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Gateways: DePIN Compromise or Force Multiplier?

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POKT Network
Nov 21, 2023
Explainers
Gateways: DePIN Compromise or Force Multiplier?

People pay for convenience with their time and their money.

And when the trade-off is between convenience or an ancillary benefit such as privacy or decentralization, they will choose convenience almost every time.

Gateways bridge the gap between the decentralized ecosystem and the end user’s need for convenience and frictionless interactions.  That’s why we’ve seen some form of ‘gateway’ structure enabling projects like Arweave (with Gateways), Helium (with LNS Providers), The Graph (with Hosted Service), and POKT Network (also Gateways).

Enabling the evolution of decentralized ecosystems.

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In 2022, The Graph announced their intention to move away from the use of their gateway, sunsetting the Hosted Service in favour of an interface directly with the protocol. Not only have they failed to achieve this so far, they have lost ground to competitors who have proven more willing to cater to the end user’s desire for convenience.

The trade-off is that gateways are often built by centralized entities, providing customer support, UX and localisation infrastructure and use-case innovation. But at a potential cost to decentralization as they form critical access points.

We can fight this, like The Graph did, or we can swim with the current and focus on unlocking a platform effect whereby 100s of different entities are set up to create gateways, innovating on top of the protocol. Collectively decentralized and resilient.

What would our social media landscape look like if Facebook didn’t lock away the underlying infrastructure and data – hopefully Lens will show us! Many more platforms suddenly have space to emerge, each catering to specific audiences and niches. All grounded on underlying infrastructure that is user owned and governed. The user wins on every front.

The underlying decentralized ecosystem acts as a wholesale manufacturer / distributor. Gateways compete on top of it. Each developing their own propositions of convenience, personalisation, and localized features for their specific end users.

This is the next stage in the DePIN revolution.

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It’s also analogous to the journey of Web3 itself.

How? Well, the premise for web1 was that everyone on the internet would be both a publisher and consumer of content as well as a publisher and consumer of infrastructure.



We’d all have our own web server with our own web site, our own mail server for our own email, our own finger server for our own status messages, our own chargen server for our own character generation.

But that is not what people want. People don’t want to run their own servers.

Developers do not want to run their own servers. Organizations building software full time do not want to run their own servers.

People don’t want to have to run their own servers.

The Web2 companies that emerged offering to ‘do that for you’ thrived. The companies that iterated on top with new functionality dominated. Innovation exploded and adoption ensued.

Web3 promises to be the best of both worlds – unlocking the convenience of Web2 with the decentralization of Web1. But we can’t do it without convenience. Because most people don’t know or care enough to tolerate friction.

DePIN is on that Web3 journey.

And I think we’re picking up speed!

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