Why decentralized compute is Web3's next frontier
Is it accurate to label the web decentralized when it heavily relies on centralized infrastructure? Moxie Marlinspike's opinion on the security flaws in NFTs has cast a shadow on the Web3 movement. This sparked debates on digital ownership and security, including a less-than-convincing response from Vitalik Buterin, essentially stating a lack of funds as a hurdle.
The aftermath of this conversation highlights the need to rethink the current infrastructure models in the blockchain industry, moving beyond hype and speculation. To understand the challenges faced by Web3, let's look at the evolution of the web.
Web1, the World Wide Web, aimed to create an information ecosystem where everyone could be both a creator and consumer of content. However, the model of everyone owning servers and interacting through internet protocols proved unsustainable due to the high costs of hosting and maintaining hardware. This led to the emergence of corporations like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, which centralized infrastructure (Web2) and achieved tremendous success.
Despite the success of centralized infrastructure, it brought about various issues, such as privacy concerns, single points of failure, environmental damage, and corporate monopolies. In response, Web3, or the decentralized web, emerged to distribute internet resources and profits more equitably and sustainably. However, old and new challenges have arisen in this evolving environment, which we will explore in this article.
How Centralized Cloud Services Threaten the Future of Web3
Web3 is facing an unexpected issue: centralization. At the same time, there has been a lot of focus on proving ownership of NFTs; not enough attention has been given to preventing their disappearance when the associated links break. Blockchains can securely store transaction information, but for larger data types like popular NFTs, the actual data is often stored off-chain with only a link on the blockchain. Recent investigations have shown that off-chain storage often relies on centralized cloud services that provide the necessary infrastructure for NFT metadata. What's concerning is that many Web3 applications still rely on major cloud service providers like AWS, Azure, and Google for their cloud support.
Who owns the digital assets?
Determining asset ownership becomes a significant concern when developing "decentralized apps" on centralized infrastructure. This situation prompts contemplation on the essence of ownership, especially as digital assets are susceptible to off-chain security frameworks. The reliance on such centralized structures introduces familiar privacy and single point of failure risks from Web2 into Web3. A major incident at an AWS data center could potentially result in numerous cryptocurrency holders losing access to their assets. Such scenarios are not unlikely, as evidenced by the notable incidents cataloged last year due to cloud centralization.
The web's infrastructure needs a shift towards decentralization
It's a clear choice that decentralized applications should operate on decentralized infrastructure. This approach not only aims to curb excessive corporate and political control over data but also addresses environmental concerns stemming from the overproduction of hardware. Perhaps the most compelling reason to decentralize computation and storage is the opportunity to redistribute the profits associated with hosting and deploying infrastructure. This represents the next significant frontier for Web3.
Picture a future where the massive cloud infrastructure investments of companies like Amazon and Google are spread across millions of individuals worldwide. These people contribute their spare hardware, earn compensation for their services, and contribute to environmental sustainability. Projects like Spheron Network recognized this potential early. Creating impactful applications with the potential to change the world requires utilizing distributed computing and truly decentralizing the internet.
About Spheron Network
Spheron Network is a decentralized computing platform that strives for fairness, making distributed resources accessible to all. It enables users to deploy their needs on a cloud platform that is democratic. Spheron Compute presents a robust and cost-effective alternative to centralized cloud services, priced at just one-third of the traditional cost.
The goal is to democratize public cloud access, offering a more sustainable model for computing. Our platform allows organizations and developers to deploy, run, and scale based on their needs, free from the limitations of centralized cloud environments. This results in significant customer benefits, simplifying access to a wider range of powerful computing and distributed resources at the edge enhancing availability, proximity, and cost efficiency.