First let’s start with decentralization.
It’s easy to understand since email is a decentralized and federated service we all use, or used once.
Decentralized means everybody can send email to anybody, and in turn receive email from anybody. All these emails are stored at your inbox and outbox.
Sounds natural right?
But if you check your networks — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Tumblr, Tinder, what else? — they are all centralized.
Which means no one from Facebook can send or receive a Tweet; you can’t read your Tinder messages in Messenger. Half of your music is on Spotify, another half in Apple Music. Your friends’ music is on Google Music so you can’t access them.
Every piece of content is walled into their respective owner’s garden without any ways to interact with each other, grow freely, and grow the authors. We have to had the GDPR to let these silos allow us to download all our data. Sic!
So how the decentralized future will look like?
You’ll have something like your email but for everything your create not just mails. Your images, articles, videos, music, messages, ebooks all will live there together will all reactions — likes, shares, reposts — you receive on them.
When you put an item into Outbox it will spread all over other decentralized networks. When you receive anything — a New York Times article, a new photo from your friend, a song from your favorite band, an event invitation, anything — they will all go to your Inbox.
Nifty, yeah? You’ll be the master of all data you create, and consume.
But wait, who will pay for it, and with what currency? Up until now you’ve paid with your attention to ads in exchange for the data you’ve stored on Facebook. That’s why all these old social networks were closed and free.
In fact, they were data hosting companies where the currency was advertising and attention. And they’ve closely guarded their assets — you – with logins everywhere, separating you from other networks.
When you won’t be the product no one will pay for your data storage but you. And that’s lot of a data.
The world goes around technology. Every US presidential election lately was won with a novel usage of a new technology. Obama won with social networks, Trump with the hacked social networks a.k.a. fake users and news.
What goes in tech it is immediately reflected in our lives. Back to paying for data storage — today in tech we have the freemium business model as dominant thinking. This means you’ll get a basic service for free, then if you want more, wanna go pro you’ll have to pay. Think Spotify.
More harsh yet emerging is the situation in crypto networks. One needs coins to participate in their network. They charge you anytime you use their infrastructure. Like banks. Every transaction is taxed.
In short, in tech the decentralization is already happening, monoliths are decomposed into microservices, and either you stay small for free, or have to pay to more, more, and more to get on the train of the ever growing new and handy services.
That’s what gonna happen with you, and your data. You’ll get a fair amount of hosting space for free — then when you go above your limit you’ll pay an extra service free.
This, hopefully, will reduce the noise. Mindless content creation, endless feed consumption, unlimited likes, ranting, trolling won’t be free anymore. Just to a fair amount of a limit.