Companies’ decentralized fairytales
One of the biggest promise of Web3 is decentralization. The governing of a service/product that is owned by the users/stakeholders and NOT the founding company.
But how true is it and is it even feasible?
Many companies are now attempting to facilitate an eventual transition into a decentralized future. They release tokens of governance sometimes sold or airdropped to their community with the end goal of allowing those with these tokens to partake in the decision making process of the future of the service.
That all sounds great and all but… the founding company is still mostly in control. As we enter a new age of NFTs from profile picture projects to NFT gaming, we’re seeing this become more apparent. A gaming company wants to merge itself into web3, “gives ownership” of game items to users, eventually releases governance tokens, and from there supposedly all decisions are made by community. Why the air quotes on gives ownership? If we continue with the gaming example, you purchase an NFT of your favourite game. The game developers then decide that the usage of your particular NFT is overpowered and therefore in need of balancing thus making tweaks to your OWNED NFT. This has the potential to completely eradicate any value off your NFT.
Does that really mean ownership? That’s akin to buying a Ferrari, then Ferrari decides that your engine is too powerful and decides to randomly show up to your car and swap your V10 engine out for a V6 (basically a very powerful engine for a less powerful one). Can you imagine how furious you’d be and also how many legal implications will be waiting for them?
So does that mean that “ownership” in the NFT space isn’t total ownership? Do we need to redefine what that means in this space where creators are able to continue manipulating what is rightfully yours.
Additionally, if you get banned from the game, many NFT games ban your account AND your NFTs. What’s the point of owning something if it’s just going to be at risk of being completely useless at the discretion of the developers.
Don’t get me wrong, I am fully in support of NFTs. But we must address many of these questions as mass adoption starts to happen. Companies must not be able to use NFTs as an additional way to make money and not bestow upon their community the actual benefits of NFTs.