Last year, Mozilla and the National Science Foundation offered a $2 million prize for ideas to decentralize the internet as part of a broader goal to help keep the web open and accessible to everyone. That program seems to have yielded positive results now as Mozilla has announced that it will approve decentralized internet protocols for use by extensions beginning with Firefox 59.
Slated for rollout in March, Firefox 59 will include newly approved protocols such as the Dat Project, IPFS, and Secure Scuttlebutt, which represent Mozilla's latest move to serve up alternatives to the dominant client-server model of the internet. Keep in mind, though, that Firefox won't be implementing these protocols, but will only recognize them as legitimate protocols. Also, it's worth pointing out that the extensions can freely provide their own implementations.
The move is born out of Mozilla's belief that "it is a key ingredient of a healthy Internet," according to the company's blog announcing the new extensions. In June 2017, as part of the $2 million prize to decentralize the web, Mozilla gathered applications to develop wireless solutions that connect communities with no reliable access to the web. It marked Mozilla's latest step to support creative projects in the U.S.; the non-profit organization more recently donated $275,000 to support educational technology projects around the country as part of its Gigabit initiative.
Dat Project, IPFS, and Secure Scuttlebutt are designed to improve the internet infrastructure by enabling peer-to-peer networks to provide file transfer and web browsing capabilities, which are functionalities currently offered by the current client-server based web. What sets these protocols apart from the existing model is their improved privacy and security as well as support for net neutrality.
On top of those features, the upcoming Firefox 59 is also expected to come with an API that hides unused tabs from the interface and improvements to the webRequest API. Firefox 58, meanwhile, launched recently with a decent speed boost, courtesy of a two-tiered WebAssembly compiler.