It's always funny when people on Twitter think Mastodon is based on a blockchain somehow

"Sounds like your blockchain isn't actually decentralized"

That's my secret cap 😎 There is no blockchain

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I'll do a big brain post and say, in my opinion, blockchains aren't even that decentralized. They're just distributed. You have a single global state and you need consensus in the network to modify it. Mastodon servers have a lot more independence than that 'cause they don't care what else happens in the network.

@Gargron
Except we *do* care. We tend to care a lot more about the sites we don't federate with than the ones we do 😂😂😂

@yaaps @Gargron I think he means on a technical level, one instance operates independently of the others + doesn’t require all of them to be running the same software or contain the same data to function properly, on its own, whereas bitcoin/etc relies upon every individual user having a copy of precisely the same, constantly changing information.

@Gargron so, if I read this right, you're saying that Mastodon is actually a decentralized block chain?

😉

@Gargron fwiw, that's a common idea among people who actually look into the centralization aspects (as opposed to the blockchain === decentralized crowd).

The usual separation is:

- Architectural decentralization, which might as well just be "distributed";
- Organizational decentralization, based on the institutions or individuals involved;
- Logical decentralization, where the entire network doesn't need to have a single state.

Vitalik Buterin went over it here:

medium.com/@VitalikButerin/the

@Gargron One more thing: Sarah Friend from Circles UBI keeps pointing out that decentralization is likely the wrong label, given it's antonymic: it tells people what something _isn't_, but not what it is or why they should care.

I've found that labels like peer-to-peer, symmetrical system, or distributed ledger are more useful.

@Gargron that consensus _is the point_.

Mastodon uses consensus, in the form of DNS.

I am kindah against blockchains as they are, though. Like mainly, it might help to be able to send money and do DNS without interference. But the idea of undermining the government or whatever is daft.

These Blockchains currently can also not replace systems, they're not tied closely enough to community. They tend closer to business, reiterating current problems, possibly with little restraint.

@jasper @Gargron re: "Not tied close enough to the community."

Ever heard of "the global village." If the global village needs a currency, it will be Bitcoin. I think local politics are all that matters for _most_ people, but that is constantly undermined in a "globalized" world. Hence the "global village" and the importance of privacy local and national and global.

This is the fundamental difference between Libra and Bitcoin. Also the fundamental difference between ActivityPub and Facebook.

@jasper I wouldn't call DNS consensus. You don't need anyone's consensus for activity on your own server. At best, consensus of DNS caches is used to verify incoming/outgoing activities, but that's also directly from one server to another, without requiring whole network approval.

@Gargron how do domain names then stay consistent?

Like if A claims `somename.net` to B and C claims `somename.net` to D, when to accept the name? If both accept it, there is disagreement which server gets to take which names?

@Gargron the authority determines what the names mean. I.e. consensus is reached by agreeing to follow those authorities.

I am pretty sure that mastodon depends on DNS.

Existing instances already convinced of each' others names could use public key crypto and just stick with the names, but new names are harder to decide..

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