On Bundlr and the Right Time to Decentralise your Web3 Business

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Josh Benaron, the founder of Bundlr Network – a project which facilitates rapid upload data on the permaweb – has said that the firm would not be where it is now if it decentralised earlier. Adding to the debate how cumbersome it is for protocols to adopt decentralisation, a Web3 core principle.

Bundlr Network, founded in April 2021, is one of the most successful projects in the Arweave ecosystem. Bundlr is responsible for over 95 percent of transactions on the Arweave blockchain. Its partnership with different tokens allows users to pay for data upload without having to use Arweave’s native token. The project recently raised $5.2 million dollars in seed round by 21 investors, although it has not revealed how the fund will be deployed.

In the world of blockchain technology, decentralisation is one of the main goals. Firms are required – although not mandated – to be decentralised in the solutions they provide along with their operations.

But Benaron said he gets criticised “about the fact that we are not really decentralised right now”, in response to a question during Bundlr’s bi-weekly Twitter space, ‘Into the Permaweb’. The question brought up the position of the project as regards retaining some centralisation in its operations and moving fast in development while also adhering to the principle of decentralisation.

And the answer we always give is we (Bundlr) are decentralised by design and centralised in practice in the sense that we run all the infrastructure, Benaron said. “So the way I look at it is that, yes, we’re centralised right now but I don’t know of many startups who have built products so quickly, who have been totally decentralised. It just doesn’t work. It slows everything down.”

He said that decentralising at an early stage when Bundlr had a small team of six would have caused huge DevOps (development operations) issues as the team would have to deal with validators and bundlers which would slow things down “literally by three to four times”.

[…]Six months ago, we wouldn’t be where we are if I decentralised earlier than we are now… So it is now our priority. But six months ago, I will happily say it wasn’t because our priority six months ago was scale. We’ve already achieved that. So our next priority now is decentralisation and building a fully permissionless network, he said.

Benaron, however, noted that the bid to avoid slow growth was not an excuse to retain some centralisation. Bundlr was working towards being fully decentralised as new technologies would be tested in a few weeks.

Reflecting on the growth of Bundlr, Benaron said he never expected the project to be as big as it is. With that being said, he now looks to build the future of the project.

So the way I look at the world is far bigger than Bundlr now. I guess, before I was focused on just Bundlr and now it’s wider. It’s kind of where can we go with it? What can we build with it? he asked.

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