It is important to realize, when talking about decentralization, that decentralization is actually a scale, whether it is vertical or horizontal. One reason why decentralization is a scale is that it is different across the whole stack. And we have to stop and take a step back from the discussion about decentralization, and consider if decentralization means resiliency, redundancy, or something else, and what are we really trying to address through this decentralization? Depending on what may be our reasons and motivations behind decentralization, the final solutions we pick are going to be different.
If, for instance, you are someone who believes strongly in the data that is held by government, and believes the government has the responsibility of protecting this data, as well as using this information to defend things like property laws, then you might believe the government, and maybe do not see the need, due to your belief in the government, for decentralized databases or public ledgers. It is because you trust the government, you trust in their systems. Well, maybe you trust in the system in a way, but what if what you don’t believe is not actually the trust of the system. What if you still trusted the system but your demands on the government were actually for transparency and not for putting the responsibility of enforcing society on the government.
What if we took it upon ourselves to enforce those guardrails presented by the government? Therefore we would want transparency in the data sets. So looking at something like public land records, knowing as a public community, the location of public land records, presuming that I am allowed to see those land records because they’re on or adjacent to my property, makes sense for me to be able to enforce those. Now, the question of how to enforce it is a different discussion.
Is it the people who are in charge of enforcement, or is it the government who is in charge? My view is that it is up to the government. However, we have the responsibility as humans to hold the government accountable and for governments to hold themselves accountable to their society.
So, this goes in both directions, and transparency and accountability are key!