I’m trying to verify that the findings of my own private "research", spanning over 10 years are accurate.
Basically, I’ve been actively hunting for any signs of any kind of "Internet alternative", decentralized network running "inside" the Internet, or even just individual applications for a specific task, which have more than a nominal group of hardcore fans who don’t actually use it meaningfully because they are just to few.
I first attempted to make a list of all the services I’ve already concluded are dead or won’t ever get ready, but I soon gave up and removed that part from the post. Whether I have such a list or not, I know that there will be tongue-in-cheek suggestions such as "Tor" or "Freenet" or "Zeronet", but please try to take this seriously.
I have so many times got excited (Dat, SAFE Network, IPFS, etc.) only to fall back into my chair, depressed from the total lack of activity inside each network. It’s not meaningful to sit and create things that nobody will ever be able to access, and which stands an even lesser chance of being profitable.
(No, I’m not greedy, but I need to make money somehow in order to survive and the old Internet has been utterly destroyed in every way. However, I’m not going to elaborate on that since, if you don’t already agree with me at this point, there isn’t really anything I can ever say to convince you otherwise.)
My sad conclusion is that there just is no such network/protocol/service as I’m looking for. Nobody has managed to market their solution in any meaningful way, perpetually working on code while ignoring the world which has never heard of their fantastic thing which is just a directory tree on GitHub, year after year…
The only non-fake, semi-useful individual applications I’ve been able to find are Bitcoin Core and Bisq. However, neither of those help me reach out to people or communicate in any way. The first is just a "digital wallet" and the second enables me to buy Bitcoin for fiat money via bank transfers with individuals without having to send in a photo id to some centralized site (which is one of the reasons why the old Internet is destroyed).
So, could it actually be that, in spite of actively searching everywhere for this, I’ve somehow missed something which is huge and decentralized? Another huge problem is that there’s a million sites/projects/whitepapers which lie about being dencentralized/privacy-respecting/secure, which further complicates things. I’ve seen countless websites which appear to have been mass produced just to "muddle the waters".
I’m looking for some way to reach out to people and not be harassed with "phone verification" or "sorry, we cannot grant access at this time" fake error messages for VPN/Tor users. "SAFE Network" has been working for over a decade and are forever and always "just a few months away" from release…
PS: Please don’t reply something about how "the Internet is already decentralized". No. It isn’t. It’s the most centralized network imaginable in its current form.