The core tenet of decentralization, at least among the common blockchain ethos, is that decentralization insulates the network from tyranny and corruption, a duo that has plagued human governance and economics since the dawn of organized civilization.
The same concepts that power Adam Smith’s “free market” philosophy that underpins modern economics encourage decentralization as long as every party is properly incentivized (mining rewards) and has access to somewhat similar resources (electricity, reasonable utility costs, etc) as the next.
The glory of today’s blockchains isn’t so much derived from the idea of a utopian decentralization, but more so as a rebellion against the status quo of centralized banks dictating the economy, individuals being tethered to the success of their government, and the ability for large tech corporations and banks to shut down financial accounts at will.
There are several degrees of “decentralization”, and even though not “perfect,” even smaller decentralization improvements can be disruptive to the existing “centralized” status quo.
The goal is to figure out which areas will be impacted first; and which are the top use cases given the infrastructure’s properties (security, decentralization, scalability).
For example, think of the idea of a decentralized “Uber,” a popular thought experiment in the blockchain entrepreneurial community. When someone needs a car to pick them up, what would they prefer: a nearly immediate connection to a driver courtesy of an efficient centralized server, or waiting for minutes and potentially hours for the transaction to be verified and processed?
Although the push towards absolute decentralization is unfeasible, and in reality, decentralization benefits vary across use cases. Simply put, we don’t need decentralization for everything– centralization tends to work just fine for most things, and it shouldn’t be viewed as an enemy of what the blockchain movement seeks to accomplish.
Ultimately, blockchain is simply just another technology to be leveraged to solve certain problems.
Once upon a time, centralization was the solution to the disorganized chaos of the unpredictable. Our ancestors who lived in groups tended to live longer and better lives than individuals not in groups.
These groups evolved into tribes that utilizes some form of centralization (leadership, hierarchy, enforced order) that protected its members and utilized resources more efficiently. Eventually, tribes expanded and, however indirectly, ended up becoming countries that function using the same centralized mechanics.
Decentralization uses the evolution of the Internet and technological infrastructure to create systems that don’t require a centralized entity’s direct oversight. However, decentralized entities can only function within the scope of a centralized society.
Today’s projects are able to enjoy both the benefits of existing within the confines of a centralized society and the possibilities enabled by blockchain and the Internet. While full decentralization might be impossible, there’s no reason to fuss.