I think one of the biggest dangers to free software and internet freedom in general are the centralized services almost everyone uses: Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Youtube, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and so forth.
So I’m fascinated by the attempts in the Maidsafe, Ethereum, and Synereo and similar projects that took concepts pioneered by Bitcoin and are trying to build on top of them. Anyone can contribute storage and compute resources to the network in return for some of the currency, and in turn anyone can spend currency to use the resources. Each of the three has some kind of custom programming language or computing framework built on top, so in theory you can build distributed, decentralized alternatives to all of the services I mentioned. ( Well, maybe not Gmail because of search, map APIs, video sharing, and social networks it is the only one that doesn’t conduct all of its network activity over TLS/port 443. )
I imagine a future where most people run some kind of tiny service on their computers or even on their phones that contribute resources to a crypto-currency network 24/7 - or at least while on battery - to accumulate tiny bits of the crypto-currency. And then during the day running searches, viewing and sharing videos, sending and receiving messages, etc… etc… uses tiny bits of the crypto-currency. No central company running the data warehouse, no embedded advertising, no censorship, and monitoring user activity would be possible but computationally expensive.
Is this the future? Or just idealistic dreaming?