PLATO TALK #2 — Wonderful discussion sharing
TOPIC：Tell about your understanding of decentralization
“What is decentralization, why is it important, what opportunities and challenges does decentralization face, and what are your expectations and recommendations for PlatON decentralization?”
Decentralization is actually a concept proposed relative to centralization, it is a new form of social relations and content generation formed with the development of the Internet.
We should be familiar with centralization, when content of a website can only be officially released, we can say it is centralized; When a site allows users to speak freely, but the operator can delete user comments at will, we say it is centralized. Extending to the real world, we can also find many examples of centralization. In private enterprises, if the boss is in charge, We say it is centralized; Everything in a country is in the hands of a small group of people, We also say it centralized.
It can be seen that the main characteristic of centralization is the concentration of power, while decentralization is to distribute power to other participants.
Decentralization does not mean the elimination of the center, but the weakening of the center and the strengthening of other participants. The center is chosen by all participants, and the center is not permanent, but only works for a certain period of time. Tt the end of the term, participants will choose a center again.
Why do we need decentralization?
All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. As we said before, the purpose of decentralization is to decentralize power, so decentralization can solve this problem well.
Thanks to the rapid development of the Internet, people’s life now has been very convenient, and they can even make money and live without leaving home. However, if you think about it carefully, you can find a big problem. The current Internet enterprises are too centralized, and users’ data are controlled by large Internet enterprises, which will bring great risks of data leakage and hidden dangers of security. Facebook had a data leakage in 2018 that exposed the data of hundreds of millions of users; A we-media enterprise seized users’ intellectual property rights and caused huge losses to users. With no profit, game makers shut down servers, wipe out player data, and wipe out years of player work. The root of these problems is over-centralization, which is not good for the development of the Internet, so the Internet needs a revolution – decentralization.
Advantages and disadvantages of decentralization
The advantages of decentralization can be discussed at two levels.
The first is the node level and the second is the governance level.
At the node level, due to decentralization, we can obtain higher security, fault tolerance and anti-collusion, which is not available in the centralized network, there are many references.
At the governance level, power is distributed among many participants and decisions are made jointly by all participants, making it more democratic. At the same time, it can reduce the working pressure of the original central node.
The disadvantage of decentralization is that due to the large number of participants, decisions need to be agreed by all, which leads to lower efficiency than the centralized approach. Therefore, consensus algorithms such as dPoS and nPoS appear in blockchain to improve efficiency.
Decentralization can be tricky sometimes. A lot of people mention the term decentralization, a lot of organizations do the same, but hardly would you find people who are implementing this to the core.
We all talk about decentralization, and yet we still have some bodies/orgs that are responsible for keeping everything in check. Yes, we know that decentralization comes with a lot of ease by posing the influence of re-organizing and rebuilding what seems to have been done in a traditional way. Say for the DeFi (Decentralized Finance) ecosystem.
We’ve all come to understand that centralization had a negative effect for some time. In some countries, some banks can literally place a restriction on your bank account if you exceed a particular transaction threshold limit, then you’d be required to go over to the physical bank to try and upgrade your account to another level or one that can accommodate the amount of money that want to have in it, and I dare say that process of doing that is annoyingly stressful. I think Decentralization itself brings an end to situations like these.
But then, a study has shown that Decentralization in its fullness has an issue with inclusivity. The technology that decentralization is spreading across the globe is a little bit cut out from the marginalized. When I say “the marginalized”, I’m referring to people who are displaced, folks who are in third world countries, folks who do not even have an idea of how the digital economy works, not to even talk of “Decentralization”. Then, this big question arises: how do we preach the gospel of “decentralization” to such people? How do we make sure that there’s inclusion for such demography of people? I know that this can be difficult at first, but I believe that the PlatON Network can do this with the right set of people when they find them, It might take some time, but it doesn’t mean it cannot be achieved.
That’s why I love the work that Jack Dorsey and the folks at B-trust are doing.
（Jack and the team at B-trust are currently working on providing development funds for the people working on bitcoin’s core.
It is more like an incentivization program that will enable the development of the web3 space/decentralization ecosystem by making this resources available for people (mostly developers) who are from under-represented groups.
They’re currently focusing on Africa, as a continent for a start, then they’ll spread on to the global south, to regions like India, and then perhaps to the whole world.
what opportunities and challenges does decentralization face
For now, I think that the issue of information about the whole idea behind decentralization should be properly distributed to everyone. There’s a whole lot of people who are very skeptical about this idea. Yes, I know this will definitely be present in the early stage of a revolution, so if there’s a means of incentivizing people with the required information that they need, then I think a little part of the problem will be solved.
It’s very informative reading all the explanations and views about decentralization and the current crypto ecosystem.
I am a big supporter of decentralization. I really find all the different ideas in the space very interesting. It is accepted that Bitcoin happens to be the most decentralized because of its POW consensus model, but it is slow. We can scale a network to achieve higher number of transactions, and try to achieve decentralization through other means as well.
I published a summary post on this topic of Decentralization on my blog:
To try answer the question of What is Decentralization, i would like to answer it from a system theory standpoint…
Decentralization refers to a system where there is no single centralized authority that makes decisions on behalf of all the parties. Instead each party, also called a peer, makes local autonomous decisions towards its individual goals which may possibly conflict with those of other peers. Peers directly interact with each other and share information or provide service to other peers. An open decentralized system is one in which the entry of peers is not regulated. Any peer can enter or leave the system at any time.
Why is decentralization necessary?
Decentralization solves trust issues by empowering multiple participants to manage a network. Users don’t have to trust a central authority, and protocols are designed to prevent bad behavior. Decentralization allows participants to have fair participation and opportunity in a network.
The biggest opportunity with decentralization is being able to break free from the monopolies of today who have a great access to all our data and exploit it for profits. In decemtralized systems, users ideally own their data and use it in a way that preserves their privacy. Users can participate in a trustless and permissionless way which gives the power of inclusivity and equitable opportunity.
One of the biggest challenges of Decentralization is to achieve true Decentralization in the first place. No system is a 100% decentralized, with some tradeoffs being made across the crypto ecosystem between decentralization, trust, efficiency, speed, and scalability. While Bitcoin and Ethereum are the biggest network with the most decentralization with their POW consensus mechanism, they are slow. This is why many solutions to solve the problem of scalability with newer consensus models like POS where participants stake their assets to be able to qualify as validators. There, a network with too few validators compromises on decentralization.
Another challenge is dependence of centralized services which can pose risks of being single point of failures. For example, validators often run full nodes in a cloud provided by a third party. If these cloud or node service providers go down, this could bring down the network. This had happened with Ethereum when Infura went down in 2020 due to incorrectly upgrsding their client during Ethereum’s Eth2 hard fork. Moreover, over 50% cost of cloud services comes from storage. With the increasing of blockchain data, the cost of validator arises. Therefore, reducing the size of storage is important for validators to reduce cost and further maintain the security of the network.
Where PlatON network scores is its privacy preserving focus, with validators selected from many nodes.
One suggestion that I can come up to improve the status quo of PlatON’s decentralization is to run some incentive programs for running validator nodes so that more participants join the network as validators, which would increase the number of nodes.
Another technical aspect which I believe the PlatON network is already trying to solve with the v2 architecture, is to reduce the space required to run validators, using technologies like Zero Knowledge proofs. This would make it easier to run and sync validator nodes on one’s own machines instead of relying on centralized cloud servers, reducing the risks that come with single point of failures of third party centralized services.
In a system with many nodes distributed, each node has a high degree of autonomy. Nodes are free to connect with each other and form new connected units. Any node may become the center of the stage, but does not have a mandatory central control function. The influence between nodes and nodes will form a non-linear causal relationship through the network. This open, flat and egalitarian system phenomenon or structure is called decentralization.
Decentralization has three main advantages: fault tolerance, resistance to attack, and resistance to collusion. It also makes the rights of each user equal on the chain and dilutes real-world hegemony making it impossible to form a monopoly. That is why decentralization is important.
The opportunity may be that decentralized applications are not yet accepted by mainstream society, and there is still a large market to open. The challenge may be the barriers in technology like the impossible triangle, or the stagnant development of ecological projects due to the market downturn.
Perhaps increase the number of nodes or remove sudo authority.
Decenralization is the distribution or transfer of decision-making and operating tasks to users from a center. It has been trending with the development of blockchain technology. It is important for the network structures to be stronger and to survive. I think that PlatON Network will develop decentralization applications and make projects suitable for technological progress
Why is decentralization a trend?
No credentials are required to interact with a decentralized system. Transactions are carried out anonymously using private and public keys.
Transactions and control are distributed among the people using the system rather than a central authority.
User data is kept confidential.
Because it makes everyday life safer, fairer, faster, cheaper, transparent and anonymous.
It is also a technology that prevents central structures from using our personal information for their own benefit.
Centralized structures may choose to restrict or prohibit the use of blockchain technology in order not to lose their power.
In PlatON Network 2.0 vision; It is stated that it is building the necessary infrastructure for decentralized artificial intelligence. PlatON Network also stated that it is working to ensure that everyone has access to open source artificial intelligence.
We need to tell people about this technology and the advantages it brings.
PlatON network can make studies and developments in areas that require the use of payment systems, voting systems, energy sector, Internet of Things IOT and artificial intelligence.
Web3.0 should be a decentralized network. Facing the personal credit security crisis, we urgently need a more secure, private and fair Internet environment. Empower everyone to control and maintain their own (digital) identity, assets and data, and thus their own destiny.
In Web2.0, your data has value, but it doesn’t belong to you, and the value isn’t given to you. In Plato talk#1, I expressed that on-chain data is a gold mine, and the more applications, the more data, the bigger the gold mine In Web3.0, your value behavior will eventually be rewarded, the carrier of value is your data, but also belongs to you.
what opportunities and challenges does decentralization face
Decentralization, scalability, security, and three factors cannot fully account for each other, which is the main problem existing at present
like bitcoin, as a decentralized digital currency, sacrifices performance features to meet the design needs of decentralization and security. The scalability was not achieved.
The scalability of Ethereum network (ETH) can only ensure decentralization and security. Currently, The TPS is still very low, and ethereum transaction congestion often occurs.
in 2017, Bitcoin launched lightning network and isolated witness technology to complete transactions in the chain and confirm transactions in the chain.
Ethereum solutions are currently moving toward Layer 2, like Matic Arbitrum Optimistic ZKSync alleviates congestion on Etherum L1 to some extent and reduces transaction fees for end users.
Ethereum’s upcoming ETH2.0 seeks to address transaction congestion through sharding, including NEAR, which also uses sharding.
We are talking about Solona, which has improved TPS to some extent, but not long ago, a suspected DDOS attack brought down the trading network, which is not allowed in a decentralized network and is not in line with the original intention of decentralization.
what are your expectations and recommendations for PlatON decentralization?
I would like platon to be truly decentralized and expand from the current 201 nodes to more so that the network can operate safely.