You mentioned the potential of Blockchain. Is there any industry that you think will benefit from what the blockchain can offer. 

Guy Gotslak:

There’s a lot but the internet is probably the one “industry” that blockchain could affect… for the better. 

The next level may be an actual merger of the existing internet protocol (TCP/IP) with blockchain technology . The result would be an internet capable of carrying not only packets of data but also services in a decentralized manner. This “merger” would foster a more open, resilient and plural internet that is capable of natively offering essential services such as information search, decentralized domain name management, digital identity, electronic messaging, data storage, computing power (artificial intelligence), confidentiality, traceability and electronic signature.

These services have become universal resources of the internet and, as such, should be natively provided by the network and managed as commons.

In technical terms, the challenge is to combine the data packet transport (TCP/IP) functionality with a certain “intelligence” that allows packets to encapsulate a service marker. This service marker will be read and interpreted by all components of the network infrastructure (routers, switches, servers).

In doing so, services — universal or critical — are brought back to the protocol level of the internet. Indeed, the packet (routed according to the rules of the protocol) “activates” access to these services from a dedicated node, or server.

This node is part of a decentralized network of nodes. The operators of these nodes can be either existing internet service providers, specialized companies (software publishers, data centers, etc.), or public authorities. Ownership of these nodes could also be hybrid, shared between these different actors.

Belgian public utility foundation IOUR Foundation promotes this type of approach and presents a suite of protocols that brings the native services down to the lower layer of the internet. A proposal like this has fundamental implications for the internet’s physiognomy, notably: decentralized governance, interoperability of services, native traceability and confidentiality.

There’s also the potential of a decentralized, native search engine.

No internet service is more concentrated than the search engine (both 63% of all searches and 94% of all mobile and tablet search traffic comes from Google).

This essential function can be offered by the internet network (via its augmented protocol), which would result in a more objective, more complete and more privacy-friendly search engine, as all search data would be stored by the network in a decentralized way and no longer be centralized on private servers. In addition, users will be able to decide whether or not to anonymize their search.