Locutus - a platform for building decentralized apps

Locutus is under development (devs originate from the freenet project)

https://github.com/freenet/locutus

a software platform that makes it easy to create decentralized alternatives to today’s centralized tech companies. These decentralized apps will be easy to use, scalable, and secured through cryptography.

I had a poke around for half an hour and took some notes of the bits that stood out to me.

There’s a reputation system somewhat similar to node age, but seems more client focused than node focused. Couldn’t find any code for the reputation system, make me feel like this is probably not a backend or node oriented feature.

They’re doing compute using Arbiters, using wasm as the basis.

“expect an early prototype in May 2022”

Main feature/benefit difference with Safe Network imo is data will not be permanent.

To me the main interesting thing is how the network is organized in a p2p way. This is mostly outlined in ring.rs - “The routing mechanism consist in a greedy routing algorithm which just targets the closest location to the target destination iteratively in each hop, until it reaches the destination”.

In this case ‘closest’ is the smallest difference between two Locations, with a Location being a f64 in the range 0 to 1 (see L384).

The other really interesting part is they use libp2p which is a library from ipfs to “run your network applications free from runtime and address services, independently of their location.”

Hacker News conversation (good to see some mentions of this project there):

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30979002

Some quotes and opinions that seem they could directly relate to Safe Network too:

It seems impossible to compete with the fast and reliable infrastructure of the big folks

What is missing is a really polished way to do decentralized apps, so that you don’t have to think about the decentralized aspect all the time, but just use it because it is the best option.

We use Storj in production and it’s dramatically cheaper than S3.

The current internet is terrible at archiving information.

such spamming shouldn’t be possible in the first place thanks to the reputation system

The small world protocol that determines network topology should make network splits very unlikely.

We’re not re-implementing Freenet in Rust, this is a separate project with related but different goals - however it does borrow a number of ideas from Freenet (like using a small-world network as a DHT).

I believe that the future of cryptocurrencies, money, and new types of browsers or even normal web applications will all skew heavily towards web assembly

It should be possible to build a cryptocurrency on Locutus, using the arbiter mechanism to prevent double-spending.

Computations are not replicated across the network. There is a mechanism that serves a similar purpose to sharding but is more “organic”.

Peers are assigned locations in the network when they join (a number between 0.0 and 1.0). Contracts also have locations determined from a hash of the contract code itself, and peers store contracts that are close to their location. The more people using a contract the more widely cached it will be, as a form of auto-scaling.

Locutus uses a small-world network to allow contracts to be found very quickly in an entirely decentralized way.

Including big overlap with Holochain (which also has WASM and Rust but maybe a bit too ambitions)


Overall my impression is this will be an interesting project but it’s closer to ipfs or freenet than to safe network or storj or filecoin. The guarantees around security and durability are reduced to achieve much greater simplicity. For what it’s trying to achieve it seems very cool but still a bit too early for me to feel like doing any hacking or testing with it.

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