Urbit Rocks

A planet with multi-coloured swirls on a black background

Urbit is the most ambitious software project you’ve probably never heard of. I don’t think there’s anything else in computing that even comes close.

Urbit is a re-imagining of what computing could look like if you had a decentralised, encrypted, peer-to-peer network underlying everything. It’s what the Internet wanted to be when it grew up.

Your Urbit is a virtual cloud computer that you control forever. Here are just a few reasons why Urbit is so awesome.

Urbit remembers what you tell it

Urbit is a single-level store. When I reboot my laptop it loses half its brain. Urbit doesn’t forget. I can have my Urbit crash while I’m in the middle of typing a sentence, and I won’t lose a single keystroke. Once it reboots, the latest snapshot is restored and every event since then is re-played perfectly.

You get a strong cryptographic identity

Every Urbit has a fixed cryptographic identity that is also its network address. Think of it like a DNS record, IP address and GPG keypair all joined together except 1000x less terrible. Fundamentally, an Urbit address is just a number, but every address has a neat phonemic representation associated with it like ~ligrys-ligtel.

Address-space is a scarce resource

At first this seems like a downside but I think it’s actually a really important feature. The Urbit address space is 128-bits and arranged in a hierarchy (“galaxy”, “star”, “planet”, “moon”, “comet”) where shorter addresses are the most valuable (remember, your address is also a name, and short names are easier to remember). As a result, spam has a real cost and longer (cheaper) Urbit addresses will be less trusted by default.

Now that you know a few awesome things about Urbit, you may want to learn what it actually is. Check out https://urbit.org for more information.

There’s a good chance that I’ll be issuing stars at some point in the near future. Shoot me an email at jeremy@<thisdomain> if you’re interested.