Making an idea come to life, especially when it’s a complex one, is a long, windy road. We showed you the W2H Paper in April of 2020 and introduced the first Wildland client in June of 2021. Having released the 0.2.0 version of the client, we want to bring you up to speed with our vision for what lies ahead.
1. Building a user-friendly replacement for popular cloud storage services
The software we have released so far has showcased many innovative and unique Wildland features like backend agnosticism, infrastructure-independent addressing system, and multi-categorization of data. So far, however, these exciting properties have been easily accessible only to command-line savvy power users (and others willing to go through Wildland’s extensive documentation).
To make Wildland much more accessible we are now concentrating our efforts on developing a user-friendly app that will allow users with no advanced skills to ditch their current cloud storage providers and replace them with an alternative which treats them as agents with interests that matter, and not as bits in a revenue stream.
The app will have an intuitive and easy-to-use GUI built on top of the Wildland client and will come with a free cloud storage “starter pack” provided by Golem Foundation. The storage space available with the free tier will be highly competitive, with similar offers provided by services like Dropbox or Tresorit. Users requiring additional space will be able to buy it on the Wildland marketplace, which we are planning to launch not long after the app becomes available to the general public (see the next section).
Aside from serving as a primary tool for cloud storage and backup, the app will allow users to use Wildland for data synchronization across many devices. Initially, the app will be available only on macOS and iOS, but full-featured Linux, Windows, Android, and web apps are planned for the future.
All users who sign up for the free storage will receive a non-tradable, non-speculative Proof-of-Usage (PoU) token, which will give them decision rights within the Wildland governance system, and put them in charge of the platform’s future development (for more information on how the PoU token is going to be generated and what rights it will confer on token holders see sections 3 and 6 below).
2. Launching the Wildland marketplace
The next step after the release of the Wildland-powered app will be the launch of the Wildland marketplace, where users will be able to lease different storage options. The initial offer and payment functionality will be limited, but our goal is to quickly develop the marketplace further by opening it up to outside parties so that they can list their storage options for lease, as well as by adding complex payments systems (e.g. allowing for subscription contracts).
The end goal here is to create an open and vibrant marketplace where Wildland users can choose between many offers that differ not only in price, subscription period, and storage size but also in geographical location and in the type of infrastructure provided; a marketplace where, for example, various S3 resellers can compete with P2P-synced hosting providers, and users can specify the geographical location of the backend, so that they can choose cloud buckets located within a jurisdiction that respects users’ privacy rights.
3. Empowering Wildland users through governance
With Wildland we are giving back users control over their digital data. With the User-Defined Organization, we want to give users control over Wildland itself.
To ensure the long-term alignment of the goals of all participating agents and guarantee a sustainable stream of funding for the platform’s development, Wildland will utilize a decentralized governance system that gives the protocol’s heaviest users the strongest influence on its future development. We call this mode of governance the User-Defined Organization(UDO for short).
The user-friendly app we are developping right now as a replacement for popular cloud storage services will see the first implementation of the GLM burning and Proof-of-Usage token generation process, as described in section 3.3 of the Wildland paper.
Each unique app user will receive a PoU token, generated from burning the corresponding number of GLM tokens. Before the Wildland marketplace opens, the GLM tokens will come from the pool of tokens owned by the Foundation. Later on, the tokens for burning will be bought on the open market as a part of every Wildland transaction. This process will be automated and seamless to the user.
When UDO launches, PoU token holders will be entitled to vote on how the funds from the Build Fund should be allocated. Initially, the Fund will be subsidized by the Golem Foundation. As the Wildland marketplace develops, the Fund will be financed from a special Build Fee subtracted from every payment made in the marketplace. The Foundation will provide matching funding for the bounties. Ultimately, however, the goal is for the Build Fund to become self-financing.
Further down the road, we will launch a fully-fledged UDO governance dashboard with a clear overview of all improvement proposals, an advanced polling system, and treasury management options. We are also planning to extend the scope of the PoU token holders agency over UDO, so that Wildland becomes fully user-governed (the exploration of the possibilites in this last regard constitues a part of a borader research agenda, see section 6 below).
4. Integrating Wildland with outside data sources and third-party apps
We envision Wildland as a tool that lets you unify all your digital data within one namespace. We want Wildland to serve as a bridge that traverses the gaps between different services and data sources and exposes your files, notes, and repositories as containers which you can manage however you want, with the tools of your choice.
To allow for the unification of a user’s information into one universe, we need to expand the number of Wildland’s integrations with third-party apps and outside data sources. We will start this process by further developing our own app integrations and storage-exposing-backends (some of those are already fully functional, others are currently in the works).
Ultimately, however, we would like to engage the community and outside teams in this process, thanks to the Build Fund and polls conducted among the PoU token holders. If Wildland is to serve the users’ interests, they should be the ones who decide which features and integrations are to be prioritized.
5. Further experimenting with Wildland novel features
To better manage a user’s universe of information we plan on experimenting further with novel Wildland features like the native multi-categorization of data and cascading addressing, which allows for building and sharing complex directories without relying on a single root of trust.
Our in-house experiments with the Café forest have convinced us that Wildland can serve as an excellent tool for sharing data in a peer-to-peer and censorship-resistant fashion, and we would like to develop this functionality further and make it available to non-power users.
We are also looking to implement data visualization techniques that would enable Wildland users to see their data as a navigable graph, zoom into any area of interest, browse files filed under a certain category, and move containers within categories.
This part of the development process is highly experimental, and will not bring immediate benefits for end-users, but it also has a lot of potential further down the road for bringing substantial improvements in terms of how we manage our digital data.
6. Developing the User Defined Organization as a general framework
If 2020 was the year of DeFi, then 2021 is the year of DAOs. The meteoric rise of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations is a sign of a growing interest in alternative organizational structures that put users in charge. Yet, while DAOs aspire to empower users, they often struggle to find a decision and financing model which truly takes the users’ best interests into account. The widely used token-based governance model has several major flaws that render it vulnerable to plutocracy, outright vote-buying, and other types of economic attacks. Worst yet, governance models that utilize speculative tokens often assume that users and token holders are one and the same, disregarding the fact that the groups may not only be distinct but also have conflicting interests.
We believe that UDO advances the idea of user empowerment further than any other decentralized governance model developed so far. The Proof-of-Usage generation mechanism was designed to mitigate against Sybil attacks (i.e. where attackers gain disproportionately large influence through creating multiple, fake digital identities), and the non-tradable nature of the PoU token should significantly reduce the surface of the economic attacks, and align the long-term interest of all participating parties.
While UDO was developed with Wildland in mind, we strongly believe that it has the potential of being much more broadly adopted in a variety of different projects which could benefit from building their governance model around the actual usage of a particular protocol or software.
To make the idea of user governance more broadly applicable, we’ll be focusing on the further development and specification of the UDO concept as a general framework. In order to do so, we will be looking towards game-theoretic and economic modeling, as well as seeking outside review. We will also be working on developing prototypes - the design of the UI/UX and sample smart contracts - both in-house and with outside partners. This also means going out and sharing the UDO concept with the wider community - organizing events (conferences, meetups, and other forms of public discussions) focused around decentralized governance.
As you can see, there’s a lot of exciting work ahead of us. We hope you’re looking forward to seeing how these ideas develop and mature as much as we are.
We value the community’s opinion and are always open to feedback, no matter how broad or specific. You can reach out to us directly on our Discord server or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.