submitted by /u/Forsage_io
Decentralization is the key feature of all blockchain projects. In many respects it is thanks to decentralization that these projects are gaining popularity and the trust of users.
But what is decentralization? What project can be called decentralized, and how can this feature be implemented?
A decentralized project is a project in which there is no third party, be it an administrator or manager who has the ability to single-handedly make decisions and influence the future of the project. Also, in a decentralized project there is no single server where all the information is stored and, by disabling such a server, you can terminate the project, depriving users of the ability to access it.
So what is decentralization? In a nutshell, it is distribution. In decentralized projects, information is split into small parts and stored on the computers of all network users. This means that in order to damage such a network, more than 51% of devices need to be hacked, which is almost impossible. In other words, decentralization is a special process of distribution of authority, funds, or efforts. The global governing body does not interfere in these actions. This means that the management of the network is carried out jointly by many network nodes that share equal responsibilities, and run the same software. The data stored in such a network cannot be distorted or corrected, because it is based on many computers at once. The performance of the system cannot be influenced by a single person.
The word ‘decentralization’ is often associated with the word ‘blockchain’, and for good reason. Blockchain is a decentralized ledger that contains an ever-growing list of entries, or blocks. These records are organized in a strict sequence, with each subsequent record storing part of the information about the previous record. Such a database is stored on users’ computers, and it does not have a single server. Everyone who stores the database has its full copy, and new records are constantly added to all existing copies.
Still not very clear? Let’s explain with a simple example with apples:
Alex has bought 6 apples. We write this fact down into a blockchain (a kind of diary), and get block number 1. We are sending block number 1 to Nick, Victor, Sally, Sam, and Margo, who are network users. Now these folks all know that Alex has 6 apples.
Alex gives Nick 5 apples to share with his friends. We also write this fact down into block number 2. In this case, block # 2 contains a unique identifier for block # 1. We are sending this block to Victor, Sally, Sam, and Margo.
Nick gives Victor 1 apple. We write this down into block number 3, and add the unique identifier of block # 2 to the ledger. We send the block to the entire network.
Nick gives Sally 3 apples so that she can share them with her friends. We write this to block number 4, and add block ID # 3. We send the block to everyone in the network.
Sally, instead of treating her friends with apples, eats all 3 apples by herself. And when Sam and Margo come to her for the promised apples (after all, they received a message that Nick gave Sally three apples), Sally tries to blame Nick. Allegedly, he gave her only 1 apple, and kept the rest for himself. But the entry on the network says something else, and both Sally and Margo know perfectly well that it was Sally who ate the fruit intended for them.
This is how decentralization protects us from fraud within the network, making transactions extremely simple and transparent. It also protects the network from being hacked, and from failures that occur due to human factors.