You must be wondering why is this article starting with a diagram! But after a lot of thought on how to introduce decentralization as a concept, I realized this is by far the best way as it best helped me to grab the concept.
In these three images, you will find three concepts. The first image has the main source, the central point and all the other points connect to the central source. In the next point, there are many central points and further many points connected to central points and final the last image where every point is connected to the point.
Now going back to the dictionary meaning of decentralization, it is transfer (control of an activity or organization) to several local offices or authorities rather than one single one, it very clear that the second image is decentralized as there is no single point of contact. To connect one point to another you will have to take longer routes and when the network is wide it becomes more difficult.
In this article, we will talk about What decentralization is? How is it better than centralization and how have companies using decentralization have benefited
What is Decentralization?
You must have heard about cryptocurrency like bitcoin and if you interest in the area you must also have heard about how they promote themselves to be decentralized.
In decentralized systems, most nodes have multiple routes to reach other nodes and when the network is vast, tracking the route becomes much more difficult than a centralized system where there is a single point of attack and a single point of authority.
But, does decentralized apply only to technology or also in an organization? Decentralized can be anywhere from decentralized social networks to the decentralized file storage solution, health data sharing, dating service, milk delivery — all can be decentralized!
For example, in an organization, the authority can be divided and no single person should own the control to call it decentralized.
But decentralization is not just about a solution or a technology it is about freedom, authority, collaboration, self-satisfaction. It is about the values tied which makes us feel free because we are not dependent and under control when we are decentralized.
Characteristics of decentralization
The most important characteristic of decentralized is that it distributes power and does not concentrates it.
Authority: It gives the service provider and receiver the authority of their choice. In a decentralized way of working you have to judge your work and need not be scared of a boss. Even the end-user of the product have the decision making power and are not forced to accept the terms and condition that generally comes as threatening with the product. To be more precise it is like saving your data on a hard disk rather than cloud storage.
Freedom and knowledge: In a decentralized network for instance while uploading the data you uploader does not have the idea of what he is uploading and neither does he have the key to access. It is only you who knows the content and has the authority over your files.
No single point of failure: In the decentralized network there is no single point of contact and the data is distributed in a robust network and thus chances of failure become very less. For example, if the internet is down our life comes to a halt because all our daily activities from grocery to work are around it. What if you get a solution where there is no central point dependency
Why choose to decentralize over centralize?
Centralized systems have to lead to increasingly monotonous and unaccountable power. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Dropbox, and so many others have full access to your data, and it is not you only have the authority. with time this encourages exploitation and wrong usage of information leading to disinterest in user needs.
For example, a platform that is designed to help people connect digitally with friends and family by sharing day-to-day activities. If you think about the purpose Facebook serves then you will realize it can be well achieved by different, means too like sharing the information over call and by using apps like telegram, signal, or wire. But in reality, Facebook’s interface is designed in a way to keeps scrolling in-app as long as possible. It is our attention that helps their business model. And despite giving all the authority and attention what are we receiving? Loss of time and the central authority of Facebook becoming richer day by the bay. But with a decentralized system, the authority is divided, not allowing any center point contact to take away all the benefits.
Also, Amazon has become a near-monopoly through a centralized system where when local vendors cant sell their stuff they come up online serving the company more than serving their own business. Users have little choice or control and Bezos (CEO and largest owner of Amazon) is the richest person on the planet. Instead of many successful ventures, we have only one and this is the result of a centralized system.
I agree decentralization is not the only solution to tackle all the problems but it is of course one of the major steps in returning the society its lost power, in making a world that gives power to everyone t=rather than promotes monopoly.
It can help in creating an atmosphere that promotes the power of locals and develops a society that is more self-dependent other than being dependent on one source of authority