Revolutionizing the Platform Economy with DePIN. The Next Disruptive Thing?

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DePIN economy


In a world dominated by centralized infrastructure, the emergence of Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks (DePIN) powered by blockchain technology is reshaping the landscape of essential services.

We already discussed this topic, but in this blog post delves into the key insights from the report on DePIN and the Platform Economy by Outlier Ventures, highlighting the disruptive potential and transformative power of decentralized networks.

Let’s embark on a journey to explore the five key drivers propelling DePIN adoption and the impact it has on various industries.

What DePIN is?

Decentralized platform are transforming traditional business models that operate physical infrastructure. These models consist of two key components:

  • the platform, which serves as the infrastructure layer coordinating economic activities among physical resources
  • the service, which represents the resulting economic product or service from this coordination.

Historically, these platforms have been centrally organized due to the complexities involved in their creation and maintenance. However, blockchain technology disrupts this norm by enabling decentralization through its trustless and automated execution capabilities. By replacing centralized platforms with decentralized alternatives, costs are reduced, and a more direct path from resources to users is established.

DePIN platform and service
Decentralized Platforms: Service and Platform offer. Source: Outlier Ventures

This shift not only optimizes existing services but also opens up opportunities for entirely new categories of economically viable services that were previously hindered by high costs and inefficiencies associated with centralized platform coordination. This transformation lays the foundation for Web3 and, particularly in the context of physical resources, gives rise to decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN), revolutionizing the platform economy and paving the way for a more efficient and transparent ecosystem.

Why DePIN?

For a network to be classified as DePIN, it must utilize crypto-based, decentralized coordination to create and maintain infrastructure while also impacting physical nodes in the real world.

Initially focused on digital infrastructure such as storage, compute, and wireless communication, DePIN has expanded beyond traditional boundaries. It is now venturing into new frontiers like data collection, AI infrastructure, and the platform economy. This expansion is driven by the changing purpose and definition of physical infrastructure, moving towards data networks and service networks, respectively.

Several key drivers are propelling the adoption of DePIN forward:

  • cost curves of compute and hardware
  • improved usability with AI-enabled interfaces
  • increased concerns about privacy and security
  • rising data generation
  • maturation of utility token structures.

These factors are shaping the landscape for DePIN adoption on both the demand and supply sides, making decentralized infrastructure networks more viable and attractive in various sectors.

Platform Impacting Services

The term “Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Network” is complex and can be understood by dissecting its components:

  1. Decentralized Networks: the platform that facilitates interactions between service providers and users in a decentralized manner. It operates without a central authority, leveraging blockchain technology for transparency and trust.
  2. Physical Infrastructure: the tangible resources essential for providing services within the network. These physical assets, such as servers and hardware, collectively form the infrastructure supporting service delivery.

Outlier Ventures sees “centralized platforms running distributed or decentralized service
as transitory. Blockchain based systems allow for new decentralized services to come
online in the form of DePIN as the coordination mechanisms of the platform drastically
increase, becoming trustless and highly automated

DePIN Categories

The categorization of DePIN is based on the services or products they offer to network users. This approach identifies four key categories within DePIN:

  1. Digital Infrastructure Networks: Foundational hardware and software systems enabling the creation, storage, and communication of digital data and assets across platforms and services.
  2. Data Networks: Designed to facilitate data collection, dissemination, and analysis.
  3. Service Networks: Connect individuals and organizations, facilitating social and economic coordination around services involving physical nodes.
  4. Infrastructure & Tooling: Blockchain infrastructure that supports the platform and provides tools to reduce barriers to entry for DePIN business models.
DePIN Categories
DePIN Categories. Source: Outlier Ventures

Benefits of DePIN

On the demand side, decentralized infrastructure networks like DePIN offer several benefits to consumers:

  1. Resilience: Users enjoy more reliable access to services due to lower centralization and reduced systemic risk.
  2. Empowerment: Infrastructure is tailored to local needs and preferences, enhancing service quality.
  3. Accessibility: Services become more accessible as barriers to entry decrease.

On the supply side, DePIN provides benefits to providers:

  1. Micro Market: Providers can cater to niche or local demands, unlocking new revenue opportunities.
  2. Innovation: A competitive market fosters technological, service, and business model innovation.
  3. Fluid Cost Base: Suppliers benefit from a more flexible cost base for infrastructure provision without large upfront capital expenditures.

The decreasing cost curves of computational resources over the past decade have been a significant driver for the viability of digital infrastructure networks within DePIN. This reduction in costs enables individuals and smaller organizations to contribute resources to DePIN, increasing network robustness, resilience, and performance.

Benefits of DePIN
Benefits of DePIN. Source: Outlier Ventures

Furthermore, the changing narrative around the purpose of physical infrastructure highlights a shift towards extracting valuable data and insights from surroundings, democratizing participation in the data economy. AI-enhanced front-ends and agents are expected to play a crucial role in transforming the user experience within DePIN, making utility token management more user-friendly and facilitating broad-based adoption.

Limitations of DePIN

DePIN faces challenges that hinder its widespread adoption, including:

  1. UX/UI Complexity: Issues related to utility tokens, smart contract interaction, and web3 wallets add complexity that needs to be addressed for a smoother user experience.
  2. Interoperability: The gradual adoption of DePIN may lead to coexistence with centralized infrastructure, raising concerns about compatibility for various use cases.
  3. Switching Costs: Users face high switching costs when transitioning from centralized to decentralized services. DePIN’s value proposition must improve to incentivize users to overcome these costs. Enhancing backward compatibility could reduce switching costs for users.

Additionally, there are other hurdles such as technology and regulation that impact DePIN’s adoption, although these specific challenges are not discussed in detail.


In conclusion, DePIN represents a paradigm shift in the platform economy, challenging centralized incumbents across industries such as Telecommunication, Technology, Utilities, and Services. By leveraging blockchain technology, decentralized infrastructure networks offer a transparent, trustless, and automated alternative to traditional centralized services.

The future of DePIN is bright, with the potential to drive mainstream adoption of Web3 technology and revolutionize critical infrastructure across digital resources, data/IoT, and service platforms.

As we embrace the era of decentralized networks, the possibilities are endless, and the impact is profound.

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