What is the Decentralized Web, and Why Should I Care?
Blockchain and cryptocurrency aren’t just fringe, eccentric topics anymore. Today, they’re widely acknowledged technologies well on their way to becoming mainstream.
The idea of decentralization is at the heart of blockchain. But what does it really mean? How will decentralized technology change our lives and society as a whole?
In this article, we’ll give a quick overview of the problems with the current, overly centralized internet and explain how decentralization can solve many of those problems.
The problems with centralization
The internet today is much more centralized than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. A relatively tiny number of monolithic corporations control a disproportionate amount of what happens online, and that includes your personal data and activities.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and tech giants like Google, are regularly at the center of data privacy scandals and accusations of unethical behavior. But even if we overlook this — their entire model is still built on prioritizing their own profit margins over the user experience.
Today’s internet is not designed to optimize the experience of users — it’s designed to make lots of money for a handful of companies. The result is a less enjoyable time online, dominated by ads, and a serious loss of power for independent users and content creators. But how can decentralization solve these problems?
How will decentralization offer a better future?
One of the biggest advantages to a more decentralized web will be data portability. In other words, users will be able to use data in multiple contexts and scenarios while being reliably sure it’s the same data.
You’ll be able to carry your own data with you wherever you go online and feel confident about the truth of it. In a decentralized economy, you own your data, nobody else.
Right now, the opposite is true — your data is owned by companies and platforms. For content creators, this means they lose control over the things they produce, surrendering potentially huge amounts of money to the centralized entities that host their work.
In a decentralized ecosystem, content creators and users will have more power and control, more revenue channels, and more money. We could even see new social networks where you can own your username, giving individuals true freedom and autonomy online.
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When is it coming?
The shift to a truly decentralized web isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take time. We need to build the pieces of the decentralized internet and allow perceptions to shift.
As ordinary people, what we can do now is learn as much as possible. Take the time to get familiar with decentralization and all it can offer. Play around with some decentralized apps and software.
Go to Unstoppable Domains, where you can get a domain name and maybe even launch your own decentralized app.
For more discussions around decentralization, cryptocurrency, blockchain, and more, check out The Unstoppable Podcast.