Blockchain for Social Good: A field in expansion
This article looks at a study done by the EC about publicly beneficial DLT projects in Europe. “The different agents interviewed stress that the main roles of the European Commission should be (1) to create a positive context for adoption, (2) to create spaces for interconnection and dissemination among projects, professionals and the wider public, and (3) to provide a legal framework that enables these initiatives to flourish safely.“
Start of the BC part of thesis. This can be naively positive, later introducing why more critical nuance must be added.
Who are the owners of collaborative economy?
"What they told us that was going to be a new kind way of sharing resources is, today, another way of extracting value from the work of many people, with the aggravating factor of practically no contribution to the public system.”
^ Value extraction of platform economies.
“It is necessary to carry out actions that propose alternatives to the platform model through collective ownership, democratic governance models, ownership of infrastructures and servers and exchanges, this time between equals.”
“We can open up a horizon of economic democratisation that we did not have until now. The collaborative economy can point to the scalability of the social and solidarity economy, of cooperativism,”
Collaborative economy for platforms.
Distributed technologies to bootstrap the sharing economy
"At the infrastructure level, sharing economy platforms are centralized and concentrate massive amounts of user data, often making surveillance their business model. At the governance level, communities have no say in the decision-making, since only the platform owner decides how the platform evolves. Finally, the sharing economy markets are owned by just a few major industry players, that appropriate the value created by the communities, without redistributing the profits with their users.”
“Commons-based peer production (CBPP) communities...Different experiences of CBPP communities such as Wikipedia, free/open source software, or Couchsurfing, provide radically differing values and practices when compared with those in markets.
CBPP communities have three main characteristics which are decentralization, the use of open-access shared resources, and the prevalence of non-monetary motivations.”
“These three characteristics of CBPP are aligned with blockchain features. First, both CBPP and blockchain strongly rely on decentralized processes, thus the possibility of using blockchain infrastructure to support CBPP processes arises. Secondly, the shared resources in CBPP are aligned with the shared ledger present in blockchain’s infrastructure, where data and rules are transparent, open and collectively owned. Finally, as previously mentioned , CBPP relies on multi-dimensional forms of value and motivations and blockchain enables the emergence of multiple types of non-monetary interactions and rewards (sharing, voting, reputation, etc).”
There is a study about CBPP and the affordances of DLTs, but there is not one about Plural Property and the affordances of DLTs.
Exploring the potentialities of blockchain for commons governance
"[DLT’s] potential to enable new forms of governance remains largely unexplored. In this text, we explore the potentialities of blockchain for commons governance.” Techno-determinists ignore the complexity of social organisation. “In sum, our aim was trying to bring together CBPP with blockchain-based governance. The result is the identification and conceptualisation of a set of affordances of blockchain technologies with regards to commons governance, which we summarise below:” “The result is the identification and conceptualisation of a set of affordances of blockchain technologies with regards to commons governance, which we summarise below: Tokenisation: refers to the process of transforming the rights to perform an action on an asset into a transferable data element (a token) on the blockchain. Self-enforcement and formalisation of rules: refer to the process of embedding organisational rules in the form of smart contracts that embed, partially, commons-based governance logics. Autonomous automatisation: refers to the process of defining complex sets of smart contracts which may be set up in such a way as to make it possible for multiple parties to interact with each other. This is analogous to software communicating with other software today but in a decentralised manner. Decentralisation of power over the infrastructure: refers to the process of communalising the ownership and control of the technological artefacts employed by the community through the decentralisation of the infrastructure they rely on, such as the collaboration platforms employed for coordination. Transparentisation: refers to the process of opening the organisational processes and the associated data by relying on the persistence and immutability properties of blockchain technologies. Codification of trust: refers to the process of codifying a certain degree of trust into systems which facilitate agreements between agents without requiring a third party. This list of affordances is not intended to be exhaustive. Instead, it is to be though as a set of analytical categories which can help us to co-design blockchain-based tools to facilitate cooperation and foster CBPP practices together with these collectives.“
Blockchain Technology: Toward a Decentralized Governance of Digital Platforms? Intro to the internet, start here in the introduction, then skip 30 years to OpenAI. 2.a Market-Driven Innovation OpenAI is private, so it must engage some method of business to create revenue. This means they must chose some business model that either: leverage network effects, gathering large user-bases by offering free, freemium, or low-cost services, relying on competitive strategies and exclusionary practices: proprietary IP, limiting competition (Amar Bhidé, “The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Pros- perity in a More Connected World,” Journal of Applied Corporate Finance 21, no. 1 (2009): 8–23.) limited interoperability and data portability — users find themselves locked into walled gardens, limiting competition. monetizing their user-base through more personalized and targeted advertising campaigns. AI system designers are innovating within a capitalist structure and have “not significantly contributed to the establishment of a new economic order”. 2.b: Commons-Based Innovation “Perhaps one of the biggest differences between market-driv- en and commons-based innovation lies in the economic models that underpin the two. While the former is mainly driven by the logic of profit maximization, the latter is driven by a combination of ideological values, a desire to maximize the utility of the products or services provided to the community and an expectation of individual returns or compensation (financial or otherwise). Nevertheless, although profits are not the main drivers for a large majority of commons-based initiatives, the ability to raise money and attract human resources remains an important precondition for their long-term sustainability” 4.b New Tools for Commons-Based Governance “While these organizations might be led by a charismatic leader in charge of stewardship of the organization, they are no longer subject to the whims of a benevolent dicta- tor because they operate according to an infrastructure which is decentralized by design. As opposed to traditional online platforms, which are managed and maintained by a centralized operator, decentralized blockchain-based. applications are both managed and maintained by a distributed network of peers, none of which has the ability to change or influence the operations of these blockchain-based systems, unless this is specifically provided for in the underlying protocol. Hence, by encoding a decentralized govern- ance structure directly into the fabric of a blockchain-based system, it becomes difficult for any single party to unilaterally intervene in order to change the current and future operations thereof. “Yet, most of the blockchain-based applications implemented thus far incorporate game theoretical protocols and market-driven incentives that actually exacerbate—rather than disrupt—ex- isting dynamics of capital accumulation and speculation.” “Yet, to be really transformative, these initiatives need to transcend the current models of protocol-based governance and game-theoretical in- centives—which can easily be co-opted by powerful actors or lead to dissensus — and to come up with new governance mod- els combining both on-chain and off-chain governance rules. The former can be used to support mechanisms of regulation by code, incentivization schemes and ownership over digital as- sets, whereas the latter are necessary to promote the vision, and facilitate the interaction of commons-based projects and initia- tives with the existing legal and societal framework. Ultimately, whether or not blockchain technology will lead to the rise of a new economic order is not—solely—a technical matter; it is, first and foremost, a political question that requires an in-depth understanding of the social, economic, and political implica- tions that different governance structures will bring to society.” Read this again when writing the last paragraph. It brings it all together very poetically and with ambitions. What is important in this text is its delineation of on-chain and off-chain governance. The article claims both are important as they are needed to avoid falling for market dynamics.
“Distributed ledger technology is best understood as an institutional innovation (i.e. a governance technology)”
The internet is broken, how do we fix it? NYT
"But if the internet is broken, how do we fix it? The answers that predominate among American policymakers tend to circle two main themes — which are, in practice, often joined together. The first involves writing new rules about how companies are allowed to behave, or enforcing existing ones. Examples include the , a 2018 law that gives residents certain rights regarding the collection and processing of their personal data. The second aims at reducing the market power of the big firms. Last year, President Biden issued an executive that directs more than a dozen federal agencies to pursue pro-competition initiatives. And this year, two seeking to prevent tech companies from using their control of platforms like search engines and app stores to give themselves an unfair advantage over competitors were approved in committee, bringing them closer to a floor vote. Both strains of internet reform have their merits. The rule-makers are right that tech companies are too lightly regulated. The anti-monopolists are right that rule-making is insufficient without curbing corporate power. Yet neither quite reaches the root of the problem. The root is simple: The internet is broken because the internet is a business. While the issues are various and complex, they are inextricable from the fact that the internet is owned by private firms and is run for profit. Regulating markets or making them more competitive won’t touch the deeper problem, which is the market itself. The profit system produces the dysfunctions and depredations of the modern internet. Today’s internet reformers would leave this system intact. Yet many of the industry practices with the most destructive effects, such as the obsession with user engagement, were developed by companies when they were comparatively leaner and hungrier and needed to grab market share as quickly as possible. In other words, they came out of competition, which suggests that increasing competition won’t automatically generate better outcomes. Regulation, too, presents difficulties: Corporations are adept at evading or manipulating rules to preserve their dominant position. Indeed, some big tech firms have even called for more regulation in recent years, provided they get to decide how they’re regulated. Even with the best regulatory and antimonopoly measures, corporations would still own the internet. Immensely consequential decisions would be left in the hands of executives and investors. Most people would have no say in matters that centrally affect their lives. Fortunately, there is another strategy: deprivatization. To build a better internet, we need to change how it is owned and organized — not with an eye toward making markets work better, but toward making them matter less. Deprivatization aims at creating an internet where people, and not profit, rule. This sounds like a protest chant but I mean it quite literally. What would a day on the deprivatized internet look like? You wake up, grab coffee, and sit down at your computer. Your first stop is a social-media site run by your local library. The other users are your neighbors, your co-workers, or residents of your county. There’s a news report in your feed about a coming municipal election, published by a local public media center. In fact, much of the content that circulates on the site comes from public media sources. The site is a cooperative; you and the other users govern it collectively. You elect the board that designs the filtering algorithms and writes the content moderation policies that determine what you see in your feed. The board’s decisions are carried out by employees of the local library, who act as caretakers of the community, always on hand to help classify, curate and add context to information. To put people over profit, you need to create spaces where the people can rule. The scale and complexity of the internet mean there is no silver bullet for creating a democratic digital future. The precise contours of a democratic internet can be discovered only through a democratic process — through people coming together to build the world they want. (this should be the same with corporations Even so, questions will remain: how to end algorithmic racism, for instance, or the right way to handle content moderation. Liberating the internet from the constraints of the profit motive won’t make these questions go away. It will, however, create the conditions in which the answers can be found. (all other AI issues matter, but this will create the conditions in which the answers can be found)”
Book Review: Internet for the People: The Fight for Our Digital Future by Ben Tarnoff
"Tarnoff suggests deprivatising the Internet through the “imaginative work of abolition” (177), not by merely improving current structures, as he is very clear about the practical and imaginative limits of reorganising the Internet based on what already exists. Tarnoff’s proposal is radical because it is more than a protest or an invitation to reflection; he means to abolish the existing structures and replace them with fundamentally different alternatives. However, even if we assume this envisioned scenario, it is impossible to think of its continuity as a bubble separated from society. The Internet would remain subject to market pressures, private interests, and the dictates of capitalism. Tarnoff acknowledges “there are many possibilities, but one thing is clear: to remake the Internet, we will have to remake everything else”
When Ostrom Meets Blockchain: Exploring the Potentials of Blockchain for Commons Governance
"Blockchain technologies have generated enthusiasm, yet their potential to enable new forms of governance remains largely unexplored. Two confronting standpoints dominate the emergent debate around blockchain-based governance: discourses characterized by the presence of techno-determinist and market-driven values, which tend to ignore the complexity of social organization; and critical accounts of such discourses which, while contributing to identifying limitations, consider the role of traditional centralized institutions as inherently necessary to enable democratic forms of governance.”
“We approach blockchain through the identification and conceptualization of six affordances that this technology may provide to communities: tokenization, self-enforcement and formalization of rules, autonomous automatization, decentralization of power over the infrastructure, increasing transparency, and codification of trust. For each affordance, we carry out a detailed analysis situating each in the context of Ostrom’s principles, considering both the potentials of algorithmic governance and the importance of incorporating communities’ social practices into blockchain-based tools to foster forms of self-governance.”
Use this to fit in my project in a nuanced and critical space, within all the chaos that they outline.
Could this go closely to the proprietary dynamics paragraph?
Could I fit these 6 affordances to stakeholder theory vs shareholder governance?
Analysis of the Potentials of Blockchain for the Governance of Global Digital Commons
“These affordances and the subsequent analysis contribute to the emergent debate on blockchain-based forms of governance, first by providing analytical categories for further research”
“In this respect, we agree with Schneider (2019) in understanding decentralization not simply as a technical concept, but as a performative act whose socio-political consequences need further exploration, since the use of decentralized technologies does not inherently imply the decentralization of other outcomes,”
Blockchain Technology and Decentralized Governance: Is the State Still Necessary?
Elinor Ostrom's 8 Principles for Managing A Commmons
8 Principles for Managing a Commons 1. Define clear group boundaries. 2. Match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions. 3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules. 4. Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities. 5. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior. 6. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators. 7. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution. 8. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.
An application to delegate certain operations of DAOs
“One of the main challenges facing DAO governance models today is scalability. One possible solution is to form small sub-groups composed of members of the organization with a number of permits that allow them to carry out a reduced set of tasks and activities of the DAO” Using Aragon to create an application to act as manager for sub-committee groups for scalable DAOs.
Internet and Blockchain: democratic or authoritarian?
There are 4 types of internet: libertarian, bourgeois, commercial, authoritarian. The choice is up to us!
Trust in blockchain-based systems
Trust in benevolence is what we must avoid. DLTs are ‘trustless’, but what does this mean exactly?
Doesnt seem to interesting as an article, but I can use it if I need to define trust more accurately.
P2P Models - WP
“The P2PMODELS project aims to leverage the potential of the new blockchain technology to address CE’s infrastructure challenge while laying the foundations to resolve the governance and economical challenges.”
It talk about focusing on the infrastructure, but not the governance. So, I could continue the Gov aspect in relation to AI instead.
Organizational Building Blocks for Blockchain Governance: A Survey of 241 Blockchain White Papers
Decentralisation in the blockchain space
“Decentralised and distributed modes of organisation are well defined in computer science discourses and denote a particular network topology. Even there, they can be understood either as an engineering principle, a design aim, or an aspirational claim. In the decentralisation discourse these three dimensions are often conflated without merit. A decentralised network design might not produce decentralising effects and might not either necessarily be decentralised in its actual deployment.” “When the technical decentralisation discourse starts to include social, political, or economic dimensions, the risk of confusion may be even larger, and the potential harms of mistaking a distributed system for something it is not, even more dangerous. Individual autonomy, the reduction of power asymmetries, the elimination of market monopolies, direct involvement in decision making, solidarity among members of voluntary associations are eternal human ambitions. It is unclear whether such aims can now suddenly be achieved by particular engineering solutions.” ^ Need to prove this in my piece. “An uncritical view on decentralisation as an omnipotent organisational template may crowd out alternative approaches to creating resilient, trustworthy, equitable, fault resistant technical, social, political or economic modes of organisation.” ^ Precisely, it is about distributing decision-making power to more relevant parties. This is justified in circular economic theory.
Put this in the introductory part of DLTs. My goals must fit within this criticism.
Decentralizing what? When blockchain’s perspectives clash
“Therefore, at least for the case of Estonia, blockchain technologies applied at the public and institutional level seem to be at odds with the promise of social disruption, and continue to exploit the “rhetoric of empowering the disenfranchised through decentralized decision-making process In Estonia, the concept of transparency is used as a synonym for data privacy, in which trust in the government would be won by guaranteeing cybersecurity and data control. However, the concept of decentralization remains very much second to generating an illusion of disruption. In conclusion, because of the lack of universal definitions of what constitutes a blockchain, different technological narratives are emerging around a concept which offers influential areas for exploitation in public imaginaries, according to different political agendas.” What is important for me here is that it should not be about whether something is truly a blockchain, but it should be assessed in terms of the values it internalises infrastructurally. If decision-making power is achieved, then political decentralisation is playing its much needed part.
Glossary of DAOs (DeFillippi)
Decentralized Autonomous Corporation (DAC)
Distributed Cooperative Organization (DisCO),
Decentralized Collaborative Organization (DCO)
“It is therefore important to understand that a DAO is not a particular type of business model or a particular type of organisation, but a concept that can be used to refer to a wide variety of things.”
“In terms of governance, diverse scholars recently started investigating the opportunities of blockchain technology and smart contracts to experiment with open and distributed governance structures (Leonhard, 2017; Rozas et al., 2018; Hsieh et al., 2018; Jones, 2019), along with the challenges and limitations of doing so (Garrod, 2016; DuPont, 2017; Scott et al., 2017; Chohan, 2017; Verstreate, 2018; Minn, 2019; Hutten, 2019). There is also an emerging body of literature from the field of economic and legal theory concerning DAOs. While most of these works focus on the new opportunities of decentralised blockchain-based organisations in the realm of economics and governance (Davidson et al., 2016, 2018; Sims, 2019; Rikken et al., 2019; Kaal, 2020), others focus on the legal issues of DAOs from either a theoretical (De Filippi & Wright, 2018; Reijers et al.. 2018) or practical perspective (Rodrigues, 2018; Werbach, 2018; Riva, 2019)..”
“However, as the limitations of blockchain-based governance came into light, especially in the aftermath of the aforementioned TheDAO hack (DuPont, 2017; Reijers et al., 2018; Mehar et al., 2019), the public discourse around DAOs has shifted from describing DAOs as a technical solution to a governance problem (Jentzsch, 2016; Voshmgir, 2017) to a discussion on how DAOs could change the nature of economic and political governance in general (Davidson et al., 2016; Beck et al., 2018; Zwitter & Hazenberg, 2020; De Filippi et al., 2020).”
^ Rephrase this as context of how much work has been done, and then scope in on what I am saying.
“(1) First of all, with regard to the “decentralization” aspect of a DAO, it is unclear whether decentralisation only needs to be established on the infrastructural layer (i.e. at the level of the underlying blockchain-based network) or whether it also needs to be implemented at the governance level (i.e. the DAO should not be controlled by any centralised actor or group of actors).
^ Political vs architectural. This is important and shes wrong.
(2) Second, it is unclear whether a DAO must be fully autonomous and fully automated (i.e. the DAO should operate without any human intervention whatsoever), or whether the concept of “autonomy” should be interpreted in a weaker sense, (i.e. while the DAO, as an organisation, may require the participation of its members, its governance should not be dependent on the whims of a small group of actors).
^ It is about who enacts the decisions reached at by its committee.
(3) Third, there are some debates as to when the community of actors interacting with a smart contract can be regarded as an actual “organization” (independently of any legal recognition). For instance, it is unclear whether the mere act of transacting with a smart contract qualifies as an organisational activity, or whether a stronger degree of involvement is necessary, such as having a governance model or collective interactions amongst participants.”
^ Being part of a committee makes you a stakeholder. Interacting with a smart contract which doesnt need committee access does not.
This is quite superficial and shows very little technical understanding of DAOs.
Its focus is on legal responsibility.
FUCK Sammer Hassan wrote this too, so its not technically superficial....
Primavera de Filippi: “In a decentralized infrastructure, it becomes more difficult not to have a concentration of power”
“Talking back about platforms and power, there are people talking about platform cooperativism as an alternative to platform capitalism (models such as Uber or Deliveroo), what do you think is the role of decentralized technologies in this context? I think platform cooperativism is completely independent from the infrastructure. You can have a completely centralized infrastructure which is run as a cooperative. The problem with decentralized model, is that you need to design it in such a way as to make sure that at every level of the stack, including the blockchain infrastructure, will not be co-opted by external market forces, which might be difficult to achieve without an institution protecting it. Once you move into a decentralized infrastructure, it becomes more difficult to ensure that you don’t have a concentration of power, because you lose the power to control or ascertain who owns or controls the infrastructure. Indeed, in a blockchain-based system, you have a lot of different variables to take into account, and often do not have full control (or visibility) over the way in which many of those variables are governed or controlled.” My argument is different, because it is about what is allowed in the private-sector and who sits at the table, the infrastructure is of less importance if the BC is adequately decentralised: ETH. Technologies are on a spectrum from apolitical to political; BC simply moves them further down towards being apolitical because there is far less political interference between the various LoAs or stack layers.
Blockchain-based application at a governmental level: disruption or illusion? The case of Estonia
Permissioned vs public blockchains. Why this is just a reduction to architectural decentralisation so it is not of interest to us.
Technological Populism and Its Archetypes: Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
“In this article, we draw a parallel between core foundations of political populism and those of blockchain and propose a theory of technological populism.”
How does Committees work?
Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence, 12th International Conference
Awakening Decentralised Real-Time Collaboration: Re-engineering Apache Wave into a General-Purpose Federated and Collaborative Platform
The Architecture of a Web3 application
Distributed Ledger Technologies (DTLs) for Social and Public Good – Where to next?
Check PDF →
Distributed Ledger Technologies (DTLs) for Social and Public Good – Where to next_.pdf
The sharing economy in computing: A systematic literature review
Decentralized Collaborative Organizations (DCO)