Article

Return to the Source: A Democratized and Decentralized Future for Data

// July 10, 2023

At Source we envision a truly decentralized world and web3 landscape. This is a future where we have freedom over where our data exists, how it’s used, and understand how to make it work for us (versus them, the centralized powers that be). It’s an ecosystem where we’ve democratized access to data; making it more efficient while empowering developers to manage the data we need to build and deploy the next generation of applications. All thanks to the power of a truly decentralized database.

At Source Network, this is what we’re building toward; our North Star, if you will. In this future, broken systems — and complex problems — give way to robust, accessible solutions that will help democratize our world.

Now that we know where we’re going, let’s take a step back and talk about who we are, why we exist, what we do, and how we’ll do it.

Who We Are:

Source Network and the Decentralized Data (D2) Foundation, the IRL extension of our ecosystem, consist of web3 builders dedicated to democratizing data. We founded our network on the ethos of a bottom-up grassroots movement devoted to restoring user-centricity to the web via privacy, security, and consent.

Why We Exist:

We exist because web3 has a problem. We built Source Network because we recognized an urgent need for off-chain data management and genuine decentralization in an ecosystem where false promises and misleading classifications across products and protocols have become far too common.

At Source, we believe that web3 is only as decentralized as its least decentralized element — and this realization has led to many dangers and inefficiencies (i.e., centralized solutions).

Improper data management continues to be a pervasive issue in our industry, and today, we are often forced to rely heavily on centralized or semi-centralized data management solutions, creating single points of failure across a wide range of web3 apps. In the context of NFTs, for example, this can result in losing access to essential off-chain data for potentially thousands of our market’s users in a single data breach.

From improper data management, a host of other issues; from a lack of data privacy and sovereignty to an increased cost and complexity of development.

What We Do:

At Source, this is our promise: a flexible solution to decentralized data management.

This solution allows granular control over access rights to data, so we can decide who can access our data and how and where it’s stored. Source’s user-centric model prevents the monopolizing of data and promotes data sovereignty and choice, crucial pillars of the decentralization vision. It mitigates the risk of lock-in to specific databases, which can have long term financial and product implications due to the high cost of database migration.

How We Do It:

At Source, we believe that proper data management must fit several criteria. It must be: developer-friendly, decentralized, and privacy-preserving.

Together, our values solve the pervasive problem of centralized data management in web3 by implementing a flexible data management infrastructure that gives us power over the data in the applications we use.

This comes to life via The Source Stack: a collaborative suite of components that enables the necessary data management capabilities while providing enhanced control over data and privacy protocols. We are now able to complete the transition to a fully realized decentralized web through the following components.

DefraDB

DefraDB is our decentralized, NoSQL database layer that allows for the management of user data to build and deploy apps — it makes it possible to deploy decentralized, user-centric databases in any environment, including edge, user devices, IOT, cloud-native environments, and decentralized infrastructure. This allows for seamless data flow between devices and across apps, retaining full functionality across a distributed network. The result is unprecedented control over data permissions and management.

SourceHub

SourceHub is the trust layer for our database, employing crypto-economic incentives to ensure the integrity, privacy, and authenticity of the data managed through DefraDB. It enables trustless data management, consensus-driven permission, and policy enforcement while ensuring consistent version and tagging via data anchoring.

How Our Products are Unique:

User-centric: Our stack ensures end users retain privacy and ownership over their data.

Flexible: We allow developers to deploy our tech stack across a wide array of on- and off-chain technologies, choosing the development method that suits their needs.

Verifiable: Together, our products ensure the integrity of data history, privacy, and access.

Our Values:

Privacy-First 🤫: Our approach to privacy involves a user-centric notion of databases. This concept of "collaborative databases" allows for individualized instances of databases to interact while maintaining strict privacy controls. Despite the complexities of managing private keys and maintaining databases, we aim to simplify this process and abstract the technicalities to provide an easy-to-use and secure database experience to our developers.

Built by devs, for devs ⚒ : We’re all a bunch of data-loving developers who want to improve systems for others who align with our values. We’ve built our products for you like-minded folks who are committed to building applications up to the standards of what web3 should be. If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place.

Not Your Key, Not Your Data 🔑 ❌: The dirty secret of web3 today is that we are not building a decentralized internet. We are building decentralized components on top of pervasive centralized fundamentals. Unless we tackle all forms of today’s internet centralization, we will still be susceptible to exploitation, censorship, and loss of autonomy. We built Source Network to tackle data management, one of the most prevalent remnants of centralization in Web3. As an agnostic platform, our network is designed to solve this issue for any web3 application and protocol.

We <3 (and Privilege) the COSMOS Ecosystem 🔮: Why? Because we privilege data portability and public empowerment and align with COSMOS due to its philosophical alignment and the sovereignty it provides. From our perspective, it's important to have a clean slate to experiment heavily on token economics without the complexities of how base chain economics would interfere with our own. COSMOS allows us to own every part of the stack, offering the freedom to customize it according to our needs.

Don’t be a DINO (Decentralized In Name Only) 🧐: Last but not least! In other words, don’t pretend to be decentralized, actually become decentralized. Through our technologies, we’ll help you do that.

What’s Next

If you made it here, we thank you! We believe that educating is one of the many keys to empowerment — and this article intends to do just that by teaching you a bit about our values and products. But keep in mind; this is just the beginning. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll share some exciting fresh content and more: announcements, partnerships, updates, and immersive environments where you can connect and learn.

At Source, our mission is to be the glue of web3. We hope you’ll stick around for what's coming next. Want to learn more about Source Network? Check out our website.

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