A Short History of Decentralization

Decentralization is one of the key concepts that attract the early adopters of the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin that runs on the block chain protocol. Not surprisingly, at the core of this appeal is a set of ideological motives: to find relief from chronic world problems caused by the centralized global structure. This may sound kooky to some of you, but there’s a point in there that you might want to listen to.

Many first adopters believe that our society and the worldwide economy have suffered for so long at the hands of concentrated power everywhere. There just seems to be no way out of this setup.

Many a time, people are looking at technology for the cure for social and political maladies. This time, they see the advent of cryptocurrency and the underlying block chain technology will do away with centralization and bring forth a decentralized society.

All is well.But, why do we want to decentralize ourselves?

Johann Gevers of Moneta has an interesting presentation on the history of decentralization in society during his Tedx Talk appearance. The decentralized mode of living, he says, was in fact commonly practiced among ancient communities.

According to Gevers, decentralization was the only type of social interaction in the pre-historic societies where the population was small that everybody knew everybody. But it only lasted until a form of agricultural technology arose some 10.000 years ago.

With the improvement in the agricultural system comes better living condition, which in turns positively influences the population size that hasn’t stopped growing since.

Consequently, it becomes more and more difficult for ancient communities to remain decentralized. Concentrated power becomes necessary to maintain order within larger societies. But, as you know, authorities are bound to mess it up for everyone.

Throughout our recorded history, centralized authorities are mired in power abuse, inefficiency, and other misconducts. Yet, it seems that centralized political, economic, social systems are the only way to go for humanity. That’s true at least until technology helps us overcome the barriers that gave birth to our centralized society 10.000 years ago.

Thanks to technologies like printing machine, steam machine, telephone, and many more, power is gradually being dispersed. The latest technology that emerges with a more game-changing impact is the Internet. It undermines authorities more than the others did.

Then, out of the Internet explosion comes the block chain protocol. It’s designed to accommodate more applications like Bitcoin to run on it securely and restriction free.

Our description of the block chain may sound rather cautious. However, you can learn here why people the world over believes will unsettle the existing structure and bring us closer to a decentralized society.

The fact is that the block chain technology is still in its infancy. Albeit the sheer potential it carries, nobody knows exactly what would become of the block chain in the future. And it could be a good thing. After all, most of us used to have a similar sentiment toward the Internet in the nineties; a mere decade later, look how it influences our life.