MetaMask Grants DAO funds Spritely Foundation

Funding a new model for the internet prioritizing security and collaboration.

by MetaMaskFebruary 6, 2023

With 2023 full-steam ahead, we’re excited to announce our grant to the Spritely Foundation.

As a reminder, MetaMask Grants DAO was formed to support the developer community in building out impactful experiences within the MetaMask ecosystem. You can learn more about the employee-funded DAO and how to apply for a grant here.

Spritely: Re-Architecting Communication on the Internet

Spritely is a new model for the internet that aims to be both secure and collaborative, and is focused on secure social networking. The project is led by some very talented individuals, including Christine Lemmer-Webber and F. Randall ("Randy") Farmer. Christine is known as a creator of the ActivityPub protocol (perhaps the most widely used decentralized social network protocol today), and Randy has been working on secure distributed applications since he helped build the first MMO (Lucasfilm’s Habitat).

Spritely builds the foundation for a maximally phishing-proof permissionless social network, where interactions are always rooted in consent and social introductions, making it harder for phishers to impersonate people, and easier for people to establish credibility and context-preserving social environments. We believe this is an ambitious and critical piece of infrastructure for allowing a safe permissionless web.

A Spritely application is not built on blockchains itself, but can interoperate with blockchains as needed for multi-party assurances. By default, users create their own programs, functions, and content and simply share access with each other over the network. Intermediary servers can provide replication, but they can always be routed around and are not necessary.

Since Spritely applications do not require financial buy-in the way blockchains do, it’s much friendlier to new user adoption, while still allowing a type of permissionless application to be built where it’s rooted in a user’s own sense of trust and safety. Their capability-security approach to permissionless computing makes a lot of sense to us at MetaMask, and we think tools like it can enable exciting kinds of applications.

As it is a true distributed object capability (ocap) system, the security model goes all the way down to the syntax of the language, which is chosen to ensure it’s as easy as possible to extend programs in a safe way.

This is similar to Agoric’s HardenedJS, which underpins the MetaMask Snaps system, which makes JavaScript secure through the ses-shim and the TC-39 standards process, and was a recent MetaMask grant recipient. While Agoric is oriented at making secure distributed programming maximally accessible to JavaScript programmers via the Endo project, Spritely has chosen the Scheme language (a Lisp dialect) which is less common but is more simple and flexible, and allows more open-ended experimentation and iteration for the platform. The two aspire to interoperate over a protocol called CapTP, in a joint project through the OCapN group.

Secure and Collaborative Internet Systems

The grant of $250k in USDC will primarily be used to port the Guile runtime for Scheme to WebAssembly. Guile is the Scheme environment that Spritely is built on, so this will allow the Spritely platform to be run anywhere that WebAssembly is available, like a browser, like within MetaMask. This will allow developers to use the Spritely framework to build decentralized applications that run in the browser and can be accessed by users via MetaMask or any other tool that supports WASM.

With the help of this grant, the Spritely community is confident that it will be able to make a significant impact in the world of secure and collaborative internet systems and MetaMask is proud to support this effort. You can learn more about the Spritely system in their document The Heart of Spritely.

If you’re a developer, take a look at our Snaps wish list here and apply for a grant to build out a thriving ecosystem with us.

We can’t guarantee when we will review your request or that it will get approved, but know that our team will review the application pipeline as often as we can. Thanks for being patient with us.

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