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A Short Note on Governance and Education

Many thanks to the great contributions that have already been made in the governance space. A lot of significant ideas and protocols have been developed to help tackle this large but crucial topic. This is merely a starting framework for an approach for inclusion and education as governance continues to expand.

A lot of discussion and energy (rightly so) is being used on inventing new governance models for how blockchains can be run in a decentralized manner. TCRs and DAOs have been common organizational frameworks but the details of how best to use these systems is still in flux with one of the greater challenges revolving around how to incentive participation for voting. Many of the presented concepts currently revolve around aligning interests for practical governance using a representative based model where token holder voting is either aggregated (one token, one vote) and/or delegated (representative democratized model based on someone who is “educated” nominated or elected representing the mass amounts of token holders). Both examples come with some significant drawbacks:

  • One token, one vote leads to financially based disparity — who owns the most tokens has a strongest voice.
  • Delegated representation leads to an “elite” class that is nominated to serve (hopefully) as the voice of the masses based on their knowledge. Creating a class based system starts pushing back towards centralized information and centralized governance.

In short, this is exactly the issue with the current systems of societal governance and is the current issue with centralized authorities often not voting along the interests of those they represent. Either financial incentives or class system power weighting ultimately skews the actually governance of for the people, by the people. Modern representative democracy has been shaped by this very concept. Think of all of the lobbying efforts, the consolidated control, the discriminatory bias of acting on behalf of the few rather than the masses.

What many of the new (and old) governance systems fail to even attempt to grapple with is educating everyone in the system. It is a foregone conclusion that most members of a blockchain won’t invest the time needed to be fully aware of what they are voting on, thus the they will cede their vote/control to someone else with more time/education/experience. The average person simply won’t be educated enough in each of the systems that they engage in. It’s too tough. It’s too time intensive. It’s too expensive. If you need a proof point, look at modern voting in the US. Even when the stakes are high — elected officials who will make decisions that literally have global implications — roughly only half of the population even votes. More importantly, much of the “education” is wasted on advertising from interest groups designed to sway opinion with little to no facts.

While I agree, it is a significant challenge to implement in depth education for an entire system, it’s also the greatest opportunity for creating fundamental change through blockchain. In order to make blockchain inclusive, we have to address the issue of educating all participants. This is the hardest aspect of decentralization but the most promising one. As a way for blockchain to really become humanist and a change agent for societal good, we must really push for these technologies to be truly understood, not just utilized, by a large, diverse audience that can build a broader base of perspective and influence. This is particularly true for millions globally who have been unrepresented or, worse, oppressed. Think about the hundreds of millions who are unbanked, struggle with land rights records, or basic identity ownership. They will be the ones most motivated to become educated on blockchain and it’s uses as it will have an immense impact on their daily lives. Building inclusion to with whom, how and when blockchain is used is instrumental in actually affecting a large scale audience without replicating the centralized, non inclusive environments that currently exist.

In future posts, I’ll look to explore potential educational and inclusivity frameworks to address more solutions for governance models.