The inception of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 marked the beginning of a new era of information flow, with subsequent innovations and pioneers like Aaron Swartz, striving to make the web a space of freedom and open information.
However, the consolidation of control over information by data superpowers has led to the erosion of privacy and freedom, necessitating a shift towards a more decentralized web—the Open Web.
As an important part of the Open Web, the RSS3 Network aims to become the open information layer, structuring information and making it universally available and valuable, fostering the development of decentralized projects akin to Twitter, Google, and OpenAI.
The World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. Human beings didn't find a way to move atoms at the speed of light, but we found a way for bits. Since then, it has been the backbone of the way information flows around the world.
As the Web became an environment for all information to be created, stored, distributed, and consumed, countless efforts have been made to better facilitate its flow. While information was scarce, directories like Yahoo! were helping users to navigate among the dozens of available websites; when more websites were created, search engines were introduced; then, websites started to get dynamic, and RSS came out to keep users updated.
A generation of Internet builders dedicated themselves to building the Web, a space of freedom, with pioneers including Aaron Swartz. As a core contributor to the original RSS protocol, Swartz tragically took his own life whilst facing outrageous federal charges, all while fighting for the free flow of information.
However, as the Internet began to see massive adoption, the original spirit of the Web seemed to fade. Gradually, over the past two decades, control over information has consolidated into the hands of a few data superpowers, who then monopolize the profits, eroding privacy and freedom.
Many trace the roots of Web3 back to Bitcoin, the digital currency invented to liberate financial transactions from centralized control. However, it also illuminated the broader issue of centralization beyond just finance. From there, a series of protocols have been created to decentralize further, not just finance but also computation, social networks, and beyond. This lays the foundation for the potential emergence of an entirely new Web, built upon decentralized, permissionless, transparent, and open protocols. We call it the Open Web.
As one of the most important components of the Open Web, an Open Information Layer is needed - it structures and ensures all open information is available and valuable to everyone. This will unlock the potential for the Open Web to incubate the next Twitter, Google, and OpenAI, but with a decentralized approach.
Fundamentally, there are three core elements that have to be addressed by this network.
There is already an abundance of open information available on blockchains, decentralized protocols, and federated networks. And the landscape is expanding rapidly. To unlock its maximum potential, the network needs to simultaneously cover as much information as possible, with no discrimination based on the content, the encryption, or the structure of the source (as long as it is open).
Information stored on decentralized structures, unlike centralized ones, often lacks stand-alone clarity: this refers to the fact that human readability is scarce and that multiple sources are involved in a single piece of information (e.g., on-chain and off-chain). Therefore, a series of interpretations has to be involved before the information is clear and complete.
Finally, different protocols create and store information in different structures. To maximize its utility, we need to standardize it with a specification that can be easily used with sufficient flexibility.
Users access information through various methods. Editor's choice, subscription (social media), and search engines are the most common pathways to information, with algorithms facilitating (or sabotaging) the experience. The network needs to support as many distribution channels as possible so that the new Open Web has the potential to compete with the old one dominated by walled gardens.
In addition to well-established distribution channels, new ones, like language interfaces based on Large Language Models (LLMs), should also be explored. They carry the potential to drive the next interface revolution, which the Open Web must actively embrace.
It goes without saying that the new network needs to be permissionless. Anyone, be it a user (human or not) or an application, without the need to reveal their identity, should be able to unrestrictedly access and utilize the network, provided the proper gas is supplied.
In order to deliver on the core elements mentioned above, a sufficient level of decentralization, similar to Layer 2 networks, is maintained to enhance performance and usability. Such an architecture might not be perfect, but it represents a practical and realistic step toward achieving a "can't be evil" status.
Lastly, there should be a fair and transparent incentive system to reward different participants for their contributions - those that are running nodes, staking tokens, verifying payments, or contributing information. This ensures participants have ample motivation to continue building the Open Information Layer and the Open Web, creating a mutually beneficial environment for everyone involved.
RSS3 Network will unlock the full potential of the Open Web by being its Open Information Layer. The network empowers information on the Open Web by providing the open information set and a variety of distribution channels to access and interact with the information in a permissionless way.
The information set makes sure that open information, whether from blockchains, decentralized protocols, federated networks, or beyond, is utilized for countless possibilities of digital consumption. Similar to how PageRank and EdgeRank gather and structure information, RSS3 Network is aiming at becoming the next protocol for information flow, but open and decentralized.
On top of the information set, the network enables multiple channels to access information in order to achieve different scenarios and experiences. These channels are like the Google search engine based on PageRank or Facebook News Feed based on EdgeRank, delivering information with any logic and extending the capacity of the network.
RSS3 Network consists of different nodes with different roles. Essentially, worker nodes and coordinator nodes are the main contributors to the network. The worker nodes are constantly indexing and interpreting information from various networks, having it ready for any upcoming needs. Coordinator nodes, on the other hand, orchestrate the worker nodes, aligning them according to external requests. The nodes are regularly communicating with each other, making sure that all are synced and up to date. These nodes construct the foundation of the information set.
Different distribution modules are then added to the network as channels for accessing the information set. Modules are constantly introduced according to two main factors: First, the Open Web is still young with a limited amount of information. Just as how directories, search engines, subscription feeds, and algorithms were introduced according to the development of the web as it was first invented, distribution modules are added to RSS3 Network according to the status of the Open Web. Second, once in a while, there will be new channels invented with the development of computation devices and related technologies. For example, LLMs have become a new way of distribution channel and they can definitely be introduced to the Open Web as they have been to the existing Internet.
To ensure that the network can keep running on itself, RSS3 Network rewards participants with its utility token, $RSS3. These participants include node operators, information creators, validators, delegators, and more. While the network is at its initial stages with limited overall income, there will be token incentives coming from the network itself to boost the growth of the network, similar to the logic with Bitcoin halving every 4 years. Gradually, with the development of RSS3 Network and the Open Web in general, no additional incentive will be needed and the network will achieve equilibrium.
With RSS3 Network being the Open Information Layer of the Open Web, huge potential will be unleashed. Of course, these potentials can only be realized with a generation of Open Web builders creating applications on top of the network. There can be a variety of applications built upon this information layer, and then we expect nothing but a truly prosperous ecosystem of the Open Web.
A digital persona almost always has activities among different networks and protocols. It is necessary for a game or social app to display a comprehensive profile of the user, and RSS3 Network will enable it with just one line of code. Applications can also filter activities according to their specific needs and scenarios. Also, a stand-alone application that displays cross-protocol activities and assets with a social touch can also be a strong alternative to LinkedIn.
Unlike in the centralized Web, where all content is stored within walled gardens, it is very likely that the landscape of social media will be very different in the new age. The open and interoperable nature of open social protocols makes it possible that multiple applications built upon multiple protocols co-exist, and are able to communicate within and among. In such a scenario, it is important to build an experience that lets you follow all the content of a specific user from just one app. The Open Information Layer makes it really easy as it already covers all the protocols.
Google is huge - it covers trillions of URLs and gives you answers within a second. As the number and quality of the content on the Open Web grows, it is important that we have an Open Google as well. Such search engine helps users find information across protocols and networks and ranks them in such ways, balancing efficiency and fairness. While the utility of such search engines might be insignificant in the beginning, given the fact that the Open Web still has comparatively very little content, it will grow dramatically with the growth of open information.
One’s information on the Open Web is a great source for generating personalized content and services. While some of the algorithms have been criticized for their black-box nature, RSS3 provides an environment where such algorithms can be made open and transparent, just as the protocol they are building upon.
Lots of new blockchains are emerging and getting significant usages and tractions. While traditional blockchain scans like Etherscan do provide sufficient information for hard-core Web3 users, they lack enough human readability, have transactions separated into too many categories, and typically only work for one chain at a time. A cross-chain explorer can be easily built with RSS3 Network, which can help users see all types of transactions among multiple blockchains (L1s and L2s combined) at ease. This will significantly lower the barrier for users to understand and further interact with blockchain data.
The advancement of ChatGPT has made us realize the potential of LLMs as a new way to access information. Instead of simply finding and moving the information to the user, it understands, comprehends, and interprets the information to those in need. ChatGPT has acquired more than 100 million users worldwide, and it is not the only one - Google Bard, Anthropic Claude, and other LLMs are also keeping up. By building plugins based on RSS3 Network for these LLMs, information from the Open Web can be bridged directly to these AI models, empowering their user experience for Web3 users.
While LLMs can be good for giving not-so-accurate answers, Web3 users often need real-time and exact data with analysis. Also, users are gradually using AI models to execute specific tasks. RSS3 Network also makes it possible for developers to build AI agents that can handle tasks with low probabilistic tolerance and carry on executions. This can evolve to become a new type of operating system for interactions, especially for Web3-related scenarios.
By uniting, interpreting, and structuring information from the whole Open Web, the RSS3 Network brings unlimited potential toward versatile information usage and free information flow.
Decentralized technology has already revolutionized finance, lowering entry barriers, reducing friction, and stimulating innovations. However, we still have more to build as we sail toward the future of Open Web. RSS3 Network is the information layer built for that web, and together, we deliver the new digital world.