Meet the Writer: HackerNoon's Contributor Emmanuel Awosika, Freelance Blockchain Writerby@emmanuelawosika
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Meet the Writer: HackerNoon's Contributor Emmanuel Awosika, Freelance Blockchain Writer

by Emmanuel Awosika March 13th, 2022
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Decentralization means replacing client-server infrastructure with peer-to-peer systems. Distributed systems are better than centralized systems in many ways, says author. Best argument for a decentralized internet is the control it gives people, he says. Writers in this space have to dispel these notions of money-grabbing and show people why a decentralization internet is best for our future. Writers are trying to paint Web3 as a way of discrediting Web3 and try to paint it as a future.

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Let's discuss centralized internet first. What is your opinion on the centralized internet? What are its pros/cons?

I think the centralized internet has been useful, especially in the post-2000s era. In the past, all we had was pockets of people scattered everywhere, with little means of communicating. The rise of social networks broke these barriers and made it easy for people to exchange information and value without meeting physically.

But innovations almost always outlive their usefulness, which is happening to centralized internet now. People have since realized that relying on centralized platforms for the exchange of information and value is problematic—and they want out.

So, what are the problems with centralized platforms? We can start with the collection and exploitation of user data for marketing. Almost every site we visit today collects personal information, some of it confidential, before granting access.

Users are not compensated for this, and even worse, they must live in fear of their data getting compromised by malicious actors. Of course, there are more problems with Web2, but discussing them all would be impossible.

What does decentralization mean to you?

Decentralization means replacing client-server infrastructure with peer-to-peer systems. Distributed systems are better than centralized systems in many ways. For example, in a peer-to-peer system, people won't need to rely on centralized servers to use certain services. They could join networks at will and start connecting with others.

Beyond technology, though, decentralization is a way of distributing control of the Internet among users, instead of concentrating it in the hands of a few people. This creates a fairer system, allowing more people to participate in the creation and exchange of value and information online.

How decentralization changes the internet?

I think it creates a better experience for users. No matter how you slice and dice it, Web2 companies often consider user experience the least of their concerns. But, because a few companies have managed to monopolize the industry, it becomes difficult for users to switch.

Decentralization fixes that problem.

As we've seen, literally anyone can launch a service and attract users in Web3. The playing field is more level, so providers are compelled to offer better services to consumers or risk losing out.

The rise of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) means users get to have a say in the direction of projects. It's no longer the case where a bunch of Silicon Valley VCs sit in a boardroom and make product decisions without making the remotest attempt to think about what consumers need.

Decentralization changes things for creators, too. Now, they have more control over the supply of content and don't need to rely on rent-seeking platforms to truly profit from their work.

What is the best thing about decentralized internet?

I think the best argument for a decentralized internet is the control it gives people. You're not boxed into a corner, forced to play on the terms set by corporate bigshots.

We've seen it happen in DeFi where people are participating in high-level financial investments without having to go through an intermediary. NFTs are giving artists and content creators to directly connect with buyers and keep the larger percentage of their earnings.

Then you have crypto which allows people to transact seamlessly, privately, and securely from anywhere in the world. It's the freedom and control I'm talking about—this time it's just financial.

For example, large payments providers like PayPal restrict users from certain countries, like Nigeria where I live. Many people in these countries have turned to crypto to send and receive remittances, collect merchant payments, and pay for things online. It's amazing.

Are you currently directly or indirectly working on the decentralized internet use case? We would love to know more about it.

I can say I work indirectly on the decentralized internet use-case—as a writer. I run a blog, where I cover everything related to Web3—cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, decentralization, and other stuff. Besides contributing stories to Hackernoon’s blockchain section, I also write for the official Hashnode Web3 blog. There, I create content for people interested in learning about decentralization.

I think educational content is very important if we want to get more people on board with the idea of decentralization. Right now, there are many people actively discrediting Web3 and trying to paint it as a capitalist money-grab. Writers in this space have to dispel these notions and show people why a decentralized internet is best for our future.

Perhaps in the future, I can explore decentralized content creation platforms like Mirror. These platforms allow writers to earn money from their work without having to satisfy rent-seeking platforms. It's a really great idea.

What are the biggest challenges in the way of the decentralized web?

An acute lack of education on what Web3 means for users is preventing more people from accepting the idea. Too many people think "decentralized internet" is just another buzzword—and the anti-Web3 articles floating online don't help, either.

At first, people didn't really see the need for cryptocurrencies; it was just "magic internet money." But, with time, people started seeing the need for more private, seamless, and secure means of exchanging money. Then we had those bull runs and massive spikes in adoption.

I'll also add that Web3 is still in its infancy, so user experience is poor. And then there's the issue of scalability of the blockchain technology, which powers the decentralized internet.

However, I believe these problems will get solved with time. For example, layer-2 solutions are improving transaction speed on blockchains, meaning decentralized applications may scale in future to accept more users.

Like every other concept, decentralization has its downsides. With no central entity to control what happens, it becomes difficult to protect users from bad actors. Take for example the huge sums lost in DeFi hacks over the years.

With little to zero barriers to entry, we're going to see different businesses popping up to offer "services." While this helps democratize the space, it creates a glut and makes it difficult to find worthwhile projects.

Finally, it is very possible that malicious individuals may take advantage of the lack of centralized control to carry out harmful acts unabated. Imagine if someone decides to start publishing misinformation on a blockchain-based social network. The chances of getting them off the platform—thereby limiting their impact—is next to none.

How do you see the future of the decentralized internet?

I think we're still a long way off before decentralized internet becomes a reality. I think people in Web3 forget how long it takes for innovations to take hold. I could list a number of things that got hype and still haven't seen mass adoption—hybrid cars, 5G, smart devices, et cetera.

But the good thing is people will always follow the money; and there's a lot of money pouring into Web3. You have new entrants looking to get the first-mover advantage and Web2 companies slowly integrating into the Web3 economy. There's a lot of innovation going on and I expect that to continue for a while.

I expect more people are going to see the benefits of a decentralized internet with time. While it seems obvious now, people in the early 2000s never understood why we needed the (Web2) Internet. The same is happening with Web3, but we can expect that to change in the future.

Thank you for your time! Any closing thoughts/advice for the readers?

Self-education is key to getting a grasp of what decentralization really means for the individual. Look beyond the hype and million-dollar investments and understand why a decentralized internet matters for you and our society.

Take, for example, cryptocurrencies. You don't have to listen to a crypto bro give you 1000 reasons why crypto is good. Grab a book that explains in plain English why non-state money is the future. Read the Bitcoin white paper to see why digital money was created in the first place.

You can apply this to pretty much any concept associated with decentralized internet technologies. Trust me, even the most trivial innovations like NFTs have solid potential if you take the time to understand them.

Like crypto bros will say, do your own research.

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About Author

Emmanuel Awosika  HackerNoon profile picture
Emmanuel Awosika @emmanuelawosika
Hi there! I'm a freelance writer covering the latest trends in blockchain technology.