Blockchain Ethics

Class 6 Reading Responses [Governance]

Blockchain governance will play a big role in helping the technology scale to its full ability. Governance is also essential because there are several stakeholders and we would want to avoid tragedy of the commons – keeping everyone (maintainer, contributor, committer) engaged and aligned on the similar incentives is important. I think the case for on-chain governance is interesting given that it shifts power towards users and away from the more centralized group of developers and miners. Users can roll back or edit the ledger in addition to the rules of governance themselves. What really helped me understand what this meant was a quote from the reading, “On the upside it helps make sure a process is consistently followed which can increase coordination and fairness. It also allows for quicker decision making. On the downside it’s risky because the metasystem becomes harder to change once instituted.” What I learned here was all the different on-chain voting mechanism that could take place, which spurred even more thoughts for why we don’t adopt some of these tools into our current voting system. Between futarchy, liquid democracy and quadratic voting-- liquid voting got my preference, since it increases equality and is similar to proof of stake concepts. Also companies like Democracy Earth have already piloted liquid democracy voting on blockchain for elections in developing countries.
For the off-chain governance options I agree most with the meritocracy versus BDFL and liberal contribution given that it takes into consideration voting consensus AND how much work you have put into the network.
Most of our readings touched on how the blockchain should be governed from an off and on-chain perspective. This made me think about how blockchain also has so many different use cases and so shouldn’t each one should be considered as a separate opportunity to think about governance? Or would we have to decide on one governance protocol and then that be set no matter what the use case? Or could you just use hard forks to diversity governance for each use case?