6 November 2022
There's no such thing as true decentralization.
And yes, I'm also talking to those Web3 guys, the Fediverse, and those who still prefer to stick in Web2 CRUD practicists.
Decentralization might be your goal, but, philosophically, there wouldn't be decentralization without centralization.
Sure, that decentralized vision of Web3 wouldn't come (or catalyzed) by the so-called centralization of the Internet. But the truth is, there are still many NFT, cryptocurrency, as well as Web3 communities who often gathers around Discord, which is clearly a Web2 application, not Web3.
Actually, there's a great explanation on why these "dreamers of decentralization" decided to go with Discord. No, not from the perspectives of Web3 fans, but all the Web1 fans over the Yesterweb community!
Self-hosted/decentralized/open-sourced apps are awesome, but they have two primary problems for community-building:
Why Discord? - https://yesterweb.org/p/why-discord.html
- The first problem is two-fold: the level of complexity for both the administrator and the users.
- The second problem is that many ‘decentralized’ apps in particular have garnered a widespread reputation for hate speech. In many of these spaces (IRC included), “free speech” becomes synonymous with “hate speech”. It’s no surprise that one would be reluctant to associate themselves (especially a community) with that kind of reputation.
And additionally, if you're dealing with Web3 apps, every single post, as recorded on the so-called "blockchain", is expensive. You don't want your fans to lose the hype just because your flaming posts are still waiting for approval inside that long Ethereum transaction queue.
So you decided to go with Discord, a well-known Web2 app with millions of users. Their company profile explicitly mentions their intentions to be the center of Internet communities, or even the Internet as a whole.
Discord is used by everyone from local hiking clubs, to art communities, to study groups. Discord has millions of people creating places for their friends and communities, talking for upwards of 4 hours per day on the platform. Discord is now where the world talks, hangs out, and builds relationships. Discord lets anyone create a space to find belonging—just like it did for Jason and Stan.About Discord - https://discord.com/company
So you decided to go with Discord, and so, you decided for centralization to jeopardize your decentralization movement.
In an alternate universe...
Alright, so, what if the future of the web isn't Web3, but Web 3.0? The confusion in naming has recently led Tim Berners-Lee, the original creator of the World Wide Web (WWW), to kindly ask the public to throw Web3 away as his earlier vision of the same-decentralized-energy of Web 3.0 travels the completely different way than the world of blockchains and transactions. And monkeys, too.
But even if we assumed that the world today had been successfully upgraded to Web 3.0, we can still see traces of centralization from two critical things:
- The centralization of protocols, just like how HTTP dethrone Gopher back then to excel in deliverance of hypertext documents, as well as
- The (scarier) centralization of Internet infrastructure, whether be it your Internet service providers (ISPs), like, what if 65% of the world's Mastodon servers are actually hosted on AWS or housed on Comcast's residential networks?
The true essence of decentralized web can only be done in peer-to-peer contexts, with completely no trust and no control between web peers. If environmental claims against cryptocurrencies are getting stronger each time, well, it's just the beginning. Relying the web into P2P will just make it worse as well as inefficient for people to benefit from the web.
My spiritual beliefs.
I spiritually agree that decentralization is nothing without centralization. But even more than that, centralization, it is indeed, God's will. I've hold this religious belief from the perspective of a person who recognizes God as one central spiritual deity (which means, no gods or goddesses or so).
The reason why those hated "Big Tech" corporations exist is all related to power and greed, abused with the God's almighty powers of centralization. My beliefs have taught me to defeat centralization with centralization, just like an eye for an eye, and a hand for a hand.
After all, the world is currently divided into two largest centralized forces and entities: the good, as well as the evil. I believe that God of the good wants the world instead to centralize, but distributed, in sharing His goodness to all of the people. This is why, in all my life, beyond all of the activities of the Internet, I'm getting involved in centralization of people and life, more and more each day.
That still does not mean I'll be avoiding all of the Web3 and Web 3.0 buzz for the sake of holiness. But when it comes into debating whether (re)decentralization is necessary for the Internet, well, this is my stance on them.
And I'll still support both centralization and decentralization to centralize myself to the good.