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Communications of the ACM


Decentraland: The Alleged Decentralization of Blockchain Applications

metal blocks on a stylized 3D landscape, illustration

Credit: Yurchanka Siarhei

Inspired by a post by Moxie Marlinspike on the subject of Web3,5 I wish to elaborate on the promise of decentralization of blockchain applications. I will focus on two major use cases of blockchain technology, namely finance and art, which beg the questions: What does decentralization mean? Are blockchain finance and art truly decentralized? And if not, what are the forces that drive us toward centralization?

A Web3 marketplace is fundamentally different from a centralized Web2 application.

I am aware of the issue of centralization of existing blockchains. However, this topic is abundantly covered in the previous literature (a comprehensive entry point is Sai6). What is missing, or at least less approached, is a discussion on the level of effective decentralization of blockchain applications, in particular of finance and art. Therefore, I focus this Viewpoint on these applications.


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