Decentralization is an End Itself

“The ideological heartstrings and naivety rooted in the paranoia and mistrust of centralized institutions like the government, a sentiment that is the bedrock or catalyst for many people attracted to blockchain, can only go so far. It’s up to front-running platforms seeking to offer a viable and preferable digital citizenship on land or sea (or air…or space) to right the wrongs of a baby-deer-legged nascent blockchain world, and create an alternative that could ultimately change how the world works.” – Quote from Alex Moskov at Floating Crypto Islands and the Hunt for a Decentralized Utopia

From the fictional Galt’s Gulch 1)Galt’s Gulch, to the French Polynesia Floating Island Project 2)Floating islands project in French Polynesia, there are always a small group of us want to radically transform how we organize our society, often guided by the disillusions with the centralized institutions especially the governments. We are usually categorized into the umbrella term “libertarians” (pardon please, Randians or Objectivists). It was no wonder that libertarians were among the pioneers who adopted the Bitcoin technology in various freedom projects, because the decentralized Bitcoin ledger lets libertarians exchange units of accounts with each other without any centralized parties. Before which, gold and silver was always the go to choice for being the trust-less medium of exchange.

Inspired by the technology behind Bitcoin — the blockchain — more and more implementations of it sprang in to existence, including Ethereum, Stellar, EOS, IOTA, etc. More over, a slew of legit and often scam projects raised jaw-dropping amount of money on these platforms through the ICO (Initial Coin Offerings), and in 2017 the figure stood at $6.3 Billion 3)$6.3 Billion: 2018 ICO Funding Has Passed 2017’s Total. Apart from the scam projects that are driven by greed and fear of missing out, there are genuine “techno-utopians” who believe that the blockchain technology can bring about decentralized systems that are eventually better than the centralized counter parties.

It is a matter of time, people will realize that, centralized systems are in many ways better in terms of scalability, efficiency and accountability, for the time being if not inherently. If the end is to have a more scalable, efficient and accountable system, it is natural that those of the “techno-utopians” will eventually get cynical about the decentralization itself. That’s why, as where Alex’s article was leading to, blockchain and technological decentralization itself is only one part of the bigger story: “to create an alternative that could ultimately change how the world works”.

And I would further put it this way: decentralization is an end itself.