While decentralized networks are nothing new, the development of blockchain technology is adding a twist.
Back at the dawn of the internet age, decentralized networks were where all the action was. Internet enabled computers tapped one another directly without passing through any sort of centralized hub. Decentralized internet allowed for peer-to-peer connections without going through a client-server. I could connect to your computer and you could connect to mine.
Battle for the Internet Soul
In the great battle for the internet soul, the decentralized model lost out. Today, for the most part, we use a centralized network model for the internet. Conspiracy theorists (“Stevie Wonder is NOT blind!”) would have you believe this model won out because it allows the government to more easily spy on us.
Sure, that could hold some water. But most literature on the matter points to the centralized model being much more practical. The decentralized model required that both parties be online and connected to carry out any transfer of data.
Just imagine only being able to send an email when the person you were emailing was also online and connected to you. That would kind of defeat the purpose of being a convenient and instant form of communication.
The dawn of the blockchain era, however, may be tugging us ever-so-gently back toward a more decentralized model. Because it is astute in carrying out transactions-exchanging cryptocurrency, sending encrypted communications, and so much more-blockchain continues to pick up steam as a decentralized superstar.
By nature, blockchain is decentralized. No one “owns” the blockchain. It is visible by all and writeable by all. There is no centralized database in which the blockchain lives. Rather, copies of the reconciled and shared ledger live everywhere.
Blockchain has already proven itself to be a much more secure way to transact and, who knows, it may just be the spark that lights the fire for a decentralized revolution.