Steve Ballmer’s iconic Developers! Developers! Developers! battle cry could be recycled as: “Web3 Developers! Web3 Developers! Web3 Developers!”.
People often chant about decentralization while living in an ocean of speculation or groupthink. There is a critical Achilles’ Heel in Web3 that we should consider a lesson learned. What is it, you ask?
If a Web3 app is your interface to the decentralized world,it’s important to understand that the last mile is not decentralized. The decentralization is just behind it. For example, if you use a crypto wallet, it shows all cryptocurrencies. But if one day, the company behind it decides to filter and give prominence to specific tokens you may find yourself “decentralized trapped”. Even popular wallets like MetaMask have changed their open-source license. MetaMask is even more centralized than they seem!
BitTorrent Protocol is another example of a great file sharing protocol. The Achilles’ Heel is in content finding, which is not part of the protocol itself. This is delegated to other applications. This gives the one who controls the user experience control over the platform. Although BitTorrent Protocol is often associated with piracy, it is technically efficient for content sharing. In 2009, Norwegian State TV launched a BitTorrent Tracker.
Web2 applications also face the same last-mile decentralized problem, though they don’t necessarily claim to be decentralized. For instance, Google’s market share of around 90% gives it supremacy power over content and advertising relevance. Despite starting as an innovative search engine, Google now rests on its laurels. If you are interested in issues regarding the quality of Google search, you can find smart discussions in Hacker News.
Is there a solution to this problem or is it inherent to the way we use apps? One solution is an intelligent agent that can decide between multiple options in a decentralized way or create its own solution. In the context of decentralization, humans are the bottleneck.