A user’s perspective and introduction to blockchain governance

Medium seems to be insisting that I choose a featured image and none of the others seem suitable. Pixabay says this one is free to reuse, with no attribution required! Cheers 3dman_eu!

1. Bitcoin

2. Enforcing Bitcoin’s consensus rules

3. Setting Bitcoin’s rules

Software Bitcoin Nodes are running — source: https://coin.dance/nodes
Source: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin

4. Soft forks, hard forks, chain splits and free coins!

Source: https://monero.org/forks/

5. How does Bitcoin (BTC) evolve?

Source: https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0002.mediawiki

A soft-fork BIP strictly requires a clear miner majority expressed by blockchain voting (eg, using BIP 9)

A hard-fork BIP requires adoption from the entire Bitcoin economy, particularly including those selling desirable goods and services in exchange for bitcoin payments, as well as Bitcoin holders who wish to spend or would spend their bitcoins (including selling for other currencies) differently in the event of such a hard-fork. Adoption must be expressed by de facto usage of the hard-fork in practice (ie, not merely expressing public support, although that is a good step to establish agreement before adoption of the BIP)…

…Miners are not included in the economy, because they merely *rely on* others to sell/spend their otherwise-worthless mined produce. Therefore, they must accept everyone else’s direction in deciding the consensus rules.

Exchanges are not included in the economy, because they merely provide services of connecting the merchants and users who wish to trade. Even if all exchanges were to defect from Bitcoin, those merchants and users can always trade directly and/or establish their own exchanges.

Developers are not included in the economy, since they merely write code, and it is up to others to decide to use that code or not…

This BIP does not aim to address what “should” be the basis of decisions. Such a statement, no matter how perfect in its justification, would be futile without some way to force others to use it. The BIP process does not aim to be a kind of forceful “governance” of Bitcoin, merely to provide a collaborative repository for proposing and providing information on standards, which people may voluntarily adopt or not. It can only hope to achieve accuracy in regard to the “Status” field by striving to reflect the reality of *how things actually are*, rather than *how they should be*.

Showing the time between blocks for Bitcoin Cash, August 2017 — January 2018. Source: https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/bitcoin%20cash-confirmationtime.html

6. Gauging the mood of “the Bitcoin economy”

Promotion of client software which attempts to alter the Bitcoin protocol without overwhelming consensus is not permitted.

7. Characterizing Bitcoin’s governance

8. (How) could a Bitcoin hard fork happen?

9. A worm’s-eye view of Bitcoin’s governance

A worm’s-eye view is a view of an object from below, as though the observer were a worm; the opposite of a bird’s-eye view. It can be used to look up to something to make an object look tall, strong, and mighty while the viewer feels child-like or powerless. — Wikipedia

10. Blockchain governance as projects scale

I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party. The paper is available at http://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf.

11. Flexibility to institute or reform governance

12. Ethereum and the DAO hard fork

DAO fork carbon vote. Source: https://vitalik.ca/general/2017/12/17/voting.html

13. Brief note on alternatives means of ensuring distributed consensus

14. Contemporary debates in blockchain governance

15. Decred

Decred voting cycle. Source: https://docs.decred.org/getting-started/user-guides/agenda-voting/
Display of an active vote from voting.decred.org — sourced from waybackmachine April 2017 as no votes are currently active. https://web.archive.org/web/20170531124822/https://voting.decred.org/

16. Back to those contemporary debates

Some community funded Monero projects in progress. Source: https://forum.getmonero.org/9/work-in-progress

17. Autonomously funded cryptocurrency projects

Dash budget proposal vote tracker, source: https://dashvotetracker.com/index.html

18. Back to those contemporary debates (again)

…not very well documented, and it’s hard to understand them without actively participating in them…No one has full information about the structure of the processes involved.

19. Some Decred skepticism

20. Conclusion



Writing about cryptocurrency/blockchain projects that are doing something interesting with regard to governance. Decred contributor.

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Richard Red

Richard Red

Writing about cryptocurrency/blockchain projects that are doing something interesting with regard to governance. Decred contributor.