In terms of decentralization, we’re at an interesting point in the world of crypto. This isn’t a sweeping thought—nor does it apply in a lot of cases, but in my research for The Scam Logs, I noticed a trend. I noticed a unified piece of advice when it comes to avoiding pitfalls. The safest places to get NFTs, for instance, are well-established exchanges like OpenSea. The best-regarded wallets are ones like MetaMask. Essentially, trusted brands.
This is totally normal in most contexts. Apple Phones are so well known for their safety and ease of use that they’re often considered the default phone. If I say, “Smart Phone,” I bet the image in your head is an iPhone. When a large company achieves a baseline level of quality, it can become automatic. It’s a logical choice for the busy layperson, especially when it comes to things as important as communication.
But one of the main ideas of crypto and the blockchain is that it’s decentralized. The power is not in a few hands but lots of hands. So, it’s not in the best interest of that vision for there to be only a few reliable sources.
This is not me advising someone to “take a chance” on a less secure or well-known exchange. That would be a very bad idea. Use the absolute most secure everything you can when you’re working with crypto. But it is me advocating for more brands, companies, groups, what-have-you, to step up and make wallets, exchanges, marketplaces, and more that are safe enough to diversify how we work with decentralized assets.
I know this is much easier said than done—there are steep startup costs and hundreds of hours involved in making anything like this. But it’s the only way I see crypto not drifting toward centralization. You end up with monopolies. You end up with an unacceptable number of single points of failure. The same issue happens in mining, with the people with the money for bigger rigs slowly controlling the bulk of transactions.
Decentralization is a noble goal for a lot of things. It’s worth chasing and preserving. There are people with the technical know-how to help it, and I hope they do. It would be a tragedy if crypto turned into what it was made to fight against.