As much as the media would like to convince you otherwise, today's OnionSphere is more like a bulletin board than a a cyberpunk utopia.
Not only does the Dark Web have a branding problem it has a ethos problem, with services relying on centralized servers, bad opsec and outdated software.
It doesn't have to be this way, we have the technology. Here I some ideas heavily inspired by some of the awesome work going on around the community.
1 Onion Services don't have to be Centralized
Ricochet presents a model communication that doesn't rely on middlemen and minimizes your metdata footprint to the extend possible with current technology.
There is no reason this model cannot be adapted to other domains. Splitting the content hosting, between peers, using the same technologies that those peers use to talk to each other, or authenticate
2 Onion Services don't need to be Services
What if we had an Onion AppStore? Downloadable applications in the Tor Browser, talking through custom API's that enable the peer like behavior mentioned above?
Imagine marketplaces for verified applications. A digital currency market for onion services.Built on a base of privacy and security.
Of course, all of this reduces an applications fingerprint - standardized APIs over the Ricochet protocol are much more difficult to monitor and much easier to audit for security concerns.
3 Onion Services don't have to be for People
With the exception of botnet command and control networks, this doesn't get enough attention.
Onion Services provide a great way to network machines and software together in a way that doesn't rely on IP forwarding, or lots of snooping and interference by intermediary networks.
See a recent Tor Project blog post for some more ideas.
Hopefully this post has left you with more questions and followups and maybe a few more ideas. I would certainly love to hear them, and help where I can - please get in touch!