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Is it weird that for a while now I've wanted to build a new social network that is basically what Facebook was in the early days?

In a nutshell, just talk to your friends. And that's it. Especially old friends you've fallen out of touch with in recent times.

Oh, and it should be as privacy-preserving as possible. Encrypted, decentralized, yadda yadda.

I've thought about it a bit more recently, and it's all technically possible, except for the networking part.

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The decentralization bit falls completely flat when you can't really host content at home, because residential ISPs don't generally give out static IPs. At least, not in the US.

yggdrasil-network.github.io/

But this new Yggdrasil virtual public network could potentially change all that. It has me thinking about social network tech again...

I'm a little worried about how well the public peer system can scale though. To beat ISP-level NAT, you need to peer with a public node.

That is, a node with a static IP address that is routable from the public internet. Basically, someone needs to pay for rack space in a data center to forward traffic to/from all the nodes on residential ISPs.

For the social network to scale to possibly millions of users, the public peers need to be able to handle all the traffic, meaning, it might actually be pretty costly to run a public node.

How do you incentivize someone to run a public node? How do they pay for the rack space and a datacenter ISP? What's in it for the public node hosts?

How can this work out economically? Users need to pay the public node hosts somehow...

Here's the current list of public nodes on the Yggrasil network:

publicpeers.neilalexander.dev/

Do you think they would be happy if you started running traffic for millions of users through their nodes? I suspect not.

Oh wow, I just realized something.

The Yggdrasil node(s) you end up peering with ends up being a kind of second-layer ISP.

Maybe you economically support the public nodes (ie a second ISP) the same way you support the first ISP. By end-users directly paying recurring fees.

I imagine the fee could be something as low as a couple $/mo (rather than $X0/mo), since the Yggdrasil network is all virtual.

The other cool thing about sponsoring a public node in a virtual network, is if you have extra resources you're not using, you could share your node with friends and family for free.

Your friends and family wouldn't need their own second-level ISP, they could just use yours, if you're feeling generous.

Wow, I am not alone in this desire to have better social networking.

This feel like a cry for help.

@cuchaz they are (most of the time) static enough to use. just update the dns records when the ip changes.
If it's a problem, i know Private Internet Access offers a static ip address through a vpn you can pay for, and that'd solve that.

@xorowl Right, the only solution (so far) is to rent (and multiplex) someone else's static IP.

I guess there are multiple different ways to do that.

The cool thing about Yggdrasil is it basically replaces dynamic DNS and VPNs with a single service. And might be more performant than traditional DNS too, since Yggdrasil seems to focus heavily on updating routes quickly after changes.

@xorowl I know, right? It makes me really excited about real distributed tech (not web3 scams).

And it could potentially solve the IPv4 vs IPv6 issue. The "physical" internet could stay purely IPv4. And the virtual public network on top could be purely IPv6.

~4 billion IPv4 addresses should be plenty for running all the physically-routable Yggdrasil nodes, right?

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