No such thing as decentralized governance in SSI (or Blockchains) – Lawrence Lundy-Bryan – Webinar 26

Lawrence Lundy is a partner and head of research at Outlier Ventures, a venture platform that supports the development and growth of emerging technologies. To do this we advise and invest in talented teams, and support businesses which create value for an open data economy.

Today, most crypto projects are governed by the open-source development tradition based predominantly on Linux and the foundation model instigated by Ethereum. These structures are not robust enough if we are to build inclusive equitable global public utilities. On-chain governance solutions are a step in the right direction but are liable to concentration of power in a technocratic elite with the time, knowledge and reputation to vote and decide on policy changes. The separation of powers (trias politica) model which forms the basis of almost all liberal democracies provides a more appropriate framework than traditional corporate governance or full on-chain governance.

This talk will explore how crypto networks could experiment with an executive (implement law), a legislative (create law) and a judiciary (interpret law). Three network branches would formalise powers and act as necessary checks and balances on power consolidation. Regular voting and term limits would prevent power grabs by stakeholders, and formalised laws would build trust in the system by users that don’t want to participate in governance directly. A separation of powers will form the foundation of a social contract between the network and users and bring legitimacy to digital public utilities going from Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) to any other decentralized or Blockchain based technology.

We recommend reading Lawrence’s article There is no such thing as decentralised governance

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