Difference between revisions of "Exploring the Potentials of Blockchain for Commons Governance"

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search
(Created page with " '''* Article: When Ostrom Meets Blockchain: Exploring the Potentials of Blockchain for Commons Governance. By David Rozas, Antonio Tenorio-Fornés, Silvia Díaz-Molina, et al...")
 
(2 intermediate revisions by the same user not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
 
 
'''* Article: When Ostrom Meets Blockchain: Exploring the Potentials of Blockchain for Commons Governance. By David Rozas, Antonio Tenorio-Fornés, Silvia Díaz-Molina, et al. Sage Open, March 26, 2021 [https://doi.org/10.1177/21582440211002526]'''
 
'''* Article: When Ostrom Meets Blockchain: Exploring the Potentials of Blockchain for Commons Governance. By David Rozas, Antonio Tenorio-Fornés, Silvia Díaz-Molina, et al. Sage Open, March 26, 2021 [https://doi.org/10.1177/21582440211002526]'''
  
Line 7: Line 6:
  
 
"Blockchain technologies have generated enthusiasm, yet their potential to enable new forms of governance remains largely unexplored. Two confronting standpoints dominate the emergent debate around blockchain-based governance: discourses characterized by the presence of techno-determinist and market-driven values, which tend to ignore the complexity of social organization; and critical accounts of such discourses which, while contributing to identifying limitations, consider the role of traditional centralized institutions as inherently necessary to enable democratic forms of governance. In this article, we draw on Ostrom’s principles for self-governance of communities to explore the transformative potential of blockchain beyond such standpoints. We approach blockchain through the identification and conceptualization of six affordances that this technology may provide to communities: tokenization, self-enforcement and formalization of rules, autonomous automatization, decentralization of power over the infrastructure, increasing transparency, and codification of trust. For each affordance, we carry out a detailed analysis situating each in the context of Ostrom’s principles, considering both the potentials of algorithmic governance and the importance of incorporating communities’ social practices into blockchain-based tools to foster forms of self-governance. The relationships found between these affordances and Ostrom’s principles allow us to provide a perspective focused on blockchain-based commons governance."
 
"Blockchain technologies have generated enthusiasm, yet their potential to enable new forms of governance remains largely unexplored. Two confronting standpoints dominate the emergent debate around blockchain-based governance: discourses characterized by the presence of techno-determinist and market-driven values, which tend to ignore the complexity of social organization; and critical accounts of such discourses which, while contributing to identifying limitations, consider the role of traditional centralized institutions as inherently necessary to enable democratic forms of governance. In this article, we draw on Ostrom’s principles for self-governance of communities to explore the transformative potential of blockchain beyond such standpoints. We approach blockchain through the identification and conceptualization of six affordances that this technology may provide to communities: tokenization, self-enforcement and formalization of rules, autonomous automatization, decentralization of power over the infrastructure, increasing transparency, and codification of trust. For each affordance, we carry out a detailed analysis situating each in the context of Ostrom’s principles, considering both the potentials of algorithmic governance and the importance of incorporating communities’ social practices into blockchain-based tools to foster forms of self-governance. The relationships found between these affordances and Ostrom’s principles allow us to provide a perspective focused on blockchain-based commons governance."
 +
 +
 +
 +
=Characteristics=
 +
 +
Antonio Tenorio-Fornes et al. :
 +
 +
"Six affordances6 (Hutchby, 2001), which constitute functional and relational aspects that frame the potentialities of self-organized collectives for agentic action, with regards to blockchain-based tools for commons governance (Rozas et al., 2021b, 8–20):
 +
 +
I. '''Tokenization''': refers to the process of transforming the rights to perform an action on an asset into a transferable data element, a token, on the blockchain.
 +
 +
II. '''Self-enforcement and formalization of rules''': refer to the process of embedding organizational rules in the form of smart contracts. As a result, firstly, there is an affordance for the self-enforcement of communitarian rules, such as those which regulate the monitoring and graduated sanctions in these communities. Secondly, this encoding of rules implies explicitation, since blockchain technologies require these rules to be defined in ways that are unambiguously understood by machines.
 +
 +
III. '''Autonomous automatization''': refers to the process of defining complex sets of smart contracts as DAOs, which may enable multiple parties to interact with each other, even without human interaction. This is partially analogous to software communicating with other software today, but in a decentralized manner, and with higher degrees of software autonomy.
 +
 +
IV. '''Decentralization of power over the infrastructure''': refers to the process of communalizing the ownership and control of the technological tools employed by the community through the decentralization of the infrastructure they rely on, such as the collaboration platforms (and their servers) employed for coordination.
 +
 +
V. '''Increasing transparency''': refers to the process of opening the organizational processes and the associated data by relying on the persistence and immutability properties of blockchain technologies.
 +
 +
VI. '''Codification of trust''': refers to the process of codifying a certain degree of trust into systems which facilitate agreements between agents without requiring a third party, such as the federal agreements which might be established among different groups that form part of such communities.
 +
 +
(https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/21582440211002526)
 +
 +
=Excerpts=
 +
 +
==Local Versus Global Commons==
 +
 +
David Rozas et al. :
 +
 +
"For our analysis, we draw on Stern’s (2011) identification of limitations of Ostrom’s principles, which has been widely employed in the commons literature (e.g., Nayak and Berkes, 2012; Cox, 2014; Allen and Potts, 2016; Potts, 2019). In his analysis of the limitations of Ostrom’s principles, Stern identifies a set of distinctive characteristics of the commons studied by Ostrom from which her principles were derived (Stern, 2011, 215). Developing from these characteristics, he identifies (Stern, 2011, 216–218) a series of differences between local and global commons that are relevant regarding governance. Stern’s work, however, is focused on rival and global commons, such as global fossil supplies. Thus, in order to analyze the potentialities of blockchain for the governance of CBPP communities managing global digital commons, we need firstly to revisit these characteristics for the narrower scope of global digital commons.
 +
 +
 +
According to Stern (2011, 215), the main characteristics of the commons studied by Ostrom, from which she derived her principles, are:
 +
 +
1. The commons studied by Ostrom are bounded at local to regional scale, in contrast to global commons. Thus, for the cases we are going to analyze, Stern’s differences and limitations are aligned with those from our analysis.
 +
 +
2. The number of participants in Ostrom’s case studies are in the tens to a few thousands, while in the global commons discussed by Stern, he assumes millions or even billions of actors involved. For our analysis, we consider large cases of CBPP communities, such as Wikipedia and large FLOSS projects such as Apache, Firefox and Drupal, that have from few millions to hundreds of thousands of participants (Fuster-Morell et al., 2016). Thus, we consider large CBPP communities, and incorporate Stern’s limitations partially.
 +
 +
3. The third of the differences concerns the degradation of the commons, typical of rival commons. Digital commons, such as FLOSS or digital encyclopedias, are non-rival and, furthermore, sometimes anti-rival (Weber, 2004). Therefore, we do not include the limitations associated with this property in our analysis.
 +
 +
4. In the type of commons analyzed by Ostrom, the participants share common interests with respect to the management of the resource; while in the global commons discussed by Stern, their collective interests tend to diverge significantly. Tensions, regarding different interests, appropriation and co-optation by internal and external actors, are also a common problem in large CBPP communities (e.g., De Filippi and Vieira, 2014; Birkinbine, 2015; Sandoval, 2019). Therefore, we incorporate Stern’s identified limitations regarding this characteristic in our analysis.
 +
 +
5. The participants in the management of commons studied by Ostrom share a common cultural and institutional context; while in the global commons discussed by Stern they come from “all cultures, all countries, all political-economic systems, all political ideologies, and so forth” (Stern, 2011, 217). While large CBPP communities managing global digital commons develop a common cultural context (Fuster-Morell, 2014), the challenges regarding cultural diversity, also identified by Ostrom et al.(1999, 281–282) for global commons, are similarly present in large CBPP communities. Therefore, we incorporate this characteristic and its derived limitations in our analysis.
 +
 +
6. Learning from experience is a possible strategy in the local commons studied by Ostrom, while it is unfeasible for the type of global commons analyzed by Stern. We discard this limitation placed by Stern, since the literature shows how large CBPP communities managing global digital commons develop mechanisms and structures to facilitate the learning and extension of communitarian practices."
 +
(https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/21582440211002526)
 +
 +
 +
 +
[[Category:Peergovernance]]
 +
[[Category:Commons]]
 +
[[Category:Cryptoledger Applications]]
 +
[[Category:Articles]]
  
 
[[Category:Peergovernance]]
 
[[Category:Peergovernance]]

Revision as of 09:18, 4 May 2021

* Article: When Ostrom Meets Blockchain: Exploring the Potentials of Blockchain for Commons Governance. By David Rozas, Antonio Tenorio-Fornés, Silvia Díaz-Molina, et al. Sage Open, March 26, 2021 [1]

URL = https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/21582440211002526

Abstract

"Blockchain technologies have generated enthusiasm, yet their potential to enable new forms of governance remains largely unexplored. Two confronting standpoints dominate the emergent debate around blockchain-based governance: discourses characterized by the presence of techno-determinist and market-driven values, which tend to ignore the complexity of social organization; and critical accounts of such discourses which, while contributing to identifying limitations, consider the role of traditional centralized institutions as inherently necessary to enable democratic forms of governance. In this article, we draw on Ostrom’s principles for self-governance of communities to explore the transformative potential of blockchain beyond such standpoints. We approach blockchain through the identification and conceptualization of six affordances that this technology may provide to communities: tokenization, self-enforcement and formalization of rules, autonomous automatization, decentralization of power over the infrastructure, increasing transparency, and codification of trust. For each affordance, we carry out a detailed analysis situating each in the context of Ostrom’s principles, considering both the potentials of algorithmic governance and the importance of incorporating communities’ social practices into blockchain-based tools to foster forms of self-governance. The relationships found between these affordances and Ostrom’s principles allow us to provide a perspective focused on blockchain-based commons governance."


Characteristics

Antonio Tenorio-Fornes et al. :

"Six affordances6 (Hutchby, 2001), which constitute functional and relational aspects that frame the potentialities of self-organized collectives for agentic action, with regards to blockchain-based tools for commons governance (Rozas et al., 2021b, 8–20):

I. Tokenization: refers to the process of transforming the rights to perform an action on an asset into a transferable data element, a token, on the blockchain.

II. Self-enforcement and formalization of rules: refer to the process of embedding organizational rules in the form of smart contracts. As a result, firstly, there is an affordance for the self-enforcement of communitarian rules, such as those which regulate the monitoring and graduated sanctions in these communities. Secondly, this encoding of rules implies explicitation, since blockchain technologies require these rules to be defined in ways that are unambiguously understood by machines.

III. Autonomous automatization: refers to the process of defining complex sets of smart contracts as DAOs, which may enable multiple parties to interact with each other, even without human interaction. This is partially analogous to software communicating with other software today, but in a decentralized manner, and with higher degrees of software autonomy.

IV. Decentralization of power over the infrastructure: refers to the process of communalizing the ownership and control of the technological tools employed by the community through the decentralization of the infrastructure they rely on, such as the collaboration platforms (and their servers) employed for coordination.

V. Increasing transparency: refers to the process of opening the organizational processes and the associated data by relying on the persistence and immutability properties of blockchain technologies.

VI. Codification of trust: refers to the process of codifying a certain degree of trust into systems which facilitate agreements between agents without requiring a third party, such as the federal agreements which might be established among different groups that form part of such communities.

(https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/21582440211002526)

Excerpts

Local Versus Global Commons

David Rozas et al. :

"For our analysis, we draw on Stern’s (2011) identification of limitations of Ostrom’s principles, which has been widely employed in the commons literature (e.g., Nayak and Berkes, 2012; Cox, 2014; Allen and Potts, 2016; Potts, 2019). In his analysis of the limitations of Ostrom’s principles, Stern identifies a set of distinctive characteristics of the commons studied by Ostrom from which her principles were derived (Stern, 2011, 215). Developing from these characteristics, he identifies (Stern, 2011, 216–218) a series of differences between local and global commons that are relevant regarding governance. Stern’s work, however, is focused on rival and global commons, such as global fossil supplies. Thus, in order to analyze the potentialities of blockchain for the governance of CBPP communities managing global digital commons, we need firstly to revisit these characteristics for the narrower scope of global digital commons.


According to Stern (2011, 215), the main characteristics of the commons studied by Ostrom, from which she derived her principles, are:

1. The commons studied by Ostrom are bounded at local to regional scale, in contrast to global commons. Thus, for the cases we are going to analyze, Stern’s differences and limitations are aligned with those from our analysis.

2. The number of participants in Ostrom’s case studies are in the tens to a few thousands, while in the global commons discussed by Stern, he assumes millions or even billions of actors involved. For our analysis, we consider large cases of CBPP communities, such as Wikipedia and large FLOSS projects such as Apache, Firefox and Drupal, that have from few millions to hundreds of thousands of participants (Fuster-Morell et al., 2016). Thus, we consider large CBPP communities, and incorporate Stern’s limitations partially.

3. The third of the differences concerns the degradation of the commons, typical of rival commons. Digital commons, such as FLOSS or digital encyclopedias, are non-rival and, furthermore, sometimes anti-rival (Weber, 2004). Therefore, we do not include the limitations associated with this property in our analysis.

4. In the type of commons analyzed by Ostrom, the participants share common interests with respect to the management of the resource; while in the global commons discussed by Stern, their collective interests tend to diverge significantly. Tensions, regarding different interests, appropriation and co-optation by internal and external actors, are also a common problem in large CBPP communities (e.g., De Filippi and Vieira, 2014; Birkinbine, 2015; Sandoval, 2019). Therefore, we incorporate Stern’s identified limitations regarding this characteristic in our analysis.

5. The participants in the management of commons studied by Ostrom share a common cultural and institutional context; while in the global commons discussed by Stern they come from “all cultures, all countries, all political-economic systems, all political ideologies, and so forth” (Stern, 2011, 217). While large CBPP communities managing global digital commons develop a common cultural context (Fuster-Morell, 2014), the challenges regarding cultural diversity, also identified by Ostrom et al.(1999, 281–282) for global commons, are similarly present in large CBPP communities. Therefore, we incorporate this characteristic and its derived limitations in our analysis.

6. Learning from experience is a possible strategy in the local commons studied by Ostrom, while it is unfeasible for the type of global commons analyzed by Stern. We discard this limitation placed by Stern, since the literature shows how large CBPP communities managing global digital commons develop mechanisms and structures to facilitate the learning and extension of communitarian practices." (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/21582440211002526)