What does it mean that PHI is decentralized?

Posted on 2021-10-17

A decentralized network distributes information-processing workloads across multiple devices instead of relying on a single central server. Each of these separate devices serves as a mini central unit that interacts independently with other nodes. As a result, even if one of the master nodes crashes or is compromised, the other servers can continue providing data access to users, and the overall network will continue to operate with limited or zero disruption. 

Decentralized networks are made possible by recent technological advancements that have equipped computers and other devices with a significant amount of processing power and can be synced up and leveraged for distributed processing. However, while decentralized networks are substantially different from centralized networks, it’s important to note that decentralized networks do not distribute data storage and processing evenly across the entire network and still rely on main servers, albeit more than one per network. 


  • Increased flexibility/scalability: Since decentralized networks do not have a single point of failure, they can continue to operate even if a master node is compromised or shut down. Furthermore, decentralized networks are easy to scale since you can simply add more devices to the network in order to increase its computing power, and network maintenance typically does not necessitate a full network shutdown. 

  • Faster performance: User requests are often completed faster when using a decentralized network because network administrators can create master nodes in regions where user activity is high, as opposed to routing connections over vast expanses to a single centralized server.

  • Enhanced privacy: Decentralized networks enable a greater degree of user privacy, since information saved on the network is disseminated across multiple points instead of passing through a single point. This makes data flows more difficult to track across a network, and eliminates the risks of having a single target malicious actors can go after.

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