New Trends: Decentralize Your Life28.02.2019, 10:10
Many people might consider ‘decentralization’ to be a trend confined to the rise of blockchain technology, where cryptocurrency serves to secure and monetize new, dynamic networks or ecosystems. These ‘data ledgers’ are distributed and powered by any interested party with enough hardware or resources to serve such networks - that have no central point of failure.
Bitcoin is the original breakthrough example of this, but Ethereum has shown that the technology can do much more, creating monetized ecosystems for many various functions that replace middle-men with recorded, trusted contracts. This can promote faster and easier, more direct business, even anonymously, and online.
However, the concept of decentralization is not new, and can actually be applied to anything, including your life. What does this mean? It means that any network is better when it no longer relies on single, or isolated, sources; family and friend networks, and also business networks.
Facebook is one (conflicting) example of this. Even though it offers the security of a very accessible network of people (so those who leverage it are arguably more dynamic than those who don’t), it also depends on giving personal data that is managed and stored on one company infrastructure. New, more decentralized alternatives are now emerging, meaning that you control your data and access to your friends and contacts, without any central authority. By using such alternatives, you can make a further move to decentralizing your friends and family networks (provided they also use the same platform of course). For example, check out Steemit and Peepeth.
Buying and Selling
Another example is a selling platform rival to eBay, Openbazaar, which removes intermediary interference, and connects sellers more directly with buyers. This means that anyone can set up a decentralized shop, which cannot be taken down, and you can be part of its community, that help to protect one another when it comes to transacting. If you have a popular craft-based hobby or secondary, occasional skill like wood-crafting, then it’s another potential source of revenue, where you pay no fees to any internet intermediary.
These are just a couple of (online) examples. What about everyday reality?
This is not to say there aren’t still huge benefits from depending on larger sources when time and money place huge restrictions on people and families: just so long as these sources don’t dry up. If they do, the potential impact and disruption on lifestyles can make news headlines.
'Decentralization' basically means ‘more networking’ when it comes to these central requirements. Perhaps you already visit a local market to pick up special food items instead of your supermarket. Perhaps you collect water from your rooftops for your vegetable garden, use multiple sources of energy in your home, or support your local community by getting more involved.
For busy business-folk, a more decentralized business model means that its business revenues can come from more diverse sources, or use decentralized infrastructure that will prove more reliable. It can take time and effort to set these up, but switching over to some of these sources (which are already decentralized) can make some small steps in this - more robust - direction.
A trickier example is email. A lot of people use googlemail. However, even this has suffered from outages or issues. What happens if google collapses, or introduces a subscription or suffers from a major failure? Well, there are alternatives being developed that are trying to leverage in a new way, how all our computers are connected, and can provide a distributed service.
The future is undoubtedly more decentralized, thanks partly to bitcoin, blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology. It’s time to start thinking in this vein, even if it means spending extra time during or after work, into joining whatever kind of new, relevant network. Just pick your need or hobby, and there is bound to be an emerging ecosystem out there that this rising technology can support.
You can start investing in it today or - if you’re more technically minded, and have computing resources available - you could even start researching how to set up a node, and support some up-and-coming blockchain. Although this will take initial investment and some level of risk, the future results could see significant mining or staking rewards, or just give you privileged access to (future) services on those networks.
Any of these movements will feed back into your life, and mean you are taking steps to 'decentralize your life', by diversifying beyond single resource points that are becoming overloaded or outdated.
Yes, decentralization is about diversification, to whatever degree, just like with an investment portfolio, only in reality. It could pay off one day.