BLOCKCHAIN CENTRALIZATION — IS THAT THE FUTURE OF DECENTRALIZED NETWORK?

By Mirko Kikovic on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

Romans created the largest empire in Europe by the destruction of the other states. But soon they accepted or copied the organization of their more organized enemies. Their concept of Senate originates from Carthage and their Gods from Greek Pantheon.

As soon as they settled in a comfortable lifestyle, the new “aggressive” people came.

It was happening throughout history, and it happened again. First, an aggressive one appears, and then it gets incorporated like the previous one. It seems that this is similar for the technology. So, will blockchain share the faith of Romans and become centralized?

The knowledge of the organization

Photo by Tatyana Dobreva on Unsplash

Ruling the state was a complex task in ancient times without YouTube tutorials. Only the former rulers and their “employees” had the know-how. So, many ministers and advisors remained in their positions and kept the old model. But with the new ruler in charge. Changing the rulers, but not the rules. These situations often happened throughout history.

But changing the rules by creating the system without a ruler is something that is new. If there is no ruler, there is no need for advisors and the knowledge of the organization.

Anarchy was more or less describing this type of “no-system.” In ancient times, anarchists delegated the power to the people. Nowadays, one technology is creating a system like anarchy, yet regulated.

Blockchain as the decentralized model is introducing “power to the people” model. But people are not people. They are “nodes.”

Conqueror or the conquered

Photo by Kaley Dykstra

The concept of the nation is not so prevalent as it was in the 19th century during the rise of nationalism. National banner and beliefs were conquering lands and uniting people. Some were adding countries to the stronger centralized system by capturing their lands. A lot of suffering happened during these movements.

In recent years, we have seen the massive gathering over the idea of decentralization. Supporters of blockchain are loud in announcing the purge of existing centralized models. They are announcing the purification that the new flexible model is bringing.

But first, conquest is the need to take over some possession. That could be a material possession or the possession of power. Blockchain, for instance, can decentralize the system of voting. Right to vote is one of the pillars of democracy. But it is always connected with possible frauds by those who have centralized power.

So, if blockchain is taking over the voting, is it an ideal model to make any decision in the country? Do this means that real democracy would come?

Still, that would be the democracy of those who can vote. And those who own several nodes or a significant amount of crypto will have more votes. Ones that don’t have either of those will not have the power to vote.

If voting isn’t available to the whole population, is that like the position of a slave in the ancient world? Or the situation of patricians and plebs in ancient Rome? Do owning more nodes makes you more powerful as the wealthy people are? Do this decentralization and democracy mean inequality, too?

With the power comes the great responsibility for blockchain. Good for transactions and security issues, the test is if it can handle more mundane matters. Besides voting, there are acts, procedures, and laws that are not so easy to change. And there are contracts with the citizens defining the sets of rules. These rules influence people’s lives. Can “smart contracts” alter them? And how to decentralize the decision for the death sentence, for example?

These models will have to face the challenge of copying existing institutions. Or existing institutions will copy them. Again, it will be the same: conqueror or the conquered.

Centralization and private ownership

Sanzio, Raffaello. The Judgment of Solomon

If a person tries to take power for himself, he is the rebel. But if the people decide to the same — it is a revolution.

The current phase of blockchain is like the revolutionary movements throughout history. But every revolution has its leader. And in certain degree revolution is taking power for this leader.

Bitcoin, as creators are unknown, has no leader. But the ownership of Bitcoin is traceable. Blockchain stores information of all transactions making an illusion of privacy. One that owns the most Bitcoin at the end is the leader.

Furthermore, ICO companies are organizations in private ownership. And everything that is private is, by the rule, centralized. When Ethereum announced Constantinople upgrade the people (nodes) didn’t have a choice. This crossroad (hard fork*) made users choose to follow the new rules or leave. A private company decided to make that upgrade. Thus, that was the centralized decision.

Accepting the blockchain technology

Photo by Hitesh Choudhary on Unsplash

Romans took “aggressive people” in their military service. Romans provided them with the training, weapons, and uniforms.

Similar, governments were accepting new models of payments (coins, paper money, cards).

Nowadays, many governments are accepting distributed ledger technology (DLT) as decentralized consensus. DTL is the first step in the acceptance of blockchain. It is because blockchain is nothing but DLT with a feature of using blocks to store data of transactions.

There is a variety of DLTs and blockchain frameworks. Hyperledger is one of them. An open-source project for building blockchain frameworks created by Linux Foundation. It aims to establish a standard for blockchain technology. Companies like IBM, SAP, Samsung, Intel, and J.P. Morgan are on the list of contributors to this platform.

Back in 2015, SWIFT (global financial messaging) announced that it supports Hyperledger. Now is possible that SWIFT partners with Ripple (cryptocurrency and protocol for transactions). Or that SWIFT is building its protocol. Either way aims to secure the position of the global leader in financial messaging.

And Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Ripple created an open-source mobile platform. It is not a chance it suits government regulators and financial technology companies. Also, the platform is promoting mobile payments in undeveloped countries.

Partnerships and rumors could be true or not. But these are the signs of worldwide acceptance.

Conclusion

Does this acceptance mean that centralization will prevail over so-called anarchy and decentralization? And will blockchain centralization be the future of the decentralized network?

It looks like governments are prone to accept the new aggressive technology. They need time to change their models to include this dynamic movement. But the new technology would need to keep some instances of the former organization. It is because it is still unable to deal with all the use cases. Like in ancient times, the ruler will change, but some models will prevail.

So, it would be more of a change in power than the change that will lead to total decentralization.

That is a lesson from the history of Rome. But one way or another, DLT and blockchain are here to stay. Whether the new type of blockchain will rise, or the existing one will conquer the world.

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