Decentralised government (DGov): How do we build new systems that enable collective power?

What tools do we have to build decentralised governance systems now? What examples are there of them in action? And how can we conceptualise and build them?

Ramsey Ajram (Decentration)


Right now, in 2021, the tools available to build decentralised systems with democratic “on-chain” governance capabilities are very real, very awesome, and are in practice and working effectively (here is an example). Communities are making decisions on using voting, councils, referenda, and treasury proposal decisions. They are self-governing in a decentralised way and democracy is baked into the foundation of their values and their technology.


You can set up a distributed autonomous organisation (DAO) relatively quickly. A DAO is an unstoppable organisation that lives on a blockchain. You could use Aragon’s smart contracts deployed on Ethereum. The problem at the moment (in early 2021) is that it’s expensive to run the organisation becauses of Eth’s expensive gas fees.

“Gov Legos” development

We’ve started a small community that are working on creating inter-operable blockchains that focus on governance, where online or offline communities can design their own modular governance and treasury systems.

DGov: unstoppable organisations built on web3.0

Let’s talk a little bit about Web3.0 how it differs from Web2.0 and how DGovs differ to DApps.

What are DGov’s?

They are ways people can organise in a fully decentralised way. There is no underlying central authority who they need to trust, or that can shut them down. No bombs, nor economic hitmen can disturb it. The communities who decide to build a DGov can organise however which way they want. They can design their system of economic incentives and governance based on their own principles and values. They can also dynamically make changes and updates to the system through member councils, proposals, voting and referenda, and they can design these systems how they want. Maybe some communities want yearly elected councils and others want weekly. DGovs can join up with other DGovs to form a confederate union of DGovs.

What technology enables DGov’s?

  • The decentralised internet of blockchains, which form a new web of trust called “Web 3.0” is what enables D-Gov’s to work.
  • Web 2.0 is the version of the internet we use today like Facebook, Google, Amazon, essentially techno-feudal tyrannies that are centralised and authoritarian, and whom you have to trust with your data.
  • Web 3.0 is a new decentralised p2p internet underpinned by a network of interoperable Blockchains — with no central authority and power structure — where, instead of having Amazon built on it, you have decentralised websites and apps (or DApps) built on it. This layer allows for new forms decentralised organising to take place, and with a level system integrity and robustness.
  • An example of a DApp would be a “Decentralised YouTube” where censorship is decided democratically rather than by dictators.
  • Blockchains are important to allow for decentralised storage and communication of information (and contract-like mechanisms) even amongst a large group of hostile participants.
  • But most importantly, the “social technology” of what narratives people form, and their values and mindsets, is the most important thing, which gives things meaning, and which allows a healthy and coherent organism to take shape.

How are DApps different to DGovs?

  • DApps were coined by Ethereum community to define what projects and use case can be built on the Ethereum network. They are decentralised apps.
  • The main difference between DApps and D-Govs is the narrative and intention behind the community who are organising.
  • DGovs pay special consideration to how they want to organise democratically and self-govern to implement their policies.
  • DApps might focus on specific use-cases like video, messaging, or file sharing. DApps can also have similar governance mechanisms.
  • DGov’s are more likely going to be part of the foundation layer of the web 3.0 infrastructure. And DApps or “DOrgs” would generally be built on top of them.

Examples of DGov’s:

  • An online community that want to create their own “virtual country”, economy and treasury with governance.
  • A union of fed up workers of Web2.0 companies like Amazon that wish to branch out re-organise and self-govern.
  • A Catalonian cooperative that wish to self-govern and form their own governance and economy.
  • Instead of a shadow government like the Labour party in the UK. You have a “shadow” system, which is enabled through a DGov. People can vote for a new DGov by spending their efforts in a new system, rather than the poverty-of-choice of voting red or blue in the old (rigged) system.

DGov’s are the foundation infrastructure for smaller decentralised collectives, organisations and societies can also build on top of. DGovs have a larger treasury can give funds and grants to the smaller DOrg projects in its ecosystem.

A union of multiple DGov’s that form a larger council

  • The shadow labour D-Gov system can be a confederation of local councils formed into a union to decide greater policy.

DGov’s in 2021 are similar to where websites were around ~2005. Still very early but not that early that it is too hard to build.

In a possible near future, DGovs will just be a “Gov” and we will be able to live in a system with a democratic foundation rather than a democratic facade.

We use the Substrate Blockchain programming framework in Rust, and here are some examples of communities using self-governance (using Substrate) to manage ecosystems that are growing in size and value:

  • Polkadot: founded by Gavin Wood former founder of Ethereum. The team implement and iterated well functioning decentralised democracy that governs a ~$30bn ecosystem. They are working to build out the Decentralised Web 3.0.
Referenda, proposals, voting, members, council and a treasury built on a decentralised network. Polkadot.
  • Kusama: similar to Polkadot but with more experimental about the technologies they are working on. They are a ~$2bn economy.
  • Edgeware: one of the first projects that have connected as a parachain to the Polkadot relay network.

All of these, and multiple others, are functioning with on-chain governance, where all decisions are enacted democratically. For example, the community make project proposals and the underlying currency in the system has a treasury that must be spent on projects. Their very own central bank and sovereign wealth fund, where money is invested democratically on things the community decides are important.

The policies that we wish to implement through the current system of government is an important job. But what if we can implement them in a parallel decentralised system?

We can plant the seed and the implement our vision of confederate union of localised councils, implement economic and monetary policy in the way we want. We can start as microcosm experiment, but that can grow, with the network effect, to a scale that has local/region wide/continent wide/worldwide impact.

Current status: Testing and setting up the first DGov experiment “DGov1”. Support welcomed and encouraged email me

Next steps…

  • Please state your interest by email or join our matrix room!
  • Grow community of developers, participants and social activists.
  • Roadmap development
  • Grants exploration.
  • Set up easy to use readme for people who want to launch the first D-Gov blockchains nodes in a test network.

Thoughts, questions, and …?

Please state your interest!

I hope this resonates, I look forward to discussing further.

All the best,

Ramsey Ajram

Founder of Decentration: building whole new decentralised solutions for humanity.

I am very interested in decentralised solutions, so I work as a systems architect and developer. I’m interested in growing communities that aim to build parallel systems that rival (and would eventually dissolve) current centralised systems that are designed to maintain stagnant power hierarchies.



Ramsey Ajram (Decentration)

Decentralising the web. Stewarding new paradigms. Engineering and product.