If anyone other than the individual user can access his or her funds, then it is a centralized platform.
That is usually what you hear from the Bitcoin maximalists as well as those, in general, who support the idea of decentralization above all. Inside of this constant debate between centralization and decentralization, what people seem to forget is that simply due to the fact that our governments exist as well as that businesses are allowed to be private and make decisions on their own, complete decentralization is impossible.
Let’s quickly rephrase that. In truth, anything is possible, but because these facts exist, a strong argument can be made that we, as a Blockchain industry, should be working together with governments to develop solutions that they might more readily accept.
What do I mean by this?
Take Bitcoin, at its core, as an example. As we have said, time and time again, it was always meant to be trestles and decentralized because of how it works. The users make the network and no one party controls enough power to shut it down or affect other users in a strong way.
Now, over time, a debate of a different sort has come to the forefront, which involves public versus private blockchains. In one sense, it can be said that this is nothing different at all. Public blockchains means anyone can use them and therefore, no one really owns them. Private are the opposite, by default.
Where the debate truly begins is also in the same place, with those who appear to be Bitcoin maximalists usually stating that no Blockchain should be private, because that equals something that is contrary to Satoshi’s original vision.
Even so, private blockchains continue to thrive, with companies like IBM and Alibaba putting strong investments behind them.
In Alibaba’s case, their investment is much more recent, especially the patent that they have put through with the US Patent and Trademark Office, which some may see as controversial. The crux of this patent is for Alibaba to be able to legally develop and own a Blockchain network that allows one group to go inside of the network’s main smart contract if it deems that something illegal is going on. While many people would argue that this is against Satoshi’s goal of bringing about a decentralized world, again, the opposite can be said to be true.
Did we really always believe that we can break away from all existing systems? Do we think, even now, that doing so will not be met with a high level of governmental resistance, including further regulation?
In the case of Alibaba, their plan could work and help to ease regulatory concern about illicit usage of the Blockchain. On the other hand, it might backfire entirely. Unfortunately, whatever camp you find yourself in, none of this will become clear until Blockchains truly become an everyday part of our lives.
By: BGN Editorial Staff