Princeton prof thinks decentralization is overrated... for now

Princeton Professor Arvind Narayanan posted a series of clear-headed Tweets about the failure of decentralized projects. His Tweetstorm, based on this post on The Register, looks at the promise of decentralization vs. the reality.

"There’s a widespread belief in the blockchain world that centralization results from government regulation and/or monopolistic rent-seeking. The truth is more mundane: centralization emerges naturally in a free market due to economies of scale and other efficiencies," he wrote. 


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The point is simply that centralization makes the most sense from a business standpoint but rarely makes sense from a computing standpoint. There is no conspiracy to centralize, just the natural motion of systems toward centralization.
"Openness and decentralization matter to developers. To succeed, decentralized platforms must attract developers and foster an ecosystem of services that build on each other and gradually improve in functionality and quality. That’s how the Internet beat Compuserve and AOL," he wrote. "But this process has to happen organically and will take decades. It can't be rushed with VC/ICO money. What blockchain companies are doing today is as if Internet companies had tried to compete against print newspapers in the 80s. The supporting infrastructure just wasn’t there."