Centralization vs. Decentralization

“Recently, a reader asked me to lay out the concerns about centralization and decentralization in relation to the internet…

…The people who own networks can change the rules at any time, and not just from a free-speech standpoint: Recently, Vimeo faced controversy over how it changed its business model to charge heavy consumers for the bandwidth their videos took up.

With centralization, the model can change at any time, and you just have to accept it—think of how Facebook would often redesign its site, disrupting the routines of millions of people.

In effect, decentralization gives you more control over the knobs, but the inconvenience of having to use them. When you hear about things like Web3, what they’re really trying to get at, beyond any financial windfalls, is the idea that a decentralized platform can be as easy to use and safe as a centralized one.”

-Ernie Smith, “The Central Question.” tedium.co. April 6, 2022.

Convenience vs. capability. There are many ways to frame this discussion. But, ultimately, like much of life, it is about trade-offs you want to make.