people who join later don’t realize all the rules in place, putting this out there to help everyone get up to speed
what is autonomy
why is autonomy important for both individuals and communities
how does autonomy enable independence
Eden is a decentralized and autonomous community. Decentralized means that there is not a single leader who can unilaterally make decisions for the whole community. Autonomous means that community members can make group decisions and coordinate group actions. There are many leaders in Eden who are working together to help each other, make community decisions, and help people cooperate.
What is Consensus, Anyway?
Consensus can be defined in the following way:
Consensus Signals and Formal Power
With both of these systems, it is important to remember that votes are purely signals to help the community reach consensus and make decisions. All thresholds that may be described in these proposals are rather arbitrary because Eden Fractal is only able to express shared opinions and it is up to each individual to respond to opinions as they see fit.
Eden Fractal currently has no formal governance power. The power to take actions is held by individuals within the community who may voluntarily choose to act in accordance with consensus. For example, tools that the community uses such as the Eden.fractal EOS account services (smart contracts), associated social media accounts, zoom accounts, and websites are all operated independently of any consensus process used by participants in the weekly meetings. The same is also true for all other community decisions - the individual is always empowered to make their own decisions independently of the community consensus and act in accordance with consensus as they see fit. The community as a whole has no formal governance power other than the ability to express shared opinions and signals that may persuade individuals to voluntarily act for the benefit of the community.
This can change with technical innovations in the future and create immense benefits for the community. The Eden Fractal community as a whole can gain formal governance power when the permissions for the Eden.fractal EOS account MSIG and other associated tools can be dynamically updated to integrate directly with the community’s consensus process. However, this is not possible without further technical development. At this time, we should remember that all votes are only signals to help the community reach consensus and make decisions.
“A DAO has no assets that can be seized, no laws it is subject to. A DAO is nothing more than a shared idea and is therefore bulletproof. If an organization depends upon secrets, then those secrets are centralized and the keeper of those secrets is not bulletproof. If an organization depends upon “shared ownership” of tangible property, then it is not a DAO, because the property could be taken or destroyed. If an organization depends upon any information it is not sovereign over, then it is not a DAO.”
- These consensus processes provide a formal ways for the community to express a collective opinion. Opinions may change over time. Proposals approved with this process do not in any way represent, constitute, or create legally binding contracts, promises, or obligations. All opinions are subject to change and each community member may voluntarily choose whether or not to interact with the community, consensus process, and proposals. The community may also voluntarily choose whether or not to interact with individuals. Opinions and proposals are not compulsory. Willing community members may choose to cooperate with this consensus process to express a shared opinion and all choices are made with their own volition and mutual consent. People who are interacting with this consensus process should understand the basic principles shared about smart contracts in More Equal Animals natural giving in Nonviolent Communication, and The Legal Standing of DAOs. For more details about this consensus process, see the draft articles about the limitations of the interim consensus process, potential uses of the interim consensus process, and the potentially upcoming Contributor Agreement. Please note that these documents are in early stages of development and will be updated soon.
What is a DAO?
DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. The description “decentralized and autonomous” was originally coined by ƒractally’s founder, Daniel Larimer, in 2013, to describe the economics of Bitcoin. Larimer described Bitcoins as “shares” in a decentralized company which issued shares in exchange for hashpower.
If someone wanted to organize humans to autonomously produce highly efficient computer chips for performing a specific task (sha256 hashing), then it is hard to deny the success of Bitcoin. Without any governing structures or centralized coordination millions of people cooperated to build the largest distributed supercomputer in the world. This process is on “autopilot” and “unstoppable” as long as people valued the currency and respected the algorithm.
The critical ingredient to being autonomous is being sovereign over information. Bitcoin, when viewed as a company, can make no promises, hold no secrets, and hold no assets that it is not fully self-sovereign over. By “fully self-sovereign” it means they are solely subject to the Bitcoin consensus algorithm. A DAO is therefore consensus over information and can never be destroyed unless all copies of the information are destroyed. In the digital age, destroying all copies of anything is next to impossible.
When it comes to “governing a DAO”, the information is “forked” and two copies of the information are created, each of which being fully complete, one of which has a different opinion on some part of the information. The free market, via voluntary exchange, resolves the dispute according to the value placed on each version of the consensus information.
One or both sides of the fork can continue and are fully functional. This is the true test of a DAO. We can therefore say that a DAO is pure information, the value of which is judged by the market. A DAO only depends on the freedom of speech and the open source software to deterministically interpret that speech into a shared consensus.
A DAO has no assets that can be seized, no laws it is subject to. A DAO is nothing more than a shared idea and is therefore bulletproof. If an organization depends upon secrets, then those secrets are centralized and the keeper of those secrets is not bulletproof. If an organization depends upon “shared ownership” of tangible property, then it is not a DAO, because the property could be taken or destroyed. If an organization depends upon any information it is not sovereign over, then it is not a DAO.
For example, “The DAO”, an Ethereum smart contract, raised a record amount of Ethereum tokens to be managed in a “collective investment scheme” governed by another token. Despite the name (“The DAO”), we contend that it was merely a smart contract operating under Ethereum. Ethereum being a DAO while, “The DAO”, was merely a transparent, smart contract operated, collective investment scheme. When the smart contract was exploited it forced the entire Ethereum blockchain to fork in order to resolve the dispute. This fork became known as Ethereum Classic.
A smart contract is only as decentralized and autonomous as it is independent. If “The DAO” had no shared state with Ethereum (the ETH balances), then there would be no way for an Ethereum fork to change “The DAO” and “The DAO” would have had to fork itself if there was any dispute.
The transparency and independence of information is what makes a DAO “autonomous”, but what makes it decentralized? A DAO is decentralized when it continues to function regardless of what any subgroup of people do. As long as some people value the consensus state of Bitcoin, someone, somewhere, will do the proof of work necessary to keep the blockchain moving forward. If, on the other hand, people only value Bitcoin because of what Satoshi or a centralized team is doing to bring value to the consensus information then it becomes centralized.
Steem, the first social media DAO, had incentives that inspired the community to fork Hive when the founding company, Steemit, was sold and the new owner attempted to take the network in a different direction. The information being transparent, combined with the ability for anyone to step up and provide services around the information is what made it decentralized and autonomous. No matter what comes, the organization will keep going. This is what defines a DAO.
- No Secrets (e.g. communally owned private keys)
- No Legal Standing
- No Tangible or Intangible external Assets
- No Intellectual Property
- No Monopolies on Infrastructure
- Just consensus over forkable Information
If a DAO can inspire the creation of the world's largest supercomputer powered by extremely advanced custom silicon chips, what else can a DAO do? Can it create a new legal system? Can it motivate a surge in innovation, creativity, and open source software development? Can it find cures to diseases? Can it end corruption? What if a DAO powered by the right governance process could do all these things and more? ƒractally is creating a system that we believe has the potential to revolutionize how people realize the value created with the power of collaboration.
Respect means to value someone or something. You can respect the property of others. You can respect the work other people do. Even if you don’t respect the character qualities of a person, you can still respect what they produce.
Consider the act of serving the poor in a soup kitchen. This act is generally respected. The person who volunteers is generally respected for their service. However, if the server is paid to feed the poor, then the respect is typically accrued to the donor who paid the server rather than the individual providing the service.
We value people. We respect their talents, their character, and their honesty. We respect them just for being alive, and we respect their potential. This is non-transferable respect. A person can eat healthy, train, and pursue personal growth. This may increase the amount of non-transferrable respect one person has for another. A person can also lie, cheat, and steal and lose non-transferrable respect. This kind of respect can also be viewed as reputation. More accurately, we value (aka respect) someone because of their reputation.
That said, money can be viewed as a measure of respect someone has earned for past contributions to a community. We value money because others value money. Money is therefore respected. When money transfers hands, one person loses this measure of community respect and another person gains it. When you sell a product that someone in the community values, you earn respect. Note that all “property”, of any form, is a measure of respect. Theft of “property” is a form of disrespect. Property and “ownership” are simply ideas that express a peace treaty among cooperative beings to end the war of all against all under the law of the jungle where might makes right. Respecting the idea of property is therefore respecting others.
ƒractally empowers a community to reach a consensus on the merits of each individual’s contributions and rewards them with the Respect they are due. In this case, Respect is synonymous with community money or currency.
Most countries have their own money and regardless of what name they give to their money, it is still money. BTC and ETH are the “Respect” of their respective communities. Each ƒractally community, which we call a ƒractal, will have its own form of Respect. How we characterize Respect and community money has huge legal implications. Is Respect a contract, an obligation, a commodity, or an opinion? Is it the property of a person or the opinion of other people? Is it something you “own” or is it something bestowed upon you? Do you receive “income” or “loss” when someone’s opinion about you changes or only when tangible things change hands? Can someone be forced to hold a particular opinion? Most people think of money as a thing that belongs to a person. For example, Ludwig von Mises defined money as the most marketable commodity.
However, in ƒractally, Respect isn’t a thing; it’s an opinion. While you may respect (value) something, others may have a complete lack of respect for it. If Respect is a measure of community consensus on the relative value of individual contributions then Respect remains a consensus opinion of the community, not the property of an individual.
Free market prices are one means of discovering the relative Respect (value) for various goods and services. For example, you may own a stock that has a certain value (measured in Respect or money); however, other people can reach a new consensus that the stock is worthless. This change in community opinion does not constitute “theft”, and the value of the stock isn’t the “property” of the owner of the stock.
Some people might say that while the value of the stock isn’t property, the stock itself is still property. However, stock ownership, like all property, is a matter of consensus opinion. Did you acquire the stock fairly? Did you honor all of your agreements with respect to the stock? Who gets to decide these things? Is it not just a consensus opinion? In this case, the consensus is that the government, as elected, gets to decide. In other words, all titles to all things are in fact a consensus opinion. If the consensus opinion changed, you would find it difficult to retain control of your things.
The Value of an Opinion
If Respect is just an opinion, does it have any value? Opinions can be valuable or they can be worthless depending upon the source. You likely value the opinion of your husband or wife far more than the opinion of a random drug addict. Expert opinions are often more valuable than the opinion of laymen. Likewise, the value of a community's collective opinion depends upon the reputation of a community and its ability to reach a respectable consensus. Therefore, a community's reputation is also a ƒunction of the reputation of the members of the community.
2 a raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold 1 pun intended
Predictability of outcome is a major component of building trust and therefore building the value of Respect. A country that respects “property rights”, has honest courts, and allocates government funds reliably, with minimal corruption and graft, will prosper. Thus, people will respect the opinion of its courts, they will follow its laws, and the people will prosper. Alternatively, a country that falls to corruption and spends the country into bankruptcy, loses the respect of people at home and abroad. The end result is currency devaluation and lawlessness. Hyperinflation is ultimately the result of a complete loss of respect for a currency.
Evidence of Transfer vs Intent to Transfer
What is interesting about Respect being an opinion is that opinions can never be stolen. If you steal someone’s car keys, it doesn’t make the car yours. The government has a clear and unchanged opinion on who owns the title to the car. Traditional cryptocurrency makes the simplifying assumption that the car always belongs to the person who holds the keys. This simplifying assumption is made because it removes opportunities for disputes and corruption.
Outside of the cryptocurrency world, people consider both objective and subjective facts when determining the legitimacy of a transfer. For example, a transfer coerced at gunpoint is not generally considered legitimate; however, the Bitcoin community’s consensus algorithm would consider such a transfer to be legitimate in practice and provides no court of appeal. The proposed way to resolve this kind of theft of Bitcoin would be to track down the thief, arrest them at gunpoint, throw them in jail, convict them in court, and force them to return the Bitcoin. The Bitcoin protocol has no means to enforce the outcome of the trial without the threat of government violence against the key holder.
Many in the Bitcoin community lost faith in the ability of people to reach an honest and respectable consensus. Instead, they have opted for an immutable set of rules that people opt-in to. Everyone who holds Bitcoin implicitly agrees to these rules. Ownership of Bitcoin goes to those who can secure their keys while (optionally) stealing other people’s keys. It’s the law of the jungle, where might makes right.
Good Governance vs No Governance
ƒractally thinks differently: we believe that good governance is the foundation of sound money. If a protocol provides only objective consensus, then a community will unavoidably institute a parallel and overriding subjective governance system. This is what happened when Ethereum forked from Ethereum classic. If the subjective governance system is corrupt, then it may outlaw and/or frustrate the use of objective money such as Bitcoin. It will classify, confiscate, regulate, and otherwise control who can own Bitcoin and when.
Suppose a whistleblower has a Bitcoin account and a corrupt government seizes his computers, takes his Bitcoin, and then auctions the Bitcoin to fund the government. The broader Bitcoin community would largely consider this outcome just and hold the opinion that the government and those who bought the Bitcoin at auction are now the legitimate owners and worthy of respect in the market.
However, if Bitcoin balances really were the collective opinion of property rights respecting people then the government’s theft of a whistleblower's Bitcoin would not be recognized. After a respectable process, the community would be able to return the Bitcoin to the whistleblower while the corrupt government and those who participated in the purchase of the stolen Bitcoin would lose community respect.
A respectable process, carried out by people with integrity, is the key to good governance and sound money. This is a challenge given how difficult it can be to keep the bad guys out of power.
Central banks and the governments that charter them allocate new currency to fund insiders, war, special interests, and to buy off everyone they need to maintain their incumbent advantage. ƒractally gives us a new system of governance that returns power over the allocation of community Respect to all community members.
ƒractally leverages the wisdom of the crowds to mitigate rational ignorance, incumbent advantage, voter fatigue, and the bias created by the Pareto distribution of fame and fortune. Join ƒractally and help us bring true democracy to communities around the world, so we can realize a more productive world without politicians, political parties, or overt incumbent advantage! We can fix our broken systems– but we must work together to reach a consensus first.
EOS started as an idea that inspired thousands of the world’s best builders to work together. We’re showing how decentralized, autonomous organizations can coordinate to create a better future for all.
More Equal Animals
A profoundly helpful book filled with insights and inspirations to help people cooperate.