Digital surveillance, mass censorship, individual privacy violations, geopolitical interference, and fake news are examples of the existential challenges modern social networks and societies face. The combination of exponential tech and asymmetric incentives between platform Members and owners have led to a broken attention economy. The future depends on a viable alternative to current internet platforms and 'big tech'. Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchain architectures have proven the ability to transact crypto-assets worth tens of billions of dollars, independent of intermediaries and trusted third parties. The next major leap will be to apply these decentralized architectures to applications and societal structures that require 'internet-scale', where platform governance and economic incentives can be redistributed to those directly responsible for the creation of digital wealth.
Zero eliminates the core problematic incentives used by current internet platforms and social networks, which are designed to manipulate human attention and choice making, with advertising, gamification and opaque algorithms. Zero asserts that these problems are symptoms of a deeper structural issue that exists at the level of corporate fiduciary responsibility and code. Namely, the incentive and information asymmetry created by the legal structure of corporations and cloud-only architectures, and the resulting rent-seeking that occurs from the exchange of human attention. What is needed is a transparent structure that enables Members to retain control of their data, personal privacy and online experience, while sharing in both choice making (platform governance) and the economic upside that is generated as a result of individual and collective participation.
Zero is a community-governed alternative to traditional social networks and internet platforms that is based on open, distributed and transparent protocols. By running the Zero App on a desktop or mobile device, members receive Credits in exchange for computational resources and network bandwidth that power the Zero Grid. Credits can be redeemed for Infinity, Zero's ERC-20 token, and profits are then distributed to a shared set of community DAOs responsible for building and maintaining the Zero Grid. The Zero Stack is at varying levels of production readiness and has been in active research and development since 2015. Prior to 2021, Zero will deploy Infinity, the Zero Name Service (ZNS), and The Zero Token System to the Ethereum Blockchain, as part of its first major public release. Zero plans to achieve full-decentralization by December 2022, as part of a four-phase release and deployment schedule that is outlined in Section 6, Deployment.