Are Solana NFTs becoming too centralized?
A few people have asked for my opinion on this topic. Here are a few of my brief thoughts:
Centralization vs Decentralization
Centralization refers to a practice in which ALL policies, decisions and activities are controlled by a central organization, in order to achieve their goals.
It's pretty much Web2 standard. We’ve all worked under a CEO, for example.
Decentralization challenges the previous model by transferring this control to several entities or persons, rather than one.
Ideally, this distribution of control drastically evens the playing field; empowering silenced voices to finally be heard, while increasing transparency.
So, what’s an NFT?
An NFT is a unique digital object, that represents ownership.
They are minted/backed through smart contracts that verify authenticity; eliminating the need for third parties.
NFTs can be anything. Don’t overthink it.
How do you prove that you own the car you drive?
The answer is through Vehicle titles... AKA a piece of paper (that can be duplicated, fabricated or destroyed) ... serve as our means of proof of vehicle ownership.
The DMV, Bank and dealership (third parties) provide you with the proper documentation needed in order to legally drive and transact.
But what if... we purchased transparent, tamper-proof NFTs that certified ownership of vehicles? This would make transactions infinitely easier whilst eliminating the need for third parties.
NFTs can be efficient to the point of total disruption. Trust me when I say some very powerful people understand this concept fairly well. That is why Decentralizations scare banks, governments and corporate structures as a whole.
We've barely tapped into this potential.
Now, let's take a look at the current state of Solana.
Yesterday, Hadeswap acquired Solana Monkey Business. For context: The original devs rugged the project and it was taken over by MonkeDAO. The problem is that the OG devs still had ownership of the collection, as well as access to royalties.
You probably know this already. No doubt, HGE has done a lot for Solana. But what are the implications of this acquisition?
To me, the truth is rather simple:
Once DeGods & Y00ts leave, SMB and ABC will be the top projects.
I'm not saying this is good or bad.
But, with two top projects underneath a more centralized leadership (that is still not audited), I have concerns.
If we are strictly going off definitions, the acquisition does indeed make the project feel much more centralized. This could go incredibly well or it could go very south. There are many workarounds, so overall; I'll remain hopeful.
Programmable NFTs (pNFTs)
Metaplex will allow collections to upgrade to 'Programmable NFTs' with royalty enforcement and protection. But it's so much deeper than that.
pNFTs are "frozen" until conditions set by projects and/or Metaplex are met.
I have nothing against Metaplex. In fact, from a tech standpoint, I find pNFTs to be quite fascinating. But my take is that pNFTs are not NFTs.
For NFTs to be truly decentralized, they must be immutable (unable to be changed). If not, they are no different than the centralized standards and third party interjections that we already have in Web2.
Personally, I do think Solana NFTs are moving in a more centralized direction.
The domino effect that started with 0% royalty campaigns, alongside the emergence of NFT AMMs was… simply unavoidable.
Tech is inevitable. Human nature is too.
So, maybe decentralization is a pipe-dream. Maybe it's a buzzword we fell in love with far too deeply. I don't have all of the answers. The only thing I know for sure is that Decentralization has a clear definition. We decide what to make of it.
Here’s to the future. — Lite.
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