Blockbar Special: Distributed governance in blockchain & societal projects

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The Hague Tech

Juliana van Stolberglaan 4-10 · Den Haag

How to find us

Go to location, walk through the door, call "Blockbar" -> "Bart"

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Details

Blockchain & Distributed governance. Voting offchain & onchain. Interested? Join.

This session is hosted by Rieke Smakman. https://www.twitter.com/Rieke

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Governance is all about the Rules of Making Rules. Who gets to decide what goes? Who gets to decide who or what is “in” or “out”?

It affects every level in society: from families, room-mates, schools, municipalities, communities, corporations, nation states, trade organisations, regions, to global relations.

Governance systems often consist of an intricate system of checks and balances, distinguishing between an executive, legislative and judiciary branch. Systems that have evolved over years of designing, testing, tweaking.

Along came the Bitcoin and underlying technology stack, with a set of hard-coded rules that supposedly will never change. Some say Bitcoin’s governance structure make it impossible to evolve; some say its ossified governance structure is its best feature.

Let’s take Ethereum. Andreas Antonopolous says Ethereum’s killer-app is Governance. Ethereum, and the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organisation) in particular, is about re-inventing human organisation, he says. It’s about taking a geographically rigid concept of a corporation with shareholders (a 15th Century concept) and replacing it with a model of governance, where decision-making can happen ad hoc; collaborations can merge and dissolve very very rapidly, and you can have fair, transparent, open governance of these projects.

Meanwhile, Ethereum’s “plumbing”, the infrastructure layer, has been criticised. It’s too centralised, some say, and has become too dependent on a handful of developers. Others point to the fact that there is always the possibly to “fork off” (form a new project with new rules), if they don’t like the status quo.

We have witnessed the emergence of new blockchains, asserting to be the culmination of best practices in governance. These are pushing for implementation of tamper-proof (on-chain) governance tools. Examples include EOS, Dash, NEO, Tezos and Decred. Have these projects lived up to the promise of a fair and equitable governance system? Their fiercest critics beg to differ.

If you think Governance is dry and boring: Think Again. You might be missing the point. We are putting together an exciting line-up of speakers to take stock of where we are and where we’re heading in terms of Blockchain Governance. The aim is to advance our collective understanding of the issues, and to be able to distinguish fact from fable in our collective journey going forward.