The generally excellent Chris Dixon on decentralization – that oft overhyped term that is supposed to explain why cryptocurrency and blockchains matter. But decentralization is much bigger than bitcoin, and Dixon suggests it will fuel the development of next phase of the internet, a.k.a. Web 3.
Software and web services are built by developers. There are millions of highly skilled developers in the world. Only a small fraction work at large technology companies, and only a small fraction of those work on new product development. Many of the most important software projects in history were created by startups or by communities of independent developers.
Decentralized networks can win the third era of the internet for the same reason they won the first era: by winning the hearts and minds of entrepreneurs and developers.
The lesson is that when you compare centralized and decentralized systems you need to consider them dynamically, as processes, instead of statically, as rigid products. Centralized systems often start out fully baked, but only get better at the rate at which employees at the sponsoring company improve them. Decentralized systems start out half-baked but, under the right conditions, grow exponentially as they attract new contributors.