The Challenge


How can we strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation? read the brief


The Red Matrix

The Red Matrix is a decentralised identity platform which brings single sign-on to the internet - without any corporate middle-men. One password accesses anything in the matrix, which can grow to millions of sites. It's also a decentralised social network where monitoring and spying are minimised or eliminated. It's also a personal cloud server which can privately share with any specific people anywhere - even those who have accounts on other systems and platforms. This identity (who you are) is nomadic and doesn't belong to any server or service. If you don't like your current provider or if the server you use has a problem, you can appear anywhere in the matrix and continue on without disruption.
Previous attempts at decentralisation of social networking have failed primarily because they only concentrated on decentralised communications - and didn't contain a decentralised identity framework. This is a critical piece of the puzzle which allows access control of the things you wish to share to anybody on the web - even those on different servers and services.

Pair this with automatic "magic-auth" login across the matrix (using the same techniques that ad networks use against you, turned instead into an instrument of positive change). The end result is a web that knows who you are, but only as much about you as you wish to be known.  Other websites can greet you by name. Content itself is aware of who is looking at it and can refuse to be viewed by this observer - or can alter itself accordingly.

Meanwhile all the power and control of privacy is in the hands of the content creator/publisher. This results in a unique network with extra-ordinary abilities built on top of the existing web using tools we have today.

Identity isn't restricted to a "person". Instead we provide the ability to create "channels" - which can function like social network identities (people), or like traditional forums (groups), or they can represent independent ideas or aspects of oneself.  Each channel can link with any others for the purpose of communications. They can also combine to create derivative channels and even more complex structures. We tend to think of the matrix as a living organism in cyberspace which grows and learns as the channels which make it up combine and attach in different ways.

The commercial possibilities for this technology are endless. Imagine customer loyalty programs which don't require you to sign up on the vendor's website. But this can be a slippery slope so we built privacy and self-determination into the DNA of the matrix. It cannot be subverted by commercial exploitation. 

Encrypted transport and storage of private communications is built-in. This can protect your communications against "most" rogue governments and "most" rogue service providers. Additionally, you can choose to further protect your communications using end-to-end encryption - again this is built in and available to anybody. Even higher level privacy modes are also available for those that require them.  Typical darknets are lonely places because everybody is hiding both from each other and from external agents. The matrix (by contrast) appears on the outside to be not much different from the large centralised social providers, but when you wish something to be private, it can be locked with as many locks as you desire and sealed from everybody but the recipient(s).

The nomadic identity feature means you cannot be silenced even if your service provider is forcibly taken down by rogue agents. You can appear anywhere in the matrix with your identity and friends intact and continue on as if nothing happened.

Future developments are centered around integration with what we call the "legacy web" and better ease-of-use for creating websites for small businesses (we could use help from a few more front-end developers). Our access control is compatible with OpenID, which means you can make your files/images/events/bookmarks/webpages/etc. available to specific people anywhere on the internet - based on their having an OpenID. Unlike Red Matrix accounts, this will often require an extra authentication step. We also plan to provide social network integration with several web projects and services.
In ONE sentence, tell us about your project to strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation.
This is how the internet should have worked from the beginning.
Who will benefit from what you propose? What have you observed that makes you think that?
The entire planet will benefit. Creativity is restored and the power balance tipped in favour of "we the people".
What progress have you made so far?
The project is nearly functionally complete and is in active use today. Servers are located in several countries. Anybody can operate a server.
What would be a successful outcome for your idea or project?
Grassroots growth which eventually and gradually changes the entire internet on which it is built, for the better.
Who is on your team, and what are their relevant experiences or skills?
A handful of volunteers from around the world. Only a couple are software developers. The project leader has been working with electronic communications all his life - and developed technology you use every day to read your email. Most of the other project members have seen the vision and can't go back to the "old internet" because they find it lacking. All help according to their abilities, which is how it should be.
High Range, New South Wales, Australia


Join the conversation and post a comment.

Alive - (still in legal process of recognized name change through usage and not paying for it bureaucracy) or else - William Whatever/Mouck

October 20, 2014, 16:57PM
WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!We Freaking WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness we built a system out of Grass and now we can use Money A NEW ELEMENT now we have a Compound!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!

(there's always next year or whatever the frequency is :)lol:)

Alive - (still in legal process of recognized name change through usage and not paying for it bureaucracy) or else - William Whatever/Mouck

October 20, 2014, 17:15PM
myeh it's not only about the money see myeh there's a lot of good wiseguy/galss to laugh with see myeh.

Ale Abdo

April 14, 2014, 05:33AM

The RedMatrix is a fundamental project for the future of the Internet, and it needs all the support it can gather.

It is the only descentralized publishing and communication network that addresses the hard problems required to protect freedom of expression. And it does that now, anyone can already join the network and take advantage of it.

It offers nomadic and redundant presence across several autonomous servers, encripted communications with the option of end-to-end encription, and network-wide access controlled content such as profiles, photos and files. All from a browser window.

At its core is a protocol, Zot, that it is very flexible, making it a platform for all kinds of apps, so a fertile ground for innovation. Zot itself uses the Web's potential for innovation like no other before. And the RedMatrix also implements interfaces to other protocols, to allow collaboration and to ease migration from other networks.

Red has an active community that most of the time manages to be both quick and helpful in replying and collaborating. However it is very under-resourced and under-recognized. So much that other projects, which even in their ambitions lack most of the crucial privacy and innovation features of Red, have received a lot of publicity and money, while the RedMatrix has received almost none.

(There's no need to name those, just think of any other software that promises federated publishing or social networking.)

So I really encourage everyone to applaud this project, and go get Zot!!

Haakon Meland Eriksen

March 22, 2014, 13:14PM
Hey, great presentation of Red available for download right here in the top right corner! Have a look, then head over to , where you can find a list of the public servers to get on the Red Matrix yourself. :-)

Ishmael Mc Intosh

March 22, 2014, 07:54AM
Red allows me to present the right profile to any user. I have one for the "public", one for my wife, and another for my gaming buddies. This, in part, is why it is referred to as an identity platform. This plus it use of PKI to allow me to easily create content that is only visible to whom I address it to are what makes it a winning platform for me. The PKI isn't infalliable, but then either are locks on a door, or seat belts. With Red, I know I've taken a responsible step to ensuring my privacy.

I like real privacy and with Red I can really share the party pictures that are only for my friends who were there, with them and only them. Only by explicitly taking that content out of Red to share with others, or allowing their account to be compromised, would that information be available to others. Itrust them enough for that, and I don't have to worry about what their permissions for sharing with others are, as with other social networks.

The fact that I can maintain all my relationships via cloning if my site goes down, use Red as cloud storage, do real time chats, and the magic of a single sign on web with Zot, are all great bonuses for me, but showing the right version of me to an audience, and maintaining a modicum privacy akin to 3D life are what make Red the killer application for me. I feel better knowing that my personal life isn't being sucked into corporate data mining, ostensibly for my own convenience. I can actually use the internet, and separate my private life from my public life.

I have to admit, I love the idea that I can have end to end strong encryption for messaging if I really want it. That choice forces even rouge governments, or professional criminals, to have to do more than steal encryption keys, to know what I'm saying to someone. I just feel better knowing that I have that choice.

Kyle Davis

March 21, 2014, 14:18PM
Encryption and Subterfuge!

At the end of the day, there is always the server side issue. Then there's public appeal and acceptance as agents of the Red Matrix per se.

Nevertheless, speed is key to enable free expression and innovation. So how have you addressed latency issues with Red Matrix encryption scenarios?

And is there any ongoing work towards a type of phased array system, similar to radar, that would eliminate encryption?

Mike Macgirvin

March 21, 2014, 17:29PM
Encryption is about making the cost of non-conversants discovering your secret much greater than the value of the secret. There is no such thing as a perfect secret, as if it is worth enough. - it will typically be discovered through less expensive means than decryption. Osama wasn't found because the US decrypted his data.

Servers are important for 24/7 file/media and webpage access (e.g. websites). Delivering these kinds of things via P2P methods uses huge chunks of bandwidth (and secure storage at the endpoints) and needlessly complicates the security model.

The speed and therefore latency of standard encryption techniques isn't noticeable on most modern systems. I see public posts in seconds. I also see encrypted posts in seconds. Shrug. For custom algorithms (advanced encryption modes) that would sort of depend on the design of the algorithm. You can make it as hard as you want. We're working with an entire spectrum of privacy requirements, from completely public social networking to activist groups that do not wish to be intercepted by governments. Therefore we have a complete spectrum of privacy that you can layer in.

I don't personally see any viable alternatives to encryption at the present time for communication secrecy over public networks. Directed communications aren't practical at global scale. For instance I'm in Australia and if I want to communicate with you, some of that communication is going to go across a public network which we already know is being intercepted.

Kyle Davis

March 21, 2014, 17:36PM
Thanks for your insights Mike!

Kyle Davis

March 21, 2014, 17:49PM
Hahaha... don't mind me Mike!

Just had a Thought and was Thinking about that World War-Z movie... with Using corrupted Data... smh !!!

Haakon Meland Eriksen

March 19, 2014, 17:16PM
Nomadic identity, cloning and how easy it is to create and share secret messages have got to be my top three most loved features of Red. <3

Who would have thought encrypted messages from one Red nomade to another was as easy as ... just posting it?

And create a QR-code of it by reposting!

These posts can even have exipire time - bye, bye secret QR-message!

Simple pleasures like that. :-)

Haakon Meland Eriksen

March 19, 2014, 17:19PM
Sorry - typo - "expire time" - there is no editing of posted messages here. Pssst - unlike Red ;-)


March 19, 2014, 03:07AM
Since I've Got Zot, the RedMatrix is my homepage CMS, my (secure) network.
Thanks for this awesome piece of software!

Mike Macgirvin

March 18, 2014, 22:23PM
This wasn't really covered in the submission, but after the summer of Snowden encryption is on everybody's minds. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to information security. The matrix has several layers of encryption technology available to suit your needs and protect your messages in the face of different threat levels. You can decide when you need to use end-to-end encryption or even more advanced techniques. By default your private communications are safe from most government intercepts and most rogue service providers. If this isn't sufficient for your privacy needs, you can choose to play in another league completely. This capability is there should you require it.


March 18, 2014, 16:15PM
Mike Macgirvin: maverick genius.

Friendica: amazing software that I thought I was happy with. Federated with other platforms that no other successfully did. Then Red came along and I Got Zot.

Red Matrix: takes all the best concepts in Friendica and then turns them to 11. I'm am astounded by this software in a way I haven't been many times in my life. Decentralization, portable ID, cloning, cloud, privacy, multiple identities, CMS stuff like building webpages, calendars, embedded media and too much to go into.

I've spent over half a decade with Drupal. My Drupal sites will be converted, all Get Zot and be part of the Red Matrix soon

Thomas Willingham

March 18, 2014, 12:02PM
If we'd all Got Zot, there'd have been no need to sign up here, giving your email and password to some stranger, crossing your fingers and hoping it wasn't being intercepted by some phisher, and waiting for yet another database to be hacked and your credentials stolen.

No, if you'd Got Zot you could have just clicked the link, let magic happen, and it'd know who you were already.

Taz Deville

March 18, 2014, 08:45AM
As far as I'm concerned, Mike Macgirvin is a genius.
He worked for AOL on Netscape, and other important technologies that have become a ubiquitous part of the internet. He's been at this for a good while, and knows what he's doing. It is that experience and know-how that has allowed him to succeed where similar projects have floundered.
He was the original author of the Friendica project, a decentralized and federated social platform that exceeded all others (such as diaspora,, statusnet, movim, etc.) in terms of feature completion, ease of use, and real federation with other networks.
Now, with RedMatrix, he has even outdone himself, creating a flexible Swiss-knife Content Management System with a built-in federated, decentralized identity system (like openID on steroids).
He is a visionary and an amazing programmer, truly altruistic, dedicating himself selflessly to the creation and improvement of this project of immense scope and utility to protect privacy, security, and freedom of expression on the internet.
I am amazed at his work. The RedMatrix is nothing short of magic, as I see it, and important magic that can restore freedom and privacy to internet use on a global scale.

Haakon Meland Eriksen

March 18, 2014, 13:02PM
Red - nomadic identity <3 I will never put all eggs in one basket again. Well, unless it automatically clones the eggs to another basket at another safe location at a different provider - like Red. ;-)

Arto Arto

March 19, 2014, 02:15AM
The nomadic identity feature is pretty fundamental for my use, laying the foundation for decentralization of online identities. In addition, I love the fact that Red can run on virtually any server stack that supports MySQL, a web server, and PHP. I've tested it on a Raspberry Pi (Model B), various VPSs (Xen, KVM and OpenVZ-based), as well as a four-core, 4GB RAM dedicated server. It installs in seconds and works flawlessly accross all those enveriornments.

Easy installation, and low cost hosting options seem to be a pretty important aspect of this software (in addition to the features described by other above).

Haakon Meland Eriksen

March 21, 2014, 10:45AM
A year on Red, I take for granted that I can be the channel manager of as many channels as I like - I just turned it up to 11! ;-)
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