Can the Future of Web 3.0 Run On A Centralized Cloud like AWS?
The Powers That Be
The conflict between the Republicans and the Democrats in the United States can get heated. The war of words between them can easily become dangerous. Cancellations abound, with Social Media becoming a hotbed for propaganda and character assassinations. But apart from these messy delights, major solutions providers at times also dip their hands into the mayhem, effectively tipping the balance.
In August 2018, an all-tech microblogging application that goes by the name of Parler was launched through Amazon Web Services. Taking on highly conservative content that the likes of its more Liberal counterpart, Twitter, sanctions, Parler had been known to take the concept of Freedom of Speech without any filters. It had gone on to be criticized by the mainstream media for being fodder for the Far Right.
The Left’s speculations reached a culmination when a group of people stormed the Capitol building on January 6th. Apart from this, a week before President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the platform was replete with mobilizations, one even inviting people to march into Washington, DC. Touted as an Insurrection, news outlets and netizens were quick to point out that the plot had been coordinated through Parler.
That was when Amazon stepped in.
Through an email acquired by a known online news outlet, an AWS Trust and Safety team member told Parler’s Amy Peikoff, its Chief Policy Officer, that the calls for a revolt were not to be tolerated by the AWS. This resulted in Parler being booted out by the web titan.
Things got worse for the micro-blogging app, when both Apple and Google followed suit, leaving Parler digitally homeless.
And while there is always a reason to doubt how people communicate through Social Media platforms, we cannot deny the fact they may always step in and dictate how their users should act and conduct themselves.
Yes, as much as we would not want to face it, it does infringe on our very definition of Free Speech. But of course, when violence is being invoked as a means to get the political upper hand, this should not go unnoticed. But the same could be said for the Left who, with their heightened appeal to a sexual revolution, enjoys being untethered in unregulated on Twitter.
On what appears to be a milder issue, Chinese multinational technology company Alibaba imposed a ban on the sale of crypto-related utilities and services. The categories that had been placed under the ban are Blockchain Miner Accessories and Blockchain Miners. On top of this, Alibaba went on record to say that it will be prohibiting the sale of leading cryptocurrencies namely Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Beaocoin, and Quarkcoin. Merchants who are caught in violation will suffer penalties.
According to the e-commerce authority, the decision was reached in response to the circular released by the People’s Bank of China that aligned with the government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency in the nation.
Without a doubt, these online institutions harbor clout that summarizes the leanings of the dominating discourse on the internet. Faceless and almost limitless, these are forces we should be wary of if we would want to establish a career or influence online.
The term, “monopoly” comes to mind.
And now that the internet is transitioning into another, more formidable phase in the form of Web 3.0, freedom and civil liberties on online platforms is fast becoming a concern on both the Right and the Left paradigm.
Web 3.0 and Decentralization
But first things first: what exactly is Web 3.0? If you have been living under a rock, Web 3.0 might probably sound Latin to you. No need to fret, though. When you look at how the internet describes it, it is nothing short of being abstract. Although at its core, it should theoretically bring about more optimized and awe-inspiring benefits to the average internet user.
Yet to be implemented, Web 3.0 is called the third generation of internet services, hence the 3.0 on the name. While there is still a need for a clear definition, these services are geared to use machine-based understanding of data so that they may be able to provide a data-driven and “Semantic Web”. The latter is the other name that Web 3.0 goes by, but it may also refer to the World Wide Web Consortium’s goal of creating a “Web of linked data”. In this regard, Web 3.0’s end goal is clear: to develop websites with better databases that bear greater intelligence and connectedness.
The latter sentence bears great significance in the freedoms that netizens are supposed to be enjoying as users of the technology.
The concept of centralization is a thing that cryptocurrency technology had done away with, rendering a more democratic way of rewarding, transferring, buying, and selling assets. It is a phenomenon that sees a great wealth redistribution that lets all persons from varying walks of life get a hand in how their finances are being handled.
Despite the declines that the crypto space has been seeing of late, the use of these digital assets is not going away anytime soon.
Web 3.0 is following the same philosophy, with the experiences that it plans on offering grounded on the masses regardless of politics and belief systems. As this is the case, when we look at the issues discussed in the earlier segment, we are left with a pressing question:
Can the future of Web 3.0 run on a centralized cloud like AWS?
The inquiry is more than just a technical concern, but a philosophical one. But in itself, the question is a self-contradictory one.
Web 3.0 is the very embodiment of decentralization. AWS is an all-governing platform that has a say on which kind of resources or content it would entertain.
As with any firm or business, businesses like AWS and GCP are run by actual people with actual interests. What that means is that they have inclinations that might not jive with some services that might want to be taken under their wing. And them being the owners of the platforms, the power being centralized all decisions will be at their behest.
With these organizations commanding much of the space, the internet itself had become vulnerable.
Being centralized does not only mean a monopoly; it also means that there is a lack of safeguards. Options are not made available to businesses if ever their systems bog down due to comprehensive technical issues.
In the earlier chapters of the current year, the popular online music streaming app Spotify and messaging platform Discord suffered several outages, compromising their operations and the trust of their communities.
Upon scrutiny of the issue, it had been found out that the problem lies in what is called the “Traffic Director” a Google Cloud component. This facet of the service is in charge of configuring GCP’s load balancing layer.
In another incident back in 2020, Google services including Gmail, YouTube, and Google Drive, alongside other Google-linked solutions suddenly ceased working. In a blog the same week the outage had occurred, Google had explained that the problem stemmed from its automated storage quota management system.
A change was made in October that year which saw the registry of the User ID Service with the new quota system. But as elements of the old one were left, it incorrectly reported usage. This resulted in a global crippling of Google’s services which amounted to 40,000. With YouTube and Gmail receiving the brunt of the damage, a lot of its users, especially those holding businesses through the platforms, had been left with notable losses.
Issues centered on the platforms of a big online service provider had sacrificed the potential earnings of the companies that rely on its service. If we are going to look at the issue from afar, the Spotify and Discord incident of 2021 and the global outage of 2020 could have well compromised more businesses. This is simply because the entire online community is entrenched in the solutions that Google provides daily.
With Web 3.0 being a gateway to a decentralized internet, being served by a singular, elite group is something we cannot afford. No matter how massive the global protocols may be, if entities like AWS and Google falter, they would bring a lot of online services down with them, causing catastrophic economic implications.
What Can We Do?
Panic is an easy reaction to being faced with such challenges in modern living. The threat of losing data from our emails and Social Media is a daunting thought to the point of being inconceivable.
Things get even worse when we are canceled by a titanic corporation that has a stake in our business.
However, with the strides that technology is making, several entities are thinking of ways to counter these threats, especially with our inevitable entry into Web 3.0.
Let’s take Q Blocks for example. This relatively young company is in the process of building the future of computing through the connection of all idle sources of computing across the globe. Q Blocks is doing this to create a potent decentralized computing platform.
Q Blocks’ initial offering comes in the form of an application that assists data science and machine learning teams to access affordable high-performance computing nodes that are encrypted from end to end and has impressive scalability.
The technology is said to be 10 times more affordable compared to what AWS currently offers. It does not have hidden costs nor will it charge its users with storage costs. It can be set up easily and can render results just as fast.
Another development comes from Pocket Network, a protocol described as an infrastructure middleware tasked to facilitate decentralized cloud computing. According to its Press Release, the protocol has abundant bandwidth on full nodes interoperable with DApps with over 21 blockchains.
The Pocket Network is a blockchain data ecosystem developed to handle Web 3.0 applications. It is perceived to be cost-efficient and can address scalability upon coordination and data distribution. Ideally, the interactions between blockchains and applications through the Pocket Network are smooth and secure.
What We Could Take Away
In theory, Web 3.0 has an appeal that would leave all the apprehensions of internet users about handling their data. It serves to offer optimized experiences that bring the world wide web to its highest expression, all while maintaining a healthy democracy. This gives DevOps plenty to gnaw on and in the internet community to anticipate.