Here comes the biggest update since the birth of RSS3.
Over a year and a half ago, we began working on what would become the information dissemination protocol of Web3. Since then, RSS3 has undergone significant changes. We released the first big update, where the RSS3 Network was introduced for the first time with support for multiple networks. We then released the second big update, where RSS3 began to provide the best cross-network and human-readable feed for the entire Web3. Now that we’ve formed the foundation for the free flow of information on the open web, there is much more to come.
Over the past few months, we’ve been working tirelessly on this biggest update for RSS3, and we are thrilled to share it with you here.
From Web3 to the Open Web
When we came up with the name RSS3 as the next-generation information dissemination protocol, we were paying tribute to the two released versions of RSS (Aaron Swartz did draft an RSS3.0 here but wasn’t finalized). Since then, we've been focusing on Web3. In Gavin Wood's words, Web3 is "a decentralized online ecosystem based on the blockchain". Apparently, blockchains are going to be an integral part of the digital world, however, if we want to fight against the giants with their siloed data, we need to unite all the forces we can. Here, we’d like to take this upgrade as an opportunity to introduce the concept of the Open Web.
The Open Web is not an entirely new term - in fact, the concept goes back a long way. The core idea behind the Open Web is to build a Web with open code, open protocol, and open information. Of course, properly designed and executed blockchains meet the standard. Blockchains are important, but we can’t rely on them alone to build a Web of sufficient strength.
We’d like to redefine the mission of RSS3 as the information dissemination of the Open Web, which includes blockchains and all other parts of the Open Web. Freedom, efficiency, and security of information flow on the Open Web will be essential to its success, and we’re committed to making that happen. As a matter of fact, we’ve already been supporting some networks other than blockchains, and we will be more active in covering emerging open protocols like Nostr.
RSS3 Network and API
The RSS3 network initially began with several testing nodes named “PreNode” in 2021. These were used to find the fastest way to develop an initial proof of concept. PreNode was successful and power over a dozen apps including the Web3 Pass, serving over 70k users. After four months of intense engineering, we released the first version of “PreGod”. These new nodes process data much faster than ever, and allow the network to create a feed for any EVM address. Currently, these nodes are processing over 162 million notes across 558k personas, and that number is still growing. The network now powers all the apps in the RSS3 ecosystem with lightning-fast responses, serving over 400 million requests per month.
As we continue to expand the coverage and level of interpretation for all information on the Open Web, we will be gradually rolling out public nodes. Current network statistics can be found on network.rss3.io. With the recent growth, we have shifted our focus to a new metric called “monetizable API calls”. This is a new measurement that we started collecting on January 11th, 2023, and will be our main focus going forward.
We’ve also made significant improvements to the API in recent months, and it now offers the best crypto-address-oriented activity on the market. Whether you are building a social, publishing, scanning, or search app, the RSS3 API delivers information across all major EVM-compatible networks, as well as IPFS and Arweave. As demand grows, we are continually expanding its capabilities to better serve our ecosystem developers, and ultimately, the Open Web.
“One more thing.”
tldr; Just go to hoot.it and try it yourself.
The way people access information from the digital world has long been the focus since the invention of the Web. Generations of hackers and artists have dedicated themselves to helping people find and access useful information. Compared to what Web1 and Web2 have to offer, the way people access information and destinations from the new Open Web still lacks clarity and efficiency. The RSS3-powered feed was a huge leap forward, providing a much better experience than any other protocol or product. Now, we are ready to push the boundary and bring it to the next level.
hoot.it’s mission is to become the portal to all the information and destinations of the Open Web. As you can imagine, building such a search engine is no easy task. In Web2, data is hoarded by centralized servers and distributed almost uniformly with a URL as its identity. At RSS3, we directly index data from multiple decentralized sources that come in various formats, some self-explanatory and some not so straightforward. It may sound simple, but over the past year, we have invested in and experimented with so many different mechanisms, just to solve the data access hurdle.
Why a search engine?
As self-proclaimed experts in information dissemination, we believe that we have fully exploited the benefits of chronologically ordered, statically rendered feeds. Keyword search is a much more intuitive, flexible, and efficient way to utilize the vast amount of data we have indexed over the past year. In other words, there are so many more valuable insights in the data waiting to be explored by users, and RSS3 is poised to unlock them together with you. Plus, to the best of our knowledge, there is currently no viable solution available.
What is the scope?
As the first search engine built for the new Open Web, it should cover as many open and decentralized networks as possible. However, the reality is that:
- Most networks, to a certain extent, store metadata in a centralized way to enrich completeness and improve performance.
- Some decentralized networks have proven to be extremely difficult to access openly or freely.
Here, we’ve defined an initial scope for the search engine to start with (we believe this will be subject to future changes as the Open Web evolves):
- Data that is stored directly on a decentralized network;
- Data that is stored centrally as a complement to its main decentralized entity;
- Data that is highly relevant to the operation of the Open Web;
- Data that is helpful in enhancing the functionalities and user experience of hoot.it
What about feed?
The rss3.io has done a great job as a source for Web3 users to look up address / DID-oriented information. Compared to what a general blockchain scan has to offer, it covers major chains with respect to all primary transactions. One doesn’t have to go to different scans to check out activities, or to go back and forth with different tabs segmented by different types of transactions. It also renders all off-chain metadata rendered out so no extra effort is needed to find out what token #56271 is about. In simpler terms - it’s a scan made for humans. Now, as the RSS3 ecosystem grows, rss3.io will become the portal to everything we offer, and the scan will become part of hoot.it.
We will not include the boring technical details here, long story short, address lookups on hoot.it, although still in its beta, is 100 times faster than the previous rss3.io. As our tech leader Henry put it, “Black magic was performed”. The change of URLs may take some time getting used to, but it’s an essential step for us as we move into the next phase. Try typing in an ENS or address for a tryout, you will see how hoot.it for address scan is just wayyyyyyyyy better than any “blockchain explorers” out there.
As RSS3 grows, the evolutions of the project are basically the results of the continuous exploration we are conducting toward the ideology of “Information Dissemination for the Open Web”. Of all these explorations, most of the effort has been focused on the three core questions:
- What is consumable information: “consumable information” is highly personal, users perceive them in different ways. We aim to provide broad coverage and let buidlers decide what to do;
- What is a feed: The result of almost every major information dissemination method (directory, search, subscription, algorithms, etc.) is a feed.
- Web3? Open Web?: The concept of Web3 has become increasingly blurred this year. We believe that RSS3, named after the two previous generations of RSS, should focus solely on building the Open Web, regardless of what it’s called.
We will continue to build a better Web, using information from the Open Web, and providing the most decentralized architecture possible to serve everyone.
The RSS3 Foundation