Blockchain Governance: Programming Our Future
Fred Ehrsam

Fred, much of the details of your article are a bit above my pay grade. But the fundamentals of blockchain and where they are heading is of great interest to me for my work, which is organizational design. The base I work from is theories of complex adaptive systems (CAS). Emergent evolution is the name for this type of change and there are many instructive principles and examples in this field.

I was captured by the statement you made: “Assuming that systems need to evolve to survive”. All of a sudden my interest in block chain for organizational design skyrocketed. It was the idea that blockchain, to be successful must be a CAS. Anything that evolves came from an evolutionary earlier stage.

Then your belief that “governance is the most vital problem in the space” is only half right. Really governance and operations in an iterative relationship is important. Natural beings (life) emerged and has rules related to that “built in”. Mechanistic entities have rules build in. Systems made up of social and linguistic beings have rules that are optional, necessary or generated from practice and emerge as social/linguistic “rules”. But what are blockchains and other automated entities? And what are their rules? The one certain thing is that if they are evolutionary, hence emergent, the rules and the systems will change — that is they will be adaptive. Remember always that “adaptive” includes “adaptations that fail”. There is no guarantee in this domain. The closest to a guarantee is to be a fit to a larger environment.

I suggest that what is needed for maximum chances of success in creating governance rules is that the rules themselves have adaptive capabilities themselves.

In my understanding, which may be a bit shallow, the internet as we know it (URLs and Email addresses) had a simple set of rules that lasted for a long time and only relatively small changes have been made even up to now. Whatever the case of that, the initial rules had built in to them a simple structure that could be altered by extension rather than replacement.

I’ll likely be back once I’ve had time to read your article thoroughly and to get a bit better education about the blockchain technology.

Thanks for this article.