The easiest way to get started with Skynet is by using Skynet applications! (We call them skapps.)
You don't need to understand web servers to use your favorite website. Our goal is to create an ecosystem where users don't have to understand the infrastructure, but can still benefit from its advantages.
Here are a few examples of applications built using Skynet to get you started.
Skynet Send lets users securely share files, no sign-up required! Files are encrypted in-browser before reaching the network.
You can join a social network called SkyFeed which lets you build a feed, all hosted on Skynet. In addition to posting rich media content, you can follow other feeds, comment, and save posts for future reference.
The Skynet App Store is a repository of skapps and is a great way to explore the work of our growing community of developers. There are skapps for writing blogs, video streaming, music collaboration, and more.
As you continue through this guide, you'll start to see what value Skynet brings to skapp users.
A core belief behind Skynet is that all critical data is owned and controlled by users. This means that your information doesn't live on the server of some isolated application — all Skynet applications have access to the same data because it's your data! This lets the lines between applications blur in exciting ways that bring privacy and control to the user.
Because of the infrastructure of Skynet, content is very difficult to censor. And, since users, not the platforms, own their data, platforms can't delete user data.
By allowing users and developers to profit from access to their content, Skynet enables an ecosystem that can support itself through an alternative economy. Developers don't have server costs to worry about as overhead, and they don't have access to user-data or user-control that they might try to sell or exploit on the traditional web.
Consider Spotify Premium. As users listen to music, they don't pay money each time they listen to a song. All the same, each time a user plays a track, they're (perhaps unintentionally) supporting artists because artists receive a small payment for the user's stream. Skynet works similarly -- creators can attach a small cost to their content that portals pay without users needing to think about. We call this concept recursive monetization since this small cost can be applied to each piece of Skynet, not just the content.
So, with a Spotify-on-Skynet application, the artists would get paid directly for their songs, but so could all those who helped get the song to the listener — the developer who made the app, the designer whose icon set it uses, the producer who first released the song's catchy bass line, and the artist whose work was used for the album cover. Recursive monetization makes this possible.
Imagine a video streaming skapp — let's call it "Skimeo." Users are able to upload videos with a tiny amount of monetization attached. The skapp developers have made a great application, so they tack on a tiny amount of monetization too. The user is happy and never realizes transactions are happening in the background.
One day, the Skimeo developer starts implementing ads before every stream. Content-makers and users are annoyed, but instead of dealing with a worse experience, they sign up on an alternative video streaming skapp, "SkyMotion," which instantly has access to their videos, follows, comments, and any public stream they follow. The data belongs to the users, user experience is prioritized over advertisers, everyone gets funded and no one is locked into an environment they don't like.
Skynet brings these ideas together to contribute to a new model for how users interact with the web called DWeb ("decentralized web"). The last major change in the web was the rise of our centralized web, where social media and e-commerce platforms emerged and flourished. In this shift, much of the creative and democratic possibilities of the web were overshadowed by the rise of large web companies that control user data and build walls around their products and users.
The DWeb hopes to revive the spirit of the web before it became controlled by a small handful of centralized authorities. It'll create new possibilities by establishing direct, peer-to-peer systems for how users can interact with each other on the web.
To learn more about how Skynet makes all this possible, continue to Skynet Basics.