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I'm code(Eric), and I want to build a more ethical version of the web. The web operates on distributed systems of trust. Sadly, a majority of the current web3 conversation is focused on trustless networks like Ethereum. But I believe the next successful generation of the web will build upon our existing web of trust to reach new heights.

Our Distributed Trust Today

First let's talk about the systems of trust we already depend on, like domain names. Domain name infrastructure is not decentralized, because everything rolls up to a central authority. But the domain name system is widely distributed, both geographically and organizationally. Every country has their own top-level domain, and many generic top-level domains exist for anybody to use.

Once you register a domain name via a registrar, your name server has control of all of the "subdomains" under it. Take Twitter's domain for example:

Anything dot Twitter dot Com resolution

You can assume that is a trusted part of the Twitter company. This works because:

  • ICANN, the regulating body for domain names, delegates authority to top-level name servers such as .com
  • The .com name servers have a record for twitter
  • The name servers controlled by Twitter, Inc have an entry for the anything server

This model of delegated trust allows anybody to own a name on the internet, and use it without restriction.

There are other systems involved as well. A domain only refers to an IP address, so you rely on your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to connect you properly. The ISPs connect to each-other via a system of trust called BGP routing. This is a negotiation of IP address ranges, in order to ensure that your packets are sent to the right server. Once connected to your server, we use additional layers of security like HTTPS(TLS) or SSH, which are higher-level systems of trust. These involve technologies like public key cryptography, certificate chaining, shared-key encryption, and sessions.

These systems are imperfect for a number of reasons, but it is the best system of distributed digital trust that has reached mainstream adoption. The next generation of reputable systems will have to be built on top of this current web of trust.

Dawn of the Trustless network

In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin, which uses Proof-of-Work to create trustless consensus on a ledger. Despite the built-in performance limitations and impact on the environment, Nakamoto Consensus is a brilliant invention.

The bitcoin network has terrible scalability despite the enormous carbot footprint

A trustless network like Bitcoin allows anybody to participate without necessarily revealing their identity to any party. Proof-of-Work accomplishes this by wasting energy on computations that are otherwise useless- it is inherently wasteful, to ensure pseudononymity of users on the network, and to provide an incentive model to keep the network online.

For those who lack access to banking, crypto-currency on a trustless network is can be incredibly useful. Unfortunately, Bitcoin and Ethereum have expensive and volatile transaction fees, so they are impractical for the underbanked.

Bitcoin Cash was forked from the Bitcoin network to become a more practical currency, and it may be the most useful cryptocurrency right now, with a transaction fee around $.01. With a maximum of ~115 transactions/sec, it dramatically outpaces Bitcoin's 7 TPS. The BitcoinCash network currently consumes an estimated 97% less energy than Bitcon.

Proof-of-Work builds upon several powerful crypto inventions that can be used in trusted systems to enable robust verification and transparency, without wasting incredible amounts of energy. A few such example technologies are: public key cryptography, content addressability, merkle trees, and blockchains.

Since Bitcoin, Ethereum has risen as the de-facto "smartchain", which is more of a computer than a currency, capable of running generic code in a trustless fashion. With "smart contracts", it is possible to create trustworthy programs that handle money. The DAO may be the first type of human organization that is more resilient than companies and governments.

Building Trust on Trustless networks

If you do want to adopt trustless networks, it is possible to move your reputation. ENS is a reliable system on Ethereum for adding a label to a public key.

These labels are available to everybody. If somebody owns apple.eth, I would assume they are a speculative fruit investor. But if and/or the Apple Twitter account claimed to be apple.eth, then I would trust it as a form of identity. Eventually they may get hacked so I would remain subscribed to the trusted channels.

Apple webiste and social media accounts are more reliable than apple.eth

By itself, ENS is a terrible form of trust. The other day, an ENS address called "Dave Chapelle" bought a Bored Ape NFT for over $300k. But we have no evidence this is is the actual TERF comedian.

Somebody claiming to be Dave Chapelle now owns a bored ape

If Chappelle tweets about this ownership, we would probably believe him. Although, he hasn't tweeted since 2012, and Twitter accounts are occasionally hacked. Even after his death, Stan Lee's account was hacked for a crypto scam.

Even once identity is confirmed on a trustless network, it is quite fragile. If somebody looses their keys, they loose access to their money, data, and identity. If keys are stolen, your assets (including your name) can be taken and there is absolutely nothing you can do to recover them. And keep in mind, it is a lot harder to use your keys when you are keeping them safe in cold storage. In comparison, domain names are recoverable, if you forget the password to your registrar or name servers.


Since Bitcoin and Ethereum, there has been a push towards more cost-effective crypto technology. Systems like Solana work in a similar fashion as the current banking system, where you trust the current owners of the money. Even Ethereum plans to transition to the same "Proof-of-Stake" model, which is a trusted system with anonymous users. (Not a decentralized or a trustless system.)

Again, I am advocating for trusted systems in the world of crypto, but we shouldn't get them confused with trustless networks!

Due to global incentive and network effects, Proof-of-Work systems like Bitcoin and Ethereum are likely to be around for a long time. But for quasi-centralized networks like Solana, we need to ask, what is the likelihood of a single company failing?

If you trust a company like Solana, that is great! People rely on centralized, trusted companies all the time, to stay online and keep their data safe.

But when it comes to web technology, my trust will be earned when vast portions of the industry start to participate.

Trust in web technology comes from industry adoption

Proof-of-Stake networks like Solana may be incredibly affordable, auditable, forkable, and secure. But Solana is effectively just one company. So until trusted tech companies start to participate, and put their own names and reputations on the line, I wouldn't trust the longevity any more than I would trust the longevity of an average startup.

Useful Services Need Centralization

In the web3 world, centralization is secretly everywhere. Why? Average users who only have a smartphone and a web browser have no way to access the blockchain directly, so they rely on centralized services to connect to the blockchains.

And even Ethereum, which is the most successful trustless smartchain, relies on some centralized entities. As the founder of Ethereum points out, trusted entities (called "oracles") are required to maintain a functional ecosystem. In this case, the price of USD must be observed to create stablecoins.

Ethereum founder calls for trusted organizations called oracles

Real-world blockchain applications all tend to rely on a few centralized parties. If they are anonymous, it is easier to dodge accountability for their actions.

Crypto Trust, Please

A trustless system like Ethereum is useful for those who like to stay in the shadows. If you want to avoid accountability, dodge taxes, skirt regulations, and ponzi to the moon, it is your best option.

In theory, trustless networks enable you to build organizations like DAOs, that may survive into the deep future. But if they are built in a vacuum, without the support of trusted people, governments, and companies, they will have no lasting effect in the real world.

Personally, I have limited interest in trustless systems. For my uses, they are extremely expensive, bad for the environment, and worst of all, they expose me to unnecessary risk.

We should use crypto technologies to improve our existing web of trust, instead of promoting a safe-haven for criminals. We should support organizations who use public key cryptography and blockchains to improve transparency, and enable forks. The most competitive organizations in the future will use crypto technology to create higher levels of trust upon our existing web, and I can't wait to help make that happen.

Eric Vicenti

Hello, world! I'd love to jump into the crypto-blockchain-web3-metaverse, but before I do, let's see what it is like to publish content with mainstream web technologies.

Publishing Goals

My goal is to publish content on the web that is entirely under my control, and costs me nothing.

Unfortunately, these goals are inherently at odds. It always costs server resources to save and distribute content. Fortunately, content websites are very affordable if you don't publish large videos or files. If you're willing to give up some control, you can get a website that is entirely free. And if you're willing to spend about $10/month to a variety of providers, you can create a website that is entirely under your control.

Today we can make some minor compromises to strike a nice balance: we will only pay for a domain name (At a cost of ~$10/year), so we keep full control of our web presence, but we will rely on proprietary services to host our code, run builds, and host public web files. We will demonstrate using the free plans provided by GitHub and Netlify.

Tech Choices, oh my!

What principles do we use to decide on our tech stack?

First of all, I would never encourage you to get stuck on a proprietary service that tries to seize control of your content and web presence. Although I will occasionally reccomend proprietary service providers, I always try to choose providers that build upon open technology and allow relatively easy migratations to other services.

As with any web site, we will be building on HTTPS, HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Generally I use TypeScript because it provides additional robustness and clarity over Javascript. And I use React because it provides a powerful component system that works on all platforms including mobile apps. Once you're familiar with TypeScript and React, you can use the component ecosystem to quickly build apps on any platform.

Our Requirements

Before we decide on the technology, we first need to specify the requirements clearly.

  • Publish Markdown content to the web with minimal hassle
  • Support client-side React components
  • Publish custom static files
  • Service providers should be free or almost free
  • Widely-supported open-source technology

So our needs are oriented towards static content publishing, rather than a full-blown dynamic application.

The Solution

Given these requirements, Docusaurus is the best fit, although my opinion here is biased because I helped create it when I worked on the Open Source team at Facebook.

Usually I'd use Next.js for web projects, and Remix is an exciting new framework in the React ecosystem. However, Docusaurus is meant to get out of your way so you can focus on content, without spending hours on CSS and configuration. Considering the emphasis on Markdown and considerable out-of-the-box functionality, I think it is the best choice when you need to quickly publish written content on the web.

Lets get started!


If you want to follow along, install NodeJS and git on your computer.

For those watching the video: jump into the linked post so you can click links and copy commands.

I use VSCodium to work on my code, the open source version of VSCode. You'll need some tool like this to edit your code, and you'll want to use this to help you commit with git.

You'll also want a GitHub account. I reccomend setting up SSH authentication by creating a key pair on your computer and adding it to your GitHub account.

For our web identity we will need to buy a domain name, and use a domain name (DNS) server host such as CloudFlare. Usually DNS is provided for free by your domain registrar. For this project, my domain is hosted on, and I will use CloudFlare as my DNS provider.

Docusaurus getting started

I'll start with the getting started guide from This uses the npx command line tool that comes with NodeJS/npm.

npx create-docusaurus@latest my-project-name classic

Now we can jump in to our project and open it in VSCodium. It has created a bunch of files: some example content, and some configuration.

cd my-project-name
codium .

To see this in web form, lets run npm run start. Now it opens up in our browser and we can compare the source files to the web site it creates.

git started

Within VSCodium's git tab, click on "Initialize Repository"

Add all the files and hit commit. Now you can make any change and have confidence that you can restore back to a working version.

Docusaurus Experimentation

Generally we can edit the files to see changes in the web app. But occasionally we might break things.

For example, if we rename docs/ to docs/, the site will break. To troubleshoot we can open the browser's dev tools to read the error.

Sometimes the site breaks (like when renaming or deleting files). This can usually be fixed by quitting the dev server (with Ctrl-C) and re-running it (with npm start).

Home Page

Edit src/pages/index.js to change the source code of the home page. I'll start by cleaning up the component that is not used.

The name and basic site info are customized from the docusaurus.config.js file.

All files within static/ are published directly to the web. So the images in static/img/ should be replaced with your own images.

After adding the new logo SVG file, I made the following changes to the header configuration. An empty title make sense because the logo contains the wordmark.

navbar: {
title: '',
logo: {
alt: 'Code Eric',
src: 'img/codeEric.svg',

Page Titles & Descriptions

Each page defines its own title and description. Markdown (.md) pages do that with "frontmatter":

title: Titles look like this
description: Descriptions are used for meta-info

# Markdown Content

JS pages such as "index" do it like this:

title={'Welcome Home!'}
description="code(Eric) is here to experiment with the web!">

Also replace static/img/favicon.ico

Site Color

By default the color theme is green because of the values in src/css/custom.css. Our classic instance of Docusaurus uses a style framework called Infima.

This Docusaurus page explains how to change the color theme of the site, and it provides a tool that outputs new color values for you to put in the CSS. For example our light blue theme:

:root {
--ifm-color-primary: #2e90ef;
--ifm-color-primary-dark: #1482ed;
--ifm-color-primary-darker: #117be1;
--ifm-color-primary-darkest: #0e65b9;
--ifm-color-primary-light: #489ef1;
--ifm-color-primary-lighter: #56a5f2;
--ifm-color-primary-lightest: #7dbaf5;
--ifm-code-font-size: 95%;


Docs are meant to be publicly editable pages, that have a version number, which can easily link to eachother. Each doc is a markdown file in docs/, which hhas a corresponding URL.

A sidebar is automatically created to list all docs, it can be configured with a sidebar file.


Pages are simple documents within src/pages that directly correspond to the URL. They can be .md files or .js.

For example the site comes with src/pages/index.js which is a React component JS file to define the home page. We can replace it with an if we're ok with a simple page and don't want to bother writing code.

Modify docusaurus.config.js to adjust the links and text in the header and the footer.


Blog posts are markdown files with special formatting.

Authors can be listed which correspond with an authors file, in blog/authors.yml It takes the following format:

name: Eric Vicenti
title: Software Creator

Now your blog posts can use the author front matter:

title: My Blog Post
authors: [eric]
tags: [tutorial, cringe]

Also note that blog posts support tags.


Before we go live with our site, we can double check that it looks good even after the build step.

From the terminal in our project directory:

npm run build

It should output all the static web files in the build/ directory, or give you a descriptive error.

To test the production build on your computer, run:

npx serve ./build

Now we can follow the printed URL and preview this in our web browser. And we can review the files and verify the correct markup is generated for each page. We should ensure everything looks as good as it did in dev mode.

Code Hosting

We can publish our source code on GitHub, and we may as well make it public, because the web site itself is public.

To get started, create a new repository on GitHub. From the command line I will run the following commands to name the main branch, set the origin URL to github, and push the code:

git branch -M main
git remote add origin
git push -u origin main

Now the repository is publicly visible on GitHub, including the complete commit history.

Domain Registrar and Host

Before we can publish to the web we will need a domain name. Fortunately most domains cost about a dollar a month.

You can register a domain on a variety of Domain Registrars, and I reccomend Cloudflare. I also use and I already have a domain there.

You'll also need a DNS host, and I'm using Cloudflare. So even though my domain is registered with Gandi, I use Cloudflare's Domain Nameservers.


To put this site on the web, we need to publish the built files to a host who will serve them over http. Docusaurus has a wide variety of deployment options. There are practically unlimited hosting options because Docusaurus outputs static files that simply need to be served over HTTPS.

Netlify is a great choice because they offer free hosting on a custom domain, and also free builds. There is a connection to GitHub so all you need to do is change the code in git, and Netlify will automatically build and deploy the new site.

So we log in to Netlify and create a new site by finding the repository that we already created in Github. Then we configure it to build and serve the site. Actually the defaults are already correct! We click deploy, then Netlify builds and publishes our site to a sample URL.

Finally we can add a custom domain to Netlify. Then we modify our domain's DNS record by adding a CNAME that points to the new Netlify app. The new URL starts working right away! And after two minutes and a few refreshes, HTTPS is also set up, so users are reassured with the lock.


Ok! Without too much pain, we published something to the web, on our own domain! The hardest part was writing the blog post, which is exactly the advantage of Docusaurus- it demands focus on the content.

Web1/Web2.0 takeaway

Importantly, we have complete control over our web presence. We do rely on free service providers to host our DNS, our code, and our web files. But we can easily move away if any of these services misbehave. Or we can run our own infrastructure, if we are willing to pay. The only required expense is the domain name, for only about $10/year.

With existing web technologies, it is incredibly affordable and easy to publish content under your control.

web3 to the future!

I'm not sure what the web is evolving into, with the advent of crypto and web3 and the "metaverse". I am optimistic that there is an ethical path to explore these technologies, although I am highly skeptical and concerned about the current hype. Recently I've seen the web3 community get incredibly hyped on tech (and scams), without much focus on the problems that need to get solved. code(Eric) is an attempt to course-correct, and address the biggest problems facing the web.

Hopefully we can share a journey of upgrading this simple website into a bustling crypto metaverse. Maybe we can add social features to this site, or we could make it easy to audit and fork. Maybe we will deploy our site in an entirely new way, or maybe we can incrementally incorporate web3 features.

I need your help to identify the biggest problems with the web, so we can adopt or create a generation of technology that improves equity and global prosperity. I'd tell you to join me here at, but there is no way to interact yet! So please 'at' me on Twitter and jump into the YouTube comments. Let me know what you want me to explore next!