Authors note: This is my opinion only and does not reflect that of my employer or any organization with which I am involved. As this is an opinion, I take full responsibility for any implied, explicit, or unconscious bias. I am open to feedback and correction; this opinion is subject to change at any time.
We’re almost there for truly global trusted interoperability. We almost have all of the networks we need. Let’s go through the networks we already have or will have soon (please note — I am only focusing on electronic networks, not physical or social networks)
Global Communication Network — The Internet as we know it today. Conceptualized as a singular, ubiquitous thing that we take for granted, it is actually a network of networks and an amalgam of protocols and technologies abstracted and unified bound by a set of rules known as Internet Protocol. We can just communicate with one another.
Global Location Network — This is the Global Positioning System (GPS). GPS is so embedded in our lives — it is baked into the chips that we wear and take with up(watches, Fitbits, cycling computers, etc.), we no longer notice its presence. We can just know where we are.
Global Monetary Network — This network is still emerging. Bitcoin is the frontrunner, but there are contenders and competitors, such as Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). However this will play out, we will soon be able to exchange monetary value with one another, without the backing of governments and relying on financial intermediaries we have used for centuries.
So what is the next stop for the network? It’s this:
Global Verification Network — A network to independently verify without reliance on trusted intermediaries. Simply put, someone presents you with something — a claim, a statement, or whatever, and you will be able to prove that it is true without accepting it a face value or calling home to a centralized system that could deny you service, surveil you, or give you a false confirmation (for whatever reason). The business of trust can then be between you and the presenter, and you decide what you need to independently verify.
The exact capabilities of this global verification network are still to be determined but it is becoming clearer every day. Much of what is required as ingredients already exist as siloed bespoke add-ons onto the Internet as we today (TLS, etc.). Further, the cryptography that will enable this global verification network has already existed for years if not decades.
The hardest part ahead is not the technology, it’s the wholesale re-conceptualization of what is required for a global verification network that puts the power of the network back into the endpoints that is you and me.
In the coming weeks, I will be providing more detail, but I want you to take away from this post, that the next major stop for networks is a global verification network.