Centralized platforms have long ruled the business space, but some key downsides are fueling a decentralization revolution unlike any we’ve ever seen. Centralized systems, while powerful and efficient, gain a tremendous degree of control over users once adoption reaches high levels. As time passes, it becomes increasingly more profitable for centralized platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter to find value extracting data from users alongside with user growth.
Yet the internet is the world’s most powerful tool for collaboration. Decentralization, which relies on consensus protocols over a series of nodes to ensure fairness and security, faces none of the competitive drawbacks that traditional centralized networks face. In fact, decentralized networks specifically align network participants towards a shared goal – the growth of the network, and the token.
Towards that end, adaptability is also a fundamental advantage of decentralized networks. Yes, a centralized platform may begin as a stronger product, but leveraging the power of thousands or millions of users all contributing to the network quickly grows the original product into a blossomed network.
Distributed apps (dApps) and peer-to-peer networks improve functionality, accessibility, and ease of use for all those on the decentralized network. Thus, it is no secret that decentralized platforms represent the future of the internet. They’re safer, they reward participation rather than punish it, and they’re growing quickly.
The power of decentralization has reached industries that were difficult to imaging networking five or even three years ago. Navibration, a decentralized social network of audio guided tours, is powered by a blockchain system using Navibration’s tokens.
Users can either use fiat currency or tokens to purchase user-generated and cured audio tours from around the world, but either payment will be backed by a smart contract that allows users to be rewarded for their contributions to Navibrations Experiences in an equitable and efficient manner. Unlike previous travel agents, Navibration uses blockchain technology to reward users for contribution and not pay huge commissions to unknown worldwide travel agencies.
An outstanding question for many is how decentralized platforms will compete with centralized ones going forward. Centralized platforms have the advantage of resources and a large, talented workforce. These platforms have clear avenues for fundraising, and the control of the firm by a team of executives allow for fast, clear decision making that decentralized networks may lack.
Centralized networks have the first mover advantage as well, especially in the social media sphere – users primarily care about being a member of networks where there are many others like them, and this is certainly the case with some of the larger centralized networks today.
That’s not to say that centralized networks are perfect. Facebook, Google, and Twitter have come under fire for allowing malicious actors to spread fake information during recent elections, and privacy concerns have long dogged these platforms as well. These developments are not going unnoticed. As more and more users begin to take into account the risks that they undergo by trusting their most valuable data to a private source, they are beginning to shift to decentralized platforms – in waves.
Users crave transparency, and decentralized networks are the ultimate community-run source. Users also love feeling rewarded for their actions, which decentralized tokens allow. As decentralized networks slowly capture the attention of developers worldwide, the shift towards these platforms seems inevitable.
Companies in this sphere, such as Ripple, have provided a blueprint for success that can be followed. A clear demonstration of value, as well as commitments to safety, can launch a decentralized network almost overnight. Now, we wait and see – who will be the next to enter this wide-open field?Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.