HOW TO MAKE SENSE OF CRYPTO-GOVERNANCE

Creating everything from nothing?

codeXdiagrams
Sep 10 · 6 min read

code-x-diagrams is a collective dedicated to participatory experiments with dynamisms of power, energy, governance, and law in the crypto space. It propagates the claim that rigorous research into emerging modes of generative governance, fostered and made possible by cryptotechnologies, not only requires active engagement with the object of research (so to speak), but in doing so also calls for different modes of inquiry, expression, even different languages. In other words, the collective holds that knowledge, including its modes of production, cannot be imagined in, or gained from, an assumed outside. Objectivity, even if often claimed differently, is not a matter of non-participatory observation and measurement, conveniently forgoing questions of complicity. We are, to speak with Brian Massumi, not “bemoan[ing] complicity,” but are “gaming it” by creatively getting “down and dirty in the field of play.”

Power to the People?

And yet, hodlthevoid is not a game. It is the first interactive engagement with generative governance [GGov]. So called frontier spaces are — and have historically been — particularly attractive for and vulnerable to generative modes of governance.

Oxygen levels are sinking, temperatures rising, global pandemics are unsettling social relations, and votes peter out in the cacophony of contemporary, global crises. Questions are plenty: what modes of governance will guide the future? Will there be laws and legal systems? What will be the decision-making processes that shape both planetary and interplanetary matters? Sovereign or singularity? Doge or dollar? Democracy or start-up societies? Territory or data? Punitive algorithms or decentralized trust-mechanisms? All of it? None? As a generative experiment, holdthevoid deliberately does not offer a pre-made model, a draft constitution, a whitepaper, or a political manifesto.

Nevertheless, hodlthevoid does not arise from an empty vacuum. Hobbes’ Leviathan — considered among the major works of Western art and political philosophy on power and governance — was both a register and an experiment during a period of social-political upheaval and fundamental shifts in the material living conditions. It also raised the still unresolved question, crucial for democracies as well as autocracies, of how and whether power is or can be given to (or taken from) “the people.” Generative governance, whether striving for unmediated, decentralised governance or holding on to centralized, representative models of distribution and decision-making, cannot escape that condundrum either. Put differently, taken seriously that power is to be “given to the people,” the question of who or what gives power and what constitutes “the people’’ does not depend on predetermined definitions, but is negotiated by precisely that which is referred to as “power.”

While it might have become cliché to state that power is inseparable from money, the history of cryptocurrencies shows the intimate connection between power and pricing mechanisms as determining factors for value production. Further, tokenization is turning into a market-driven mode of governance ranging from, among others, asset tokens to utility tokens, purpose-driven tokens, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), calling into question previous notions of scale and accessibility. ‘Nature’ is getting a digital twin while ‘[l]iteral DogeCoin’, after all, ‘is going to the literal Moon.’

It is at the intersection of distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens, and desires to create different orders of different magnitudes, from the molecular to the intergalactic, that hodlthevoid intervenes with a generative experiment giving, quite literally, power to the people through the means of its time.

What’s Law Got to Do With It?

Blockchain and law is an ongoing negotiation, inseparable from questions of money design, accessibility (rather than borders), energy resources, public and private stakes, various histories and, entangled with it, possible futures.

Can rights be minted? Can NFTs become a means of ‘giving power’ to ‘the people’? Should laws have both a timestamp and an expiration date? What are the consequences of introducing the option of reselling participatory rights and what will they cost (and for whom)? What collaborations will arise and what are the values that will eventually determine what is desirable for one society and not the other? code-x-diagrams suggests that the experiment, ultimately conducted by the AO XIV 13 card holders, will articulate answers to these and many more questions that are not to be found in legal statutes and libraries. Neither are they reducible to the realm of legal forms. Crypto law, too, evolves from within its field. Understanding its possibilities and challenges means inevitably also negotiating complicity.

Mars Governance: Keeping Law Short?

With space tourism and travel on the horizon, the question about Mars governance becomes more and more pertinent, making its way from the depths of science fiction into exam questions on law and governance schools. The question as to whether (and how) laws and concepts (such as power, sovereignty, rights, or property) will make it to Mars is not yet determined. And, if humanity is going to become a multi-planetary species, if human and AI are increasingly merging, what are the rules (if any) and technological tools that should govern digital, semi-digital, and non-digital societies?

Such and other questions are to be addressed by AO XIV 13 card holders who follow the invitation to participate in this generative experiment aiming for Mars governance models.

Remaining truthful to the claim that knowledge cannot be gained from afar, each AO XIV 13 card gives exclusive access to a multi-day generative event, and thus the power to make or prevent law making on Mars. The event starts on October 31st, 2027 and will be held on Mars in 2027.*

In order to participate in both the event and the generation, negotiation, and prevention of governance scenarios on Mars an AO XIV 13 card is required.

The aesthetics of the cards are an engagement with Western political philosophy, starting with Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan and teeming with numerous hidden references to historical and contemporary discussions on how to govern and hodl power.

Each card lists five attributes on a scale from 0–5. The sum of all attributes constitutes the power of the card. The distribution of the scales is randomly configured at the moment of purchase. Each card is uniquely tied to the minter’s commitment to the governance experiment as it hashes the user address with the price of the card and generates individual scores for the power attributes. The price increases by 1% with each purchase. Special cards appear when one of the five attribute scores is completed. Cards are available for resale on OpenSea. Further details will be released after the batch is sold.

Let us close by reiterating, once again, that gaming complicity is certainly not a game. We cannot guarantee it is not played dirty. If it were up to us to state a single rule it would be to not become enamored with power. But, what’s love got to do with it?

=======================================

[Editors Note: CLR & CLR persons have no stake, interest in, or promissory rights to any code-x-diagrams’ ware; we just like sharing trends that push legal boundaries, off-chain, on-chain, and against the chain; and now, also, off-Earth, on-Mars, but always for the lulz]

Crypto Law Review

A journal pushing the bounds of our legal imaginaries…