The centralization vs decentralization debate


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Crypto is ultimately about decentralization.

A blockchain is used to keep a record of truth in order to create successful decentralized companies, products and services. Once you have a record of truth, stakeholders can trust the decentralized network.

I was recently reminded of this focus on decentralization when our “Off The Chain” podcast was removed from Apple Podcasts without warning. The podcast has been distributed on Apple, Google, Sportify, Libsyn, and other platforms for the last ~70 days. On Wednesday, we released a recording with Murad Mahmudov that laid out the ultimate argument for Bitcoin.

The episode exploded in popularity and began quickly shooting up the US rankings in the investing category. At some point, while the podcast was ranked #4, it disappeared. People began tweeting on Friday that they couldn’t find the podcast.

Without warning, the podcast was no longer available in the rankings. You couldn’t find it by searching the podcast store. It was still available on other platforms though, which made the disappearance on Apple even weirder.

Five days after the initial disappearance, the podcast is still not in the rankings, nor is it available via search. The Apple Podcast team had previously been great, but now the downside of centralization is becoming apparent.

Regardless of the reason for Apple’s actions, an individual corporation was able to make a unilateral decision to censor content. They didn’t give us a warning or explanation. One day it was there and the next it wasn’t.

Many people are rightfully asking if the removal of the podcast was due to the promotion of Bitcoin. I highly doubt it, but at this point, I don’t know. We are working to figure out what is going on, but it is more obvious than ever that centralized organizations and products present considerable counterparty risk.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that a fully decentralized, uncensorable product is the answer either though. Would we be comfortable if vile, dangerous content that incited violence was allowed? What if there was hate speech? Racism? Intentionally false information posted that was intended to hurt specific people?

The nuances of the centralization vs decentralization debate are more complex than they originally appear. These complexities are compounded when you begin building technology products for a global audience — everyone is not the same.

We are living in interesting times because there has never been so much intellectual capital focused on building decentralized products and services. In my opinion, the most valuable companies will be the ones who build things we can’t even imagine today.

The future can’t come soon enough.

-Pomp


The “Off The Chain” podcast has been downloaded 165,000+ times in 120 countries. You can listen to the latest episode with Murad Mahmudov now: Click here for Off The Chain podcast


THE RUNDOWN:

Winklevosses’ adversary calls Bitcoin theft claim ‘scandalous:’ The disgraced former chief executive of BitInstant called a lawsuit by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss’s Winklevoss Capital Fund a "scandalous and fantastical story," and urged a U.S. judge to throw it out. The Winklevosses claim that Charles Shrem used part of their 2012 investment of $750,000 in BitInstant to buy 5,000 bitcoins, then priced at $61,000, for himself. The bitcoins would be worth $32 million today. The Winklevosses sued in September accusing Shrem of fraud. Read more.

Bitcoin's long-term technical indicators point to possible gains: Bitcoin bulls are in for some long-awaited good news: technical indicators show the biggest cryptocurrency could be poised for gains. A look at the long-term trend lines in Bitcoin’s Directional Movement Index shows it entered a new bullish phase. In addition, the price trends broke out of their VERA band upper limit, widely considered an encouraging sign. The digital token could see a rise as it approaches year-end. Read more.

It’s time for online voting (opinion): Using blockchain technology, online voting could boost voter participation and help restore the public’s trust in the electoral process and democracy. Blockchain voting achieves privacy for the individual and improves transparency for the system as a whole. Voting systems will be less costly, more efficient, and more accessible while eliminating most, if not all, opportunities for suppression, fraud, or sham charges of fraud. Read more.

SEC official says 'plain English' guidance on ICOs is coming: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission plans to clarify when and how cryptocurrencies may be classified as securities, its director of Corporation Finance said Monday. Speaking at the D.C. Fintech Week conference, SEC director William Hinman said the regulatory agency intends to release "plain English" guidance for developers to refer to when planning token offerings. Read more.

PwC is advising (not auditing) another Stablecoin project: The Hong Kong division of global accounting and consulting firm PwC is exploring the best practices for issuing stablecoins, as part of an initiative with the non-profit Loopring Foundation. PwC Hong Kong's Asia-focused study on stablecoins follows a PwC partnership in the U.S. to advise decentralized lending platform Cred, which is working on a U.S. dollar-tied coin. Read more.


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