Welcome to the new internet | Muneeb Ali | TEDxNewYork

Translator: Yanting Qian
Reviewer: Julie Quynh Nguyen Today I’m going to tell you about how I fell in love with the internet. And how I realize that the internet is fundamentally broken in certain ways. But we can fix it. I still remember that I was a kid growing up in Pakistan. It was in 90s. And there was this one night where we had this big result in the morning, and my mom told us that if you and your brother both get all As, I will buy you a computer. And we were so stressed that we couldn’t even sleep that night. At some point my mom realized that and she was like you know what even if you get one B you will still get a computer. Next day we woke up, our results turned out to be great, and we went there we got that machine. I remember that I was the most excited not when I got the computer but when I went online for the first time. For those of you in the audience who are under 25, think of this as the old Chrome. This was the browser. This was the first browser of the internet: Netscape. that actually introduce the internet to millions of people including me. I was the only kid on the block who had access to this magical thing and who had access to all this information and that’s where I fell in love with internet. I ended up dedicating my entire life to this. I kind of like bomb the hood open and started studying the engine inside that how does this actually work. I ended up doing a PHD in Computer Science, focusing on the internet. So today what I’m going to do is, I’m going to bomb the hood open and show you how the internet works a little bit. For most of you, the internet is like a black box. You have no idea how this really works. You just open up chrome and you go to facebook.com. That’s pretty much it. What most people don’t realize is that when they are going to things like facebook.com, there are so many middle hidden men and companies that you are trusting and they are there. They include companies who made your browser software, your internet service provider, the servers where you are asking “hey, where’s facebook.com?” “where is CNN.com?” and these companies that issue security certificates. Remember these green blocks signs that make you feel really secure? that “hey, I’m on the secure internet”? It’s mostly just this one company that says “Hey, trust me. You are talking to the right facebook!” And people just blindly trust that company. Things don’t go well all the time. For example, recently in Turkey the company that was supposed to issue the security certificates for Google was actually issuing the wrong certificates. So an entire country is thinking that they are talking to Gmail or they are talking to the correct Google, but they actually weren’t. So this is the first big problem with the internet that we blindly trust these companies and these third parties that we don’t even know exist. So once you do connect to the right website, the right facebook that you wanted to talk to, what is happen all the years is that now there are these big companies in the middle. You are just a screen. Your laptop is just a screen and you are talking to these big companies that have all your data. They have so much power and control over you. The internet is Google and Facebook. And, if you want to talk to your friend, your friend connects to facebook, you connect to facebook and then you talk to each other. So the second big problem with the internet, is that you don’t own your own data. These big companies own all of your data. But we want an internet that is open. We want it to be transparent. We want an internet that is fair. For that, I’m proposing two requirements. One, there can be no middle man. Two, users have to own their data. Google has this famous tag line. “Don’t be evil.” But maybe it should be “Can’t be evil.” A company shouldn’t have that much power to begin with where they are making this decision that should I be evil or not. So today I’m going to tell you about this new revolutionary technology called the blockchain. I’ve been doing researchs in computer systems for almost 15 years now. The blockchian is the most sophisticated, complex, yet elegant and beautiful technology that I’ve ever came across. The main thing that it does is that it gives the power back to the people. So it started off as an application for payments that if you just want to send money to your friend, there are all these banks and payment processors and third parties in the middle that you have to go through. So the first application of the blockchian technology was called Bitcoin. You might have hearded about it in the newspapers. What Bitcoin said was we can replace all these banks with a open network, a network that is made secure by mathematics and cryptography. And in this open network, people can own digital money directly and they can just send transactions directly to whoever they want to send them to. So how do you use this network? There is this thing called a private key. Think of it as a really really long, and really really strong password. With the private key, it’s like you have a key to a locker that has cash in it or the key of your house where you keep all of your belongings. This private key is so secure that if someone wants to randomly guess it or crack it, they would need more energy than is present in this entire solar system. This is mathematics and cryptography keeping you secure. So Bitcoin focused on the payments usecase and what we realize is that just like there are banks where you keep your money, facebook is like a data bank you keep all your data there So you can actually take the same techonolgy and apply it to internet in general. If you go back and you see how the internet started, it was roughly 1990 when the main technology for the World Wide Web came about. And then in 1994, Netscape, the browser that made me fall in love with the internet came out. And in 2009, the main technology for the blockchian came out. And now, our company has made the first major browser for this blockchain backed internet. And just like in 1994, there were so many companies and people making businesses on the internet, the same thing is happening again. There are these developers. We have thousands of developers and community members who are coming together and building applications on this new internet. This is what the browser looks like and the really cool thing about this browser is that you are actually not on the traditional internet. You are on a parallel universe where it’s more secure. And just like on the normal internet, you download something like Chrome, which is your window to how to use this thing, you download the Blockstack browser and that is your window to using this blockchian backed new internet. And just like you go to CNN.com or Facebook.com you can go to something like Werner.id and see the profile of Werner Vogels who is the CTO of Amazon. He registered this profile using that private key directly. He didn’t have to go through any company at all. And this profile is so secure that to change a single character in his profile, you will have to take down the entire blockchian network, which would cost you hundreds of millions of dollars and even if you do it, the entire world would notice that someone just took down the entire network. So on this new internet, I can go and register muneeb.id and you can go and get your user name. Then what happens is because now this user name is yours. You own it. You can actually use it anywhere you go on all the websites on all the applications. So passwords basically just disappear. You don’t need passwords anymore. You are using your own username wherever you are going. In the real world, we had a concept of property rights. You can buy land. You can build a house there. You can keep all of your belongings inside. But we never had that concept online. We were always renting from these big companies. What’s happening with the new internet is that it has a concept of ownership. You can now go and own your own username. You can have your own storage space online. where you can go and keep all of your data. Once that happens, and I want to talk to a friend, I want to send a massage, that communication is between two individuals and there is no company in the middle. Not our company. Not any other company. It is pure mathematics and cryptography. So the old internet made us blindly trust these middle man and didn’t give us ownership of our data. The new internet fixes that. And what this does, is that this is a dynamic change in the power dynamics between large companies and people. The new internet takes away power from these large companies and takes it to where it always belong: with the people. On this new internet, the power belongs to all of you. Thank you.


  1. Eric Jones said:


    December 2, 2016
  2. David Hyett said:

    How is this different to Brave browser

    December 4, 2016
  3. Jushe I said:


    December 4, 2016
  4. Naomi Shearson said:

    Fantastic. Finally no more remembering pass words and letting others control my data. Brilliant way to explain the blockchain. Thank you

    December 5, 2016
  5. Johann Koenitz said:

    Thats it. Lets create a foundation for you guys!

    December 6, 2016
  6. Muneeb Ali said:

    Muneeb here. Thanks for your comments and support! I wanted to point out that this is not just my work but a community effort. A lot of people, most notably Ryan Shea, Jude Nelson, and Guy Lepage, have significantly contributed to Blockstack and made it a reality. Blockstack is entirely open-source, and you can learn more and get involved.

    December 11, 2016
  7. Cody Vondell said:

    i like how the browser features Richard from Silicon Valley.

    June 12, 2017
  8. Mo City Beau said:

    stop talking bout it and do it!

    June 17, 2017
  9. James Wood said:

    The real enemies to a free and secure internet, are bad governments.

    August 6, 2017
  10. Tw Lim said:

    Something big is coming.

    August 18, 2017
  11. Cack McGack said:

    look guys could we just say peer to peer and avoid the need for a ted talk to explain the whole thing?

    August 18, 2017
  12. KP YouTube said:

    "And we give it back to you. The People."

    So basicly you guys are the Bane of the Internet. Well done!

    October 16, 2017
  13. Todd Starbuck said:

    I do not want to attend a Turd Party.

    November 13, 2017
  14. / said:


    November 29, 2017
  15. Priyanka Tyagi said:

    Very informative. It's too good

    December 1, 2017
  16. 00Mass00 said:

    Hope someone will create a decentralized social network. Bye bye Facebook

    December 6, 2017
  17. Sathish Gunasekaran said:

    I really loved it as a blockchain developer. Don't want my data to be controlled by someone.

    December 13, 2017
  18. Daniel Richards said:

    Was that on purpose…..instead of 'pop the hood open' the cc says 'bomb the hood'

    December 15, 2017
  19. Ghebrehiwet said:

    How will they make money?

    December 17, 2017
  20. lefxwill said:

    errmm.. does anyone know what font was used in the presentation >.>?

    December 17, 2017
  21. Viewandtube said:

    I will become a 100% supporter of your idea if you truly can say that your new internet infrastructure will be able to block out nastiness like Gov. based on National Socilism ideology. I am talking about Gov. that want control of your data and follow every step you do. In EU, Sweden, they are called FRA. They are a National Socialistic, military based org. If you decide to go to Sweden or Scandinavia, dont ! turn on your comp. or device ! FRA are one of " five eyes". The nastiness is that they are based in a National socialism culture, neo nazism Sweden, similar to Hitlers Nazism.  
    There are also comments that military org. that once upon a time built this "free" internet actually get royalties through the nowaday commercialised Internet? So every internet user is actually funding money into the war machinery?

    December 19, 2017
  22. TS C said:

    You are extraordinarily intelligent and I am fascinated by the ideas that you present here! Thanks for a very enlightening lecture.

    December 21, 2017
  23. Jack Powers said:

    OMG exciting news love it and look forward to being this crowd

    January 19, 2018
  24. Nickolai Kautezki said:

    Unfortunately the data that you create is still stored on a server. It may be encrypted, you may feel as though you control it but is just a hash on the Blockchain pointing to the server that has it. Wipe that server and your data is gone. There are other solutions out there that don’t use Blockchain at all and achieve better results. Not trying to be a downer or come off as insulting, I find you inspiring Muneeb but I think Blockchain Solutions to this are simply a band-aid.

    January 22, 2018
  25. Dylan Hamm said:

    You should look into skycoin, which is a true new internet. You could use this guy's invention on top of its infrastructure.

    February 4, 2018
  26. ss said:

    Amazing explanation 🙂

    February 5, 2018
  27. TexasEric said:

    Amazing, time for me to learn more.

    March 28, 2018
  28. Sean Kim - Live Your Dreams said:

    Awesome presentation. The south koreans are already dojng this. There is a project called decenternet. Google it out. Hehe the world will never be the same.

    April 2, 2018
  29. Technology and Innovation said:

    Hello Muneeb, Well done. But where is the killer app? You have made what we can say looked like Java, C Sharp, Fortran but you still need a killer app to make blockchain survive.

    April 3, 2018
  30. Bozza Bee said:

    Kudos to speaking the truth so openly! This video is a priceless insight into the past and future development of the Internet.

    April 26, 2018
  31. Anthony Bennett said:

    Maidsafe – it's the answer

    April 26, 2018
  32. Bhai! Pata Hai? said:

    Silicon Valley Fans like this

    May 21, 2018
  33. fahad shahab said:

    jazakAllah Muneeb, I can feel the emotions in this TED talk. Amazing and best wishes. You are doing a great job. So happy to see Pakistan mentioned in this session.

    July 24, 2018
  34. Justin Pietersen said:

    Does anyone know how to buy tokens from blockstack or decentrenet or just how to invest generally?

    August 10, 2018
  35. Erwin Lay said:

    In the new internet, a chat message will take roughly 1 minute to get delivered, verified, and added to the block

    October 24, 2018
  36. AnarchoSkycoin said:

    The internet won't be truly decentralised so long as Comcast and Time Warner own the infrastructure. I recommend looking into Skycoin, they are working on this

    November 18, 2018
  37. Robeul Alom said:

    Hey Guys! Check out Elastos. A new blockchain powered solution, working to create a new decentralised internet

    February 16, 2019
  38. johann DSouza said:

    Muneeb Ali- thanks for this- Isnt Skycoin helping with all of the issues you have brought up

    April 17, 2019
  39. Saket panigrahi said:

    But where does the data will store ?

    April 21, 2019
  40. boson96 said:

    This is just what we need in this age of censorship. Great work.

    April 23, 2019
  41. Kyle Noe said:

    Hey I'm Pakistani too. Haha that's all.

    August 17, 2019
  42. Nospam Man said:

    i hesitate to like this video as i'd be the 667th 😛

    September 7, 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *