this by introducing self-defined data containers. Think about them as git repositories that are backend-agnostic, can be easily moved between different storage options, and are accessible along many different paths. By decoupling data from infrastructure Wildland seeks to offer a viable alternative to bundled, closed services. But why is such a change so important in the first place? Our current digital environment is far from a wild, freely expanding forest of knowledge, but we see an opportunity for change by targeting an array of interlinked challenges.
Because our digital sovereignty is limited. When we talk about sovereignty in political terms, we refer to a country being able to control its own territory, free from an outside influence. Digital sovereignty refers to users being able to govern their own data and decide how they want to manage it.
In the world of global tech giants reigning over our data and dictating the rules, our data sovereignty is limited. This is because it is more simple to provide bundled, closed services, which allow the optimization of user experience and engagement. Furthermore, a closed service brings the possibility for monetization, which fuels the service providers’ desires for ensuring their services are competitive and maximize profits. However, this means that users have to face the many threats that stem from the actions of malicious hackers, the risk of being cut off from their data, having it misappropriated and used against them to try to influence the users’ choices.
With Wildland the user’s data is no longer stuck in a closed silo but stored in containers which can be easily moved between different backends, thanks to decoupling the addressing layer from the actual storage, and allowing for the creation of a bottom-up “organic” architecture. In the future the number of possible storages usable with Wildland is set to increase, thanks to improved functionality and a marketplace offering different storage solutions to users. This exchange would be possible thanks to the Unified Pay System - based on blockchain and using a widely-adopted decentralized stablecoin as the sole medium of exchange. This would see Wildland becoming a place where not only could users pay providers for storage services, but also software vendors and developers for tools to interact with data without sacrificing the user’s control over it.
Because we need to make decentralization functional. Since we often assume decentralization to be the only answer to ensuring data privacy, we have seen an emergence of many decentralized data storage projects, such as IPSF, Filecoin, Sia, and Safe Network. Wildland isn’t trying to compete with these projects. It aims to bring an aspect of functionality and pragmatism to data storage decentralization, by putting the emphasis on flexibility and enabling the user to use any infrastructure they wish and to switch seamlessly between different backends.
It is important to remember here that decentralization within an organization itself comes with its own challenges. Firstly, people tend to be passive and often need an incentive to participate in the infrastructure-building process. Secondly, it can be difficult to determine who gets to decide on how the project should be advanced. There’s also the challenge of open source decentralized data storage projects being too niche which prevents them from becoming viable alternative solutions to bundled, closed and monetized services. This means there is a need to build a feasible economic framework to make Wildland a real alternative.
Therefore we are developing a new governance model that puts the users in charge of the platform’s future development. We call this model “User-Defined Organization”, because it is based around the assumption that Wildland’s heaviest users should have the greatest say in how the platform should evolve. This proposed economic model, which utilises the GLM token, is key in building a healthier way of governing our data and in challenging the way we think about decentralized data storage, by building on its functionality.
Because there needs to be a paradigm shift. Wildland is about more than simply offering an alternative: it’s about trying to change the whole paradigm. Currently, the Internet operates on a service-oriented paradigm. Wildland aims to shift that paradigm to favoring data over services, and from top-down to bottom-up, in order to introduce an aspect of organic growth into infrastructure building. Switching these paradigms means being able to free users from challenges such as vendor lock-ins and loss of control of data. It’s about realigning the way data storing works with the interests of the users, not the interests of corporate entities, which has been the case since the advent of cloud storage.
Because people are becoming increasingly frustrated. We have the necessary know-how, an experienced team and the resources needed to build a viable alternative to the current service-based model of the Internet in which Big Tech companies can roam free. But most importantly we have the interests of people like you at heart.
People have been growing dissatisfied with the status-quo and so there is simply a need to look for a change. It’s a way of empowering people and trying to use technology for the benefit of the many, not the few.
Data has become a fully-fledged layer of our existence and there’s no indication that this is about to change. Quite the opposite – the role of data in our lives will only grow and there’s no plausible reason for it not to be governed by the same principles we see as key to living a fulfilling life as members of society: having the freedom to make decisions about what belongs to us and the means of reaching our full-potential, just like that forest does when left to flourish in its wilderness.