Debating public blockchain governance is back in style

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

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Editor's note

Lately the topic of public blockchain governance is trending again. Sparking the conversation is a series of ASIC-related events that have pushed developers to re-consider the means by which they control rule-making on public chains.

This debate isn't new. The same discussion about governance has recurred several times in the short history of cryptocurrency. It is unlikely that governance will ever be fully "solved" in such dynamic and complicated systems. The complexity arises from needing concensus at two levels: first the consensus of distributed machines, and second the consensus of decentralized human rule-makers (a concept known as Polycentric law).

A sound governance model means a network can scale without splitting into many forks, staying together by some form of decentralized decision making process. The debate on blockchain governance will re-appear each time networks reach scalability thresholds, and bottlenecks appear.

This week's news recap

  1. Tuesday: Is the Bitcoin bubble a reflection of global macro froth?
  2. Wednesday: Delegated PoS systems like EOS have a collusion problem
  3. Thursday: The first zero-knowledge protocol breaks, again
  4. Friday: What's the correlation between price and hashpower?

Further reading this week

Commentary on the virtue of hardforks

Scaled-back blockchain lease OK'd
(Union-Bulletin.com, by Vicki Hillhouse)

"The meeting was the first public opportunity to hear directly from Ant Creek, which Stearns described as both a blockchain and artificial-intelligence company led by two different CEOs on each side. He also described it as the largest manufacturer of cryptopcurrency mining equipment in the world, a characterization that matches that of Bitmain, whose co-founder, Jihan Wu, is listed as a contact on Ant Creek’s public registration records."

Discussion thread on incentives in cryptocurrency protocols

Proposal to use drivechain to put a prediction market on Bitcoin sidechain

Fake news, fake money

Exit scammers run off with $660 million in ICO earnings
(John Biggs)

"This so-called exit scam could be that largest in recent memory and is also indicative of what’s to come in the ICO space. The team of seven Vietnamese nationals seem to have left the country while scammed investors massed outside the company’s old headquarters."

A tangled web: will Coinbase Ventures lead to conflicts of interest?
(Coindesk, by Leigh Cuen)

"Walch speculated that Coinbase Ventures could have access to potentially market-moving information, such as which crypto projects are about the secure venture capital funding or which tokens are about to be listed on other exchanges. And these communities, too, she worries, might receive the same favoritism that seemed to plague the litecoin announcement."