I just want to know if its possible to create an app without data storing all of its user data, instead each new user’s mobile device becomes a new server.

Is this possible? if so, how to do it? How can I accomplish this?

This ideia came from the movie "Nerve". I let the movie details down below.

Nerve IMDb

Nerve trailer

Nerve written trailer: A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of "watchers."

Nerve has no creator, and no data centre storing all of its user data. Instead, each new user’s mobile device becomes a new server - this is what they say in the movie.

I don't know wich tags i should add, so if it's not in the correct tag, just tell me. I change it, if needed.

  • 1
    It is possible yes, but it is impractical for a number of reasons. Big Data in a sense is just an implementation of data sharing across multiple servers, but the data isn't divided amongst the servers, it's copied for consistency. Mobile devices are just small computers really, so while they'd make unconventional servers, they could still be servers in a sense. It'd certainly make an interesting film, but not likely something we're going to see in the near future in my humble opinion. – Neil Jun 6 '17 at 13:32
  • @Neil but this way, as the movie says, its impossible to take down "the game" until all users disconnect right? and when all users disconnect all data is lost right? – Francisco Melicias Jun 6 '17 at 13:37
  • not "lost" just offline... imagine a "normal server" if someone disconnects it, you won't lose the data, it will just not be accessible – Ricardo Alves Jun 6 '17 at 13:40
  • I agree with @RicardoAlves. The program doesn't get destroyed if its users stop using their phone anymore than your facebook app gets destroyed if you stop using your phone. The data too would remain intact. Interesting plot device, but not realistic. – Neil Jun 6 '17 at 13:41
  • @Neil Thanks, I understand now, but one more question, how can i make all the smartphones turn into a server? – Francisco Melicias Jun 6 '17 at 13:51

It's possible, but highly impractical to do it with mobile devices.

In Bittorrent, a central coordinating server (a tracker) tells me which other connected clients have the information I'm seeking, and then I download it directly from my peers.

Bittorrent also has a system called a Distributed Hash Table, where cilents work cooperatively to maintain a database similar to the tracker's function, without any central tracker node. I just have to know the address of one participant in the DHT to download it, and discover the other participants. The government could make it very hard to come by this information on the internet, but if I personally knew a participant I could just ask.

There's no reason you couldn't implement a messaging or social networking system the same way.

Mobile devices would be challenging, though. Users would have to be willing to spend their batteries and mobile data allowances serving other people's data to other people. Unlike in the case of a PC tower connected to a cable modem (where Bittorrent usually runs), these resources are scarce.

Worse, the main way we know of to make this kind of system resilient to attackers (blockchain) is to spend a whole lot of electricity and CPU time just to prove that we've done so (this is what "proof of work" means in cryptocurrencies). This is highly impractical with mobile devices.

Apple or Google could remove the app from the App Store or Play Store, and even delete existing installed copies. Cell phone companies could stop passing traffic that looks like it belongs to that app. Particularly in a mobile context, there would still be ways to shut it down.

  • I'm inclined to agree. Though with an external server and a phone app, this would become a lot easier to accomplish. Essentially this is the structure of most phone applications nowadays that require an external connection. – Neil Jun 7 '17 at 6:44
  • First of all, thanks for the answer, but i still have on doubt..You talk about bittorrent and the way it downloads, popcorntime app, uses the same method right? You talked about the battery problem, but with popcorntime, I dont have battery problems, why? and what makes the bittorrent diferrent from popcorntime app? – Francisco Melicias Jun 7 '17 at 6:58
  • From a cursory Google, Popcorn Time doesn't seed unless you have it open. Unless others are watching the same content at the same time, Popcorn Time can only download from people who use regular Bittorrent. – closeparen Jun 7 '17 at 7:02
  • Thans for everything :) @closeparen – Francisco Melicias Jun 7 '17 at 7:08

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