I was recently listening to this podcast by The Defiant, a “DeFi” conversation. In it (at 17:25), Ali Yahya, GP at a16z, notes that blockchain applications are the first software applications that cannot be turned off by a centralized authority.
For example, as we all talk about often on HN, Google often cancels services, services that might have millions of people using them.
You could imagine someone developing a “service” (in this case, a smart contract) running inside Ethereum which could not be turned off by a centralized authority. You could imagine someone designing a service that permits the developer to continue charging fees even if they have no control over the underlying VM, and even if they don’t want to support it at all.
Yahya notes that it “used to be that hardware had control over software.” You turn off the machine, and the software is off permanently. This means, until now, whoever owns the hardware has full control over the software in the end. Everything has to run in a datacenter somewhere.
In a CS Operating Systems class you learn that everything is virtual machines all the way down. Isn’t Ethereum the first VM which cannot be turned off by an owner, and does not that change SaaS as we know it?
All this is highly speculative, of course, no services exist like this yet. But, in a few years, isn’t this something that could change a lot of economics for software companies?
Putting aside all the concerns about energy usage and scammy things like NFTs, isn’t this an idea worth pursuing?