A new study that was undertaken by Queen Mary University of London and the University of Cambridge, UK, came to some interesting conclusions about how blockchain could fit into the EU’s complex regulatory structure.
I intend to avoid autonomous blockchains
I intend to avoid capture of blockchain governance
I intend to avoid internet censorship as blockchain governance
The building of the blockchain is predicted to harken the end of the contemporary sovereign order. Some go further to claim that as a powerful decentering technology, blockchain contests the continued functioning of world capitalism. Are such claims merited? In this paper we consider sovereignty and blockchain technology theoretically, posing possible futures for sovereignty in a blockchain world. These possibilities include various forms of individual, popular, technological, corporate, and techno-totalitarian state sovereignty. We identify seven structural tendencies of blockchain technology and give examples as to how these have manifested in the construction of new forms of sovereignty. We conclude that the future of sovereignty in a blockchain world will be articulated in the conjuncture of social struggle and technological agency and we call for a stronger alliance between technologists and democrats.
The cryptocurrency movement is the spiritual heir to previous open computing movements, including the open source software movement led most visibly by Linux, and the open information movement led most visibly by Wikipedia.1991: Linus Torvalds’ forum post announcing Linux; 2001: the first Wikipedia pageBoth of these movements were once niche and controversial. Today Linux is the dominant worldwide operating system, and Wikipedia is the most popular informational website in the world.Crypto tokens are currently niche and controversial. If present trends continue, they will soon be seen as a breakthrough in the design and development of open networks, combining the societal benefits of open protocols with the financial and architectural benefits of proprietary networks. They are also an extremely promising development for those hoping to keep the internet accessible to entrepreneurs, developers, and other independent creators.
When designed properly, decentralized, open source, tokenized cryptoasset networks solve the problem of incentive alignment between network creators and network participants. When the software is public, and the organizing body is a nonprofit rather than a for-profit, the Extraction Imperative is eliminated — because there are literally no longer shareholders with a claim on cash flows. The value is held in the network itself, represented by token ownership. Everyone who participates in the activity of the network, using and accruing tokens in the process, is effectively a network “owner.” Because there is no division between owners and participants, there is no point at which their incentives diverge.
If a miner controls an economy of scale (i.e. PoW hardware manufacturing), they ultimately control the liquidity/velocity flow of the State/Federal level cryptos that are derived from those root chains, given a lack of market competition. Therefore, direct influence over said monopolistic entities are then tightly-coupled to future tokenized cities/states, which means that entire political-monetary interfaces, globally, if adopted and built upon, could be centralizing governance in ways many might not immediately realize — until it’s too late.
The potential opened by distributed ledger technologies for peer-to-peer exchange enabling users and developers to co-own their platforms, organize their own communities and share the value generated according to their own rules has led many to believe in the ‘sharing economy’ as a way to foster cooperation between individuals on large scale, leading to a new, socially pacified post-capitalism era. In spite of any such utopian expectation, however, this paper argues that capitalism has simply strengthened, not only through the growing centralization of peer-to-peer digital services on proprietary platforms, but also through highly speculative practices embedded in decentralized architectural protocols. We tackle the new challenges raised by the engineering of human interactions through algorithmic governance, stressing the necessity to carefully evaluate sharing economy and platform cooperativism as complex phenomena with risks, benefits and unintended consequences inevitably intertwined in the fabric of human existence.
The following discussion of computational capital takes the electronic database, an infrastructure for storing in-formation, as vantage point. Following a brief look into how database systems serve in-formation desires, the notion of ‘database as discourse’ by Mark Poster is explored and further developed. Database as discourse establishes a machinic agency, directed towards the individual in a specific mode of hailing. This mode of hailing in turn leads to a scattered form of subjectivity, that is identified with Manuela Ott and Gerald Raunig as dividual. How does dividualization emerge from database infrastructure? What is the specific quality of data, that is produced by and being harvested from in/dividuals into databases, and what are the consequences of such a shifted view?
Blockchains are unique because they 1) allow thousands of governance systems and monetary policies to be tried at the speed of software with 2) in some cases, much lower consequences of failure. As a result, there will be a Cambrian explosion of economic and governance designs where many approaches will be tried in parallel at hyperspeed. To be clear, I am including economic design and monetary policy (said another way, incentive structure) in governance because, like other aspects of the system, they can be modified as time passes.