Collecting thoughts on decentralized systems

In this topic I am collecting articles about decentralized systems. I see a lot of interesting ideas, as well as a lot of gloom. Gonna see if we find some useful patterns. :slight_smile:

After a run-down of several decentralized systems:

That was depressing… What now?

Whenever this topic comes up, I’m used to seeing other programmers declare that the solution is simply to make something better.6 I understand where this thought comes from; when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and it’s comforting to think that your primary skill and passion is exactly what the problem needs. Making better tools doesn’t do anything about the backwards profit motive though, and besides, have you tried using any of the centralised alternatives lately? They’re all terrible. Quality of tools really isn’t what we’re losing on.

No, the solution has to be political. That’s uncomfortable for me, as it probably is for you too. Software I can do, politics though? That’s hard. Something needs to change about these profit motives though. I’m not arrogant enough to declare that I know the one true answer here, I doubt there even is one true answer. I can share some ideas though.

The current system of profit motives, one might call it a market, was designed to optimise the process of extracting, refining, and transforming physical resources. It seems to be pretty good at that, though one may question whether its externalities are worth it, or whether that goal should be the top priority.

What we’re dealing with here is far removed from physical resources, however, and the system has not been adapted at all. Although some like to idealise the aforementioned market as a free and unregulated system, the truth is that it optimises rather poorly under those circumstances, and needs heavy regulation to align profit motives in the direction of efficient processing and distribution of resources. If we are to keep these profit motives at all,7 we need new regulation to align them toward creating software that better serves our society.