We talk a lot about decentralization and the merits of it. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, it seems like a pipedream. To fully believe in it, one must be smoking something.
However, if we look closely, we can see the foundation being put in place which will change everything. Most are not aware of it yet it is happening. Even industry watchers are somewhat oblivious to the shift that is happening.
It is easy to fall victim to believing that simply how things are now is how they will always be. Entities that are in control at the present moment are very powerful. It is hard to argue against the likes of Google, Facebook, and Apple. These are companies that are more powerful than most countries. Obviously, they are not going to give that up easy.
As we embark upon a new decade, it is interesting to note what took place in the last one. Consider, for a moment, where the three companies I just mentioned stood in 2010. Google certainly was the king of search and one of the more powerful companies. However, Apple was only a couple years into the IPhone and Facebook was still looking to hit its stride. At that time, Facebook was just that platform, there was no WhatsApp or Instagram.
We can add another name to the list. Amazon was the king of online yet companies such as Sears were still hanging in there. Physical shopping was still the norm with online making up only a small segment. Today, of course, the story is much different.
Every decade sees a changing of the guard. What was powerful and dominant in one decade ends up being surpassed. Entering the 2010s, nobody gave Tesla much of a thought. Toyota, GM, Honda, and VW were the major players there. As we look forward into the 2020s, Tesla is not a name that can be ignored.
Much is the same with the quest for decentralization. Starting this decade, it looks rather grim. Even after more than a decade of Bitcoin, the paradigm shift seems like a dream. Very little was accomplished in terms of adoption. Certainly, all would agree this is not an overnight process.
The key to remember is that any of the examples I provided were not overnight events. It takes years for the transition to take place.
In fact, there was a survey done of Internet experts to predict what they believe will happen. One of the ideas is that we will see decentralization. The time period that most forecast was 2028-2030. In other words, we have a lot of work to do. Also, as with all technology, nothing operates in a vacuum.
Decentralization Likely About 2028-2030
We find some consensus around a 60% Probability and Most Likely Year About 2028-2030. The critical technologies are thought to focus on blockchain, but quantum, AI, biometrics and the Internet of things (IoT) also thought to offer localizing capabilities.
The most recent hack of Twitter is garnering a great deal of attention. Here we see evidence that people's accounts with centralized entities are simply not safe. Some of the biggest names had their accounts seized. Not only were they hacked but passwords changes, data erased, and other private information such as location was revealed.
“The attackers successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter’s internal systems, including getting through our two-factor protections. As of now, we know that they accessed tools only available to our internal support teams to target 130 Twitter accounts. For 45 of those accounts, the attackers were able to initiate a password reset, log in to the account, and send Tweets,” Twitter’s statement concluded.
At least eight accounts had all of the data scraped with the help of the Your Twitter Data tool. This tool allows downloading all private messages, address book data, physical location history, attached multimedia files, etc. The Verge reported that even previously deleted data could be retrieved in this manner.
While the hack is bad enough, there is another fundamental issue at hand. With centralized social media, there is no way to transfer one's account. In fact, not only is this not possible, it is forbidden. One cannot openly sell his or her account to another person. Thus, we see an asset that an individual creates and nurtures, it could have value, yet that person cannot profit from the equity.
Decentralization changes all of that. We are now entering a time when each of us is effectively an asset. Anything we create online can be monetized through the use of a NFT. One simply needs to generate a token and an account can be sold with ownership tracked. Here we see how one can actually build an equity stake in his or her online activity.
Naturally, what anyone is willing to pay for the account will vary. Nevertheless, just like celebrities are able to leverage their "brands" into monetary gain, average individuals will be able to do the same, especially in the niches they excel at.
Centralization tends to stifle creativity and innovation. This is overcome by the fact that it excels at efficiency. However, over time, centralization means there are only a few big players in each market. Everyone else is basically shut out.
The art world is controlled by Sotheby's and Christie's. They handle most of the art auctions around the world. I would say there is not one of a high valued piece that they do not handle. This is something that Tim Draper noticed and discussed a couple weeks ago. He feels that blockchain can be used to break up the monopoly these companies have.
We are now starting to see the beginnings of that. While nobody will make the case we are operating on the scale of those two companies, even on Hive we see a place where artists can post (and monetize) their digital works.
We see a similar concept on Ethereum.
Another industry that was basically locked down is the world of fashion. Here again, we see a few major players completely dominating the industry. Everyone else is left on the outside looking in.
A few industrious designers decided to take action. Metafactory is a DAO built on Ethereum. The idea is to have a DAO Brand that any aspiring designer can contribute to. Hence, we see consumers becoming the producers.
MetaFactory bills itself as a platform for collectively managed, community-owned brands. The idea is fairly straightforward; designers create their own brands and style guides, while the community gets to suggest and vote on product designs under the umbrella of the brand through a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), using the DAI cryptocurrency.
Successful designs are produced by MetaFactory, and any profits are shared between MetaFactory and the community-owned brand (and, ultimately, with the community itself).
Again and again we see the same concept being applied. Find an industry that has a few major, centralized players and start the disruption process. It will take time, however, it is likely to catch on. Notice how there is not just one genre that is in focus. This is an across-the-board concept.
Imagine anyone being able to sell their entire social media platform. Many excelled not only on Twitter, but Facebook and YouTube. Consider for a second being able to sell all that through one token. With an NFT, that can be done. Of course, one could also opt to break things up and sell fractional pieces in each (or all).
And this is the key, the option is in the hands of the user. It is not dictated by the centralized platform(s).
This is the future and it will certainly change everything. The seeds are already being planted.
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