On Port 80
Meredith L. Patterson

Here’s the big problem with decentralized services: They’re decentralized. There is no central company to collect revenue (or collect investment in the hope of future revenue) and use it to pay developers and other staff. This wouldn’t be an issue if the entire population could code and contribute to the services, but they can’t. Only a few specialists have those skills, and due to the mismatch in numbers between the skilled and the unskilled, the skilled must be using skill full-time to support the demand placed on a service. To be able to use those skills full time, they must be paid a wage to live on.

Any “decentralized” system is in fact completely centralized: A small group of core developers controls the code, and are in fact the only people who can understand it, usually. The difference is that in a “decentralized” system, the financial incentives do not align, and they inevitably shrivel for lack of software and business development.

There’s the other issue of ease of use. Centralized services are also in a position of being continually forced to become nicer and easier. The attitude with decentralized services is usually “fix it yourself”, which is understandable coming from someone who is working for free. I mean, here we are, programmers, using a service which is… a website for making websites on port 80…

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