A change the WhatsApp terms of service causes a massive exodus of the messaging platform to more private and independent rivals like Telegram and Signal, who have registered millions of new users in the past week.
Rather than agreeing to new terms specifying the app’s right to share user data with Facebook, millions of WhatsApp users simply gave up using the platform and left it for less intrusive competitors. Telegram alone has been downloaded 25 million times in the last 72 hours.
Telegram exceeded 500 million active users. In the past 72 hours, 25 million new users were added: 38% came from Asia, 27% from Europe, 21% from Latin America and 8% from MENA. https://t.co/1LptHZb9PQ
– Telegram Messenger (@telegram) January 12, 2021
Some of those new registrations include refugees from free speech platform Parler, looking for a way to connect and organize after the right-wing Twitter alternative was suddenly taken offline by hosting provider Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Many people on Parler joined Telegram when it was banned by Apple and others.
I’m not saying that for the 25 million, but there was definitely a big shift to Telegram. https://t.co/Taxow05M9W
– Yashar Ali (@yashar) January 12, 2021
The ability of web hosting giants like AWS to unilaterally shut down sites and infrastructure has left some in the cryptocurrency industry concerned about the future health of blockchain-related projects.
Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin described Parler was downed as “very disturbing” in a series of tweets, noting that AWS was much more of a “community infrastructure provider” than a social media site. Buterin too expressed some degree of dismay at Twitter decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump from his platform:
“The fact that so many people who would never normally support such corporate power are now encouraging tech CEOs to take on democratically elected officials deserves some introspection …”
Take Infura and AWS offline and see how decentralized ETH is.
– Stephen Cole (@sthenc) January 12, 2021
In the past, estimates have suggested that approx 60% of the Ethereum nodes run on AWS.
EOS and Bitshares co-founder Daniel Larimer recently called for the massive abandonment from major social media platforms prior to Parler’s shutdown. He correctly predicted that it might be the “last chance” to download certain social media apps. Larimer recently resigned from his position as CTO at EOSIO developers block.one, pledging to work on censorship-resistant platforms that he believes will become increasingly important as more people are banned or suspended from traditional platforms.
Other crypto projects are wary of the centralized nature of tech giants like Amazon, and anticipate issues relying on them. The decentralized liquidity network For example, THORChain encourages nodes running its software to avoid AWS through award additional benefits for using alternative service providers.
Thorchain continues to decentralize.
Thornodes are incentivized not to run on AWS due to concerns about centralization.
– Sage⚡ (@Bitcoin_Sage) January 12, 2021
Providers of decentralized solutions, such as a domain name server Handshake, are censorship resistant because they do not rely on traditional domain name conversion processes. Pirate archivists of scientific magazines Sci-Hub switched DNS providers with Handshake, as mentioned by Buterin.
For now. But this will be a boon to the open web, decentralized tools and networks. Short term concentration leads to long term diffusion. Anti-fragility is not free. https://t.co/f0u6Ln3XXj
– Jonny (@wysinati) January 9, 2021
Censorship issues are not the only reason why reliance on a single hosting provider poses risks for crypto-based services. In November, AWS outages affected Coinbase, causing users to have trouble logging in and navigating their accounts.