It has been almost three years since we started building a decentralized information network, and finally, the RSS3 mainnet is about to go live.
From the Stone Age of carrier pigeons, the information network has shaped the history of the world and continues to shape the present and future.
Among all the attributes of the information network, information freedom is the most important. The amount of information that can flow freely determines the foundation and possibilities for human understanding, imagination, and world creation.
However, information freedom has never been a category with significant material benefits: the first martyr of information freedom, Aaron Swartz (also a co-author of RSS), did not become the richest person in the world but died in the process of fighting for it.
Few people understand the importance of information freedom because its absence collectively stifles humanity and eliminates a potentially better future.
But someone must push it forward. Otherwise, it will only regress.
A few days ago, Aaron's mother retweeted my tweet about the Open Information Manifesto—I think she would be glad to see a new generation of builders taking up the baton.
The past three years have been full of adventures—we have been committed to creating something truly innovative: something like RSS3 has never existed before, leaving us with little reference to start with.
On the other hand, the concept of RSS3 remains simple and clear:
"A network composed of numerous nodes that collectively cover every piece of open information on the Internet and make it accessible and valuable to those who need it."
In short, this is the largest library in the open network. It is the center of free information.
Considering this, we have spent a lot of time studying the best architecture to achieve it. That's why we proposed the dual sublayer design—as an information network, one part of it needs to achieve a decentralized level below the blockchain without compromising its essence, while the other part needs to ensure ownership and value at a very low cost and high efficiency.
I am very excited and proud to see the results.
On the one hand, it is something new—few projects are building actual innovative technology in this field. At the same time, it is also effective—it helps applications and users index, structure, and distribute a wide range of open information. Creating new technology is difficult. Creating new and effective technology is even more challenging.
On the other hand, more than two years ago, when we announced the RSS3 Roadmap, we expected the mainnet development to be completed in Q4 of the 23rd year. Looking back now, it should only be delayed by a month or two. That's why we didn't announce a new Roadmap before the mainnet was approaching because we were simply pushing forward with the mainnet. Of course, later I also realized that what the industry values more is the expectations brought by this information rather than actual progress, but I know that everyone involved in RSS3 construction does care about the latter.
Fifteen years ago, the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto was published, calling for information freedom. It was a time when public information was still open and accessible—anything you posted on a website could be accessed by anyone with internet access. Anyone could build a search engine or RSS client in different ways. Innovation flourished.
Fifteen years later, Twitter (or X), Reddit, TikTok, Instagram—all these service providers that handle our public information strictly control it—no one can build another search engine from public information.
In the process of building RSS3, one thing we have learned is that building good technology alone is not enough to make society better. To make it work, we need more people to care about this cause and more builders to join the fight.
Just like "cybernation" or "Mars exploration," "information freedom" is a social topic that requires more attention and contributions. The RSS3 Foundation should focus more on it compared to simply upgrading the technology. We need to do more.
In the past few years, we have made many difficult decisions and made many mistakes. But overall, I am glad that the RSS3 Foundation and core developers have maintained the soul and integrity that make us proud, despite occasional compromises.
Expressing gratitude to every contributor is not enough—the people who work until the early hours of the next day, those who give up better rewards to join our journey, those who selflessly help us, and those who stay in the community through all the ups and downs.
If RSS3 can indeed become a network that handles most of the information activities of human society, I believe it is because we care about this more than anyone else. If not, what we are building here will lay the foundation for something better in the future.
We must build a future digital world where information empowers everyone, not just a few.