Tuesday, August 10, 2021

decentralisation & disintermediation

 thinking about the history of peer-to-peer (IP routers, eDonkey, the original skype, and now new things like matrix,  mastodon etc) - there are several properties oft conflated together 

1. distributed - in your pocket, kitchen, on your bike, etc

2. decentralised - there's no agency, service with a single point of contact, failure, power, etc

3. heterogeneous - and partially federated - implemented by different people, but interoperating 

what this also means is that there's no big intermediary - no single platform owner, who has a god's eye view of the proceedings - marketing things or surveilling things. - there could still be such services, but they would need cooperation from all the targets they'd want to hit or spy on.

what is wrong with Uber, Airbnb and (probably) Bitcoin is that while they have some of these properties, they are dependent on single large infrastructures (roads/gas, houses/keys and the electricity grid) - you can build a fully peer-to-peer map of the world and let everyone share their EVs, and you could move all property into collective ownership (gasp), and you can build a decentralised trust system that doesn't depend on proof-of-work, but without that, these systems are fundamentally intermediated by those key infrastructure owners, who could change the operating rules to make what is done infeasible, or just pwn it. i..e their governance is extremely sketchy.

No comments:

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home