The Decentralized Internet Is Here, With Some Glitches


Proponents as varied as privacy activists and marquee venture capitalists talk about the decentralized internet as a kind of digital Garden of Eden that can restore the freedom and good will of the internet’s early days. The argument goes that big tech companies have locked up our data and minds inside stockholder-serving platforms that crush competition and privacy. Ultra-private, socially conscious decentralized apps, sometimes dubbed DApps, will give us back control of our data, and let startups slay giants once more.

“The best entrepreneurs, developers, and investors have become wary of building on top of centralized platforms,” Chris Dixon, a partner with investor Andreessen Horowitz wrote last month, in a kind of manifesto for a more decentralized internet. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web has similar concerns. Graphite Docs and some other early DApps are far from perfect, but show there’s something to the hype. A life less dependent on cloud giants is possible, if not yet easy.

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