State of Blockchain Governance Breakout

By Lane Rettig, Federico Ast, Jacob Arluck, Adrian Brink, Josh Cincinnati, John Light, Alfonso Cevallos, Meltem Demirors, Illia Polosukhin, Joshua Buirski, Ryan Selkis, Hudson Jameson

Governance is a hot topic in Ethereum and other blockchain communities in 2019, and for good reason. Blockchain tech continues to evolve rapidly, but our ""social infrastructure"" lags and major blockchain communities including Ethereum haven't invested nearly as much in building robust, socially scalable governance as they have in scalable tech.

This governance-focused breakout session will invite core stakeholders from major blockchain platforms, including Ethereum, Tezos, Cosmos, Polkadot, Near Protocol, Zcash, Decred, and Spacemesh to present in turn the good, the bad, and the ugly of governance in their ecosystem. It will include talks from academics in fields including economics, political science and philosophy, legal theory, philosophy, and ethics, putting the blockchain governance landscape in the context of the overall evolution of human governance systems since democracy was born in Athens. It will introduce participants to essential governance concepts and challenges such as DAOs, on- and off-chain governance, voting, identity, formal vs. informal governance, governing the commons, and aggregating preferences. The breakout session will include a hands-on ""challenge"" section where participants need to self-organize and race to solve governance challenges in a decentralized fashion, to appreciate how hard the problem is.


Introductory talks (total 60 mins)
Introduction to blockchain governance: will introduce Ethereum governance relative to governance of other blockchains, past and present, along with present challenges (20 mins) (speaker TBD)
Blockchain governance in context, will introduce governance beyond the blockchain context, including history (political philosophy) and present academic & practical approaches to governance (20 mins) (Meltem)
“Random selection in the history of democracy: how it worked in Athens, in Renaissance Italy and what we can learn for the future of blockchain governance” (20 min) (Federico)
Break (5 mins)
Lightning talk series: each will quickly present how governance works in one blockchain/community (total 75 mins)
Polkadot governance (10 mins) (Jack)
Tezos governance (10 mins) (Jacob)
Cosmos governance (10 mins) (Adrian)
Decred governance (10 mins) (Akin)
Break (5 mins)
Aragon governance (10 mins) (John)
NEAR protocol governance (10 mins) (Illia)
Kleros governance (10 mins) (Federico)
Break (5 mins)
Hands-on challenge (30 mins)
Each participant is given a role, with a particular set of needs, then must spontaneously form a team with ~5 others and design a decentralized governance system that aggregates each participant's needs and maximizes overall utility. This activity will give participants a chance to experience for themselves why decentralized governance is so hard, and so important!
Closing talk: DAOs to the Rescue!: This talk will introduce novel research on DAOs, including an Inter-DAO protocol and a composable, DAO-of-DAOs concept, to square the circle and make blockchain governance scale (15 mins) (Lane)

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