Article, Urbit

Your digital land

The legacy internet isn’t broken. At least, not yet. It still provides information (for some value of information), entertainment, and social connectivity (so long as you stay within the right lanes). But is it yours? It’s not merely about whether you or your company own the data and resources you trust Big Tech with (you don’t), but increasingly whether you even have a right to your own identity. You have no real right to be you on the Big Tech platforms five, ten, or fifty years from now. Maybe even a year from now.

Whether through malice or apathy, incredible amounts of content (of admittedly varied quality) has disappeared from the internet. In the past weeks Google has killed entire Usenet comp.lang archives. Sites, journals, and news content that we know we’ve read no longer appear in searches no matter how carefully we craft our query terms. More useful tools like e-mail would never make it out of product committees today, or at least not in their current form. Too much permanence and autonomy for the user.

Urbit solves this. Or, rather, owning an urbit allows you to solve this in the way that you want. By owning urbit address space you take control of how you and/or your enterprise engage with a new internet. As a client you can interact with the rest of the network with autonomy and permanence, and also control how you want to evaluate the reputation of others without giving that authority to others. As a server you can optimize how information is shared across devices and how they in turn interact with the outside world (or not). ERP systems, office software suites, shared media for the family, and anything else can be deployed at a scale that makes sense for you.

Most importantly, the address space is yours forever if you want it. It’s your responsibility to guard your reputation, and the better it is the more useful and valuable the address space will be. Still, in the end no one can take your Digital Land away from you. It’s your stake: your homestead to build and develop as you can and wish.

What homesteading digital land feels like.