Meltem Demirors
@Melt_Dem

1/ decentralization is a myth. we use "decentralized" without any specificity as to what that *actually* means. let's untangle the idea of decentralization. i developed a basic grid that breaks it down at the protocol, network, and app layer (dated april 2018)

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2/ a good chunk of the data comes from arewedecentralizedyet.com - the brainchild of @ummjackson - who was continuously harassed by some of the projects on his site that are... ummm... clearly not "decentralized" in any manner while marketing that narrative ad nauseum

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3/ there are many different ways to view "decentralization" - @SarahJamieLewis wrote about this as well - great tweetstorm here

twitter.com/SarahJamieLewi…

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4/ on a recent episode of unchained with @laurashin, my friend and fellow absurdist @_jillruth spoke at length about the need for more specificity and analytical rigor in the crypto "narrative." decentralization exists on a spectrum, not as an absolute.

unchained.forbes.libsynpro.com/episode-74

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5/ decentralization is a word that is often used as a substitute for desired end properties of systems design

decentralization =/ privacy
decentralization =/ security
decentralization =/ self-sovereignty
decentralization =/ "fairness" (another difficult term)

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6/ a "decentralized" system, as many users of the word envision, would provide for:
a. participation (anyone can join or leave)
b. diversity (doesn't allow for discrimination)
c. efficiency (resource consumption)
d. conflict resolution (ensuring consensus)

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7/ the challenge is that natural systems inherently evolve towards hierarchies. we see this emergent property in cryptocurrencies and blockchain protocols as well.

hierarchy is an emergent property of networks. hierarchy evolves as a result of the cost of network connections.

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8/ this paper on computational biology is an excellent primer on the topic. the question then becomes - how do we create networks and systems that are efficient, scalable, and regular while avoiding hierarchical organization?

journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/a…

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9/ to me, this is a better goal than pursuing "decentralization" as our rallying cry. specificity in defining the problem set and the desired end state solution will help us design better experiments. "much decentralized" is not a measurable outcome.

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