Decentralization is the process of distributing control away from a central location or a node in case of a network. To understand decentralization one must understand what a distributed system is ,
A distributed system is a model in which components located on networked computers communicate and coordinate their actions by passing messages to complete a task at hand.Distributed means not all the processing of the transactions are being done in the same node. But, the processors are under the control of a single node. Large Internet applications and services are being distributed, but most are centralized and privately owned by the company running them and theycan alter or stop the system.Decentralized means that not one single node has control over all the processing. By nature, this implies that it is distributed among various parties.A key point aboutdecentralization, is that there’s no central point of control.
ethereum.stackexchange.com defines it as
a system where components operate on local information to accomplish goals, rather than the result of a central ordering influence
Architectural decentralization—the number of physical computers in a system and how many of those computers can the network tolerate breaking down at any single time
Political decentralization—no individuals or organizationsultimately controls the computers that the system is made up of
Logical decentralization— the interface and data structuresthat the system presents and maintains look more like a single monolithic object, or an amorphous swarm i.e if you cut the system in half, including both providers and users, both halves can continue to fully operate as independent units
How does decentralization work with blockchains
According toVitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum and Bitcoin Magazine
Blockchain is politically decentralized (no one controls them) and architecturally decentralized (no infrastructural central point of failure) but they are logically centralized (there is one commonly agreed state and the system behaves like a single computer)
But how is decentralization useful, there is a lot more trust in a decentralized system by default because of many reasons, few as follows
Fault tolerance— decentralized systems are less likely to fail accidentally because they rely on many separate components that are not likely.
Attack resistance— decentralized systems are more expensive to attack and destroy or manipulate because unlike a centralized system they lack sensitive central points that can be attacked.
Collusion resistance— it is much harder for participants in decentralized systems to collude to act in ways that benefit them at the expense of other participant.
The robustness of the network makes it more desirable than a centralized network which is susceptible to have downtime.
Although decentralization as a concept is very attractive and peer to peer networks becoming a dominating factor the practical implications pose a lot of complications. In time when we perfect the implementation process it will not be just desirable but a basic necessity for any organisational network to operate.
Who would have thought that the greatest security feature that humans could discover was in maintaining democratic duplicity among multiple peers on a network.
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