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[blog] +decentralisation

Nico Schottelius 3 years ago
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title: The importance of decentralisation
pub_date: 2019-11-14
author: ungleich
twitter_handle: ungleich
Or: why the Internet still functions
Did you ever wonder, why the Internet is as robust as it is?
Then this article is for you.
## The Internet Architecture
The Internet basically consists of a lose collaboration of network
service operators. Each operator, whether an individual or a large
scale enterprise, can announce their own networks and run services in
their own networks.
The dependency on other providers is relatively low, the only thing
you need to operate in the Internet is one or more upstream
providers. If you happen to have many of them, we call this
**peering** and it allows you to get good deals for data exchange.
## Decentralisation is an enabler
Because each operator can decide what to run in their network, whether
it's providing access to websites, providing a mail infrastructure,
providing a webshop or other services. What you do, what you sell is
up to you.
So far so good, isn't it?
## The threat of centralisation
In the real world, we see that some services have become strictly
centralised. Services like ebay, amazon, google or facebook are very
convenient, because they allow access to a lot of resources, but are
also very dangerous at the same time.
### Problem one: Seller dependency
Imagine you are selling pink socks. Because pink socks are
the coolest and they make people feel more warm in winter.
Imagine further you exclusively sell your products solely through
one of these platforms. Then the provider bans you from their website,
because pink is considered to be incorrect, socks always have to be
black. This will ruin your business model completely, because you
don't have an alternative.
While the example of pink socks is fictional, there are
[many such real world cases](
### Problem two: Buyer dependency
On the other hand as a consumer, if you usually go to one site. Now
if you are banned from that site, you cannot approach the seller, even
if the seller wanted to sell to you.
### Problem three: Censorship
A generic problem with centralised platforms is censorship. This is a
very important one, as it applies to providers in
[a lot
We have seen censorship on a variety of platforms including a variety
of reasons including political motivated censorship. Centralised
platforms are especially prone for censorship with huge effects.
### Problem four: Lack of choices
Once a centralised platform has been established, the lack of choice
forces sellers, buyers and consumers into a strong dependency (related
to this is [strong vendor
lock-ins]( If the
platform raises prices or decides to reduce privacy features, users
don't have a choice, but to accept, if there are no alternatives.
## Some many problems - what is the solution?
Like we say in Switzerland, we like to **buy locally**, supporting
small shops and small companies. But how do you realistically do this in
the Internet? We see one easy to use way that is not on everyone's
radar: **switching to IPv6**. Let us show you how to establish your
own presence in 3 small steps.
### 1. Acknowledge that you are a network operator
First of all, anyone can be a network operator. This is how the
Internet was built and it is still true. You can start by
[getting your own IPv6
This is really easy and in case you are using the
[]( only requires installing
[wireguard]( and a configuration.
### 2. Setup your own presence
When you have your own IPv6 range, you can run anything in it. From a
website, to mail servers, ... anything any other operator can do.
If you don't know how to do that, you can ask for help on the
[IPv6.Chat](, where you find many people who are
using IPv6 on a daily basis.
You can even setup your [own social
network]( on your infrastructure!
### 3. Talk about it
Many people are not aware that with IPv6 the game really changes and
that everyone is back in the game. So when you start your journey, we
ask you to talk about it and enable other people.
### 4. (optional) Get an IPv4 Proxy
If you want to be reachable from the IPv4 world, you can also use an
IPv4-to-IPv6 proxy, which you find the the [IPv6
## Summary and Outlook
Centralisation is a danger to everyone. It concentrates decision power
and effectively can censor opinions and in the worst case even ruin
businesses. With IPv6 you can back in control. Even better, you can
be part of driving decentralisation.
Soon upcoming is the [Black IPv6
where you can get direct IPv6 experience. Or you can exchange your
ideas for decentralisation on the [IPv6.Chat](