Peak Centralization vs. Peak Decentralization

I always have to remind myself that everything has a history, it came from somewhere, and there were most likely moments of greatness in that journey. Facebook, for example, is one business that I am actually grateful for even though I hardly ever use it today and, to some degree, disagree with its business model.

Facebook started this. Even if Myspace of Friendster were first or second, Facebook lit the fire. I still can’t believe Facebook is 15 years old. They’ve connected a lot of people over those 15 years. They’re still connecting people. Quite frankly, they gave a lot of people visibility into the world that they otherwise could not see.

The problem, however, is technology moves fast. And, thanks to Facebook, information moves even faster. The irony is their core business model is being shredded by the technology they helped create. We learn how Facebook makes money, we read about privacy and data harvesting, we learn how ad trackers and information is stored, and meanwhile tons of competing social networks are being built. We do all of this on social media, following others, reading their stories about the industry.

If Facebook is peak centralization, Bitcoin is peak decentralization. Ironically, once again, many are learning about this dichotomy on social media. One harvests data and the other stands against it. One is run by a single guy and the other is run by a network. I should say, I am not knocking Facebook or endorsing Bitcoin. I am only showing stark differences and where we are potentially heading. For example, Facebook may also change its ways if the market ever forces it to.

I recently cooked up the chart you see below. It shows BTCUSD/FB or essentially a long Bitcoin and short Facebook pair trade:

I should add that it is not all bad vs. good. The story is never that simple and incredible projects are in the works by all parties. Few people are aware that Facebook really is connecting the world. They are currently running an ambitious WiFi project called Express WiFi. They’ve already brought high speed Internet to 9 countries in Africa. More are coming. Ironically, I’m sure someone is using Express WiFi right now to buy Bitcoin and decentralize their online presence a little more.

The crypto space is also building fast. The company Blockstream, for example, launched a Bitcoin satellite so anyone, despite any government ban or blackout, can still access Bitcoin.

I’m not sure what will happen next. I am just writing my thoughts down about two competing concepts: peak centralization and decentralization. I wonder where these moments stand in history or if they will ever be named something defining. The 15th century Renaissance, but for tech. So whether Bitcoin or Facebook lasts for another 100 years, they are paving a path that we are all, in some way or another, apart of.