Distributed Publishing

Freedom of Information

On the Web, search engines like Google or Bing amass a lot of centralized power, being able to direct internet traffic and influence the public’s choices, by promoting some things and burying other things. But at least they are linking to sites on the open web. By contrast, platforms like Facebook and Twitter index content that’s centrally stored and gate-kept on their own servers, and have the power to restrict access to that content entirely.

On the other hand, the Qbix Platform allows anyone to turn their website into a social network, for example by placing social widgets on their existing web pages. The widgets are maintained by Qbix app and plugin developers, including those working for Qbix. But the hosting arrangements are completely up to the community and the wider market of Qbix services.

At the same time, each community of artists and authors of digital content can choose their own arrangements. They can restrict access to their content, monetize it, or grant access to each other on their own terms. They can maintain tiers of site memberships, charging recurring subscription fees, whether via credit cards or blockchain-based tokens. They can even release their own coin in which to charge their members.

Free Market of Hosting

The Qbix Platform has been designed from the ground up to be a distributed, web-based, general-purpose social platform. Anyone can host their own Qbix server, or choose to join someone else’s network. At some point, people and brands might outgrow the third party network, move their data to a different server of their choice, and re-point their domains and other information there. The servers can even include fast hosting on local networks in rural villages, cruise ships and planes, without reliance on the Internet. Qbix is built to move our digital lives from feudalism to a free market.

The Qbix ecosystem that is being built out includes the opportunity for companies to offer hosting services to people and communities, and receive micropayments for usage. Developers can build their own apps and plugins for communities to install and try, and monetize them through the hosting companies as the community members come to use more and more resources.

We are working on launching courses for developers, hosting companies, service providers and other ecosystem participants to learn they can make money in the Qbix ecosystem, become certified and earn the reputation to be featured in our app store. Unlike other ecosystems, we will not be the sole gatekeeper on our platform, but rather the first-mover and a trusted participant.

Distributed Publishing and Access Control

The core of Qbix Platform consists of several plugins, which are bundles of functionality:

Q – this is responsible for the core platform and user interface
Users – this allows users to maintain accounts across websites
Streams – standard functionality for managing data, content, search, etc.

In the Qbix ecosystem, streams represent pieces of data in the system, maintained either collaboratively or by a single publisher. Their content and attributes might change through time, and others can subscribe to receive notifications of these changes. Notifications can be delivered to people’s emails, mobile phones, devices, etc. but they can also be delivered to webhooks of other servers and communities, triggering certain events there.

Each stream has a publisherId, name and type that determines what it is. The publisher of the stream is a Qbix user, which represents a person or a community. This user ultimately has control over the stream, and can grant and manage access to others. A community may allow members with certain roles to write, read or manage individual streams, or set rules broadly about types. Streams published by the same publisher often share the same access rules, templates, and other properties.

Users can maintain accounts at multiple Qbix sites, and on each one, they are likely to have a different userId. This information is stored in database tables as xid or “external ID” that a user may have elsewhere. A community or even an app can have user accounts on other servers, have roles in communities there, etc. People and communities grant access to apps just like they grant access to any other user. In this way, Qbix implements oAuth, an open standard for apps to access information on other sites.

Forking Streams

As streams evolve through time, they get messages posted to them, which capture the instructions needed to move the stream from one state to the next.

Sometimes, there is a need to make a copy of one or more streams, published by the same publisherId, that are all related to each other. For example, a teacher may want to make a copy of a course module, and modify it slightly. Or, administrators of a website might want to test out several different versions, before switching the public site to one of them. For this, the Streams plugin implements the forking mechanism.

By convention, forked streams retain the name of the streams they were forked from, but have a different publisherId. All the previous messages, relations, etc. are read from the original streams, but going forward, there can be changes.

Forks take place on a single Qbix server, but streams can also be syndicated to other streams across servers. Again, by convention, the name of the stream is retained, but the publisherId (and indeed the entire server) would differ between streams. The syndication is accomplished through notifications between web servers, delivered and managed through webhooks, which are part of Qbix’s event-driven architecture.

Eventually, forked streams may be merged back into the original streams, incorporating the changes. This is done by syndicating the changes from the fork back into the original stream.

You can read more in the article about forking streams.

Distributed Search

With each website hosting various communities and users, each of whom publishes their own streams of information, Qbix helps maintain relations between streams. It standardizes the task of indexing relationships between streams, even if they are published on different servers.

Unlike centralized search engines such as Google or Bing, Qbix Platform enables aggregators that can request access to specific streams (such as events in a given area, news about a specific topic, or music by specific artists) from publishers of those streams, subject to their own bilateral arrangements and without a central gatekeeper. These aggregators can then help people to find, say, the best burger in town, furniture to buy in their city (like a craigslist city portal) or connect people for group rides (like a community-run local version of Uber).

In this way, an aggregator or app running on one Qbix server (such as google.com) can request access to certain streams published by other users (people and communities) on other servers. With read access they can syndicate the streams locally, and then their local Qbix server takes care of indexing and maintaining relationships locally. The app subscribes to notifications whenever something changes on the stream (e.g. a new product was listed in a category, or store hours changed, etc.), instead of “crawling” a website once in a while as search engines do. This is possible because Qbix Platform standardizes the protocols for both pulling and pushing information, without the publishers having to log into every search engine and manually request them to re-crawl the site.

The publishers of the streams may even allow some apps to get guest accounts on their server, and give them write access, to allow the aggregators to post changes back to their streams, such as user feedback and reviews. That way, the publisher can get lots of user-generated content across other sites, cryptographically signed by those sites and their members, and be able to feature it alongside their products on their own website. Instead of embedding a “Twitter widget”, they can aggregate signed reviews from many different sites, potentially paying for a license to use them.

You can read more in the article about distributed search and relationships across sites.


In 2023, we spun out a startup company called Engage Users Association, to help power a distributed ecosystem of digital services, whether done by humans or by AI, or both. The platform powering these services uses Qbix technology for Web2 (hosting, services, access control) and Intercoin technology for Web3 (contracts, micropayments, global settlement).

The services are discovered, ordered and delivered across websites, and all the aspects (including notifications, access to inputs and outputs, payments, reputations, etc.) are done autonomously. Autonomous agents can be increasingly utilized by service providers, to do some or all of the tasks that comprise a service, while earning micropayments from clients around the world. Complex workflows can be established, orchestrating new types of activity across many different tasks, which might even begin to spawn other workflows, based on events observed on the internet.

You can read more about this autonomous ecosystem at engageusers.ai/ecosystem