Article from Particl News
Reviewing the grave consequences of the state of centralization of today's internet and understanding what it means for our personal freedoms.
Today’s internet is very, very different from what it used to be. Over the past decade or two, a worrying trend of centralization has taken place. Nowadays, only a handful of large companies make up for an ever-increasing share of the total internet traffic worldwide. And the consequences are dire for each and every single one of us…
the days of usenet, irc, the web...even email (w PGP)...were amazing. centralizing discovery and identity into corporations really damaged the internet.
I realize I'm partially to blame, and regret it.
— jack⚡️ (@jack) April 2, 2022
How we empower monopolies to abuse our rights
As the internet continues on its clear trend of heavy centralization into the hands of just a few, the large corporations that control every facet of it now own more money and power than ever before. Indeed, forget about the “free” internet of 10 or 15 years ago; a few profit and agenda-driven corporations now control the vast majority of the web in ways you might not even expect.The Internet is Centralized and That Spells Trouble!
According to data by SimilarWeb, over 30% of US online traffic is entirely controlled by five websites. Furthermore, only three companies share 80% of the cloud hosting of the top 10,000 websites — a trend that is also very worrisome considering the sheer amount of power hosting providers possess. It is even more mind-boggling to consider the levels of centralization in the vast world of online purchases: more than 75% is dominated by Amazon and eBay alone!
With the grip they’ve got on the web, the world’s biggest tech companies are quickly accumulating information and power akin to the world’s most powerful states, but are conversely in a position to be entirely subdued by the regulations of those state entities — they have as a consequence become instrumental, essential aspects of the state surveillance apparatus of places like China, but also of the USA and partners of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.
But that’s not all, they also often go well beyond the bounds of what they are legally required to censor on their platforms, and that’s never been as accurate as in recent times. Aside from anti-competition practices like the censoring of specific businesses or industries that may hurt their bottom line, as we’ve seen with eBay/Paypal banning crypto mining hardware years ago, it is often seen as a responsibility for them to control and shape the narrative for their interpretation of the “greater good” — from banning individual politicians, to books, to countries, and all the way to entire subjects of discourse.
Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter are especially guilty of that form of ideological control, but the corruption runs much deeper. Paypal will famously refuse service to a myriad of categories of fully law-abiding citizens — sometimes on the simple basis of running Tor nodes or being of Russian or Belarusian nationality. Not even AirBNB is above punishing individuals that correspond to broad categories of people on the basis of their own political ideology. Sure, one can debate the reasons for such actions given certain geopolitical events, but as with any slippery slope goes, where does it end? The truth of the matter is that these corporations have set very dangerous and flexible precedents that we should all unilaterally reject.
And to that end, we must understand that it is our own habits that contribute to this self-defeating and cannibalistic dynamic. When available on such a macro scale, data itself directly translates to money and influence for the corporations that collect it — that’s why it’s become a core aspect of the business models of giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. And we, in the end, are the ones that enable this to happen. We are the ones that "feed the beast" with all the data they need to adapt and push their agendas accordingly and maintain their dominance.The Internet is Centralized and That Spells Trouble!
It's time to take matters into our own hands!
This state of affairs is a central motivator behind why we are so hell-bent on working on Particl: we want to starve these corporations of their data fuel and stop them from abusing their powers by going back to a free internet as it was initially intended — one that gives you complete freedom, privacy, and liberty of action without any sort of prejudice.
A flagship of our vision is establishing and enabling a 100% decentralized, person-to-person marketplace that has zero middlemen, that is 100% private, and that doesn’t generate ANY identifiable data about you in the first place. No data, no problem; that’s the crux of the idea behind Particl Marketplace!
It is an online and entirely distributed marketplace that is owned by nobody and everybody at the same time; you are the captain of this ship. There is no central authority and no one with special powers. Moderation and governance are entirely community-based, reflecting the will of a decentralized, autonomous, and truly global community. The PART privacy coin enables much of this — payments are peer-to-peer, completely anonymous, borderless, and they cannot be frozen, seized, withdrawn, or tainted.
All of this makes it the world’s only REAL free-market economy. You can buy or sell anything with no restrictions and without providing valuable data to any central and self-proclaimed authority. Free at last!
Become uncompromisingly and unapologetically free
But we, at Particl, can only do so much; we all need to do our part to switch the balance of power back to us, the people. Luckily, that’s more or less effortless on your end.
In fact, by simply buying or selling stuff on Particl Marketplace instead of your typical online marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, you contribute to the fight against the dangerous centralization of the web by not feeding corporation sharks the precious data they need to impose their will and unfair practices. And don’t you worry, it’s not all vague and abstract; you benefit directly and instantly from this! By transacting directly with others on a P2P network, you skip any middleman that would otherwise charge you fees or collect your personal information for god knows why. And so, you empower, at the same time, yourself and our society as a whole, not corporations that see you as a mere commodity.
If that idea resonates with you, then what are you waiting for? We are already live! We invite you to join and connect with like-minded individuals who’ve already done what’s best for them; cutting off the middleman and joining a true free-market economy with Particl Marketplace. It is high time to stand up for our rights and claim our freedom and sovereignty, don’t you agree?