Can Regulators Handle the Mastodons of the World?
Policymakers have spent years designing laws and regulations to go after Big Tech. But they were not prepared for the rise of decentralized alternatives. The last few years have seen tremendous growth in decentralized Internet services—from cryptocurrencies and NFTs on the blockchain to microblogging services like Mastodon and video streaming services like PeerTube. These services focus on decentralizing common online services to provide users with peer-to-peer alternatives to “Big Tech.” Advocates of decentralized services believe it will give users more choice over what rules they follow, what content they see, and what personal data they share—potentially improving free speech, user safety, and data privacy. But policymakers have mostly designed Internet regulations for centralized services. Recent laws, including the Digital Services Act and the Online Safety Bill, provide more questions than answers on how they would potentially affect decentralized platforms.
Join ITIF's Center for Data Innovation to discuss the challenges policymakers face in applying existing laws and regulations to decentralized online services.