Thinking about developing an opensource P2P social network

It has been a while since I made a blog post. I have been occupied by my academic work and I found using my past time on non-blogging related activities more rewarding. However, since it is summer break now, and I have mostly run out of things to do, I decided to get back to being creative and work on some project.

Recently, I have been floating an idea about creating a social network that practically eliminates the requirement to have servers and databses. From a high-level, the idea is that users can host their profile on their phones and their connections can query data about the profile, send messages, form groups, and make wall post which can be viewed by anyone who is connected to the profile.

I have seen a research paper summarising quite a few projects that has attempted to create something similar. However, I observed that these would at least have a server for authenticate a user; to tell confirm if the user is who he says he is. I believe this can be eliminated by allowing users to hold on to a private key and use digital signature algorithms like Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm to prove the identity.

At the moment, I think we would need to setup something like a WebRTC server to route the messages, which would be the only server in this entire system. I am not sure if this can be removed, but I shall be actively looking into any alternatives that would allow removing this as well.

Since all the code is in the client side, I think it is better to make everything opensource. People would be able to read the source and copy it either way, and hence there is no point in not actually making the project officially opensource. Also, making it available on GitHub would potentially allow others to contribute to the project.

I have been in contact with my friends Julien, Dario, Michal and Kuntal to flush out the idea and to see if there are flaws in this. I am not sure if they would be interested in being involved in coding this; however, I will send a link to the GitHub page at a later point, after I can make a clear architecture.

It would be better to have people involved in this project in the long run, as they would probably motivate me to work on this as time passes. I am not sure if it was Ratan Tata who said this quote first, but he did say it at some point, I believe, "if you want to walk fast walk alone if you want to walk far walk together".

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