Web3 Decentralization Debate Focuses on the Wrong Questions

Web3 Advocate Commitment Decentralize on an unprecedented scale. Excessive centralization hinders coordination and weakens freedom, democracy, and economic vitality—decentralization should be the remedy. But the term itself is too vague to be a coherent end goal.Getting the job done requires the right type Decentralization, we worry Web3 So far, heading in the wrong direction.

In particular, we worry about the degree of decentralization rather than the type. The level of concern—whether we want more or less decentralization—may lead Web3 advocates to mischaracterize the reality of existing centralization, and the possibility of pure decentralization. On the one hand, existing “centralized” systems are not as centralized as Web3 advocates often describe them. “Traditional” banks delegate many activities to local branches, and even central banks are often consortia. Architecturally, “centralized” clouds are rarely so centralized in practice. They are typically spread over a range of geographic areas and train large machine learning models in a distributed fashion.

On the other hand, many Web3 critics point to the extreme inefficiencies brought about by the proposed decentralized architecture and the inevitable re-emergence of “centers” (NFT platforms, currency exchanges, wallet providers) in Web3. In addition, there are important limitations and trade-offs in broadly aiming to achieve greater decentralization. For example, technical decentralization in the narrow sense faces a conflict between censorship resistance and embedded value, which often leads to poorer functionality or ultimately to some centralized decision-making, as shown by content moderation on decentralized social networks.

Therefore, there is a (soft) limit to the degree of centralization and to the decentralization that is feasible in functional systems.Instead of having a false debate about whether the next generation of technology should be centralized or decentralized, we should ask how best arrangement pattern Ideal for decentralization. Such debates need to articulate exactly what we want from decentralization.

We believe the value of decentralization lies in truly empowering people to act decisively in their social environment, while providing the necessary coordination mechanisms across environments. This is in stark contrast to the current technological environment, in which decision-making bodies such as information, computing, moderation, etc. are increasingly in the hands of authorities who are “alienated” from the relevant groups – for example, the process of platform content moderation attempts to Cross-border communities and cross-cultures, and have largely failed. In this case, decisions are removed from the context of the application and made by people who have no direct interest in the transaction, who are then unable to take advantage of the rich distributed information.

Our view of decentralization is about coordination. It emphasizes problem solving through the union of “local” units that are clustered in the social context most relevant to the decision at hand. This is not a new idea: American federalism, along with local, state, and national governments, largely draws from this principle. auxiliary, and a setup for open source code repositories and wiki-like structures for information aggregation.The point is that these local units are composable– Mutual modularity and interoperability, essentially “stackable” to a more global scale – enables decentralized systems to effectively solve problems that at first glance seem to require centralized coordination.We call this model Composable local controls.

Composable local control will distribute decisions, exploiting the core principles of markets and democracy: those closest to the problem usually have the most knowledge and the greatest stake in solving the problem, and by aggregating, combining, and filtering this knowledge, the best decisions are made. collective decision.

Accessibility is the decentralized architecture and type that enables composable local control. But Web3’s dominant trajectory is unlikely, and may even be the opposite of subsidiarity. Permissionless blockchains are built as distributed redundant ledgers where storage and permissions are allocated by anonymous economic mechanisms and accessed through fungible, tradable resources such as computation and tokens. This architecture is optimized for a highly narrow set of problems, so by its very nature it cannot interact with the rich economic and social networks that actually require coordinated problem solving. This purely financial system has a well-documented history of centralizing wealth, information, and power, and the current Web3 ecosystem has taken these properties to the extreme. As such, redundant distributed ledgers conflict with the benefits of affiliated networks and the form of decentralization we advocate.

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