A Decentralized internet is Unviable / Web 3 Developers are Clowns: Do these Opinions Hold any Salt?by@temiloluwa
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A Decentralized internet is Unviable / Web 3 Developers are Clowns: Do these Opinions Hold any Salt?

by Yin Long MaMay 10th, 2022
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Decentralized internet is a form of the internet in which you are the sole owner of your data. No giant tech companies hold onto your information as you are using a peer-to-peer infrastructure based on blockchain technology to share your data only when you choose to share it. The most important benefit that the decentralized internet brings to the table is that your information is fully controlled by you. It is to communication what local farming is to food. With it people can grow their own information.

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What exactly is a decentralized internet?

In the beginning, God created Web 1.0 (No offense, Tim Berners-Lee). Then Web 2.0 followed. The age of the third web is now upon us. Commonly called Web 3.0, the third web is a new variant of the web based around the concept of a decentralized internet.

The decentralized internet is a form of the internet in which you are the sole owner of your data. No giant tech company holds onto your information as you are using a peer-to-peer infrastructure based on blockchain technology to share your data only when you choose to.

Eric Newton, an innovation chief in State University, Arizona defines the decentralized internet in a rather interesting way:

“A Decentralized Web is free of corporate or government overlords. It is to communication what local farming is to food. With it people can grow their own information.”

What are the benefits?

There is an ongoing exodus of developers that work with centralized technologies to decentralized ones. It is a section of the tech community that is still very much in its infancy and companies are paying developers that work on the decentralized internet a huge sum of money to work for them. This is due to the amazing benefits that come with working on the blockchain technology that decentralized technology provides. Some of these benefits include:

  • It provides security and privacy

    The most important benefit that the decentralized internet brings to the table is that your information is fully controlled by you. You share only what you wish to share.

    As Eric said, there will be no “corporate overlord” selling your data to advertising companies. There will be no targeted ads from Google anymore. That person you just met will not show up on the People You May Know tab of your Facebook page the next day (could be really creepy sometimes).

  • Reliability

    Services that are based on the client-server model i.e centralized internet are vulnerable due to a single point of failure. The breakdown of servers in a company providing the world with a lot of data could bring about catastrophic consequences. Meta alone lost an estimated $65 million when their apps (WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram) crashed for a few hours last year. Imagine the consequences of having the whole internet go down.

    The chances of these scenarios occurring is totally avoidable on a decentralized form of the internet however as there are a lot of endpoints. Hackers will have a hard time trying to shut down every node on the decentralized internet and a faulty node will not render the entire server useless.

  • You do not have to put your trust in a central authority

    A huge portion of the centralized internet is controlled by big tech companies. A lot of sensitive data is put on these platforms by their users and we have to trust these companies with the job of keeping our data safe.

    While it is safe to keep our data on the platforms provided for us to most of the time, these corporations sometimes let down our trust by having very sensitive information leaked. This can put a person in a lot of danger.

    With a decentralized form of the internet however, situations like these are non-existent because you are the lord of your data: You decide what you want the internet to see, not the other way round.

Is it all roses though?

Despite all these amazing benefits the decentralized internet provides, many experts in the centralized ecosystem consider the buzz around decentralization and the third web to be a bubble. They believe it is all hype and it will die down soon, like many a JavaScript framework has. Guido Van Rossum, the creator of the Python programming language said this on Twitter a while back:

He had a lot of reasons for saying this. A lot of developers are torn on whether or not having a decentralized internet is a good thing. There are a few reasons why they they believe it might disappoint so let’s explore them.

There is no form of censorship.

The lack of censorship on the decentralized internet works like two sides of a coin. While there are a lot of benefits to it, there is also a considerable amount of danger it could result in.

One of such dangers is the unsolicited internet abuse/ internet bullying that it might result in for any individual. You will be safe in most scenarios if you do are smart enough not to leak very sensitive information about yourself on the internet. It will be a great problem however if you release too much information about yourself and it is used against you since there isn’t any moderator or bot to hide or take down a comment.

The absence of moderators on decentralized internet platforms is mainly because creators believe it defeats the purpose of people being on the third web in the first instance: The protection of your data and the lack of censorship.

There is an easy fix for this issue though. Developers can provide people with the option of filtering what they consider inappropriate from what they deem okay. People who choose to see the dangerous / inappropriate stuff can see it if they want to though, thereby providing people with the free will of choosing what they want to see and choosing what they do not want to see.

Rampant NFT and cryptocurrency scams.

A non fungible token (NFT) is a cryptographic item that is unique. It mostly comes in the form of digital art and it cannot be replicated because it utilizes blockchain technology to provide advanced security measures that prevent it’s duplication.

Non fungible tokens have been in existence for a few years. They started to gain a lot of traction in 2021 though as some NFTs are being sold for million of dollars on the crypto market.

NFTs and cryptocurrencies facilitate most of the financial activities that occur on the decentralized internet as they are very secure forms of financial exchange. They are not kept in banks which eliminates the single endpoint problem. Your money / token is kept safe in your wallet.

Since NFTs can be sold for a lot of money and cryptocurrencies tend to have an increase in value with time, a lot of individuals who know nothing about how to handle these tokens have ignorantly jumped into the Web 3 space. The aforementioned set of individuals see these these tokens / currencies as a get-rich-quick scheme and end up becoming victims to scams.

A common example of these scams are rug pull scams, an NFT scam in which creators of an NFT hype it up on social media platforms to get more people to invest in these digital tokens. After a considerable rise in the base price of these NFTs, the creators suddenly stop backing the tokens anymore and take the money of investors which results in a huge drop in the value of these NFTs. One popular example is the Frosties scam, a rug pull in which the creators scammed their community of forty thousand people of $1,100,100.

Other scams like airdrop scams, phishing scams, pump and dump scams and bidding scams are rampant in the decentralized community. An estimated 2.8 billion U.S dollars is lost to cryptocurrency scams every year and it will only get worse if proper measures are not put in place.

Centralized technologies are not going to lose relevance any time soon.

There is a lot to gain from centralized organizations. I cannot imagine how a world where FAANG companies are non-existent will look like. There will be no Meta to provide people with Facebook and us developers with React and React Native, no Google to provide the masses with every app in Google Workspace and us developers with Google Chrome, Dart and Flutter. Each of these big tech companies provide us with a lot of amazing technologies that will continued to be used by the masses so an alternative reality in which these companies do not exist will be a Stephen King horrorscape.

Any groundwork laid by centralized companies for scamming their users will be discovered and the blame will be pinned on the correct entity. This is really hard to do on the decentralized internet as it takes a lot of work to trace cryptocurrency / NFT scammers due to the anonymity that the decentralized internet provides.

These amongst many others is the reason why people are having their doubts about the decentralized variant of the internet.

Despite all the dangers it brings along with it, we most definitely cannot ignore its benefits. why?

The decentralized internet is here to stay but it is not going to replace the centralized internet.

QuickNode provides decentralized technologies to Web 2 and Web 3 companies. Web 3 applications utilize a lot of Web 2 technologies in their creation so it is highly possible that a centralized ecosystem can be in sync with a decentralized one.

The decentralized internet is not an encroaching system. It is not meant to replace any form of centralized technology but it provides better alternatives to them. Odysee is basically Youtube without the annoying ads. Mastodon is just Twitter without the censoring of people’s opinions. Pixelfed is a decentralized alternative to Instagram that does not leak your data to some hungry advert company preparing a ton of annoying targeted ads.

It really is up to people to select their poison. Google, Apple among others will not be losing their dominance in the tech industry any time soon as they have a huge amount of people who depend on their amazing products.

Web 3 developers are amazing and the decentralized internet will only get better.

Web 3.0 and the decentralized internet are still in its infancy but they possess amazing . The things that can be done with blockchain technology have not been fully explored yet. The decentralized ecosystem needs a lot more developers to speed up its growth.

Web 3 developers, blockchain engineers and other decentralized internet personnel are hard to find. This labor gap is actively being closed though as developers working in the decentralized ecosystem are working on a lot of things to make the third web a success:

  • They are providing a lot of free courses for Web 3 beginners to start learning from Learn Web 3, Buildspace amongst others.

  • companies like QuickNode are providing easier methods for creating decentralized applications.

  • There is no gatekeeping. Web 3 developers are willing to share just about any information you might need without hiding what might be really beneficial to you.

It really is not about the hype- What is beyond it is what matters.

The hype around these technologies will die down soon but they are not going anywhere. When it fully settles in as the alternative to the centralized internet, there will be a lot more technologies that reduces the risk of working with / on this kind of technology and there will be a lot more benefits to it.

In the mean time, we need to increase people’s awareness about the existence of a very interesting form of technology. We have witnessed the iterations of the iPhones over the years and we have seen how they got better with each release. Technology has gone from The Wright Flyer to reusable spaceships from Tesla.

The internet has evolved a lot too. Like I said, I do not see the third web to be a replacement for the centralized internet. This opinion might change after a few years though because people are actively working to make it an irresistible alternative which might lead to a mass exodus from centralized technologies down the line.

In conclusion, the decentralized form of the Internet is definitely not a scam and Web 3.0 developers are working towards a feasible goal. There is a lot of benefits to be gained from working on decentralized technologies and there is a lot more that have not been discovered just yet.

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