A term for blockchain projects which alleges decentralization in either their technical design or political imaginaries, yet produce an outcome in which control of the protocol remains centralized in the hands of one or several central parties. Projects may achieve this end either intentionally or unintentionally.

See web3 and DeFi.


  1. Aramonte, Sirio, Wenqian Huang, and Andreas Schrimpf. 2021. ‘DeFi Risks and the Decentralisation Illusion’, 16.
  2. Walch, Angela. 2019. ‘Deconstructing ‘Decentralization’: Exploring the Core Claim of Crypto Systems’. C. Brummer (Ed.), Crypto Assets: Legal and Monetary Perspectives, 1–36.
  3. White, Molly. 2022. ‘Cryptocurrency Off-Ramps, and the Shift towards Centralization’. Molly White. 12 February 2022.
  4. Rosenthal, David. n.d. ‘Stanford Lecture on Cryptocurrency’. Accessed 2 March 2022.
  5. Arnosti, Nick, and S Matthew Weinberg. 2022. ‘Bitcoin: A Natural Oligopoly’. Management Science.
  6. Halpin, Harry. 2020. ‘Deconstructing the Decentralization Trilemma’. ICETE 2020 - Proceedings of the 17th International Joint Conference on e-Business and Telecommunications 3: 505–12.
  7. Schneider, Nathan. 2019. ‘Decentralization: An Incomplete Ambition’. Journal of Cultural Economy.
  8. Soatok. 2021. ‘Against Web3 and Faux-Decentralization’. Dhole Moments. 19 October 2021.
  9. Zhang, Zhexi. 2019. ‘The Aesthetics of Decentralization’. PhD Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.