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DePINs can disrupt tech monopolies and put people back in control | Notice

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed herein belong solely to the author and do not represent the views and opinions of editorial.

Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks (DePIN) have the potential to transform how we access and use real-world services. The potential use cases are only limited by your imagination. What if… Internet hotspots could be installed in rural areas with little coverage? Or could homeowners be rewarded by returning excess solar energy to the grid? Could consumers share unused storage space on their devices with others? Or even entrepreneurs could unlock peer-to-peer microcredits to build local projects.

Backed by blockchain technology, DePINs make all of this possible, at a time when the infrastructure that powers the global economy is experiencing a seismic shift. Figures from Statista suggest that 33.8% of the world’s population does not use the internet, with people in low-income countries most likely to be excluded from the modern information society. The International Energy Agency estimates that 100 million households will rely on rooftop solar panels by 2030, and strengthening economic incentives will be a crucial catalyst for their adoption. And let’s not forget that the rise of artificial intelligence is driving an explosion in storage and compute needs, with McKinsey predicting that demand for data centers will increase 10% annually by the end of the decade . DePINs have the power to cultivate a cloud storage network much cheaper than traditional players including Google and Amazon.

DePINs pose a competitive challenge to the centralized providers that dominate the business landscape. Currently, large corporations or governments control most of the infrastructure we use every day. This order creates a real risk of monopolies where a lack of choice drives up prices for consumers and businesses – the pursuit of profit inhibiting innovation and excluding customers based on their location and income.

Blockchains are at the heart of these decentralized networks. Individuals and businesses that contribute to physical infrastructure can be rewarded in the form of crypto tokens automatically paid through smart contracts. Consumers can also use digital assets to unlock on-demand services.

This approach is not about modernizing access to infrastructure but about changing the way it is managed, accessed and owned. Unlike centralized providers, crypto tokens issued via DePINs incentivize all participants to get involved. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are essential in establishing the management framework for these projects. Digital assets can be used to vote on proposals ranging from planned network upgrades to resource allocation. While large businesses are driven by profit, community projects can focus on meeting the needs of underserved areas. Issuing tokens can also provide the financing needed to build infrastructure and acquire the land, equipment and technical expertise needed to get an idea off the ground.

Web3 was driven by the belief that internet users should have complete control over their data and that tech giants should be prevented from monetizing personal information without giving anything in return. DePINs align well with these values, while lowering barriers to entry and ensuring healthy competition. Multiple markets for internet access, data storage and energy will result in much fairer prices for end users and encourage competitors to innovate in order to have compelling points of difference. It also means that an entrepreneur who deeply understands the needs of their community can start a business without requiring significant capital. Open access and interoperability are the future.

Particular challenges must be overcome for DePINs to have a lasting global impact. There is no denying that multi-billion dollar companies currently benefit from economies of scale, large user bases and deep pockets. That’s why it’s up to decentralized innovations to show why their approach is better. Reaching untapped markets that are not served by business giants is a good first step. Another barrier to adoption concerns regulatory uncertainty, which can prevent investors and participants from getting involved. Careful consideration should also be given to the implications of DePINs for data privacy. Unless safeguards are imposed, a person accessing an internet hotspot via blockchain technology could inadvertently disclose their particular location.

Ecosystems have been created to enable the establishment of DePIN while ensuring that user privacy is preserved at all times, thus upholding data ownership and self-sovereignty. As well as reducing the risks associated with identity theft, they have been designed with the evolving nature of global regulation in mind, with measures such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU which is forcing businesses to rethink how much data they hold on their computers. clients.

Zooming in on Europe as a use case and how these regulatory headwinds will affect more than 400 million citizens on the continent provides invaluable insight into how DePINs (and the infrastructure they are built on ) can have an impact on the years to come.

On the one hand, today’s internet landscape means we have to create a new digital identity every time we want to join a website or app, manually handing over personal information by filling out lengthy forms to open accounts. Users are then faced with lengthy terms and conditions or privacy notices that often go unread, leaving them in the dark about how their data will be used in the future. This is why the EU has proposed unique digital identities that could be used for multiple services – from “paying taxes to renting bikes” – and changing the dynamic of sharing confidential information. This approach would mean that consumers would be in the driver’s seat and could decide which counterparties have the right to know more about who they are.

The European Union’s approach is ambitious and requires fast, low-cost and interoperable infrastructure, enabling the secure storage and execution of digital signatures, identity checks and credentials across the bloc commercial. Another element to bring into the mix are central bank digital currencies, with the European Central Bank spearheading efforts to create an electronic form of the euro that is free to use and preserves privacy, while still allowing instant cross-border transactions with businesses. , other consumers and governments.

High-performance, low-cost infrastructure will be essential if decentralized assets are to be used by consumers across the continent, not to mention compliance with regulations. Privacy-focused wallets should support multiple blockchains, decentralized identities, verifiable credentials, and data storage. A simple and user-friendly mobile application will help ensure the rise of DePINs.

The future is bright and we have not yet scratched the surface of the benefits that decentralization can bring to everyone. However, usability and efficiency are two key pillars that must be prioritized if this new wave of innovation is to match the unprecedented impact of the Internet.

Chris were

Chris were is the CEO of Verida, a decentralized and autonomous data network that puts individuals in control of their digital identity and personal data. Chris is an Australian-based technology entrepreneur who has spent over 20 years developing innovative software solutions, most recently Verida. Through his application of the latest technologies, Chris has disrupted the finance, media and healthcare industries.

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