Defi has a dirty secret. While the smart contracts themselves are fully decentralized, developer teams still have substantial control over the user through their control of the frontend. We’re excited to be announcing Homescreen, a new application on Skynet that allows users to fully decentralize their web3 frontends.
If you are unfamiliar, the frontend of a smart contract is the webapp or UI that you use to interact with the contract. The contract itself is a piece of invisible code on the blockchain, and the frontend is the website that typically appears at a URL like app.uniswap.org. Defi apps are usually accessed using DNS or ENS, but in both bases the dev team has control over what code the user receives, and could change that code at any time.
This is problematic because it gives the dev team the ability to alter the user’s experience in a negative way. We’ve seen examples of this in the wild, like when Uniswap delisted a large number of assets, presumably for regulatory reasons. Those assets still exist on the blockchain, but the frontend refuses to show them. If the app was truly decentralized, the Uniswap team would not have the ability to block the user from viewing those assets in the frontend.