Quarterly Newsletter: Institutional Craftsmanship, Mycelial Design Patterns, Research on Legitimacy, and More

Published in
7 min readApr 9, 2024

Our team has been immersed in an array of topics this quarter with an abundance of learnings to share…

In this BlockScience Quarterly Newsletter, discover how we navigate the terrain of institutional craftsmanship with guiding heuristics, explore community empowerment for information infrastructure governance, and find out what mushrooms have to do with economic networks 🤔🍄

If you’d rather listen on a walk — check out the team’s recent talks, which cover topics ranging from knowledge organization infrastructure to classic governance dilemmas in decentralized autonomous organizations.

Let’s rock 🎸and scroll!


Engineering for Legitimacy

Governance that seeks to maintain the consent of the governed relies on legitimacy. How do we cultivate legitimacy when building institutions? Ilan Ben-Meir and Michael Zargham offer guiding heuristics institutional artisans can use to navigate.

Arbitrum Expert Service Provider Network Program Development

While this report is focused on the Arbitrum ecosystem, it addresses a common challenge in DAOs — hiring expert service providers. The report delves into the processes, trade-offs, and tensions in developing community governance frameworks around procurement, and proposes a novel approach to ensure access to expert services while maintaining accountability and fiscal responsibility.

Knowledge Networks and the Politics of Protocols

In this research article, we describe an ongoing research and development project at BlockScience and our collaboration with @metagov_project, which enables communities to deploy, maintain, and govern their own information infrastructure.


AuraNova Panel from left to right: Shar Qureshi, QURE (Left); Joshua Bate, DeSciWorld; Michael Zargham, BlockScience; Shady El Damaty, Ph.D. Holonym; OPSCI.

AuraNova Denver 2024

Our chief engineer, Michael Zargham, participated in a decentralized science (#DeSci) panel at ETH Denver titled, “Transforming Scientific Collaboration Through Decentralized Platforms.” The panelists discuss various aspects of decentralized platforms, including their composition, significance, and potential impact on scientific research. The discussion emphasizes the potential of decentralized platforms to revolutionize scientific collaboration and accelerate research progress.

Prefigurative Self-Infrastructing For Knowledge Networks

Zargham presented for another event at ETH Denver’s DeSci Summit 2024. In his talk on self-infrastructuring, he explores the revolutionary intersection of blockchain technology and open science. Discover how blockchain can provide the transparency, security, and collaboration needed to drive scientific research forward. Learn about real-world applications, the challenges overcome, and the vast possibilities that lie ahead for a more open, accessible, and reliable scientific community.

Knowledge Organization Infrastructure

In this video, Orion Reed and Luke Miller delve into our research and development in Knowledge Organization Infrastructure at our tech pod seminar. They outline design principles — including relative identifiers, digital objects, and temporal identity — underscoring the importance of distinguishing between representations and reality, accommodating diverse perspectives without imposing a “single source of truth,” and fostering flexibility in supporting varied organizational approaches. This comprehensive approach marks a significant leap forward in reshaping how we organize, represent, and interact with knowledge systems.

Classic Governance Dilemmas in the Context of DAOs with Eric Alston

In this presentation, Eric Alston, BSci Senior Researcher and Scholar in Residence at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Finance Division, delves into fundamental governance challenges such as representative losses, conflict resolution, Knightian uncertainty, and public goods provision, examining their impact on DAO governance.

From Viable Organizations to Viable Ecologies

In this presentation for Metaphorum, Michael Zargham explores cybernetics, organizational theory, and systems thinking. He delves into concepts like viable organizations and infrastructures and examines how governance, economics, and technology shape complex systems.

“Beyond Code is Law”: Lido in the Limelight: Ethereum’s Staking Protocol Controversy Explored

Eric Alston joins Josh Hale and Alice Zhang in their Beyond Code is Law podcast. They discuss Web3 governance, particularly the Lido staking protocol’s impact on Ethereum. The conversation explores concerns about centralization and parallels with traditional finance entities like BlackRock.


Governance Modules Library

In this presentation, Jacob Hackel, Ph.D., technical project manager and researcher, introduces Block Science’s Governance Modules Library initiative, which aims to standardize governance research and implementations in the Web3 space. Jacob outlines the structure, workflow, and goals of the library, inviting participation and feedback from the community. Watch to learn how to contribute and shape the future of decentralized governance.

Developed in partnership with Stellar, the Governance Modules Library is a collection of computational governance-aiding modules. They are enabled for various contexts, such as power attribution, identity, rights management, and more.

Neural Quorum Governance on the Stellar Community Fund

BlockScience has been enlisted for providing simulation-driven analysis for the SCF Implementation of Neural Quorum Governance, which has been ideated and specified by BlockScience engineers Danilo Bernardineli and Jakob Hackel with contributions from the Stellar Community for providing a modular and flexible form to attributing Voting Power.

Since then, NQG has been implemented and used for attributing the power on the SCF voting results, and we’ve been validating it using cadCAD for backtesting and producing counterfactual simulations over the results. For more details, check-out our SCF #23 and SCF #24 reports.

*Animation on the SCF #24 Report*
“Exploring #MycoFi: Mycelial Design Patterns for Web3” book launch at the Gitcoin House, ETH Denver. From left to right: Scott Morris, Kevin Owocki, Jessica Zartler, and Jeff Emmett.

Exploring MycoFi: Mycelial Design Patterns for Web3 and Beyond

Our team members, Jessica Zartler and Jeff Emmett published their new book: “Exploring MycoFi: Mycelial Design Patterns for Web3 and Beyond,” with a foreword by Scott Morris, design by Laura Helen Winn, illustration by Biux, and coordination by Owocki. This book guides readers on an underground exploration into the world-wise web of mycelial networks, which are the most prolific producers of public goods on earth. It examines how fungi’s evolutionary adaptability could help us imagine biomimetic alternatives to status-quo economic systems that demand infinite growth on a finite planet. Check out the MycoFi LinkTree to join the book club on Telegram, order a copy of the book, or get a free digital copy from the publisher, Green Pill Network.

Token Engineering Academy

Token Engineering Academy just announced its inaugural Study Season program, inviting enthusiasts and professionals to explore token engineering fundamentals and shape its future. Participants gain access to online learning materials, NFT certificates, and engaging sessions led by industry leaders. Join to contribute, learn, and earn valuable insights in token engineering. Register now for this unique opportunity!

cadCAD v0.5.1 Released & Announcing cadCAD.jl

There have been exciting updates in the cadCAD ecosystem, including improved performance, model management, and Python 3.10+ compatibility, on which several relevant contributions were made by our engineers: Danilo Bernardineli and Emanuel Lima. The Reference Implementation (RI) also sets gold behavior and API consistency standards, and a new spaces feature enables data manipulation. The goal is to support decision-making in complex systems through Generalized Dynamic Systems (GDS).

What is Token Engineering? A Stakeholder Study

Recently, a preprint has been published on which the content embodies a pioneering study on which 41 interviews across the space were made in order to synthesize what is Token Engineering as a field, set of practices, composition and norms. One of our researchers, Danilo Bernardineli, was assigned as the Science Subject Matter Expert, and his work was pivotal on the methodology and editorial production of this work.

Introducing the Security Alliance

Check out the latest from our senior social scientist, Kelsie Nabben, on ongoing research on the Security Alliance. The Security Alliance, or SEAL, is a new crypto security operation created by white hat hacker Samczsun. It offers a 24/7 emergency hotline for crypto users affected by hacks, legal protection for white hat hackers, and free red team exercises for web3 developers. Discover how this collective of crypto security experts is fortifying protocols and empowering the community.

DAO Vulnerability Mapping

And a huge congratulations 🎉 to Kelsie on releasing her chapter from her new book, “Decentralized Autonomous Organizations — Innovation and Vulnerability in the Digital Economy.” It offers an analytical approach to identifying DAO vulnerabilities across multiple dimensions not only for analytical purposes, but also to identify, prioritize, and address vulnerabilities towards improving resilience.

Nathan Schneider presenting his new book at the ETH Denver Metagov house.

“For technology to be governable, users must have the skills to understand its flows of power. Mystification helps keep ostensibly decentralized systems under the control of a small, expert elite.”

-Governable Spaces: Democratic Design for Online Life

Nathan Schneider

From left to right: Jessica Zartler, Nathan Schneider, Ronen Tamari, Amber Case, Jeff Emmett.

Governable Spaces Book Launch

ETH Denver had another exciting publication launch in store! Our research colleague at MetaGov, Assistant Professor and Founder of Media Economies Design Lab at University of Colorado Boulder Nathan Schneider’s release his new book “Governable Spaces” which discusses democracy in our everyday internet lives. Order the book or read the free version online.

🙏 Thanks for your very valuable attention and stay tuned for the next quarterly newsletter… From our team to yours… Happy Spring! 🐇🌷🪺🐦🐣💙


BlockScience® is a complex systems engineering, R&D, and analytics firm. By integrating ethnography, applied mathematics, and computational science, we analyze and design safe and resilient socio-technical systems. With deep expertise in Market Design, Distributed Systems, and AI, we provide engineering, design, and analytics services to a wide range of clients including for-profit, non-profit, academic, and government organizations.




BlockScience® is a complex systems engineering firm that combines research and engineering to design safe and resilient socio-technical systems.