A Letter to Jamie Dimon – Chain

decentralization | manifestos | Research Notes

assets serve decentralized applicationsDecentralized applications are a new form of organization and a new form of software. They’re a new model for creating, financing, and operating software services in a way that is decentralized top-to-bottom. That doesn’t make them better or worse than existing software models or the corporate entities that create them. As we’ll see later, there are major trade-offs. What we can say is simply that they are radically different from software as we know it today and radically different from the forms of organization we are used to.

Source: A Letter to Jamie Dimon – Chain

Code is Law and the Quest for Justice | Ethereum Classic

critique | manifestos | regulation | Research Notes | smart contracts

People keep repeating the phrase “Code is Law” without clear understanding of what it’s supposed to mean. Some deliberately misinterpret it to mean that “ETC supports thieves and crooks” and similar nonsense. Let’s get some things straight. Code is law on the blockchain. In the sense, all executions and transactions are final and immutable. So, from our (Ethereum Classic supporters) standpoint by pushing the DAO hard fork EF broke the “law” in the sense that they imposed an invalid transaction state on the blockchain.This has nothing to do with contractual or criminal law, or other legal considerations. Stating that “code is law” is similar to acknowledging the laws of physics. The law of gravity says that when I push a piano out of a window, the piano will fall downwards. It does not mean that it’s necessarily “legal” for me to push that piano out of that window. And if I do so and the falling piano kills some passer-by, it would be insane for me to argue before the judge that I shouldn’t go to jail because I broke no laws of physics.On Ethereum blockchain, a Turing complete code operates with a very real and tangible value. Because of this, there is always a potential for mistakes and unintended outcomes. There will always be transactions and code execution results that someone is not happy about. There will be conflicts and disagreements, there will be code vulnerabilities and exploits, there will be scams and thefts, there will be all kinds of ugly things.Who should deal with all these conflicts? Let’s imagine for a moment that we decided ‘the blockchain community’ will take it upon itself to deal with it all.Who is going to make a call which on-chain code execution is “theft,” and which is not? Is this ponzi contract scammy enough to shut it down? Do we tolerate this dark market while it sells fake ids and marijuana, but draw the line once it starts to dabble in child porn and cocaine?Should there be a democratic voting system (moot court) to decide on these cases, changing the blockchain state based on such decisions? Should there be a committee that decides what smart contract behavior is ‘unacceptable’ and what transactions are ‘illegal’ enough to justify a hard fork?What may serve as a basis for such decisions? Where is the applicable body of law? Who is going to be the police, the judge and the jury? What is a due process? What is the appeal procedure? A lot of questions, and no good answers to these questions, when it comes to “blockchain justice”.But it’s even worse if there is no system at all. If ‘the blockchain community’ just makes a special exception in regards to a ‘special case’, choosing to administer justice ‘just this one time’. What is so special about this case, one may ask? Why does this theft get a special treatment, and the other thefts don’t? Who do you need to know, whose buddy do you need to be to get such exceptional treatment? How are you going to defend such preferential treatment against legal cases citing a precedent and subpoenas demanding reversal of specific transactions?It’s this whole snake’s nest that could be avoided by refusing to be dragged into conflict resolution and quest for justice as related to smart contract execution. And it only requires sticking to principles of blockchain neutrality and immutability.So, code is law on the blockchain. All executions are final, all transactions are immutable. For everything else, there is a time-tested way to adjudicate legal disputes and carry out the administration of justice. It’s called legal system.

Source: Code is Law and the Quest for Justice | Ethereum Classic

How Bitcoin’s Blockchain Could Power an Alternate Internet

critique | decentralization | manifestos | Research Notes

“There is a tendency in computer-land to seek technical solutions to political problems,” Ceglowski says. “In my opinion, the focus on the blockchain (and related ideas) falls into that misguided category. The idea that we should look to algorithms and technology to reclaim our freedoms is fundamentally undemocratic. It presupposes a technical elite who would ‘fix the Internet’ for everyone else. While I can see how this appeals to romantic ideas of hacking the system, I see it as a dangerous trend at worst, and a distraction at best.“We are terrible at predicting the social outcomes of technological innovation. There’s no reason Bitcoin-like distributed systems would be immune from that rule. I say let’s wise up and actually fight this battle on the level where it belongs.”Ceglowski’s argument is surely worth braking for as we race down the blockchain road. A world in which math secures all our property, communications and identities looks cool. Maybe it will solve some of our problems. It might even be better than what we have now.The question to ask is, do these blockchain-based enhancements of our technologies end up giving us more freedom and initiative? Or will a world of “distributed autonomous organizations,” empowered financial algorithms and bots that own themselves only hem in our human sphere of control?It could be exciting to sit back and watch the future drive itself. But it might be smart to keep our eyes on the road and our hands on the wheel.

Source: How Bitcoin’s Blockchain Could Power an Alternate Internet

Bitcoin: A Means for Global Independence (2014)

manifestos | Research Notes

With some research and a little technical aptitude, distributed forms of money such as bitcoin can be used as the digital equivalent of cash, offering the potential for anyone to theoretically bank themselves without relying on traditional financial institutions.Additionally, innovative wallet technologies mean anyone can store vast amounts of value without the need to trust governments or banks. From brain wallets to paper wallets, multisig to BIP32 hierarchical deterministic technologies, the ability to store cryptocurrency value independent of a third party is becoming more sophisticated by the month.This all adds up to a revolution in personal finance that can be attributed to smart and enterprising developers who see digital currencies as a means for independence that has never before been possible.

Source: Bitcoin: A Means for Global Independence

The Financialization of Life – Startups & Venture Capital

critique | manifestos | Research Notes

On the one hand, they are a very powerful agent towards the “transactionalization of life”, that is of the fact that all the elements of our lives are progressively turning into transactions.Which overlaps with the fact that they become “financialized”. Everything, including our relations and emotions, progressively becomes transactionalized/financialized, and the Blockchain represent an apex of this tendency. This is already becoming a problem for informality, for the possibility of transgression, for the normation and normalization of conflicts and, thus, in prospect, for our liberties and fundamental rights, and for our possibility to perceive them (because we are talking about psychological effects).On the other hand, they move attention onto the algorithm, on the system, on the framework. Instead of supporting and maintaining the necessity and culture of establishing co-responsibility between human beings, these systems include “trust” in procedural ways. In ways which are technical. Thus, the necessity for trust (and, thus, on the responsibility to attribute trust, based on human relations) progressively disappears.Therefore, together with it, society disappears. Society as actively and consciously built by people who freely decide if and when to trust each other, and who collectively agree to the modalities of this attribution.

Source: The Financialization of Life – Startups & Venture Capital

A Crypto-Decentralist Manifesto – Bit Novosti – Medium

decentralization | manifestos | Research Notes

We decentralists are committed to keeping blockchains open, neutral andimmutable. We’re committed to keeping blockchain systems decentralized. This informs all our actions and positions towards any developments in the crypto world and beyond. All attempts to violate any of the key blockchaincharacteristics should be fought. All changes to a blockchain’s rules thatintroduce new centralization risks or strengthen existing ones should be fought. Only developments that are clearly beneficial to decentralization or strengthen the three key blockchain characteristics should be supported and encouraged.The blockchain revolution won’t be centralized. Let’s make sure of it.

Source: A Crypto-Decentralist Manifesto – Bit Novosti – Medium