My decentralized journey: from hype to reality

Alex Sicart Ramos
Published in
4 min readFeb 14, 2018

I still remember my summer in Silicon Valley, the cradle of innovation, where I started exploring P2P protocols and blockchain for my work on the startup Sharge, the Airbnb of electric car charging stations using Ethereum blockchain, with David, Elsa, Joan & Xavier (Imagine Creativity Center).

We were working at Hero City (Tim’s Draper coworking space), watching lots of exciting blockchain projects & startups surrounding us everyday. In there we met Daniel Díez from Bit2Me and Luis Cuende from Aragon, their feedback was deep and useful.

Back then I realized the potential of blockchain, but not only in the energy sector, where regulation still has a long way to go.

Some months later, I decided to leave Sharge. The reason was that I wanted to focus on our product, but we couldn’t stop meeting with lawyers because of the regulation issues.

We had lots of legal obstacles, such as the impossibility of reselling energy in Spain and the extreme cases of liability for potential accidents.

In my words: “I’ve realized that nobody here is prepared for the collaborative economy in the energy sector. Call me in 40 years, when everything is regulated”.

I then started playing with IPFS, Ethereum and Hyperledger. A new horizon was opening just in front of me.

The potential for this is incredible! Just think about the numerous apps that nowadays act as a third party, as an intermediary, to connect you with other users (e.g. WeTransfer, Uber, Airbnb). Many of these centralized systems we massively use today could be built on a decentralized manner using Ethereum.

But, ¿Why is Decentralization important?

Decentralization is important because it takes off all single points of failure or control over the user. This makes internal collusion and external attacks impractical. Decentralized platforms cut out the middlemen which ultimately leads to lower costs for the user. There are a few decentralized applications I am particularly excited about. — Linda Xie

¿Is decentralization being used nowadays?

The answer is short and clear: Yes!

Decentralized amazing new projects:

  • AKASHA is a social and technological experiment enabling our collective memory, feelings and ideas to echo freely throughout humanity’s existence. By fusing Ethereum with the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS).
  • Internxt is an innovative decentralized service, that allow everyone to benefit from a more secure, private and independent Internet.
  • Aragon is a project that aims to disintermediate the creation and maintenance of organizational structures by using blockchain technology.
  • Bloom is an end-to-end protocol for identity attestation, risk assessment and credit scoring, entirely on the blockchain.

People that share Assembly’s mission, building the pieces that enable decentralized startups to empower people with blockchain technologies.

What did I do about it?

Later, I started studying in Codeworks, the leading JavaScript bootcamp in Europe. I decided to contribute to the Decentralized Revolution and I started to build The Decentralized WeTransfer.

I thought this centralized system we use today could be built in a decentralized manner using Ethereum and IPFS to obtain all the benefits mentioned before.

Since last August I’ve been able to fully develop our product, seeing the enormous potential of IPFS and Ethereum. I have also had the chance to expose and discuss blockchain at multiple events, I especially remember one of them last week at Torre Mapfre in Barcelona.

Alongside David Andrés, who is passionate about blockchain and an expert in moderating round tables, I tried to explain to the audience the benefits and challenges of blockchain. I realized first hand that even if everyone in tech is talking at the moment about blockchain the real use cases are nowhere to be found.

Of course the startups mentioned before are good examples of how decentralization is being used but these are really exceptions in a hyped world.

I also saw this problem in a round table three months ago where I discussed ICO’s and blockchain with banking experts, lawyers and startups.

It is very easy to talk as a blockchain passionate but very difficult to really develop a working product. The perspectives for the future over this technology are huge, but in order to get there we have to start with real use cases now.

It is then a priority to build real use cases to overcome this problem.

I’ve tackled the issue alongside a great and diverse team: Joan Viladomat (@Parkinghood Founder), David Redondo (Former IT Manager Accenture) and my fellow Pol Baladas (Founder @seleactivitat.).

FileNation presenting at Estrella Damm.

After developing FileNation I can now state that The Decentralized WeTransfer is here. And the decentralized revolution is here to stay. If you want to be part of this necessary revolution, give it a try at filenation and follow us at @filenation_io.

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