Originally published at: Fotos, Functionland’s Dedicated Photo App - FX.land - Decentralized cloud alternative
“A Picture is worth a thousand words,” goes the famous saying. As one of the world’s first purveyors of Web3 services, we like to think Functionland is worth a thousand apps.
Our Fotos app is designed for privacy, reliability and ease-of-use. We know that many of peoples’ most intimate life moments are meant to be private. From your baby’s first steps to your first romantic getaway, graduation or farewell party, life is full of special moments that are yours and should remain yours alone. YOU decide who, when and how to share them.
Big tech and social media services – Google, Facebook, Instagram and others – have made image-sharing ubiquitous. Our digital phones, improved cameras, faster networks and the omnipresent effects of social peer pressure have made it impossible to get through the day without sharing dozens of pictures. Whatever we do, we document, post and share. But within this sharing frenzy, we forgot to check who owns the images, what they’re doing with them, and what will be done with them down the line.
Is our privacy being compromised? Yes. Of course it is.
The truth is that today, in 2022, you don’t own your own data. Your provider does. The same provider who made it easy to store, share and disseminate your pictures. And these providers have hidden agendas. You are their target audience. You are someone to sell ads to, to successfully link with tastes, trends, ideas and ideals, all based on an analysis of your pictures run by machine-learning algorithms. You thought you were storing your precious images for free. Wrong. You’re paying to store your pictures, paying with privacy. Even when the service looks like a blessing, for example “bottomless storage” for auto-uploads.
Today companies like Google have started charging for photos, too. Talk about double-taxation!
Functionland was founded as a response to this injustice. Our Fotos app was our first proof of concept as we started the journey to disrupt digital storage with our BAS (Blockchain-Attached Storage) solution, orchestrated by our FxBlox hardware devices running the Fula software stack and internetworking with other devices connected to the Fula network.
For Fotos, we leverage React Native framework to implement a mobile application for pictures that can pull data from any backend. Our frontend implementation is decoupled and agnostic from the backend. We have an open source, peer-to-peer backend that safely stores your images, letting Fotos fetch and populate pictures in the library from anywhere.
One of the reasons people flocked to Big Tech cloud providers for photo storage is user experience. These companies made it easy to connect, store or retrieve images, email them to friends or load them onto social media websites. Ease-of-use led to Web2 company market dominance.
Web3 loosens that stranglehold. Consider Fotos, where (as mentioned earlier) the frontend can be decoupled from the backend. What if that backend were a personal device fully managed, maintained and owned by you, the user? You would have full control over the data. You can now plug it into an easy-to-use UX with the frontend. All the software you’re employing is open source. You get Web2 ease-of-use, wed with Web3 privacy and control.
The backend server can be as simple as a Raspberry Pi, attached to whatever storage you need. This little device “talks” to the slick, sophisticated frontend for Fotos. Our FxBlox is just one possible iteration of such a backend server. We built the Fula stack to store data in a highly resilient manner, making sure it will be forever-available and not limited to the lifetime or reliability of any one, single hard drive.
Soon we will be launching our testnet, which unites Fotos with the Fula network. (The software infrastructure individual FxBlox devices use to communicate.) Right now you can already download the Fotos app from testFlight App or Google Play.
Looking at Fotos, you’ll see our current version of the mobile application frontend. You can connect Fotos to any crypto wallet, for example Metamask or Coinbase. This will identify you and link your identity to all connected backend devices that host your pictures. All your pictures are secured by bank-grade encryption. Once we ship FxBloxes and/or your Devkit, you will be able to connect to those backend servers and your picture storage. The Fula stack connects to all the storage in your pool, storing images in a highly redundant fashion across the Fula network. You can choose to share this with anyone you like. Sharing is peer-to-peer: no “middlemen” wanted, needed or involved. No ads, no invasions of privacy. Ever. Period.
Now that we have decoupled frontend and backend code, we can get specialist developers for the frontend, improve our frontend UX and let our backend devs work on improving backend software efficiency. This may include enhancements to the Fula stack that implement libp2p protocols. Everything is open-source.
Please feel free to contribute code to our Fotos repo and Fula repo. We no longer need our devs to work exclusively within Functionland, or to be associated with any one company, country or organization. That’s the power of web3: the power of people over time! With a little perseverance, a community of like-minded individuals will always overcome the power of a single company, even a Big Tech behemoth like Google!