What Decentralisation Really Is — And What It Is Not
In the wake of western governments and companies’ reactions to the Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, blockchain technology had quickly become implied. While some lawmakers swiftly supposed that the Russian elite could use crypto to evade sanctions, the debate seems to be converging settling: this scenario appears to be highly unlikely. Additionally, crypto assets have very much become subject to sanctions.
Yet, some contest the legitimacy of international government sanctions in the blockchain space altogether. The actions by Metamask and OpenSea last week to block users from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Venezuela highlighted this issue — even if removing Venezuelan users’ access turned out be a “simple” technical error, rather than a policy decision. Some voices have gone as far as referring to the “trojan horse of tyranny” and “censorship” because, they believe, the system is not thoroughly decentralised. Decentralisation, in this view, is opposed to government regulations.
Decentralisation — old concepts in new contexts
There is no single textbook or academic definition. Too often, we see that approaches to decentralisation are rather short-sighted — made from, by, and for computer science and its communities. We at DeBond think that there is a (perhaps somewhat unlikely) candidate to enrich our understanding: political science. Luckily, a few of us have got a bit of expertise in it, too.
Indeed, the issue of (de)centralisation lies close to the heart of the discipline: “good governance”. The quest for good governance is as old as humanity itself. We can look back to prehistoric hunter-gatherer communities’ probable decisionmaking processes; ancient Greek poleis like Athens, the Roman Republic, self-governing universities or cloisters in Europe the middle ages… The idea of democracy — when no one person, but everyone who is part of the community is the ultimate authority equally decides under the law — went through a lot of changes and mutations. It has developed truly important concepts such as due process, the rule of law, or separation of powers. It has become attached to social values, perhaps most eloquently expressed by the French revolution: liberté, égalité, fraternité. These ideas, values, and concepts are ideal types — difficult to be fully realised, but guiding principles for decisionmaking.
The role of technology in good, democratic governance is unquestionable. Spreading ideas, putting people in direct contact, establishing lines of communication have profoundly impacted social decisionmaking. Think of the invention of printing press: it had revolutionised mass participation in social life, learning, and business — breaking the gripping information monopoly of the medieval catholic church in Europe. The internet had the same property, but on an even larger scale, promising more instantaneous, pluralistic, accessible participation. But as few governments can actually live up to all the ideals of pluralistic democracy, by today, we see the current Web2.0 internet has failed at fulfilling too many of its own uplifting promises. Instead, Big Tech is bringing us almost all-powerful monopolies, less choice and less freedom, and creeping surveillance capitalism. The opposite of the desired goals has been formed: centralised companies with authoritarian power verticals.
The truly decentralised internet, web3.0 is meant to replace and repair this.
A community-led, but rules-based participatory digital network where carefully deliberated, democratic decisions are automatically, instantly, and impartially executed.
It needs to be a space where democratically made rules are respected while upholding individual human rights. Simply put, where the rights and interests of both the individual and the community are in balance.
Misconceptions of decentralisation and privacy
This clarifies what decentralisation is not — and should not be. Of course, it definitely cannot be tyrannical: no one or few persons, entities should be able to make the rules alone. But it also cannot be a space where there are no rules at all. Decentralisation cannot be lawlessness, it is not anarchy. Such a space would not be suitable for pro-social use. It would be teeming with harmful and fraudulent content, the strong would prey on the weak ultimately serving virtually no one. The incentives would make us all descend into an unbreakable cycle of evil. So, it is very clear, that
what we want is much closer to the ideals of good governance rather than no governance at all.
The reason why many — mistakenly — want no control (indeed, a strong word in a decentralised network) or rules and laws in the blockchain space is to protect everyone’s right to privacy. But to think that transactions and interactions on blockchain are untraceable is wrong, anyway. The whole point of blockchain is a publicly distributed and verifiable ledger, openly accessible records tracking all transactions. It can be anonymous, of course — but can also be unmasked. As the founder of Binance said: “…governments around the world are already very adept at tracking [blockchain transactions].”
So, it is high time to do away the shady, untraceable image of blockchain as it was never truly a correct one to begin with. Blockchain technology is conceived to create an open, transparent system of trust. Without openness, traceability, and most importantly, transparently, trust cannot exist.
Good governance and privacy are not a contradiction. And privacy and traceability are, again, two different things.
It is entirely reasonable and possible for a transparent system to be anonymous. Its members just need to acknowledge that social control, however, is there — just like in all aspects of real life: family, friends, school, religion, neighbourhood and the state all limit our actions. It is possible to escape from various forms of social control for sure. But then one needs to accept all its disadvantages, too: no family and friend support, no state services like education and healthcare. One can decide not to take part in the economy, too — but growing one’s own food and making one’s own clothes is difficult. Such a life would be, as the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes put it “poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
The logic is the same with the decentralised web3.0: we need to accept the underlying transparency of the system’s architecture in order to enjoy the seamless, secure, and trustworthy transactions for all. Thus privacy can be limited — as it is today in the western democracies, too— if someone commits proven offences. And to determine what counts as offence and how it is determined, we need good governance of the decentralised network: pluralistic community decisionmaking and due process to tread that fine line of individual human rights and the interests of a democratic community.
Indeed, this is what web3.0 promises to do efficiently — for the first time ever. Earlier, humanity did not have the technology to connect individuals over long distances, make communication efficient and transparent among them, and ensure fair, transparent execution of democratically made decisions in mass social settings. The closest what we have today are western democracies. Faulty as they are, we all need to follow their laws to maintain trust and order. With time, the faults are to be transcended for which
web3.0 technology is our best shot yet to create a truly pluralistic, participatory, yet efficient and quick way to deliberate, decide — and impartially implement decisions using smart contracts.
How we see DeBond’s role in the trust revolution
To make good on these promises, humanity still has a long way to go. We need to progress not only technologically, but also in our social and business practices, as well as individual behaviours. It is not enough to create a system; we need to use it well. We have to communicate more and better, be more transparent and honest about our opinions and actions as organisations and individuals, too.
Surely, we do not dismiss concerns about underlying blockchain architecture. But in this nascent space, we see that concerns are a bit overblown — for example, regarding JPMorgan’s stake in ConsenSys who own Infura whose service is used by MetaMask. It is not the creeping monopoly that we should be concerned right now. Much rather, it is the lack of transparency which is so essential in building trust in DeFi. If we had clear, simple, yet detailed information about the companies, their key people, relationships and transactions among them, we could much better trust them.
This is why DeBond as an open-source web3.0 platform is especially committed to operate openly: being transparent about the company’s ownership structure, key activities and personnel, as well as communicate about everything that is going on clearly and frequently.
Being transparent is a never-ending job; and we are working hard on it. Join us in our journey of giving the next-level standard for DeFi.
Pitch Deck: shorturl.at/ozBT1
Product Timeline: a demo of our frontend is available here https://debond-protocol.github.io/ (use test Ether in the HECO chain for some operations).
- Crypto exchanges in India | Bitcoin Savings Account
- OKEx vs KuCoin | Celsius Alternatives | How to Buy VeChain
- Binance Futures Trading | 3Commas vs Mudrex vs eToro
- How to buy Monero | IDEX Review | BitKan Trading Bot
- CoinDCX Review | Crypto Margin Trading Exchanges
- Red Dog Casino Review | Swyftx Review | CoinGate Review