Today’s digital world has become highly decentralized. We don’t have to rely on a central authority or centralized infrastructure to access and share our content. This has led to the rise of decentralization platforms, which are websites and apps that provide users with access to a vast array of digital content from various sources.
The alternatives to big tech websites & apps are numerous, but some of them are yet to gain widespread adoption. Of course, we’ve heard about blockchain-based platforms in general terms, but what exactly is decentralization? Let’s take a look at its pros and cons so you know whether it should be one of your new sites or apps!
What is Decentralization?
Decentralization is the process of decentralized control and authority. The centralized distribution of power or control that exists in many organizations and governments results in centralized decision-making, lower quality services, and a lack of transparency and accountability.
Centralized decision-making can result in bad outcomes for the entire ecosystem — from the consumer to the businesses that use the services. Decentralized platforms, on the other hand, are more transparent, audit-able, and have a track record of delivering quality services.
This enables users to easily audit the quality of the service and make sure they are being received appropriately. Additionally, decentralized platforms can provide a more personalized service, as each platform is unique and built with end users in mind. For example, users can create their own shows or create content that is tailored to their interests, work situations, and education levels. Additionally, while centralized platforms may attract high volumes of traffic, they are also often slow to respond and/or provide quality services.
Provenance & Traceability
Most digital content is far less traceable than traditional media, meaning that auditing the route a document has taken to get to your computer is difficult or impossible. For example, hacking could have compromised the original source, the channel it was transmitted on, and the destination — all without a trace.
Documents can also be fake, altered, or stolen. This could be from harassment, fraud, or even state-sponsored attacks. Therefore, ensuring that the content you are using has been legitimately created and issued by an organization is critical. Provenance is a method of provenance used to track the journey of a product. Traceability is the process of making a product’s journey traceable and maintaining the information about it in a decentralized, decentralized platform.
Benefits of Decentralized Platforms
Decentralized platforms have several advantages over centralized platforms. These advantages include:
Increased transparency — Decentralized platforms make it much easier to audit the source of content. Since the whole ecosystem — from the website to the APIs used to distribute content — is decentralized, it’s much more traceable.
Faster services — Since the whole system is decentralized, you won’t have to wait as long for your internet service to get you your favorite show. Furthermore, decentralized platforms have built-in self-regulatory mechanisms that make it easy for service providers to moderate content.
More accurate tracking — While centralized platforms may be able to detect a drop in network traffic following a cyberattack, decentralized platforms are hard to tamper. This makes them particularly useful for countries that are prone to cyberattacks.
No middlemen — While centralized platforms may employ middlemen to help them distribute content to customers, such as when they host it on behalf of another platform, decentralized platforms don’t employ intermediaries.
Concerns in Using Decentralized Platforms
Blockchain-based platforms have been compared to a “trust, but Verifiable and Trustworthy” model, where the trust is in the platform and not the individuals managing it. However, no platform is 100% trustworthy. Furthermore, decentralized platforms don’t require a human operator to moderate content, which is particularly appealing in an age where human error and judgment are increasing.
However, if you are relying on these platforms to moderate content for you, you may want to consider hiring a professional. Here are some of the concerns users may have when using decentralized platforms:
Decreased user experience — There is a risk that a decentralized platform may be slow or even unavailable for certain services, particularly for those using lower-speed internet connections.
Rising costs — New decentralized platforms tend to be more expensive than their centralized competitors. This is due to the blockchain’s inherent nature of maintaining a ledger of all transactions.
Decentralized platforms have many of the same benefits as centralized platforms, but with added convenience and speed. Additionally, they also have some unique benefits, such as greater transparency and faster services. While decentralized platforms have their merits, it’s important to consider which ones are best for your business.