No, do not dencentralize everything

Many newcomers, with their basic understanding of Bitcoin, marvel on how great it is. It then becomes their hammer, and everything they think of becomes a nail. Everything has to be decentralized and blockchained.

Worse, many untalented scamvelopers now promise “disruptive” “decentralized” whatevers. And the general public buys it, either the dream or the “IPO”.

It is quite unfortunate that those projects are taken seriously when they haven’t resolved basic issues, regarding exchanges, storage, etc. The scamvelopers behind it are quick to profit from it, while they do not have to show any ability to create a working product.

Some have released incomplete whitepapers with complete bullshit such as “proof of bandwidth”. Most of them ignore past achievements and research and reinvent the wheel… badly.

Moreover, those projects are generally not solving any concrete human need.
For example, decentralized exchanges create new sets of problems (especially if they are blockchain-based) while solving none: it is incredibly easier for an exchange to resist government oppression than it is for the issuer. It is also incredibly easier and likely for the issuer to scam investors than the exchange. So why would users switch to poor liquidity and scalability for practically no advantage?

Then there are services like BitBet – the real centralized aspect is not so much the infrastructure, but the human aspect of resolving bets. I stumbled upon a competitor where they basically allow any random user to create and resolve bets; this won’t end well. If you followed the “Bitcoin community”, you would end up with BFL winning delivery bets. After months of casual betting, I realize that BitBet mods are doing one hell of a hard job.

Outside of Bitcoin, centrally moderated BitTorrent trackers overall provide a much better experience than their decentralized competitors. They’re not flawless, however, you always have to keep in mind that decentralization will come with its own compromises.

This all could have been avoided by looking at the past, i.e. respecting the elders.

I could mention Diaspora*. Huge media coverage, huge Kickstarter success, and… crap. The thing was badly designed from the start, because the developers were inexperienced teenagers. Meanwhile, actual projects with talented developers did not get any funding.

Or I could tell you the story of decentralized bug tracking. At the time, people were discovering git, the decentralized version control. They then wanted to decentralize bug tracking; despite being all the rage, nothing of value emerged and now no one talks about it anymore. Because it wasn’t solving any real human need and was creating new problems.

And guess what? Now some guy wants to decentralize decentralized version control. It’s called Gitchain, the technical choices are extremely poor and it will never scale, but it already has its own Kickstarter and media coverage.
That’s what happens when you do not respect your elders.