The Emergence

Today marks the 927th day A.E. also known on planet Earth as 2 years, 6 months and 12 days After Ethereum. Five million blocks after its Genesis, the Ethereum ecosystem evolved into a planetary Community with hundreds of thousands of people connected by a constellation of projects and teams working on their dreams. It makes you wonder where the next 5 million blocks will take us.

It is still early, but the network effects can be felt already.

It’s no coincidence that Ethereum is the world’s first blockchain smashing through the 1 million transactions per day milestone, securing in the process more value transacted per day (in USD) than all the other blockchains combined. And that’s without taking in consideration all the ERC-20 token transactions.

Moreover, when we look at the bigger Ethereum 2.0 picture we can expect continuous, accelerated growth towards infinity. Or the singularity.

Who knows? :)

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We can already glance the potential ecosystem advancements develop and try our best to guess the impact one discovery can have in the bigger picture for everyone – think, for example, Proof of Stake, Plasma Chains, Sharding, State Channels and zk-SNARKs.

However, if we look at the number of tools and communication channels used by Ethereum-based projects, we can conclude that the inter-project communication and cross-team collaboration at ecosystem level is heavily fragmented. A forum there, a subreddit here, a Slack/Discord/Rocket channel elsewhere.

This is not ideal, especially when considering the main Ethereum value proposition - synergy. The situation we find ourselves today is understandable on one side because each project needed something working and ready to use “yesterday” (we use Discord currently), but when thinking about “tomorrow”, things get more complicated.

The drawbacks become more visible when figuring out that the economics of synergy also apply to ecosystem-wide shared challenges. Consider for a minute how different the crypto landscape would look if the projects sharing common challenges realize that by coming together they maximize the chances of success for everyone.

Some might even argue this is the only way we can reach the next level of understanding necessary to crack the hardest crypto challenges of our times. They might be right.

Time will tell.

In this vast ocean of uncertainty, the only certain thing is that we’re still in the early days of this adventure and there is absolutely no guarantee of success for anyone in the crypto world. In fact, the odds are against us since the entire blockchain space is a big experiment.

But what if we can collectively increase our chances of success by even 1%? Wouldn’t that make it worthwhile enough to encourage more communication and collaboration between projects?

After all, once these innovations will be available they will most likely diffuse throughout the ecosystem at record rates. And, given enough time, these advancements can crystallize into the perfect environment for mainstream-grade dapps.

That is when Web 3.0 can fulfill its mission of a better Web in service of humanity and when real change is within reach.

That is when things will get “serious”.

With this in mind, we hope that people and projects from around the world will find in AKASHA a way to (re)connect and unleash the potential already present, but currently dormant.

If the Ethereum ecosystem is imagined as a synergistic organism, we see AKASHA as its natural nervous tissue connecting people, ideas and projects in the context of a crypto renaissance salon. The cradle of a modern renaissance so vast in its implications that no one understands its full ramifications yet.

Amazingly, with your help, we were able to make the first steps towards this vision, and we proved together this future is possible with the alpha.

If in the alpha we caught a glimpse at the possibilities, it’s now time to go further down the rabbit hole. Those that want to jump straight to the beta download links can scroll to the bottom of the entry, but you might want to take a couple of minutes to read through.

Either way, we hope you will enjoy it! \o/

Main Mission: Pushing The Limits

In the alpha we began by testing if a truly decentralized social media network built on Ethereum and IPFS is viable on a technological level. Thanks to the thousands of people drawn together by this idea, the alpha experiment was a resounding success.

Moving forward, one of the main goals of the beta is to stress test the infrastructure and see how far can we take it. From this perspective, we could choose the number of users as a metric with 1K, 5K, 10K … 100K+ as milestones. These tests will all come down to how much transactional output a decentralized social network with many users generate, and how well the Ethereum and IPFS networks can take it.

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Even if the 100K milestone might seem crazy, the current biggest Ethereum communities are sizeable - for example, there are over 730K Ethereum meetups participants, reddit.com/r/ethereum/ has over 310K readers and reddit.com/r/ethtrader/ has over 170K readers.

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Very likely there is some overlap between the two subreddits and the meetup participants, but the main idea is that we are MANY and we can gather as a Community to stress test Ethereum itself, collectively learning and improving it in the process.

With this in mind, we invite everyone to join us in the beta because we need help with:

If we can uncover insights and answers to questions such as “How far can we push things?”, “Should we actively engage the Ethereum mining community for raising the gas limits in anticipation of the main chain deployment?” and “What would be the gas limit that allows AKASHA and the entire Ethereum ecosystem to comfortably coexist on the same chain?” we think that we’ll be well on our way to a successful launch - for everyone.

Furthermore, we believe that continuous experimentation is the key to discovering new services and features we cannot even imagine at this point. Some could reinvent whole industries and business models. Others will fail miserably, and we will learn something new in the process.

We embrace this trial-and-error mindset and invite everyone to join us in this new odyssey of discovery!

AKASHA Emergence Highlights

After a year of hard work on multiple layers - from smart contracts to the user interface and everything between - we reached the stage of a functional beta.

The first wave of invites was sent as a Christmas present to the first people that signed up for the beta. Since then, we have come far. Thanks to the contributions and feedback coming from these early pioneers we have released two iterations adding features and fixing bugs in the past month.

The result of all this takes the shape of the latest AKASHA beta release named Emergence!

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For the alpha veterans, one of the most striking differences will be the UI & UX redesign. This is an ongoing effort, started in the spring of 2017, seeking to create an effortless way for user to interact with Ethereum and IPFS.

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In the alpha we wanted to test if the idea of an Ethereum+IPFS based social network is possible. However, in the beta, we aimed higher fueled by the knowledge gathered in the first experimentation stage.

The user view when navigating content is now thought as a modular and customizable dashboard. The “boards” allow the users to organize various topics while “columns” can take the shape of a stream from the people you follow, a particular tag or a specific person.

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Say hello to the dark theme.

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Another big difference when compared to the alpha, is that the AKASHA smart contracts now live on the Ethereum Rinkeby test network. In other words, every single post, comment or vote can be seen as a transaction on etherscan.

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In the alpha, we experimented with multiple identity approaches, including our own identity registrar. Since we now live on a public network, we can begin to leverage the integrations - ENS being the first of the many that will follow. ENS powered subdomains will be coming soon, most likely with the AKASHA Web version.

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More features waiting to be explored are lists for curating your favorite posts, highlights for curating your favorite paragraphs, a dual wallet (AETH/ETH) that allows users to test the multi-state architecture of our first token iteration and many more.

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We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Special Thanks

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A big thank you to all the alpha veterans and early beta testers for helping us reach this milestone. It took many experiments to get where we are today, and you shaped the course of this project through your involvement - we learned so much thanks to you!

On this note, BIG UPS and kudos also for Marius Darila, Sever Abibula, Bogdan Brezuica, Roxana Sureanu, Valentin Cotea, Sebastian Rodriguez, Lorenzo Patuzzo, Mariana Gomes, and the entire AKASHA team for turning what looked at times like a handful of people with big dreams into a working dapp on blockchainz - again. Respect.

Special thanks go to Peter Szilagyi (@karalabe) for the bug fixes and improvements on the Go Ethereum client side such as full event subscription support in abigen, the help provided when deploying our smart contracts on the Rinkeby test network and the many GitHub issues reporting bugs in the early beta releases.

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And, to top it off, Peter created a restful HTTP API for AKASHA during the winter holidays - imagine all the Christmassy magic packed inside those bytes. And, as if this was not awesome enough, the API comes with a website for documentation and examples. Thank you, Peter, you’re a star! :)

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Many thanks also go to Jeromy Johnson, David Dias, Dominic Della Valle and Juan Benet from IPFS & Protocol Labs for all the support and help to get things rolling for the beta.

And of course, a warm thanks to YOU for taking the time to read this post and play with the dapp!

Beta Pioneer Instructions

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Before jumping into the ether, beware: this is pioneering at its best, and through your involvement, you are all pioneers. Since this is a beta, it comes with all the instability associated with early experiments - just as the first flight attempts were not necessarily safe or comfortable.

Failures, glitches, and random errors should be expected.

Just as with the alpha, we see this beta release as a humble starting point on top of which we can iterate and improve with you, the Community. In the current form, AKASHA is for the curious minds who don’t mind occasional bugs and understand that through their involvement, they can shape what this project will become.

And now, the brave ones are invited to jump Into the Ether!

Instructions For Windows Pioneers:

Instructions For Mac Pioneers:

Instructions For Linux Pioneers:

Linux users can also install the dap via snapcraft by running snap install --classic akasha (full permissions) or snap install akasha (strict mode). To update an existing snap install, run snap refresh akasha.

See you in the new world of AKASHA! \o/

Next time, hopefully, we will have the conversation on the AKASHA Web version. In the meantime, while you sync, feel free to join the conversation on reddit! :)

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Important notes:

  1. Please do not send ETH to anyone claiming that AKASHA has an ICO or a pre-sale. If/when an AKASHA “ICO” will be conducted we will announce it on all our official channels. If anyone claims that there is an ongoing AKASHA sale/private-sale/ICO but you can’t find anything about it on our official channels (Twitter, Discord, the AKASHA dapp, etc) you can safely assume that it is a SCAM. Stay safe and thank you for being part of this project!

  2. Do not download/install AKASHA from other users or websites and always verify the digital signature of the dapp. The digital signature should display AKASHA International GmbH.

  3. Do not send real ETH (ether) to your in-dapp addresses. The dapp works with test ETH and is currently deployed on a test network. But don’t worry, we got your back - you will receive test ETH and test AETH tokens when creating your account.

  4. The Ethereum Rinkeby test network blockchain needs ~3GB of diskspace in “Normal Sync”, around ~500MB in “Light Sync” and should take about ~30 minutes. The Web version (coming soon) will not need to sync as it will rely on Metamask for the blockchain interactions

  5. Please be aware that this is a beta and by no means a final product. We expect AKASHA to evolve a lot in the first years and we see you, the Community, as the main source of this evolution. Thank you for your understanding!


About the Author

Mihai Alisie is the Founder of AKASHA.

He has been actively involved in the blockchain technology space, since 2011 when he created with Vitalik Buterin the world’s first Bitcoin centric publication - Bitcoin Magazine. He served as Editor-in-Chief for the magazine, until late 2013, when he joined Vitalik in co-founding the Ethereum project.

In the early days of Ethereum, Mihai led the Swiss efforts to establish the business infrastructure and legal framework critical for the Ethereum “pre-sale” campaign. Following the successful Swiss setup, he oversaw the Ethereum operations as Strategic Manager and Vice-President of the Ethereum Foundation, until late 2015, when he focused his attention on making the AKASHA dream a reality.

Mihai Alisie

Twitter: @MihaiAlisie | LinkedIn: Mihai Alisie | Contact: [email protected]