On Jan. 26, the internet came to a screeching halt along much of the East Coast. Email services went down; YouTube videos flickered out midstream; millions were likely affected, if only temporarily. But the outage, attributed to a surge in traffic, underscores the metastasizing vulnerabilities surrounding the way most of the world conducts commerce, consumes entertainment and communicates.
The implications of such outages should be seen as particularly alarming for those in cryptoland: namely, for the ever-growing numbers of participants in an emerging decentralized ecosystem for transferring peer-to-peer value with Bitcoin (BTC) who build smart contracts on Ethereum or launch any number of platforms and tokens that perform untold numbers of functions and services.
Indeed, such outages highlight a serious challenge to building the hoped-for future of a decentralized web that is more secure, reliable and safer.
Every time Gmail or Telegram goes down because of such disruptions to the existing web, it’s a reminder of how exposed this emergent decentralized world is to centralized vulnerabilities. And it’s something of an Achilles heel that has yet to be satisfactorily addressed.
In short, the full blossoming of blockchain and other decentralized systems depends on the reliability of an existing web architecture that is not only highly centralized but also in need of a facelift.
Internet: The beauty and the beast
As beautiful as the original architecture of it — and, believe me, it is beautiful — the internet as we know it has