David A. Johnston

DApps Fund, DApps Whitepaper & Best Practices, MSC Protocol Foundation

David A. Johnston is a very active member of the Bitcoin community. Aside from speaking at about every Bitcoin conference there is, David is the Managing Director of the DApps Fund, a board member MSC Protocol Foundation, as well as Co-founder and Executive Director of the BitAngels Network.

On this episode we go deep in to decentralized applications, and who better to talk to about DApps than the creator of “Johnston’s Law” which states “Everything that can be decentralized, will be decentralized”. We talked to David about the recent whitepaper he co-wrote titled “The General Theory of Decentralized Applications, DApps” which defines the different types of DApps and a number of best practices with regards to funding, token distribution, business models, etc. We also discussed the DApps Fund, BitAngels Network and the Master Protocol, and his involvement with those projects.

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  • Gunnar Skagestøl

    “Johnston’s Law” is evidently FALSE. NNTP (decentralized discussion groups, aka Newsgroups) was replaced by centralized web forums, RSS was replaced by Twitter, email is getting replaced by Facebook and Google, federated chat (XMPP/Jabber) was never able to replace centralized systems. Since its inception, the internet has been on a continious path towards higher centralization.

    Johnston’s repeated claim that decentralized systems scale better is also evidently false if you look at Bitcoin itself, which basically traded scalability for decentralization. Some other systems scale better (BitTorrent etc), but this is not a rule at all. Often, centralized services offer much higher scalability and reliability.

    We decentralize because we don’t like to trust centralized parties, not because we’re after scale. Scale is a challenge that we need to solve for the system to work, because if the system doesn’t work, we don’t have a decentralized system.

    • crainbf

      Gunnar, thanks for the comment. I totally agree with you. I also think there is a tradeoff between decentralization and efficiency. Often, as you correctly point out, the decentralized one loses. (Apart from scalability, centralized systems also tend to have much better user experience.)
      One exception might be something like StorJ where you are able to monetize a unused resource (spare disk space) in a way that a centralized system could hardly do.

      But indeed, scaling is the challenge we need to solve.