Decentralization can appear to exist on a spectrum, with some platforms being more decentralized than others. In our experience, and in our conversations with developers, blockchain programmers, and business owners seeking to migrate to a blockchain, we’ve discovered the opposite is true: Decentralization is a dichotomy—a 0 or a 1.
If a DApp platform is not truly and completely decentralized—that is, if it is not one in which no person, no entity and no group has the singular ability to monetize their creation—it has disqualified itself from the share of the market to whom decentralization is the singular focus.
On the other hand, to those for whom decentralization is not so important an issue, the choice is clear: Centralized platforms are faster, better, and more reliable.
There are obvious reasons that a developer might prefer decentralization—the chance to skirt regulations, for one thing—but there are some less obvious ones as well.
Chief among them is community. To the developers, it’s not a choice between slower vs. faster transaction speeds. To the developers, it’s a choice between receiving the support of a community of others just like you, all incentivized economically to assist one another’s understanding of this technology and to support one another’s projects (Ethereum); or receiving the support of a company, that may or may not promise to invest capital into your project—a project which, if it’s a DApp, probably doesn’t need much capital to begin with (EOS, NEO, Matrix).
This, however, is strictly the perspective of an independent developer—one who has a vested interest in keeping control over his or her creation, and who is as eager to learn new things, as he is to create. We concede that, while it can be argued this constitutes the vast majority of programmers in the world, it does not constitute the vast majority of money that will eventually be invested in the creation of DApps.
Established businesses, or new businesses seeking to adopt blockchain as a business model, would have no need of the developer community of the Ethereum blockchain and have no incentive to help the Ethereum network grow. A centralized blockchain could provide them the speed and scalability they need to provide a suitable customer experience from day one.
Matrix AI is a good example of a blockchain seeking to fulfill this niche. As part of China’s Belt/Road initiative, the Matrix blockchain will be used by businesses conducting international trade along China’s new global infrastructure project. It will be used not only for any task involving recordkeeping (placing orders, shipment tracking, transparency of funds, ownership records, etc), but can even allow its computations to be leveraged for the creation and hosting of AI (Artificial Intelligence) programs.
One imagines healthcare data hosted on the Matrix blockchain, in which a computer network thousands of times more powerful than IBM’s Watson crunches medical data provided by hospitals, clinicians and insurance companies to produce diagnoses with far more accuracy than has ever been seen before.
With visions like this in mind, the Matrix blockchain is centralized in the sense that the only nodes running on it are all state-of-the-art supercomputers with state-of-the-art processing units. We predict that Matrix will be the first of its kind, and other centralized blockchains will follow suit in major trade corridors around the world, hosting data for multinational corporations including banks, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and energy distribution.
We predict that Centralized blockchain platforms will be the means through which a large portion, if not the majority, of global GDP is transacted in a few years’ time. However, in that time, most of the innovation in the blockchain space will be happening on the Decentralized blockchain platform of choice among the developer community, whether that be Ethereum or some future usurper. The reason for this is simply that, while centralization attracts financial capital, decentralization attracts intellectual and cultural capital. And it is the latter that will eventually produce disruptive DApps, of the Facebook- and Google-killing kind.