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Dtube – A decentralized video platform using STEEM and IPFS (d.tube)
558 points by WhiteRiceWill on Feb 28, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 192 comments



Ok, so I'm looking at a website that tells me it's decentralized.

But from all I can tell this is just a good old website. Somebody has control over the domain name. Points it to servers of his choice. And the servers deliver content of his choice. What's decentralized about it?


A good old website? No.

We don't need the domain, you can take the https://github.com/dtube/production repository, ipfs add -r it on ipfs, and use DTube this way -> https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmRWPnY8h7Eg4v74GtKT6UBy2kUAN139QwYPUrg... (few bugs but it works apart from /home not being rendered on first load, you need to click the logo)

What is decentralised:

- The website (its fully static and can be hosted on ipfs)

- The video storage (IPFS)

- The account system / commenting / voting / subscribing (when you do that, it directly creates the transaction on the blockchain)

What isnt decentralised:

- The upload endpoints (upldr*.d.tube). You can legitimately avoid it if you have a local IPFS node running and you add files yourself, however it's really not convenient for users.

- The search endpoint (asksteem.com). This is used for the search, tags browsing, and related videos.

- Server side rendering stuff for robots only (we enabled that recently)

P.S: I am the founder of DTube


Upload endpoints can be decentralised if you're willing to put a little effort in.

By removing the certbot role from the ansible config and adding a locally running debian 9 vm as a upldr host in the inventory file.

You can run the ansible script and it will provision a full upldr node, you'd then have to edit your local hosts file to point upldr1,2,3,4,5&6 to the IP of the VM.

Then running your local copy of dtube any uploads will be sent to those nodes will be processed on the upldr host you created.

This is all untested but it should work fine, nginx might throw some cors issues but those are easily remedied.

I've been meaning to try it out for a while but life has been doing its thing

https://github.com/dtube/deploy

P.S. I do ops things for DTube.


How do you suggest decentralizing the upload endpoints without forcing users to install IPFS locally?


The upload endpoints come with their own ipfs nodes, it's how the file gets added to the ipfs network.

You could put the file into ipfs via another method and then using the upload feature of DTube specify the hash, so if someone is willing to let you upload to their node then you can do things that way.


Here does "decentralized" also mean "censorship-resistant"? In light of YouTube censoring perfectly legal videos for wrongthink, I think it could be a big win for you to also come out as only censoring when there's a legal basis.


Videos can be hidden in the UI but only via enough downvotes from the community, even then the video and its hash is still on the blockchain and available via ipfs.


Not to diminish the technical accomplishment here, but that sounds like the very definition of tyranny of the majority.

Not to say that our current systems of manual moderation are perfect, but at least it's a step removed from mob rule, with recourse usually available if a video is wrongly flagged for simply expressing unpopular opinion.

If a video tries to express unpopular viewpoints at DTube, it would seem impossible for it to ever get listed again without waiting for the tides of public opinion to turn, which could take much longer if these kinds of moderation systems become prevalent and the majority could silence the voices of the minority so directly.

Decentralized moderation is a hard problem, and I don't claim to have a good solution myself, but I'd rather take centralized services over decentralized ones with moderation implemented as rule by majority with no recourse. That seems like a dangerously slippery slope towards dystopia.


Especially if the majority are all named "sybil"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybil_attack


Particularly with how popular it is to use bots to Facebook Like, Retweet Twitter, Upvote Reddit, etc. I'm a little worried about being hidden from search when you get too many downvotes, because I personally could probably create a downvote bot army in a day and I'm not really even that interested in it.


On steem, your influence (the power of your downvote) is weighted by the amount of stake (the currency) you have, precisely for that reason.

Still tyranny of the majority (or of the influential stakeholders, actually), but it's a different issue.


Yeah, on Steem it doesn't take a whole bunch of people to disagree with your opinion... you just have to piss off one person who holds a ton of Steem ;)


Will you open source (non minifed javascript sources) DTube?


yes, during 0.7 version, after writing docs on all active repos

the popularity of this thread on hackernews makes it obviously needed, and im quite certain with our popularity we would get quality pull requests from the community


I am blown away by this. I can't figure out where you guys are worse off than youtube, other than that you have to play some content catchup. Otherwise, seriously, what am I missing.


> The search endpoint (asksteem.com). This is used for the search, tags browsing, and related videos.

But search (discoverability) is precisely where one of the biggest problems with YouTube lies. The trouble is that YouTube has enormous power over content creators by its centralized search portal only.

Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15528942


The blockchain gives us some decentralized discoverability. The new/hot/trending listings come directly from the blockchain, and cannot be altered by us. It follows the reddit ranking algorithm.

But yes I agree. Us controlling related videos and the search engine, is basically the same as YouTube. If we want to make a video popular, we can, and that's bad.

Sadly decentralised search for DTube would be a very interesting project, but not something we are willing to spend months of developer time on. If we ever see a good enough decentralised solution for search, we will adopt it, even if it reduces our quality a little.


ipfs.io it's part of a centralised DNS system(.io cctld) so when ipfs.io goes down I assume your website will go down as well?


ipfs.io is the public gateway ran by Protocol Labs staff. There are dozens of other available gateways (we used like 8 gateways total before, and we decided to stick to the most performant ones). We still use infura.io for the videos too.

We have our own gateway that we use for pictures (snap1.d.tube).

These IPFS gateways are a bit like a CDN system. The same file will load through any gateway. example https://ipfs.io/ipfs/Qmb14Qr2Jk55SDu3dtUNccZw7GDpzCHa8VeoZok... is the same as https://snap1.d.tube/ipfs/Qmb14Qr2Jk55SDu3dtUNccZw7GDpzCHa8V... or through any IPFS gateway.

Long term we plan to get rid of these gateways, by using js-ipfs in our player. Works, but not really stable as of my last try (memory leaks that cause the tab to crash after X minutes). With js-ipfs (native javascript IPFS node), we can load files directly from all nodes that have the file pinned, without going through gateways.

Also if you run ipfs locally and use the localhost:8080 gateway, then it's also going full p2p.


That's just the http gateway so that those of us who are stuck in the stone age can view stuff on ipfs. All that content is still available as long as someone has the content pinned somewhere.


run a local ipfs node and replace the ipfs.io part with your IP, it will work fine.

you can even mount ipfs as a readonly filesystem and cat that hash and get the content.


If you install ipfs-companion browser extension, it will automatically turn all ipfs.io/ipfs/ links to links to your locally running gateway.


It actually replaces all links of the form /ipfs/<valid hash> , regardless of the domain.


By that definition I can't really think of many truly decentralized protocols. At some point you have to find an entry point into the "mesh", it's a chicken-and-egg problem. I believe that bitcoin seeds nodes IPs using the DNS system for instance (IIRC it used IRC before that), bittorrent uses torrent websites to share torrents/magnet links etc...

Once you've managed to connect to a node you can usually explore the topology of the network and find other peers so you only need the centralized resource temporarily to bootstrap new nodes. I'm not too familiar with IPFS but I imagine it works in a similar way.


Disclaimer: I work for Protocol Labs on IPFS

Yeah, "Bootstrapping" a distributed network requires some sort of entrypoint. There are a couple of solutions, I'll share what IPFS is using.

First we have mDNS for local discovery. When you start a IPFS node, it starts announcing it's addresses over the local network. So this solution is pretty decentralized, as it'll connect with any node it can find. This doesn't work over the backbone though.

Secondly, we (Protocol Labs) run a couple of "bootstrap" nodes. They are normal IPFS nodes, but they run behind DNS and a static IP. Then in the standard distribution of IPFS Core (go-ipfs and js-ipfs) we hardcode the addresses. So when you start your node, it connects to the bootstrap nodes, which then shares which nodes they are connected with, so everyone ends up connected. This ends up introducing a bit of centralization, but because they are normal IPFS nodes, the community could agree to also connect to other bootstrap nodes, the only thing needed is a static address (optional really, but "Good to have") and a IPFS node running there.

Lastly, we have Signalling servers for webrtc and websocket connections (mainly for js-ipfs in the browser). This basically acts as a centralized endpoint for nodes to find each other. This is probably the most centralized solution to the bootstrapping problem.


Yup, DTube, like most projects related to STEEM still have a high degree of centralization. This reddit comment gives a good evaluation of DTube: https://www.reddit.com/r/dtube/comments/7ysdn1/how_distribut...

So most parts of it could at their core be used in a distributed fashion, but are actually accessed via CDNs. E.g. you could use ipfs-companion[0] to alter all instances of ipfs.io URLs to point to a local IPFS daemon that is connected to the IPFS network in a distributed fashion.

I did just that and streamed a video on DTube via a local IPFS daemon and the result was pretty underwhelming, since it took quite some time for the video to load, but I don't dare to evaluate why that is so. After that it does have the nice benefit though that the same video streams instantly on any other machine in my home network!

In a transitional phase to a distributed web I'd expect a lot of websites to employ a similar approach of using CDNs at first (since not everybode has local nodes running), but its sad to see that some of the flagship projects like DTube aren't even open source (and I have no idea if they ever plan to be) and/or have a distributed version available.

[0]: https://github.com/ipfs-shipyard/ipfs-companion


> I did just that and streamed a video on DTube via a local IPFS daemon and the result was pretty underwhelming, since it took quite some time for the video to load, but I don't dare to evaluate why that is so. After that it does have the nice benefit though that the same video streams instantly on any other machine in my home network!

Could be that you just started the IPFS node and it didn't really have any time yet to connect to a large enough number of peers.

But yeah, as you said, the benefit is that after the fetch from the internet backbone, the content now lives much closer for the next time.

Disclaimer: I work for Protocol Labs on IPFS


No I don't think that was it. I had ~700 peers connected. I guess due to DTube using CDNs in front of IPFS most content is probably only available from very few actual nodes.

PS: Keep up the great work on IPFS!


DTube doesn't actually use a CDN in front of any gateways. You can see this yourself in the Network tab of the developer tools in your browser.

Thanks :)


I meant the gateways (ipfs.io and ipfs.infura.io) with CDNs, because they certainly exhibit most of the charactaristics of a CDN.


My guess would be that distributed internet will never work.

Sure for popular content like Google.com. or the top 1000 of YouTube will work. But the rest will always crawl to a stand still, since the content will always be on a far away or slow node...


It just needs an incentive to have others host your content, AKA FileCoin. You've always gotta pay a little bit to keep your sites up.


That does however essentially reverse the cost of operations.

Popular content is free to host while content that isn't popular is costly to host.

The more unpopular your content the higher the cost becomes.


I'm not sure if I follow. This is from Sia, so it might not be the case with IPFS + FileCoin, but the cost for finding a host is the same for everyone. The hosts themselves determine their own price, and they're given a rating determined by the amount of storage they have + uptime + bandwidth. Users can then choose who hosts their content by looking at their rating versus cost.

Currently, without monetization in place, popular content is easy to host while unpopular content is not. Monetization levels the playing field.


On IPFS popular content is cached, a website like youtube will most likely not have to pay hosting for any parts of it's website or popular videos if they were to run on IPFS.

Content that is not popular enough to remain in the IPFS caches will require filecoin or some other form of paid hosting to keep it around, thusly increased cost.


Ah, that makes sense. Yeah, popular sites could probably get away with having no hosts, except for their older posts + user-generated content.


I think it's worse than that, there needs to be an incentive for businesses to own and support it for non-enthusiasts.

How could Apple or Google or Amazon or Facebook make money by promoting a distributed internet?


> How could Apple or Google or Amazon or Facebook make money by promoting a distributed internet?

Perhaps unprofitability is a feature, not a bug.

Individuals can choose to seed content they care about (given an effective UI), which means the content will be available as long as enough people care about it. “Enough” does need to be a sufficiently small number.


I disagree. I don't want a large company controlling most of the IPFS nodes.


> In a transitional phase to a distributed web I'd expect a lot of websites to employ a similar approach of using CDNs at first (since not everybode has local nodes running)

I'd like to think so, but a more cynical take is that efforts like this to trade on 'distributed' will either (and most likely) fail or, if they do get traction, ditch the distributed backend once it's served its purpose as a selling-point to attract early adoption.


TBH, I'm not sure how big of a future video "platforms" will even have. With IPFS+Filecoin and a few other parts, it might become quite trivial to host your own video content. With that the focus could possibly shift to platforms like Patreon, and if the payment parts of that can be commoditized (via things like Stellar and SatoshiPay), maybe even back to the good old website. One can only dream...


    With IPFS+Filecoin and a few other parts, it
    might become quite trivial to host your own
    video content.
Using Filecoin means you are not hosting it yourself.


Oh, of course, my bad. I mean't to express "have your content hosted without a central party gatekeeping party".


This solution might make a lot of sense as a build-up process.

However, until DTube release a client so that the network can build, it's just a centralized video platform using IPFS and STEEM as storage backends. Unless clients are made available, it might as well use S3 and Postgres.


If it uses IPFS as a storage backend, then why is it faster to watch the video on the website then via IPFS as hobofan did? This seems to be an indication they store that data on a server all the time.


By default, when making requests to the HTTP gateway, it'll cache the content requested until a GC runs. So it's possible that the local node you're using, have not seen the content before so it needs to go out and fetch it while the gateway d.tube uses, already has the content fetched and only needs to serve it.

Of course, the second time you load the content (or if another node on your local network already loaded it) via a local node, it'll be much faster than the public gateway d.tube is running.

Disclaimer: I work for Protocol Labs specifically on IPFS.


Furthermore, being behind a CDN, the CDN might be caching some resources at their edges for additional performance improvement.

(I believe someone stated DTube was running behind a CDN.)


the domain is not needed to access the content as the content is actually one the STEEM blockchain.

1. the content text and meta data is on the STEEM blockchain 2. Dtube is storing the videos etc on IPFS

so by reading the STEEM blockchain, we can get the content even without DTUBE.

Dtube is an app, just another one to talk to the STEEM blockchain and they make revenue by taking a small part of the revenue from the content creators.


This is exactly right. Most of the people who I asked the same question does not even understand the implication using any DNS names. I think decentralized if the new buzzword that everybody is throwing around especially crypto guys for no good reason.


Fwiw, in a hypothetical design, you could use DNS as a means to delivery for those who are not running IPFS. It would be fully decentralized via IPFS (ignoring any flaws there), but still be centralized for adoption and those not needing decentralization.


The content is available in a dozen sites and apps that access the same Steem blockchain.

The video content comes from ipfs - if you run a local node and install the browser extension to redirect requests from gateway.ipfs.io to your local node - then you have no dependence upon a single service.


If it's a DAPP you could theoretically save the .html file and just open it locally. If they've implemented some of the logic on the back end, then you can't... unless what they're doing is public and you can pretty much implement your own client.


I can save the html of any website. How does that make it 'decentralized'?


HTML that makes use of an API or content delivery service won't work if that service is unavailable. DNS-based service discovery is centralized, and so are most services themselves (at the level of the operating organization, even if the servers themselves are distributed across geography or providers). Downloaded HTML also can't connect to a service that disables CORS[^1], unless you do additional work to serve the HTML from a spoofing server or to a spoofing client. It's typical for API services to disable CORS, and content delivery services to prevent hotlinking.

HTML for a DApp, and IPFS, connect to a local Ethereum node. The local node uses a P2P (decentralized) connection[^3] to the Ethereum network. It therefore relies on the availability of the network, but not of any single org. (Your ISP can still disconnect you, though, at the physical layer or several other layers.)

[1^]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-origin_resource_sharing

[2^]: https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/JavaScript-API

[3^]: https://github.com/ethereum/devp2p/blob/master/rlpx.md


So first, you cannot save the html of any website like this. A lot of websites generate the content you'r browsing dynamically via a backend. Others will query APIs that will only answer to their domain (CORS).

What I'm saying is that a dapp can be contained into your .html and query the different APIs or the Ethereum network via your own clients/nodes.


Can't the same be said about apps?

You download Google Chrome. For all you know it's phoning home all your passwords to Google in a way they can decrypt and they can empty your bank account.


Steem looked like an interesting idea, but your content lives and dies with the platform's whales, which are either insiders or a few people who believe in the platform. If the whales don't interact with your content, you're not likely to get much revenue. You voting power -- the amount you contribute to content you interact with -- is directly tied to your steem power, so unless you put money into the platform or managed to make money and kept it in the platform, you're not going to contribute much.

Similarly, as a user, contributing upvotes, comments, etc. nets you a curation reward, but this comes in trickles mostly unless you lease your steem power to vote bots.

Also worth noting that the whole steem platform on the currency end of things is completely centralized, so if that matters to you, this is important to know.


> Also worth noting that the whole steem platform on the currency end of things is completely centralized

This is a central Youtube-like clone it seems. I can't scale in bandwidth and has a central governance model.

Plus the coin is worthless: "The number of Steem available is set to double annually, making its supply growth exponential - a possible drag on its future value in the market" https://www.investopedia.com/news/steemit-disruptive-blockch...

"IPFS is cool, but there is no magic. Someone needs to seed the files, and your browser cannot permanently store huge files (local storage is limited to 50MB on most browsers), so seeding through the app directly is not possible as of today. " (https://steemit.com/video/@heimindanger/introducing-dtube-a-... thnx ForkLDing).

Disclaimer: working for 13 years on an academically-pure Bittorrent-based decentralised solution with my university lab.


In this instance, heavy inflation might actually be a plus for STEEM. This is because it doesn't appear to be intended as a store of value, but as an influence market.

As far as I can tell - and I'm sure there's a lot I've misunderstood - STEEM is essentially a market for on-line influence. You gain STEEM for upvotes etc. and the more STEEM tokens you have (STEEM Power), the more influence you have in terms of who gets STEEM tokens.

Now, this sounds kind of pyramid-y to begin with, but without significant inflation, such a system would seem doomed to form an oligopoly of a few users who, by virtue of their "STEEM Power" would gain an ever-increasing share of the tokens minted, pushing everyone else out and probably killing the whole ecosystem. Of course, that may still happen even with inflation.


> Now, this sounds kind of pyramid-y

Unlimited money creation is never sustainable, history shows. An online attention coin can't change economics. The future of television probably is not build on a high inflation economy or destructive hyperinflation. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=high+inflation+~economy


It sounds like they're not trying to create general-purpose money. They've made a token to track influence. They use inflation so old stored influence loses half its value every year. You can't rest on your laurels, if you want influence you have to have provided value recently.


You are completely wrong, and the above people, about steem doubling every year for the total amount, it only increases by something like less than 10% per year.You or someone above you linked an article from 2016 that has very outdated information.

I figured people here might actually do any amount of research instead of just saying vague statements like "resting on your laurels". You have no idea what you are commenting on because it is 2 year old information, but you are acting like an expert. Pathetic.


I’ve been a fan of half-life based ratings/reviews because they allow improvement by increasing the weight of recent input - this feels somewhat similar.


It's interesting to compare this with HN karma. Karma is similarly inflationary, for the same reason: HN would incentivize a very different kind of dialogue if you only gained karma that someone else lost. The difference of course is that there's not a market that I know of for buying into or cashing out of karma, although it's easy to imagine how this could emerge.


Karma is inflationary, but not in the same monetary sense because karma-as-a-signalling mechanism is more valuable precisely because they cannot be traded between accounts. I guess using the popular blockchain buzzwords of the day we should be calling karma a type of "proof of valuable comment history".


It is proof of mind, and there are no miners anymore. By posting and someone upvoting you they are allocating the rewards that the steem witnesses generate. Witnesses all run servers and are chosen by democratic votes from all steem users to represent steem. The list of current witnesses who have power changes from time to time. Someone who was in power last month might not be in power for a few months as it changes between witnesses, giving an actual chance of getting rid of bad actors, whereas in proof of work mining there is 0% chance of taking out a bad actor as the miner owns their equipment and there is nothing you can do.

There is a lot more you need to read and that is ok, you barely have any understanding of the fundamentals.

People are able to allocate their steempower to other users. If large accounts are misbehaving, small and medium sized accounts band together to make it stop, it is mutually assured destruction. Anyone can band together with anyone else and allocate power from their account to someone else. The super majority of people are good natured and want free speech and band together to combat against abusive/bad actors, of which there is only a handful on steemit and there is no issue at all


Just curious...how do they implement inflation? Do they just double everyone's wallet every 2 years, or do they introduce the new coins through mining?


It's mining but most of the mining rewards are distributed to content creators and only 1 out of 20 blocks are going to the actual miner while 19 go to the witnesses (Delegated Proof of Stake).


The STEEM blockchain is not centralized, and the governance is done through voting witnesses (people running the steem source code). There are hundreds of people running it => https://steemit.com/~witnesses

Also the supply is not set to double every year, this source is completly outdated. This model was changed more than a year ago. Current inflation rate is 9.5% per year, reducing by 0.5% per year until it reaches 1% per year (I believe)

The coin isn't worthless at all... It's publicly traded at around 3$ today on many exchanges.

Lastly the quote about IPFS is mine, and I actually believe we will be able to make people seed the video they are currently watching through our embed player soon, thanks to the progress of js-ipfs.


The coin is far from worthless - the way Steem's blockchain is structured (DPOS) makes liquid steem constantly disappear from the market, since a vast majority of users that actually generate a significant amount of steem invest in their account - freezing their Steem in the process (effectively removing the coins from the market).

Also, I don't think I need to mention the fact that Steem is not a coin for trading (even though it has 3 sec transactions and literally 0 transaction fees thanks, again, to DPOS), so the big initial inflation that will slow down by a big margin every year is potentially good for the coin.


Is there a link to your project?


https://github.com/Tribler/tribler/wiki "Tribler: an attack-resilient micro-economy for media", first code April 2005


Very neat project. Since you are one of the contributors, I'd like to ask a philosophical question:

The wiki has this quote (emphasis mine)

>Tribler is a Bittorrent-compatible alternative to Youtube. It is designed to protect your privacy, build a web-of-trust, be attack-resilient, and reward content creators directly. We are building a micro-economy without banks, without advertisers, and without any government

I see this sentiment in almost all blockchain/crypto circles, including a lot of government funded research groups.

1.) How does that get unified in the mind of contributors? How does working to abolish the very thing that enables you to do your research without having to make bank doing it 2.) It seem to me that in general people want government. See Thomas Hobbes et.al. for studies in academia, or whichever region descended into anarchy most recently. Whenever things are "improving" you see government emerging. Why is so much rhetoric directed against government, when really what everyone is talking about is abusive government?( Which is a much messier problem to even define, but seem to me to be ultimately the correct problem people are trying to solve. That might be be done through building decentralized government -I think so -, but there are cases where centralization makes sense.)


What a side trail this could be!

I'd like to dispel the "anarchy == chaos" sentiment. Anarchy as a political philosophy has a long history of deep thought behind it. I personally see it more as a direction than an end goal. Anarchism is a desire to abolish all unnecessary and/or involuntary hierarchies. As Noam Chomsky puts it in [this interview][1], "it’s not at all the general image that you described — people running around the streets, you know, breaking store windows — but anarchism is a conception of a very organized society, but organized from below by direct participation at every level, with as little control and domination as is feasible, maybe none."

In fact, a functioning anarchist polity exists in the world right now: the [Democratic Federation of Northern Syria][2]. Other such political arrangements have existed for brief periods in the past (one other example is [Revolutionary Catalonia][3]). Why have none of them lasted? It seems more to do with traditional hierarchical nation-states attacking and re-subverting them than any internal failing.

I don't know of the Thomas Hobbes studies that you reference when you say that _people want government_, but I would question it. I find it self-evident that "shared resources require _governance_", but I see no reason that such governance needs to look like a traditional nation-state. People don't want _chaos_, people don't want _mob rule_. But again, the problems of chaos and mob rule can be solved without traditional nation-states. I'm sure societies that trend toward anarchism could also find (voluntary, non-coercive) ways to fund basic research.

So yes, I say. Let's find ways to build economies without governments. Let's find ways to offload some of the centralized work of governments to decentralized technologies. Money, for example. Keeping official ledgers, for example. Let's think about how we can restructure society so that power is more diffuse, rather than being so concentrated. Governments already exist, and will continue to be a useful (if fraught) tool for governing many things, but maybe they don't need to micromanage all of it anymore.

  [1]: https://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/noam-chomsky-kind-anarchism-i-believe-and-whats-wrong-libertarians
  [2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Federation_of_Northern_Syria
  [3]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Catalonia


I am familiar with Rojava (which in my opinion is not a good showcase if you want people to reevaluate anarchy, since it is still an active warzone with a common uniting foe, teters dangerously close towards cult of personality and has yet to prove that it would retain it's anarchic qualities after the survival struggle) and anarchic political theory. I'm mainly interested in understanding perspectives. So already thank you for sharing yours.

>Why have none of them lasted? It seems more to do with traditional hierarchical nation-states attacking and re-subverting them than any internal failing.

Different perspective(slightly provocative): people in a competing anarchic polity who had chosen to centralise more to be more efficient wiped out a competitor. It just looks like a nation state to you, because you frame it that way. Really it's people acting in what they perceive to be their best interest.

>But again, the problems of chaos and mob rule can be solved without traditional nation-states.

Sure, I mainly agree. But I think the next step is scaling the swiss model upwards, or making organizations like the EU more democratic. Anarchy is basically the equivalent "rewriting the whole codebase from scratch" in software: simpler in execution, but throws out the baby with the bathwater(and then not thinking through things properly and relying on "charity" and other notions).

>So yes, I say. Let's find ways to build economies without governments. Let's find ways to offload some of the centralized work of governments to decentralized technologies. Money, for example. Keeping official ledgers, for example. Let's think about how we can restructure society so that power is more diffuse, rather than being so concentrated. Governments already exist, and will continue to be a useful (if fraught) tool for governing many things, but maybe they don't need to micromanage all of it anymore.

Agreed. How do we deal with taxation? This is the elephant in the room: lots of people don't like taxes (even though they payed for starting almost everything good in this world, including the transistor and the internet), so how do we replace that system for funding common goods in our decentralized world?


> Since you are one of the contributors

Good to hear we are still nicely under the radar:-) We are the oldest and largest ledger research lab of Europe. (117 contributors for all repos, https://github.com/Tribler/tribler/graphs/contributors)

> 1.) How does that get unified in the mind of contributors?

Fascinating question. Universities have all sorts of measures to shield the actual researchers from providers of funds. Academic independence is deeply culturally and procedural embedded. For instance, as a tenured professor, I can't realistically be fired for creating "illegal innovations".

> 2.) It seem to me that in general people want government.

In my opinion, an economy is too important to leave to governments to run and tune. Sadly we don't have an alternative to government-led economies. Self-governance and self-regulation indeed leads to abusive behavior. e.g. Google "moral hazard banking".


>In my opinion, an economy is too important to leave to governments to run and tune.

But isn't that decision itself a governing decision, just one where we decide to tune for competition (for example)? It seems to me you can't avoid governance, as soon as there is power, there is either governance by the strong (robber barons) or by a system which tries to balance and - as you called it - tune things (e.g., an elected government enforcing anti-monopoly laws to improve competition)


Think there would be substantial interest in that "Blockchain Engineering" Masters program if you put it online ;)


Most material is covered in the most recent Stanford talk listed here: https://github.com/Tribler/tribler/issues/3472

The following Github issues all contain the detailed class project descriptions, as first item. Engineering projects are creating a storagecoin, fully self-replicating bots, self-sovereign identity. All for 4-5 engineers to do in 10 weeks. Last post is the final project report. https://github.com/Tribler/tribler/issues?q=is%3Aissue+is%3A... Key lesson of "Blockchain Engineering" class: blockchain is 1% hashing/crypto and 99% Engineering. (thank you for clicking around on our website!)


FWIW the high inflation in Steem was forked out well over a year ago. Its inflation rate now approximately matches that of bitcoin.


>whales

Thus, the importance of community. We all yearn for a return to the era of community-oriented sites, built by enthusiasts and maintained by the life-force of real people, whose intentions are not commercial in nature but rather community oriented.

So, I look forward to the eventual retiring of this heinous term, "whales". It is the community that matters.


For a community whose intentions are not commercial why would they need a crypto currency baked into the voting aspect?

In other words, is it reasonable to expect STEEM to not primarily attract those with commercial intentions?


Communities engage in forms of exchange. If I were using this to communicate with other members, for example interested in retro computing, it'd be nice to have a way of exchanging hardware with each other, with some kind of economic exchange to fit.

Its not unreasonable to give people - no matter whether their intentions are commercial or otherwise - a means of safe exchange of value, without commercialising that exchange. Or, is it?


>whale and community

The trouble with the current way "influence" or money is distributed in STEEM blockchain is that, 2 - 3 whale accounts has more influence and means to influence the entire community even if the entire community stands together.

Though I am hopeful that this will be addressed by the EOS's community project.


Alternatively, you can regularly post content you are passionate about and over time build a community of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say and will gladly support you.


Also checkout peertube which is also federated but doesn't run on IPFS: https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube


Also PeerTube is not tied to a CryptoCurrency and doesn't try to solve the problem of remuneration of the content producer.

It's a strictly technical solution to the problem of video hosting centralization.

Depending on your point of view it might be a good, bad or neutral thing.

In my opinion, it's good that we first try to have a solution that is first proven to work and then try to think about how (or if we should) integrate a remuneration system to the solution.


Another one is bitchute.com


For the lazy: https://bitchute.com/


Can there be a general explanation for what all the things including the cash symbols mean and how all the videos sourced from (like using IPFS) if its not too privately protected?

Much thanks!

EDIT: Nevermind, found it, link below:

https://steemit.com/video/@heimindanger/introducing-dtube-a-...


Thanks for the link


So where does the money come from? This might be a question about STEEM more than DTube, but I couldn't figure it out.

The DTube FAQ answer for "Where does the money come from" just says "The STEEM blockchain keeps printing new STEEM everyday. These new printed STEEM are given out as rewards." I'm hoping there's more to it than that, but I couldn't find what the mechanism for bringing value into the STEEM ecosystem is.

As far as I can tell, users of DTube don't pay anything to watch videos, or to comment, or to like videos, but their likes determine who gets paid on the STEEM blockchain. So who buys STEEM tokens and why?


edit: https://steemit.com/faq.html#How_does_Steemit_work might be better.

"Every day, the Steem blockchain mints new STEEM tokens and adds them to a community's "rewards pool". These tokens are then awarded to users for their contributions, based on the votes that their content receives. Users who hold more tokens in their account as "Steem Power" will get to decide where a larger portion of the rewards pool is distributed."


Holding STEEM currency will give you more influence on the network (increase the $ ouput of your votes).

A fresh account will give like 0.002 per vote, while my account with 5000 Steem gives about 2$ per vote.

Also, people who vote get 'curation rewards' from the system. Depending on how early you voted and helped discovered a content, you get rewarded for it, even if it's only a small share, it adds up


People are buying STEEM using Bitcoin to gain attraction to their content. Ads basically.

Imagine if Facebook used a crypto for their ads instead of money. And you gain money back from people who like your ad making the ad cheaper or even profitable.


Advertisers (in the long term)

In order to have visible advertised content, advertisers need to buy STEEM in order to vote on it and gain visibility.


Interesting idea, but unfortunately (and as expected) full of antisemitic and „new world order“ conspiracy stuff by people that claim YouTube is censoring them.


Why is this a bad thing, let people post what they want to. Also if someone says YouTube is censoring them why wouldn't you believe it?


Regardless of your opinions on the subject it's a bad thing for the platform. If 90% of the content is highly divisive then it's going to "taint" STEEM by association, people will assume that if you're posting there it's because you adhere to that point of view. Good luck becoming a Youtube-like general purpose video host in these conditions.

See 8chan for instance: I really like the blend of reddit's flexibility (where anybody can create their own board) coupled with 4chan-style anonymity and lack of karma/upvotes etc...

Unfortunately 8chan became the destination for the generally super far-right 4channers who were too extreme even by 4chan standards. It's like 4chan's 4chan if you will. With such a reputation good luck convincing people to join your knitting-themed board on 8chan.

Similarly, Dailymotion is reputed for porn/NSFW/copyrighted content not available on Youtube and Voat is like 8chan but for redditors.


The fact that all these sites exist (4chan, 8chan, Voat, Gab, etc) suggests that there is demand. You may find their content objectionable, and I may agree with you, but that doesn't mean there's not a viable business there.

> Regardless of your opinions on the subject it's a bad thing for the platform [DTube]

I don't agree. If DTube becomes associated with the far right, which by the way is totally jumping to conclusions at this early stage, and if that then becomes a profitable niche for them, then I'd argue they have a legitimate business.

Compare it all to something like MSNBC vs Fox News. Both are quite successful, running political content for people at different points on the ideological spectrum. While it's true that the viewers of one probably find the other's viewers disgusting and deplorable, I fail to see how that's a problem from a business standpoint.


I agree with you. I should've been more specific: it's a bad thing for DTube if they want to be the new Youtube. If they're fine staying small and catering to a specific niche then sure, that's not necessarily a problem.

That being said I browsed a bit through d.tube since my earlier comment and unlike the parent I don't see that much "controversial" content. However I don't see a lot of quality videos I'd be interested in either... Mostly vlogs and cryptocurrency-related videos.


I looked around d.tube. It's mostly crypto related content. There's also a difference between racist content and conspiracy content. Conspiracy content, which has been growing in popularity and around since the Kennedy assassination, has only recently started getting thrown off of youtube and has started to draw a lot of people to new platforms.


Just start submitting videos of youtube/reddit standards to regulate the quality of content.


It's likely to forever remain a niche for that kind of content only. What reasonable person would say: "I know, I'll host my video on that website which opens with a list of conspiracy videos and has antisemitism promoted in the sidebar next to my content/face." (And even more - which popular company would do that?)


If there are enough benefits to the platform and semi-popular (likeable) Youtubers switch to it, the problem should resolve itself after a few days. Luckily antisemites etc. are a minority of the population and can be easily outnumbered.


That's a really big IF, and semi-popular Youtubers have even more to lose from association with the existing content on there than most of us.


I think the question is if the risk of very loose association with that content is higher than the risk of loosing out on revenue by arbitrary decisions from Youtube.

Given what happend over the last year with the Adpocalypse, most of them realized that being at the whim of Youtube is a real risk, and are now looking to diverisfy their income streams (see growth of Patreon).


Conspiracy videos are important. Think "Collateral damage" videos showing US war crimes....good luck hosting that on YouTube.

Now, if you're talking conspiracy theories, that's totally different, and still not a problem, for many who believe in free expression, regardless if they're interested or not.


> What reasonable person would say: "I know, I'll host my video on that website which opens with a list of conspiracy videos and has antisemitism promoted in the sidebar next to my content/face."

Well people still advertise on Reddit next to T_D and other nutjob subreddits. Unfortunately.


Note that reddit devs are trying hard to hide these controversial subreddits. You won't see them if you go to https://www.reddit.com/ for instance. That's partly why they introduced the "popular" meta-subreddit a while ago. Reddit is pretty advertiser friendly, hence famous people making AMAs to promote something, official or semi-official subreddits for some video games etc... If you want to see the controversial content you have to look for it, for the most part. I consider it very hypocritical of reddit admins to handle things that way but it seems to work decently for them so far.

Contrast that with something like https://voat.co/ for instance. At the moment I can see only one (1) post in the entire front page that's not alt-right politics. Special mention to the highly upvoted "If women have the right to terminate unwanted life because it's in their body, do we have the right to terminate unwanted illegals because they're inside our country?". I don't expect most advertisers will want to touch that with a one parsec pole.


Reddit could ban that entire crack den of T_D and friends.

Let them go to voat, it was specifically founded for the alt-right, same as gab.ai as a Nazi twitter clone. They're all alone out there and don't have any influence anymore... the problem with T_D specifically is that their users lesk out to other, normal subreddit and spew their stuff there. Ban the subreddit, ban all the top commenters/submissions, their admins and forward the dirty stuff to law enforcement.


>Let them go to voat, it was specifically founded for the alt-right [...]

Except it wasn't. It simply experienced more and more waves of users from banned subreddits (which were mainly alt-right related ones) coming in and eventually making an hard right turn on the main website culture, driving out most existing center/left users. It did serve me as a lesson on what external influences can do to existing communities tho.


The niche of those who need freedom of speech keeps getting bigger every day.


that's a filtering problem which should be user-tailored.


Looks like it's already going the way vid.me was right before it closed down (as in super meta videos talking about how great the site is). I think people underestimate just how hard it is to run a video sharing service like youtube and have a healthy community all while making money.


Youtube didnt really start with quality content


Honestly a lot of the Dtube content now feels like early youtube content, only the cameras are better.


That's just a natural consequence of building a censorship-free platform; many of your early adopters are going to be people who find freedom from censorship to be particularly valuable to them.

Tor, Monero, etc all suffer from basically the same problem. Ultimately, if you value freedom from censorship, you shouldn't let the association with others who share that value (though perhaps for different, less noble reasons than you) bother you. Otherwise no platform that has that property will ever take off.


>Tor, Monero, etc all suffer from basically the same problem.

Is the desire for freedom from censorship even actually a problem?


"claim" ? antischool and David Seaman have both had their YouTube accounts terminated in the past week alone.


It's like youtube in it's first decade.


YouTube in its first years was mostly illegal content like music videos, ripped series and random internet videos reposted from other funny video sites. That and the original YouTubers of course.


>illegal content like music videos, ripped series and random internet videos reposted from other funny video sites.

That's what I use youtube for now.


By avoiding a service, because it's used by people you don't agree with, you act exactly like those people. You're not one bit better than them.

By the way, you'll find that kind on Youtube and Facebook, too. I hope you avoid both of them. Best avoid Google all together, because they own Youtube and are guilty by association.


Don't you think some of that could be perpetrated by Google, to sabotage competition? Same thing plagued Vidme, but the thing is - you can find the same stuff on YouTube - it's just more diluted by other content.


No. They don't need to do that and it would be a waste of time for them. If they made any mistake, the negative news would wipe more of their share price (however minimal that reaction would be) than they're ever likely to lose to d.tube.


Just like it's a waste of time for them to buy their competition in every space...?


How does it compare to Peertube? https://peertube.cpy.re/

Ah I see, DTube is based upon IPFS, while peertube relies upon good ol' BitTorrent directly (though IPFS uses BitTorrent too?)


ipfs is a new protocol which happens to do similar things to bittorrent. For simplicity you can think of it as bittorrent with folders


If you're not familiar with STEEM or its currency, you can check the FAQ. [1]

[1] https://steemit.com/faq.html#What_is_the_difference_between_...


It rubs me wrong that anonyhack is reposting videos from YouTube and claiming credit for them, in cryptocurrency and STEEM:

https://d.tube/#!/v/anonyhack/3w9xsp8j

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEBWtbhq0Ts

Can anything be done to prevent or deter this?

Other than maybe leaving comments on the page?


It amazes me how skilled we are in pointing out what is wrong with something.


Well right things need no fixing, so pointing out wrong things is more useful.


The site doesn't work for me at all, just a blank white page. No skill involved in mentioning that.


https://about.d.tube/ - A landing page presenting and explaining DTube

https://github.com/dtube


So this is pretty amazing. But how in the world are they going to survive the obvious issues such as copyright violations?


Isn't that the point behind this? It can't be censored. You don't do anything, because you can't do anything.


Cool project! But I have a hard time shaking the feeling that a lot of the content and comments are bots or are paid for.


Most new social networks suffer from this issue early on, the only solution is mass adoption and curation which the STEEM seems to be working toward.


I like the idea and would love to try it! I have one small concern though. Since the incentive (money) is given to popular videos, why people should post unpopular opinions in Stemmit or videos in Dtube?

That is, if I upload a video of a cat doing some funny thing I'll get more tokens (potentially) that with a super technical video.


Having a platform that incentivizes popular content should in theory attract popular content to the platform. This should attract viewers to the platform, thus increasing the viewership available to see your less popular content.

Meanwhile, incentivizing popular stuff doesn't take anything away from you or your content. You're not being penalised, so why complain?


> Having a platform that incentivizes popular content should in theory attract popular content to the platform. This should attract viewers to the platform, thus increasing the viewership available to see your less popular content.

Thanks for pointing that! I didn't though of it this way. To be honest, my fear is that this platform could turn possibly in some sort of niche. Right now, popular content is about X, so if I want to make quick profits, I'll create a video about X. More people will join and do the same.

I'm sure there are ways to fix that like giving people incentives for posting in unpopular topics. Potentially, each topic could be its own market!

> You're not being penalised, so why complain?

Not complaining at all for now. Just sharing my current thoughts! If I join a social media, I'd love to have diversity of content and opinion. I think in STEEM that could be hard, as it is in Reddit unless you subscribe to unpopular ones. Not a 100% bad thing though!


Isn't the same thing as on Youtube? You get more views, get more money.


I've had a sense that something like this would be the future. However for the less up to par with cutting edge web technologies, how about a single page that in a condense manner describes the technology behind this? Even for a person somewhat up to date with distributed technologies it takes at least an hour to understand exactly what's going on.

Again not trying to be harsh, but I feel that the UI, in this stages looks a little bit too much like youtube, giving it a cheap feel, that makes it a bit hard to sell to "normal" people.

And oh, I feel that having three decimals on the earnings looks a bit weird to me. Isn't two decimals enough? Say $116.688 is hard for my brain to parse either it's 116 dollars and 68.8 cents or maybe it's around 1 million dollars???


I wonder if IPFS can be connected to Cloudflare such that CF ends up acting like a CDN for IPFS network. The content is encrypted (so that the CF does not know what's being served) and users can offer their own Cloudflare API keys to take part in the network.

Edit: Please tell me why the downvotes.


You're likely being downvoted because IPFS is already effectively a decentralized CDN. By adding CloudFlare in the mix, you've just re-centralized it - in other words, you've defeated the entire purpose of the platform.


https://decentralize.today/the-ugly-truth-behind-steemit-1a5...

It's rather old (2016-08) but at a quick glance it appears to be correct and still relevant.


How is abusive content handled on this platform?


Users can downvote.


What steps are being done to combat the doxing of individualists on DTube? DTube doesn't have much of a mainstream future if it becomes a haven for people harassing others / posting their personal information.


I believe the same applies to steemit.com. Well once something gets written on the blockchain, it's hard to remove it. The DTube domain (that we control) would always be able to block certain videos in extreme cases, but the videos would still be on IPFS.

And there isn't much we can do about that, it's the same case as when someone gets seeded on torrent. You can find the nodes seeding a particular content by doing ipfs dht findprovs <hash> , then you get their ips and you go after them legally.


Is it streaming from IPFS directly? Or is d.tube (website) hosting a mirror?


Looking in the "Network" tab in your favorite browser's developer tool, you can see that the videos are requested from the public IPFS gateways. Example: https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmSDWa2kc2vSpbVBvxswZqcUEFTVPBJQyZyjgjT...

Disclaimer: I work for Protocol Labs on IPFS


That would probably not work on customer networks.


seems it using infura.io service


Wow, this is amazing. I think this is a YouTube killer for sure. I'm just waiting for my account to be accepted.

Just one request. I love the YouTube JKL control keys. Any chance you could implement this on D-Tube?


I don't think scrolling on the video to change the volume is a good idea. I jumped because the volume of the video suddenly changed as I was trying to get around.


Would this not run into the copyright issues most other distributed hosting networks run into? Especially since it allows directly monetizing the content.


Copyright issues are the easy end of the problem stick too. I'm going to straight up ask - what happens when a child porn ring starts using this?


It appears to already be a home to some fringe stuff.

"Big cities are like financial slave camps - Take a break at the Zenvow Meditation Resort - All crypto Meditation Resort in Portugal" (of course this is crazy, but harmless—at least initially)

I would also like to know what solution has been proposed for that problem.


IPFS supports censorship, theoretically.


Most likely, it will. But since it's decentralized, it would be hard to enforce copyright.


Probably not that hard. IPFS is not explicitly trying to hide your traffic. If you're seeding copyrighted content, your ISP can be sent whatever the country-supported legal papers are needed to punish you.


Good stuff. I posted some technical videos about DTube/IPFS vs. HLS+CDN in the past few days (2x 20min), and design lectures in the past 90 or so days (2-3x50min)... I forget etiquitte about posting links but my profile has some pointers and I use this handle widely on the web. Highly recommend if DTube is of interest (unscripted+uncut, I rewatch them a few times for myself but share).


I've been wondering for a long time, how do you remove illegal content. I don't care so much about copyright and minor offenses like that, but more serious offenses like child pornography. If there is no way to remove it, people and governments will start to take action against the whole website, decentralized or not.


Just went through the html to figure out the js library that they used but instead found a lot of elements having the same id's in the page. Looks like the frontend was hastily written to make it just work.


The cash amount by each video mean what?


The same payout model is implemented on https://steemit.com - take a look there as well.


thats what the users earned by getting liked by other users


How liquid are those earnings? Can they be withdrawn easily and converted to BTC/USD?


The earnings are in the form of Steem Power, Steem,and steem dollars. The latter was apparently an attempt to make a stable currency, which tracked the dollar, which failed to live up to its goals.

Steem power is very illiquid and takes time to "power down" the steem power into steem. Steem is the main currency, which you trade on the markets (along with Steem dollars).


Yes, although about 50% of the payout amount in the default case is in the form of Steem Power, which takes ~12 weeks to convert to STEEM which can be instantly traded like any other coin.

Delay aside, it’s all the author’s.


cumulatively or is that how much they're earning per month?


It's how much they've earned for that particular video so far. I've been saying it for a while here but nobody seemed to listen. d.tube is way better for smaller creators than YouTube is right now, and with a tiny fraction of YouTube's audience.

Plus, YouTube is only going to get worse for small creators, as Google tries to cater more and more to the big companies and punish the creators for "advertiser-offensive content". Meanwhile, d.tube should get better and better as both it and STEEM (the tipping mechanism) rise in popularity.

The nice part is the creators don't even have to give-up YouTube to try out d.tube. They can just upload the video to both and see for themselves what's the difference.


With a new monetised platform, with money being incredibly obvious on the UI, the incentive is pretty high to just steal popular content from YouTube and repost it. How do they ensure original content or ownership?


They don't. People are going to get screwed and sued over this.


If Facebook doesn't care about enforcing copyright, why should such a small website?

That really seems like an argument that is made only to hurt startups.


> That really seems like an argument that is made only to hurt startups.

you're looking at this the wrong way. Yes, startups should enforce copyright. But so should facebook.

They just get away with it because they are big


Yes, that's the point the commenter is making.


>How do they ensure original content or ownership?

This has become a big issue on the STEEM blockchain - plagirism, irrelevant junk etc.

Generally the STEEM blockchain is otherwise very fast and healthy but the content issue putting it strain from every front.


Automated AI algorithms, some day.


how is an "AI algorithm" going to figure out a newly uploaded video is a dupe of a Youtube video that is in the process of trending? How would you effectively contentID every single popular video on Youtube and run it against a fully distributed video platform? Just magical AI things I guess?


contentID sort of thing is actually possible - I am actually working on a proof of concept AI bot to identify spam and plagiarism.

some basic info is here : https://steemit.com/hello/@thefreebird/init-1


My impression is that it is all within the first 20 days after posting,

but I haven't looked into it closely and could easily be remembering incorrectly or have misunderstood.


You can only earn the first seven days after the post was created.


If you create something that has a lasting appeal you should repost it every X days.. Sounds dumb.


please make making an account easier. not going to give a phone number. email is easier to bypass.


This is really exciting and has a lot of potential.

The pause button is broken on Android Firefox, though. :)


Wow, nice domain. I wonder how much that cost


Actually we started out with dtube.video domain and the .TUBE registry owner noticed and liked our project so much that he offered the domain for a very fair price. :))

True story


wow, very cool.


This is real good work.




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