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Lance Wicks
Lance Wicks

Posted on • Originally published at on

Decentralisation and Scuttlebutt

Hi all,

so lately I like many of us in tech have been considering the state of the internet, the web and where it is heading.

To paraphrase Andre Staltz @ Hack\Talks in Helsinki last year… “the internet is firetrucked” ( ).

In short, the issue is that Facebook and Google are the vast majority of the internet as it is today, and their possession of it is growing. Google is scary, but for me Facebook is terrifying. Then we factor in the death of net neutrality and an open web (i.e. things like DRM coming in via W3c) and I worry that my kids will end up in walled gardens and with no privacy and no control.

I’m a web developer, I help build the web. I’ve been connected from the BBS days and I use and add to the internet every single day. And you know what… I don’t feel optimistic either.

Taking Facebook of my phone was a first step… and it’s a hard habit to kick. The mobile web experience is not so bad, but damn do they try over and over to get you to install their app again. Features are bared from you, the experience is less good etc. And you know what, that “hit” of catching up is one I realise I don’t need anymore, but I did need it and it was hard to stop checking FB all the time I tell ya.

But recently something has been getting me excited about the internet again, about technology and the future. And that “thing” is Scuttlebutt.

I don’t think I have been as excited or enjoyed connectivity as much since I connected my first 300 baud modem with three bits of wire of my computer and manually dialled onto BBSes.

Scuttlebutt appeals to me on two levels, the tech and the people. It’s decidedly Kiwi… it has a feel of the “a bit of kiwi ingenuity”. The vibe is nautical and alternative; rebellious and free (as in freedom and beer).

This video from is an interesting explanation:

I like the fact that the scuttlebutt client I use mostly (Patchwork) works on the train. Nothing else works reliably. Email, browsing the web, etc. they all fail with the intermittent internet connection. But Patchwork works fine, I can browse messages, reply, etc. It all works on or offline. I recently tried the Patchbay client and this introduced another key idea of Scuttlebutt… that apps can be built on top of it. Specifically I am losing a game of chess that I am playing with Gordon in Glasgow who authored the chess app built on Scuttlebutt and included in Patchbay ( ).

So far Scuttlebutt for me offers decentralised networking and sharing. I can “tweet”, I can “blog”, I can “email”, I can “like” I can “follow” people.

So give it a go and connect with me via scuttlebutt. My unique ID is: @W87GwaaxNj0PSBbtc5qUm/A/xOO8AWPdNtJn6hzR8s0=.ed25519

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