Martti “Sirius” Malmi was perhaps best known as Satoshi Nakamoto’s first co-developer during Bitcoin’s early days. That was in his college days back in 2009, and since then, the developer has accomplished a lot more.
Malmi’s reported involvement with a yet-to-be-released cryptocurrency dubbed AXE, which will be based on infrastructure previously built by the developer in 2014, has caught the attention of blockchain enthusiasts once again.
This latest cryptocurrency project is different, however. The long-awaited promise of a decentralized global currency was thought to have been realized when Bitcoin was first launched, but as businesses rushed to adopt it without even knowing why, it slowly devolved into nothing more than the latest modernization gimmick to boost sales.
AXE promises to be a lot different than its predecessors simply because it takes a slightly different but more sustainable approach to achieving decentralization.
But Malmi and the team behind AXE aren’t just looking to create another decentralized currency; they’re looking to decentralize the entire web.
“Identifi” and “GUN”
When Malmi left Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency was booming with a large community and a solid team of developers behind it. A few years ago, he was already brushing up on another project, this time a decentralized architecture he named Identifi.
Malmi’s aim was to decentralize the web. Internet giants such as Google, eBay and Facebook had turned the web into a mass of centralized indexes.
A new project, one that would help turn his goals into reality, was also in the works in 2014. This project would be named GUN, and it would help create a decentralized indexing system for the entire web.
Together, Mark Nadal, the CEO of GUN, and Malmi formed ERA, a company that would combine the two infrastructures and build a cryptocurrency around it.
The goal of ERA is to create a web that’s not only decentralized but resistant to censorship as well. GUN has already built decentralized versions of Reddit and YouTube which, despite being in their early stages, are showing lots of promise.
Identifi seeks to add a layer of anti-censorship to these already decentralized platforms, and that’s a prospect many privacy enthusiasts will relish.
In summary, Identifi will be useful in the retrieval of identity profiles from digitally-signed posts, which will only correspond to the user’s public key.
The web of trust feature will be useful in setting up filters against spam, trolls and unwanted content without needing a centralized system. As Nadal believes, this is essential in creating a decentralized social media.
Decentralization at Its Best
ERA will need a network of databases managed by people around the world if it hopes to achieve true decentralization. The AXE token system will be used to incentivize data storage within the network.
Unlike other blockchain models, servers will be rewarded for moving encrypted data around, not for storing it. This and the encrypted nature of the data will make it harder for it to be intercepted or censored.
Despite being one of the pioneers of cryptocurrency, Malmi remains a skeptic of the crypto world. In his view, it has become overhyped and pushed to serve irrelevant applications by entities that neither need it nor fully understand its potential. Nevertheless, Malmi credits crypto as the most significant incentive in the decentralization of infrastructure.
Scalability Is No Issue
The CryptoKitties incident of last year that slowed down transactions on Ethereum reinforced the belief that cryptocurrency is yet to deal with its scalability issues.
Bitcoin would only achieve scalability if the database it relied on was also decentralized. In truth, many argue, no blockchain is capable of any useful scalability, and for that reason, Nadal and Malmi do not intend to store users’ data using blockchain tech. ERA’s cryptocurrency, AXE, will only serve as decentralized money.
ERA may take a while to truly take off, but Nadal and Malmi believe that the future lies in decentralization. Even with their apps still living under the shadows of established web giants like YouTube, the two have big hopes for the future of decentralization.
In Malmi’s own words, the decentralization of digital infrastructure is one of the most important callings a developer can answer in his lifetime.
He believes that meaning defeats expediency, which is why he stands by the importance of what ERA is trying to achieve.