Graphite decentralizes storage away from the application you’re using. This means that rather than relying on Graphite to store all your data (like virtually every other app out there), a user can choose where she’d like to store her data. Graphite also provides authentication through Blockstack (and soon uPort), which are decentralized identity platforms. This means that when you’re logging into Graphite, you’re not logging in with an identity owned by Graphite. Instead, you’re using an identity owned by you, thus making censorship and lockout next to impossible. So, Graphite is a decentralized app.
But people don’t yet care about that.
IPFS, Blockstack, Ethereum, and many many others are working on making decentralization mainstream. I think we’ll get there. I think people are fed up with the digital gangsters like Facebook. I think people do not actually want to rely on companies storing their data. What they want is the convenience they get today while being able to have more control over their data. But we haven’t reached a tipping point yet. Mass adoption of decentralized protocols and apps is probably a few years away still.
What we’re much closer to is mass adoption of secure apps. People have been prioritizing security more frequently in recent years than any other period of the web’s history. And when asked what people want, it’s clear they want to, at very least, protect their data.
While this poll is too small a sample to take too terribly seriously, it seems indicative of what I’ve felt for a while now: people want simple encryption and data privacy.
So, how do we get people excited about decentralization? We sell them privacy and security. We sell them encryption. Give people what they want and sprinkle in a helping of what they need. That’s what Graphite is doing, and that’s what will help drive decentralization’s mass adoption curve.
With Graphite, I try to focus on the client-side encryption and user-ownership of encryption keys. Encryption to many people is still confusing and complicated. However, as soon as you show them how easy it is to encrypt files in apps like Graphite and how NO ONE but them (or the intended recipient) can decrypt those files, they’re hit with the “aha!” moment. That moment is the gateway to something bigger. It’s what I hope will lead people to embrace the decentralized aspect of Graphite and start demanding decentralized solutions from other apps.
So, if you’re building a decentralized app, think about what you can use as your gateway drug to decentralization. For Graphite, it’s security. What will it be for you?
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