Off-Grid Social Network with Andre Staltz

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter facilitate interactions between individuals. Every message I send to you on Facebook goes through Facebook’s servers before reaching you. This is known as the client-server model. Since the early days of the internet, engineers have always envisioned a peer-to-peer model, where I could communicate to you directly, without a company brokering that relationship.

Andre Staltz works on Scuttlebutt, a peer-to-peer system for social graphs, identity, and messaging. Scuttlebutt is used by a group of open-source hackers, many of whom live off-grid and do not have constant access to the Internet.

In this episode, we discuss why someone would want a peer-to-peer social network, how to build one, and the progress that has been made on Scuttlebutt by some of the most talented open-source engineers in the world.

Transcript

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  • I think the append-only log can be described as a Merkle tree where each node has max 1 parent, max 1 child.