“The autonomy of the individual appears to be complemented & enhanced by the movement of the group; while the effectiveness of the group seems to depend on the freedom of the individual.” — Hakim Bey, 1991.
Peer-to-peer networks, such a public blockchains, are decentralised digital infrastructures that establish new ways to coordinate without relying on a trusted third-party. They do this through unique attributes such as fault tolerance, encryption, and open-source software and hardware. These attributes form “ad hoc” capabilities, which make decentralised digital infrastructure an interesting socio-technical object of enquiry.
The concept of “ad…
Algorithm reputation systems in blockchain systems:
“I’m becoming concerned that DAOs are just labour camps” I remarked in passing at the beginning of a call. “More like social credit systems” replied Rich Brown, former technical community lead at MakerDAO Foundation (aka. chief cat herder — responsible for engagement and incentives in a large-scale DAO). The phrase stuck with me.
“Trust level — Basic”
I first noticed I was being covertly monitored in the panopticon when I was reading a forum post on “Discourse”, a popular blockchain forum for governance discussions. On Discourse, users must create a…
“Whoever controls infrastructure, controls society”
– Burrrata, governance researcher at BlockScience
What does it mean for a “Decentralised Autonomous Organisation” (DAO) to be resilient? In the course of my research on resilience in decentralised technologies, I have defined resilience as adaptability and transformability of participants within a DAO, towards a stated objective. I have also presented a framework for analysing resilience in decentralised systems, predicated on the observation of threats and vulnerabilities, as a way to assess responses and thus resilience in response to these factors.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is on a mission to make humans immortal. Buterin, 27, proposes the idea that “aging is an engineering problem.”
He is not alone in his combined interest in Bitcoin and biohacking. Famous biomedical aging researcher Aubrey de Grey, Xanadu architect and Agoric chief scientist Mark Miller, Bitcoin Cash billionaire Roger Ver and former chief technology officer of Coinbase and a16z general partner Balaji Srinivasan, are all fascinated by the pursuit of longevity.
De Grey recently helped launch VitaDAO, a “decentralized collective funding longevity research.” He says:
“I have been gratified since the beginning of blockchain to…
Crypto satellite companies are competing to provide blockchain services in space.
July 26, 2021
In the 1988 “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” engineer, author and cypherpunk Timothy C. May predicted a social and economic revolution enabled by technological developments, including high-speed networks, personal computers and satellites. Today, former Bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik — now with SpaceChain — and others are making this vision a reality. Private crypto companies including SpaceChain, Blockstream, Cryptosat and others are rapidly launching satellites into orbit to offer blockchain validation, multisignature wallets and verifiable time-delay functions from space.
The great hash rate plunge caused by an exodus of miners from China shows large scale Proof-of-Work mining facilities are vulnerable to regulation.
June 30, 2021
Bitcoin’s reliance on large-scale mining infrastructure and geographic concentration has been thrown into sharp relief by China’s recent mining crackdown. In May, China announced that it would be getting tough on crypto mining and trading as a response to financial risks. The nation’s crackdown on crypto is not new, rather it’s a reiteration of previous standings on the risks of digital currency to economic stability, in response to recent price fluctuations.
For the first…
29 July, 2021
“Decentralised Autonomous Organisations” (DAOs) are a new form of politically decentralised organisations that promise “autonomy”. In 2017, Quinn DuPont authored a book chapter on “Experiments in algorithmic governance: A history and ethnography of “The DAO,” a failed decentralized autonomous organization”. Yet, these experiments continue. This blog series explores the questions, ‘are decentralised autonomous organisations resilient, and if so, when and how do they break?’.
This blog is in two parts. Part 1 explores the historical background to the emergence of the idea of modern-day DAOs in blockchain communities today. I emphasise the dynamics of political…
7 July, 2021
“Resilience” is an evolutionary concept in decentralised technology communities.
Resilience was sought via distribution of computing architecture against the threat of war by Paul Baran in the 1960s. It was then sought through cryptographic security of data and privacy through the work of public key cryptographers in the 1970s and 1980s. Resilience then became a political objective, for autonomy from state control or intervention under the cypherpunks in the 1990s. The explicit overlay of political ambition to decentralised technologies introduces challenging dynamic when trying to establish “decentralised” governance. With infrastructure, “no tool is neutral”. Each…
Kelsie Nabben & Michael Zargham
June 4, 2021
Nabben, K., & Zargham, M., “Resilience of the Commons: observing “resilience” in the governance of decentralised technology communities”, Substack, 2021. Available online: https://kelsienabben.substack.com/p/resilience-of-the-commons-observing.
Decentralised technologies are both an assemblage: a construction of social and technical bits to form a functional whole, and an assembly: a storage of data, a record of history, and a coming together to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. An example of this is blockchains, which are configured of software code, developers, “miners” that validate transactions, “DApps” (decentralised applications)…
Kelsie Nabben, in conversation with Lucy Bernholz (Stanford DARNit network), Althea Allen (Ethereum Foundation), and Marta Poblet (RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub).
“What does blockchain have to do with assembly?”
On the 14th of April, we gathered (remotely) to discuss the topic of “blockchain and digital assembly”. The intent was to record this as a wonderful podcast, but tech fails happen, even in the immutable future.
Lucy brought her expertise in researching assembly and digital assembly, and a suitably critical lens to the promises, and limitations, of blockchain technology. Marta’s background is in digital democracy and civil law. …