Binance Labs at Devcon4 Meetup Video (Part II) — Ethereum as a Political Movement
Last Thursday evening, Binance Labs hosted our first meetup with two panels in Prague. We were incredibly privileged to be joined by exceptional panelists who were also attending Devcon4. In this article, we hope to replay the second panel for those of you who were not able to make it to the event.
The title of the second panel was Ethereum as a Political Movement, and our panelists were:
Amir Taaki, Autonomous Polytech
Amir is a long-time contributor to free software. Among many projects, he created libbitcoin, Dark Wallet, and Dark Market. He advocates total data freedom and proposes a shift away from specialist thinking towards a creative society of generalist knowledge workers.
Vlad Zamfir, Ethereum Foundation
Vlad is Ethereum’s lead researcher and developer of the Casper protocol upgrade. He is best known for his work on crypto-economics, proof-of-stake, and blockchain sharding. He is an active blogger, speaker, and is also concerned about ethics in the use and governance of blockchain technology.
Ashley Tyson, Web3 Foundation (Moderator)
Ashley is with the Web3 Foundation which is building an internet where users are in control of their own data, identity, and destin
Here is the video of the panel:
Ashley: Amir, can you elaborate on your reaction of the last panel when Arthur asked the panelists about certain projects not getting the right amount of attention and about the enterprise implementations?
Amir: I don’t think these new emergent technologies offer anything for Westerners. The real use of this technology will be for people who are suffering, people who are at war, people who take these concepts and apply them to their society. It wasn’t the Westerners who applied the ideas of (Marx); it was developing countries. As much as possible, this tech has big potential to shape society, but it is not going to come from this society with a well established financial system. We should ensure and protect this technology as much as possible to avoid capture by large regulatory and state-based powers. There is a role for the business that interfaces with regulators to put up resistance as much as possible. The technology has transformative potential. There is only a window of opportunity. I don’t want to be overly optimistic that the tech has a destiny of unbounded human freedom. It is something that we have to work for, and we have to organize toward. It is not given. There is a window of opportunity but only if we seize that and work toward that.
Ashley: Vlad, can you elaborate on government capture which you talked about at the Web3 Summit?
Vlad: I super agree with Amir that we need to avoid the capture of blockchain governance by state or corporate entities because it undermines the utility of the blockchain for governance. If you want to use blockchain for some application, then it is going to be subject to blockchain governance. If you have some international governments app, it’s going to subject to the corporate governance or state governance, and then it won’t be as new as an international institution as we think blockchains can be. The blockchain is an international institution that isn’t born out of the legal system, and it doesn’t exist across many different systems, and it was born as a reaction against the legal system. We have this cypherpunk crypto-anarchist global technology that can serve for governance that isn’t captured by corporations. But I think we can easily screw it up.
Ashley: Can you elaborate on governance risks? Can you talk about what the potential downfalls are and what that future could look like?
Vlad: There are lots of ways to get captured. The easiest one is to ask for it, either by laying out the red carpet or making terrible noises so that people have to come and shut you up. You don’t want to attract the governance from the outside, and you don’t welcome it. I think people are ready to do both in the space today. They are ready to propose governance processes that are easy to capture and ready to commit to doing things that are politically very unpopular to the point where they are willing to say things like it doesn’t matter the social cost we are never going to fork the blockchain. People on both sides are asking for it. They are asking to be governed by saying loads of sociopathic sh*t that people won’t accept. And by laying out the carpet by saying here are the steps A, B, and C, and blockchain governance is yours. They are so every day to me in blockchain space. People threatening crazy sh*t and making themselves for target and making everyone a target for governance.
Ashley: Do you have specific examples?
Vlad: I was thinking about on-chain governance and plutocracy: DFINITY, Tezos, Polkadot, Cosmos. There’s more but maybe less credible than those four. These are the red carpet people. They are just welcoming capture. Here is our blockchain nervous system used to control the blockchain, here are the rules that determine how to own and execute any order on the blockchain.
They just institutionalize owners. And then there’s Bitcoiners and Ethereum Classic on the other side they don’t give a f*ck what happens on the blockchain. Every day, man.
Ashley: Amir, what are your thoughts?
Amir: Right now, geopolitically we are heading into a very new part of the human history, where Immanuel Wallerstein called bifurcation point. We have a chaotic system and the paths follow a similar trajectory and reach a tipping point where they verge into different directions. The Westerner’s worldview is no longer effective in dealing with the challenges that we’re facing as humanity. The rise in religious extremists, the nationalist movement, right-wing governments that are coming into power, are an indication, are a signal, of the kind of future that we’re heading into. It’s not hippy happy. It’s a future where there will be a lot of human suffering, but it’s also a moment of opportunity. These countries, like Sri Lanka, are liquidating countries assets to pay off global debts to the IMF. Recently Christine Lagarde made a talk called “fight fire with fire.” She said cryptocurrency poses one of the biggest threats to the financial order and government needs to create their own cryptocurrency systems to challenge the rising threat enabling money laundering and funding of terrorist movement. That is code speech. Money laundering is a counter-economic activity that is outside of the State. Terrorism financing is financing from non-state sanctioned movements. Against this break up of power, the only weapon that the states have is to increase the authoritarian mechanisms and control and that is what they are going to do. The basis is materialism, in particular, financial system and financial accounting based on money. People work their entire lives in jobs that are meaningless to earn a piece of paper printed by the central bank. It is one of the most sinister forms of mass human conscription or slavery in human history. What that means as a cryptocurrency community is that we have no shortage of techniques or ideas at our disposal, but the problem is that we have this idea of self-autonomy and self-governance and decentralization. These are powerful ideas, but self-governance does not mean no one can tell me what to do or I can go anywhere I want. Freedom is a bigger concept. Freedom is the sense of aspiration towards reaching something higher. Reaching your full potential as human beings. The way that we are effective as a civilization is by having different roles and functionalities that enable us to collaborate and work together. As a crypto community that is lacking right now. The market is fragmented into small projects and microcosm in which people are climbing up a ladder to be the kingmakers. It feels like people are making a lot of projects which are just meant to attract or distract people’s attention momentarily to be the next big thing without thinking maybe there are smaller tasks that we can devote ourselves to work on, which maybe isn’t so glamours or attention-grabbing. There are all these projects there’s all this finance and capital that feels like influence-buying. What we have to do as a community we have to try to develop a coherent idea of what we are striving towards, what are our capabilities, and what is the problem space that we want to solve, so we can coherently attack this problem space. It’s not just about being the leader of this one small project. Our goal is much higher than that we are facing large entrenched power structures and it’s a huge goal, and it requires a massive level of human social coordination. In this community, I see a massive amount of really idealistic young people who are skilled and have access to huge massive of capital. Some of them have more money than God. That’s a real opportunity if we could direct that force, it could have a massive impact, but we have to be able to organize coherently to make use of that.
Vlad: What do you think we can rally around as the cryptocurrency community?
Amir: If people want to understand about the society we live in and where its all gone wrong, look up the Wikipedia article about the origin of human civilization. There are two modes of technological development. Technology has a mixed legacy of two different mentalities. One is hierarchical, socially stratified, centrally state-based civilization. One example is the pyramids as a great example of amazing monuments they were built for a ruler, a pharaoh, of the lives and backs of hundreds and thousands of human beings and a huge amount of human suffering. And for what? A gigantic piece of rock in the desert. In opposition, there are technologies like Unix. Unix philosophy is to build one modular piece of software that does one thing well and can be combined with other people to build even larger systems. In the monolithic software project where there is one head of architecture who designs all the parts and everybody has to be managed by an organization. But if we want to give people power over this advanced technology, we have to think about how we can pull out these advanced concepts from the minds of these brilliant thinkers into the hands of people. That means, for example, documentation, good APIs, but it also means building modular software, meaningful code that is written with beauty in mind as a craft that other people can take that technology and use it to build other different kinds of technologies. Not only a small group of highly technically inclined programmer have access to these technologies, but many other people can make use of them to build other things that we couldn’t imagine. The context is completely different, and the market is completely different for people from different parts of the world. And therefore the type of solutions they will need are different. We have to take that into account, and that is why modular technology that can be reconfigured that can take advantage of geopolitical differences is something we should be focused on. A lot of the technologies is created by a guy from Silicon Valley for someone like themselves in Silicon Valley. I believe the real opportunity for cryptocurrency is not the mass markets, and it’s the long end of the tail where the market is not served by the financial system. I have another thesis. There is a huge black market economy that is not being catered for by the crypto community and the first people to take advantage of that are going to be very extremely wealthy and successful.
Vlad: What is your agenda here? What are you trying to encourage people to do?
Amir: It’s simply that I believe human freedom is extremely important. The current system that we’ve constructed brings us great material benefits inside the civilization. If I live in the forest and I clothe myself, I am a free, autonomous being. But I don’t live in the forest; I live in a civilization with other people. That guy who worked in the factory that guy doing the mechanical work like a robot, he has lost part of his humanity, and he is not feeling himself as a human being. I am not saying that we can decentralize all types of telecommunications infrastructure industry. But we can think about how we can reconfigure to give more personal empowerment and technology can serve humanity rather than enslaving us in a mega-machine. Technology is the weapon that we wield to force that process.
Vlad: I hear you but isn’t it unpredictable how the technology is going to benefit and how it is going to influence political realities? Not everyone has equal access to technology, and not everyone will be on the winning side each time. Can there be too much freedom?
Amir: I don’t know. I mention Ted Kaczynski. He realized that he could not run away to the forest, he had to confront this thing. We have two choices. Either tech leads to human enslavement and subjection. For example, there was an outcry over a new system that the US military is developing called EATR big dog robots can walk long distances. The military says that they are developing these apparatus to give supplies to the soldiers. But many people suspect that it will be used as a platform to carry heavy weaponry, and it will be a mobile killing platform. This subsystem was a way for the robot to eat and digest biomass to go over long distances. The reason there is an outcry is that if you are developing killer robots, they will be able to eat human beings and use that energy to power themselves over long distances. Why are they developing that technology? Another technology that is developed in China is glasses that can do facial recognition on people. You know how in the train the police check every other person for his documentation. Now, they can check peoples faces automatically within 6 seconds they can grab someone. In Dubai, they are developing a mobile platform in the sky, and the police can literally just come down and apprehend someone anywhere in the city. In a social rating system in which when your rating drops too low, you might not be able to rent a house or travel. The blockchain is really useful for that. I have seen a project with analytics that tracks people debt records on the blockchain. Those things already exist. That is a real danger. I can say that if the technology is inherently evil, what is there for me to do, nothing. I don’t think technology can be destroyed. It’s too embedded. It is, in fact, something core to what makes up humanity. There is a glimpse of hope. Throughout history, we have stories like Kawa the blacksmith when there was an oppressive ruler. He taught his people how to make tools to be able to resist and overthrow their ruler. Technology has played a role in enslaving and liberating people throughout human history. It is our job in as a vibrant community with a lot of fresh ideas along with these corporations who do not generate ideas but capture these ideas to make the profit. It’s upon us to organize and develop an analysis of economics, of politics, of law, of self-defense, of society, of culture, and think how can we apply that tech to really help to move toward the kind of system that we want to see.
Vlad: Too much freedom can be good or bad depends… and it’s up to us. I am satisfied as long as there is a sliver of hope. I am actually guardedly optimistic that blockchain won’t lead to a terrible dystopia.
Ashley: How can you be so sure?
Vlad: I am not. I think at the end of the day basically the relationship between blockchain and society will be a reasonable one, even though people in the blockchain space might not like that. Either because it is completely captured or either because immutability is a wet dream that is not a reality. I think it’s insane you can absolve yourself of responsibility for a server because you decentralize it. I don’t think it’s ever going to stand any social scrutiny with this idea that we don’t have the same responsibilities and the idea that you can immutably run a server while someone is using it to attack innocent people. Pretty much every centralized software service have the ability to report abuse functionality because people do not accept that. I don’t think blockchain should be any different. The immutability stuff doesn’t really happen, and then the question is to what extent does it watch it be to get captured. We are all used to being owned it would just be more of the same dealing with the hierarchical system where other governance outcomes can be.
Ashley: Speaking of hierarchical power systems, can you talk about what do you think these new power structures and new dynamics will look like with decentralization?
Amir: There are different forms of power. There’s economic power, and there’s ethical power. We have to think what is the role of all of these things that we create and to foster the ideal type of human being in terms of the technologies that we can create. Right now what I see is that there is a lot of abstract thinking about technological systems people drawing diagrams and there’s very little interaction with the world of culture and society and so on. Engineering has a very specific mindset. To be a good engineer you have to be able to optimize toward a goal. Science is about stripping away all of the complex reality to understand the root of mechanism so we can exploit these mechanisms. That’s what we do as a technologist, and that is how do we build systems. But when we applied that to human beings, when you reduce a human to a mechanical object inside of this period of modernity, it has been the period with the most amount of genocide and ethnic cleansing. We have to think about technology how do we build technology. This is not just the plan, and this is the project. It is also important fostering the mindset of the technologist so they can carry those ideas and implement them themselves. So every person can be a carrier of those ideas such that they can implement themselves. In the medieval period, they conceptualized society as three different kinds of people: the peasant who is doing the agriculture and is the center of all society, the knight who was the warrior, protector of the realm with the wielded weapon, and the priest who was the source of values and models in the society. In terms of technology, we can conceptualize a similar model. We have our community of users, the people who we make the technology for. If we develop technology for ourselves and not applying to society, then it is simply a useless utopia. We have the developers and engineers that wield the weapon of technology that can shape the material reality around them. We have the entrepreneurs, the visionaries with ideas who think about where we apply these techniques to create some change. The hacker is an embodiment of all three of these things together. The hacker applies this technology in the society, the hacker birth and invent new technology, and the hacker thinks the intellectually how can I use for shaping the world. Timony C May himself said that he believes his ideological types will create interesting new things.
Vlad: I feel super ideological all of the time. I have a lot of reactions to pragmatism, and I do a lot of practices all the time.
Ashley: Amir, you were deeply involved in the core development of early days of Bitcoin, then you felt a call to go to Rojava to participate in the anarchist revolution, and you’ve come back a democratic confederalist who is exploring Ethereum and other technologies. You’ve been a critic of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other crypto projects. It would be useful if you can reflect on your experience in Rojava and how blockchain technologies can be used practically?
Amir: My father is Iranian, and I never understood the Middle East until I was there for those two years. The Middle East is a really interesting place it’s a place where human civilization began, it’s the origin of the world’s major religions and philosophies. Throughout history, the Middle East has always been an incubator for new philosophies of life that spread to the west. The Kurdish movement is a movement that has developed a compelling body of ideas. When I went there, I thought that I would be bringing the knowledge, anarchism, or my philosophies there, but instead, I encountered people that had been shaped by decades of struggle. These are people that are philosophical, charismatic individuals that I found extremely compelling. Even the philosophies I found extremely compelling and spoken to me on a deeper level. I started in the YPG military then I left after some months where I was organizing foreigners who came to participate in the struggle. And after some time of managing the foreigners, I went to work in a civic society doing economics work, working on energy projects, agricultural projects where they were building factories and industry. And it was during that time there, I kind of fully understood what exactly does it means to change society, what is the process of the development of a new system in the society — the need for economics, industry, the system of law, and the kinds of problems you face in building a new society in detailing with building a new mindset trying to construct a new system and the new way of organizing people. For example, the PKK which is the revolutionary force fighting against Turkey has about 50,000 people living in the mountains in southeast Turkey and fighting the 2nd biggest army in NATO. You have to be an extremely well-organized coherent political force. It takes a huge amount of organization to do that. What I learned as well is the process of how the methodology of how we organize a revolutionary group of people to be effective in dealing with politics and society around us in observing the process of startup government and the kinds of problems in constructing a new society. Because of my work in economics as well, I gained the trust of a lot of influential people there who now have a very big interest in crypto and blockchain. They have been training programmers in cryptography as well. They were asking me the other day what texts are there related to crypto anarchism and blockchain movement and so on. I couldn’t think of anything right now, and it’s just informal ideas between people and on random blog posts. It’s not just about this movement of people, but even in this community there’s a lot of disaffected people that feel outside of the process and if we could establish structures that we could develop themselves as hackers with curriculum and projects that people can participate in. That is also the process of decentralization. Decentralization is not people doing spontaneously by themselves. In fact, what emerges out of that is an invisible form of hierarchy. Exactly the same thing as the occupy movement. There is a famous quote: You know what’s worse than the older elite, it’s the new invisible elite. We cannot see, and there is no way for us to challenge. There’s always going to be people that are more charismatic, that have more money and more power and the role of the structure is to establish mechanisms to challenge the power of those individuals. There’s a healthy balance between charisma and organization. Charisma is the heart of what gets us there. We inspired by ideas and try to develop ourselves to meaningful things. The same time organization is necessary because we exist inside of this society. If a charismatic individual dominates an organization, then there’s no oversight, and there’s no check on the balance of that power. We have to understand how do both of those two opposing systems work together effectively. We live in a system of organization, and we want to construct a new paradigm. The anarchist movement has been opening coffee shops and bicycle repair shops. And where does that get us? Nowhere. Maybe it is time to try a different way of things. That’s why I’ve been telling people to look at Abdullah Öcalan and his series of Manifesto for Democratic Civilization.
The writing is trying to figure out the idea of guerrilla movement in the Middle East where we fight against the Turkish, against ISIS, and has been trying to understand why this Middle East is so f*ck up? The conclusion Öcalan came to is that this concept of the western nation-state doesn’t fit the mentality of people in the Middle East. People in the Middle East have loyalty to their tribe, to their religion, to their culture, to their family and what modernity has done is create artificial nation-states across the entire ethnic groups. The only way these nation states can maintain power is authorization and elimination of difference. This happened in the West a long time ago and already been erased from our memory. In France, 100 years ago, 40 percent of France used to speak a language Occitan. That language does not exist anymore. It was eliminated by the French state because it was a threat to the unity of the French nation-state.
Vlad: What do you think as the blockchain space as the first step to not screw up our governance, not get captured, not have the balance and get captured by the charismatic leaders, or any of the other potential pitfalls?
Amir: I think the most important thing is to establish academies that work to transform the mindset of people, rather than trying to think about what mechanism we put in place. In ancient Greece, they had the concept of the gymnasium where young people used to come and do sports. It wasn’t just training them to compete, but to develop them as human beings. They were given instructions in mathematics and religion.When Socrates came and proposed a new system for Greece, they had him executed. His student Plato founded the Academy. In Plato’s Academy, many great thinkers, and intellectuals of the ancient world were trained. For example, Cicero was trained in Plato’s Academy. After Plato, Aristotle founded Lyceum where Christians came along, they shut down on their academies in Greece, and all of the teachers went East to Baghdad which started the Islamic golden age. The academy is the real revolutionary form. The modern schooling of university systems is a degenerate form of the ancient academy. Academy is a place where people come, and they study, and they learn, they work on projects and they live together as well. People who want to devote themselves to projects. Right now I hear from a lot of people who want to develop themselves, who want to contribute something meaningful, but they are all drifting around from project to project. There is not any space where they can go, and they can be part of an organization dedicated to this kind of activity. I think that is the most meaningful thing. I want to mention Richard Stallman as well. Richard Stallman saw what was happening to the technology world and all of his idealism was being eaten up by all of these large corporations [and affects] the previously idealistic community of hackers, and he came along to everybody and “he said look it doesn’t need to be this way.” We can build our own free software operating system, and he released the GNU manifesto and if you read that manifesto it says “this is the software we made, this is the software that we are making, this is the software we are going to make, and this is how it is all going to fit together. When I was sixteen, read the writing of Richard Stallman and many other hackers, and I decided that I wanted to be a hacker. I wanted to devote myself to realize this grand vision that was put in place by Richard Stallman.
Amir: I want to ask Vlad a question. If there was no limit on the gas of Ethereum, what applications can be made? If you solved the Oracle problem, and also what can we make?
Vlad: Terrifying question. I am super concerned about Ethereum with zero gas price. I don’t think we have the understanding of our relationship with Ethereum to be required to unleash that kind of power, especially with Oracle. If there is no Oracle, then it is much more limited, because all you can do is stuff that can be verified within the smart contracts. But if you have Oracles, you have real-life information and real-life actions that can be incentivized or triggered. Oracles make the blockchain scarier. Oracles are off-chain, and smart contract triggered actors are off-chain, so even the Ethereum is amazing, you need to have an amazing Oracle to have that whole system that to build all kinds of apps that can be imagined. The reason I am not excited about the prospect is that I think about all these terrible things that I am afraid people will build instead of things that I am excited about. This is why I am super concerned about the state of governance today. If the governance is better and I was to imagine the nice things that people could build. Number one thing that I am super motivated to see is decentralized peer-review and curation as an alternative to the existing academic peer review. I’m a big fan of the idea that anyone can deploy an application and not have to run servers that the role of developer and the role of maintainer could be completely separate. The idea that people will have access to cheap information security for everyone including publishing, authentication, and privacy. This kind of things we dream of and we imagined that it would be like empowering, but I think we have a lot of governance stuff to face. I don’t think that we are all well-intentioned. I think there is a lot of people in cryptocurrency that are planning on doing things that are considered malicious with blockchain. I think these are the main people who make me terrified of zero-priced gas Ethereum.
Q: I want to ask why do we want to decentralize?
Vlad: IMO decentralization is a means to an end, and that end is not being captured. To make it difficult for the systems that we build to get captured. Decentralization provides security against adversaries. For the most part, an adversary is someone who wants to shut you down and stop you from doing something you want to do. I don’t think we can predict all of the consequences of our actions. I’m saying I can’t predict the future. We should be paranoid and think of all the worst-case outcomes and try to correct them.
Amir: I can list a bunch of applications that I thought before that I decided not to make. I have wondered myself why these applications were not already been made. They are not complex, and they are relatively easy to make. My conclusion is first no one came up with these ideas. Secondly, if they did come up with these ideas, they didn’t think it was a good use of their energy as developers. There’s a certain mindset in technology that what will get made and what can be made will be made. I don’t think that’s the case, as a community, we devote ourselves in a direction, and that direction is driven by ideology and other forces. For them to develop more elaborate countermeasures from being shut down by States, there need to be an active force or energy of developers who are driven to stop that happening. I think there’s a constant war going on the Red Queen hypothesis: evolutionary life forms are constantly in a race against each other. The predator developed more elaborate measures to harm the prey and the prey developing more elaborate measures to defend or protect itself from the predator. We never stand still, and we are constantly evolving. The myth that evolution of Bitcoin as a static system with 21 million coins and blocks every 10 minutes, there is so much more to the technology beyond that just core 10,000 lines of code. There is the protocol underlining it, do we put encryption in the network and what applications to develop, etc. People think science itself is neutral and objective, but I question that. I think science is heavily led by what we decide as a society on what research money will go. We need to start developing the mindset of hacker itself, so they know where to put their energy to increase freedom. They can better understand society and the power that would transform the reality around them.
Q: Devcon6! Give us some titles of Devcon6 and some parties and how many people whatever… Just project the future.
Vlad: If we have a bear market for three years, it’s going to be awesome. All of the moon boys will have left, and it will be a cool place.
Amir: I think with the conferences, there’s a need to improve the format. It feels like we’re going from conferences to conferences. Everyone demonstrates their project, but I would think it would be more productive if we had courses inside the conferences. If we had meetings with the community where people were able to have discussions on certain issues, where responsible individuals were questioned by the broader community, and the events don’t just feel like social get together but events where things were decided new collaborations were born. Last year, when I was in England, every year they had an anonymous protest, and they spent one year to organize. It starts at the parliament, and it goes all of the ways to Trafalgar Square with 10s of 1000s of young people come in this protest, and it goes all the way along, and that’s it, and they go home. Until next year when they have the next protests. Instead of having people come to an end, there is some speeches and people are inspired by giving some new ideas with leaflet handed out about for the next year this is what we are going to work on, and these are projects that we are going to make.
Amir: Decentralization is a way, a technique, it is not an end in itself, it is an effective technique to stop an attack by adversity. I think decentralization can sometimes be counterproductive. It’s also a very powerful technique as well.
Q: I would like to have you talk about the trade-off between it is not very easy to capture and you risk of having only the insider such as core dev or people who are designed this process actually to use it.
Vlad: I think there is a common misunderstanding that just because something is formalized means it is easy to capture. Voting is such an example of both formal and easy to capture people associate governance with voting, but there are all sorts of formal governance processes that aren’t voting and aren’t easy to capture. For example, look at IETF and they way they do Internet governance. They don’t use voting, and they haven’t been captured in the same way that W3C has. I don’t think that is because they have an opaque process but they have a formal process that is hard to capture. I think it is absolutely possible to have a process that everyone understands but it is difficult to capture. I don’t think formal, and capture rules are synonymous at all.
Ashley: We have seen a lot of forks in this space right now. We don’t have a lot of answers. I think the Ethereum Magicians are doing a lot of good work here and I think we need to question the status quo and maybe not fallen to the same hierarchical structures that have led us here.
Amir: The government is a collection of individuals which are responsible for the administrative function of a society. That means day to day of managing finances and allocating resources and so on, but it also means the setting of the long-term strategy. They type of governance we create inside of our organization should be a reflection of the government we want to see in the general wider society. Overly large bureaucracies can be detrimental to the creative thrust of society. We seek to limit bureaucracy as much as possible. Sometimes process especially when there is a big conflict of interest is important but also we should recognize that public participation in political life foster in people the ability, consciousness and the ability to construct a general will and achieve compromise. As much of the structure of the government is important, the actual act of engaging in politics also shape the character of people. That is the kind of what we see in our society today where people are disenfranchised from politics but mainly we officially live under a democracy but actually, we probably have less power to affect reality than we did in ancient time and that is why it breathes a general of apathy and nihilism in the society. The ideal type of structure created in a society should allow all different forms of organization to co-exist together and that means the different organizations that are solving different problems in the blockchain space will want to have different forms of social organization. For example, hierarchical form of organization can respond quickly to a rapid change of environment where there are problems arising but over the long term, it can be detrimental to the creative form. Whereas the more open free environments encourage nurture development thought. We have a very large problem space to deal with. So the kind of model I think we should favor is a kind of dual power structure. And we can educate people on what is the ideal structure for their context. Each of those organization should have a delegate which is sent to an umbrella organization where that delegate rep is part of a popular assembly where all these different organizations to find common points of interest of collaboration. We can be more effective as a wider community rather than a bunch of individuals projects or doing work in parallel inefficiently. I just mentioned about Linux. The problem with Linux is that we have dozens of Linux distribution that are all pretty much similar to each other. We have lots of different desktops, we have dozens of text editing applications, calculator apps, but we didn’t have one decent Linux desktop and we didn’t have one decent video editor because there was no strategy in the free software movement and that is something we really have to understand is in this big decentralized community. It doesn’t mean that we will have some power that force people. The whole point is to try to convince people through the power of argument and through the force of incentives. The democratic assembly that brings different groups together doesn’t mean a mass of individuals. It means finding different interest groups in the community and these interest groups organizing amongst themselves autonomously, and we can teach those peers how to organize and then those groups having delegates being sent to the other organizations to be able to coordinate amongst themselves.
Partial transcription via Rachel Rose O’Leary at CoinDesk; Edited by yours truly.