WordPress is one of the driving forces and great success stories of the open web to date. As an open source platform, it's become a dominant CMS used by 30% of the web to publish content — on websites large and small.
WordPress has grown up in an era of evolving challenges: ushering in web standards, adapting for publishing and viewing on all device sizes; building for accessibility by all; establishing its place in the era of expansive and centralized social media platforms; and more.
Today, we’re faced with a new generation of technologies coming down the pipe, ready to disrupt the current ecosystem. These technologies include blockchain, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, the internet of things, and more I'm sure. It’s the first of these that is the focus of this post and the following conversation.
I was approached by David Lockie of Pragmatic to discuss how WordPress and blockchain technology may fit together, and how they may not. David and I have both been interested in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space over the past couple of years, and have over time encountered a lot of projects that aim to disrupt or enhance various elements of the web: from DNS to CMS.
David gathered a group of people for an initial online, open, honest conversation about how WordPress could be impacted, disrupted or take advantage of distributed ledger and blockchain technologies.
- Blockchain platforms impacting people’s choice to use WordPress e.g. Steemit
- Blockchain projects impacting people already using WordPress e.g. Basic Attention Token or Po.et, Civil
- Cryptocurrencies’ impact on eCommerce and the wider ecosystem, e.g. the Coinbase Commerce merchant gateway
- What we can learn from blockchain projects’ governance systems and lessons learned
- Ideas for improving security, integrations, etc
- Various identity-based projects
- New environments which may be used to run WordPress, such as decentralized web technologies e.g. Substratum or MaidSafe.
- Impact on the talent pool for WordPress professionals
- General threats and opportunities
- Discussion of anything new, interesting and relevant in the blockchain/cryptocurrency space
- All of the above as it relates to open source and the web generally, outside of WordPress
Our aim for the initial conversation, as well as future conversations, is not to advocate specifically for any existing project or to necessarily endorse blockchain as appropriate for WordPress to somehow integrate in any way. It's to explore what's out there now, how it could impact WordPress today and in the future, and down the road perhaps how WordPress may take advantage of potential opportunities. We are approaching this like a discovery phase — not to get overly excited, but to be informed. And we welcome participants in this conversation.
This first conversation included the following participants:
- David Lockie, Pragmatic
- Brian Krogsgard, Post Status
- Bradford Campeau-Laurion, Alley Interactive
- Zac Gordon, Deeply
- Christie Chirinos, Caldera Labs
- Josh Pollock, Caldera Labs
- Brad Williams, WebDevStudios
I attempted to reiterate it in the call, but I believe it's important to address this topic with a skeptic's hat on. By no means do any of us think that it's a great idea to just go head first in trying to integrate blockchain technology to WordPress. The jury is still very much out in terms of where, how, and even if blockchain brings significant advantages to web applications.
If you are interested in future discussions, we welcome you! There is currently a channel (#blockchain) in Post Status Slack where people can discuss, and we'll also announce future video-conference discussions. We may make a more independent place to discuss, blog, etc, in the future depending on how these early conversations go.
We don't know exactly where this conversation will go. It may fizzle out, or it could evolve into a much broader community effort. The first thing to do, if you are interested to continue this conversation, is just follow along with future conversations, which will be posted here. If you would like to be on the next video call, please contact David or me.