The Future is Centralized Decentralization

T1000
  • Near perfect mimicry
  • Assumption of alternate forms
  • Ability to reform as whole when scattered
T1000 in action

Applied to Blockchain

Let’s go over these one by one and apply them to the blockchain ecosystem:

  • Near perfect mimicry? Check. Thousands of unoriginal and unimaginative clones of chains, NFTs, DAOs, existing Web2 products and services, etc.
  • Assuming alternate forms? Check. Re-definitions and technical compromise in the blockchain space often emerge when sgnificant fundamental limitations are encountered — security (Lightning and other L2s) and decentralization (Solana) to address scale as two good examples. Goalposts get moved on a regular basis.

The Rise of the Centralized Blockchains and Web3

Blockchains are fundamentally decentralized. This is true. There are currently some 15,000 Bitcoin nodes online. There are 5,000 Ethereum nodes online. Looks pretty decentralized to me!

Alchemy (Self-described “AWS for blockchain” — valued at $10 Billion)

Customers:

Prominent Alchemy Customers
  • 10+ million end users powered
  • Powering all major NFTs

Consensys (valued at $3.2 Billion)

Products and usage:

Prominent Infura Customers

Quicknode (value unknown, but last raised $35 million in a series A)

Customers:

Prominent Quicknode Customers

Sellouts!

Not at all. Turns out delivering a reliable product or service with blockchain at any kind of scale is really hard. Running your own node infrastructure is really hard. I have personally experienced the pain of doing this myself. It’s not pretty and it’s getting worse (more on that in another rant).

To most end-users of blockchain products and services the “distributed blockchain” is whatever a handful of multi-billion dollar companies say it is.

I don’t know about you but this already looks a lot like the “consolidation in the hands of a few powerful players” that is Web2 to me. What we’re witnessing now is likely just another generation of companies angling to be the next Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc (with multi-billionaire founders to match). Not to mention — in any gold rush there’s a lot of money to be made selling picks and shovels.

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