- The Blockchain is an integral part of modern life – a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.
- The Blockchain is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
- The Blockchain must enrich the lives of individual human beings.
- Individuals’ security and privacy on the Blockchain are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.
- Individuals must have the ability to shape the Blockchain and their own experiences on it.
- The effectiveness of the Blockchain as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.
- Free and open source software promotes the development of the Blockchain as a public resource.
- Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability and trust.
- Commercial involvement in the development of the Blockchain brings many benefits; a balance between commercial profit and public benefit is critical.
- Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the Blockchain is an important goal, worthy of time, attention and commitment.
A Crypto-Decentralist Manifesto
Blockchains are going to rule the world, providing a mechanism for scaling social and economic cooperation to an unprecedented level — a truly global scale. Such cooperation will involve not only human beings, groups and associations but also a growing multitude of increasingly independent artificial agents.
Every blockchain creates a social network around its applications, with network value growing exponentially with the number of participants in accordance with Reed’s Law. This value isn’t extracted by intermediaries or controllers, as with previous centralized models. Instead, it’s shared among participants, providing economic incentives for cooperation without coercion.
Not all blockchains are created equal. There are three key characteristics that make scalable blockchain-enabled cooperation possible: openness, neutrality and immutability.
Openness is necessary. It goes without saying that the rules of the game should be open for anyone to see and understand. Anyone should be able to participate in any layer of the system without asking for any permission whatsoever. Anyone should be able to use the network in accordance with its rules. Anyone should be able to create their own client implementing the open protocol. Anyone should be able to contribute to network security, and so on. No registration, identification or other preconditions should limit participation. All such limitations prevent the network from scaling and their enforcement creates centralization risks.
Neutrality is necessary. It’s important for anyone participating in blockchain-enabled cooperation to be on an equal footing with everyone else. It doesn’t matter if you wield huge economic power or only a tiny amount. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a saintly Mother Theresa or a vicious drug dealer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a human or a refrigerator. It doesn’t matter what you believe in, what political theory you subscribe to, or whether you’re a moral or immoral person. A participant’s ethnicity, age, sex, profession, social standing, friends or affiliations, make or model, goals, purposes or intentions — none of this matters to the blockchain even a bit. The rules of the game are exactly the same for everyone, period. Without neutrality, the system is skewed towards one set of participants at the expense of others. In that case, it’s less likely to gain universal acceptance and maximize network value for everyone.
Immutability is necessary. The blockchain is a truth machine preserving one universally accepted version of history, one immutable sequence of events. What’s true once is always true, regardless of political or business interests, and no amount of lobbying can change that. If it’s simply not possible to change history, then no resources are wasted on the effort. If there are any loopholes at all, then sufficiently motivated and determined interest groups will exploit them at the expense of others, diminishing network value for everyone.
The rules governing the blockchain network are known in advance. They’re exactly the same for everyone and not subject to change other than with 100% consensus. Yes, it must be 100%. Because any change to the system’s rules that not all participants freely agree to creates a network split, diminishing network value for everyone.
It’s impossible to achieve these blockchain characteristics without the system being truly decentralized. If any aspect of the blockchain system becomes subject to centralized control, this introduces an attack vector enabling the violation of one or more of the key blockchain characteristics. It may be possible to limit participation (such as by enforcing AML/KYC rules), thus violating openness. It may be possible to enforce discriminatory policies (such as by filtering “illegal” transactions), thus violating neutrality. It may be possible to rewrite the history of events (such as by confiscating or “redistributing” funds), thus violating immutability. Introducing centralized chokepoints creates a precondition for the introduction of “blockchain intermediaries or controllers” who can siphon value out of the system at other participants’ expense.
So decentralization is the most important feature of blockchain systems, the one everything else depends on. With decentralization, blockchains will come to rule the world. Without it, they’ll be “contained” and railroaded into niche applications. We decentralists are committed to keeping blockchains open, neutral and immutable. We’re committed to keeping blockchain systems decentralized. This informs all our actions and positions towards any developments in the crypto world and beyond. All attempts to violate any of the key blockchain characteristics should be fought. All changes to a blockchain’s rules that introduce new centralization risks or strengthen existing ones should be fought. Only developments that are clearly beneficial to decentralization or strengthen the three key blockchain characteristics should be supported and encouraged. The blockchain revolution won’t be centralized. Let’s make sure of it.
Blockchains will replace networks with markets.
2/ Humans are the networked species. The first species to network across genetic boundaries and thus seize the world.
3/ Networks allow us to cooperate when we would otherwise go it alone. And networks allocate the fruits of our cooperation.
4/ Overlapping networks create and organize our society. Physical, digital, and mental roads connecting us all.
5/ Money is a network. Religion is a network. A corporation is a network. Roads are a network. Electricity is a network…
6/ Networks must be organized according to rules. They require Rulers to enforce these rules. Against cheaters.
7/ Networks have “network effects.” Adding a new participant increases the value of the network for all existing participants.
8/ Network effects thus create a winner-take-all dynamic. The leading network tends towards becoming the only network.
9/ And the Rulers of these networks become the most powerful people in society.
10/ Some are run by kings and priests who choose what is money and law, sacred and profane. Rule is closed to outsiders and based on power.
11/ Many are run by corporations. The social network. The search network. The phone or cable network. Closed but initially meritocratic.
12/ Some are run by elites. The university network. The medical network. The banking network. Somewhat open and somewhat meritocratic.
13/ A few are run by the mob. Democracy. The Internet. The commons. Open, but not meritocratic. And very inefficient.
14/ Dictatorships are more efficient in war than democracies. The Internet and physical commons are overloaded with abuse and spam.
15/ The 20th century created a new kind of network — market networks. Open AND meritocratic.
16/ Merit in markets is determined by a commitment of resources. The resource is money, a form of frozen and trade-able time.
17/ The market networks are titans. The credit markets. The stock markets. The commodities markets. The money markets. They break nations.
18/ Market networks work where there is a commitment of money. Otherwise they are just mob networks. The applications are limited.
19/ Until now.
20/ Blockchains are a new invention that allows meritorious participants in an open network to govern without a ruler and without money.
21/They are merit-based, tamper-proof, open, voting systems.
22/ The meritorious are those who work to advance the network.
23/ As society gives you money for giving society what it wants, blockchains give you coins for giving the network what it wants.
24/ It’s important to note that blockchains pay in their own coin, not the common (dollar) money of financial markets.
25/ Blockchains pay in coin, but the coin just tracks the work done. And different blockchains demand different work.
26/ Bitcoin pays for securing the ledger. Etherium pays for (executing and verifying) computation.
27/ Blockchains combine the openness of democracy and the Internet with the merit of markets.
28/ To a blockchain, merit can mean security, computation, prediction, attention, bandwidth, power, storage, distribution, content…
29/ Blockchains port the market model into places where it couldn’t go before.
30/ Blockchains’ open and merit based markets can replace networks previously run by kings, corporations, aristocracies, and mobs.
31/ It’s nonsensical to have a blockchain without a coin just like it’s nonsensical to have a market without money.
32/ It’s nonsensical to have a blockchain controlled by a sovereign, a corporation, an elite, or a mob.
33/ Blockchains give us new ways to govern networks. For banking. For voting. For search. For social media. For phone and energy grids.
34/ Networks governed without kings, priests, elites, corporations and mobs. Networks governed by anyone with merit to the network.
35/ Blockchain-based market networks will replace existing networks. Slowly, then suddenly. In one thing, then in many things.
36/ Ultimately, the nation-state is just a network (of networks).
FIN/ Thank you, Satoshi Nakomoto. And to all the shoulders that Satoshi stands upon.
We believe blockchainS have the potential to change the world. BlockchainS, not one single blockchain. We are committed to promoting an ecosystem where everyone can have an access to it, anywhere on the planet, without submitting to the veto of a monopole.
We need the emergence of multiple uses of blockchains, accessible anywhere in the world, for anyone.
Our objective is to:
Establish a constructive dialog, by regrouping, without discrimination, blockchains stakeholders
Educate by spreading relevant information so anyone can understand the impact and uses of Blockchains – notably in developing countries;
Favor by all means its development and use by pooling experts and connecting with people who need expertise;
Raise awareness and inform by liaising with public authorities, international organisations and others key actors to educate policy makers and to avoid unnecessary restrictive regulation;
Promote inter-operability and accessibility by adopting common standards, protocols and open infrastructures;
Evaluate regularly social, economical, political and legal impacts
Maintain an international, federal and apolitical position as an association, willing to become an observatory of ideas combined with practical actions. Members are grouped by territories and activities chapters.
- Adopted policies must account for the novel character of distributed ledger technologies. Blockchain constitutes an unprecedented institutional and social technology that cannot be seen as a mere outgrowth of ICT. The emerging cryptoeconomy is the driver for the Internet of Value and holds a disruptive potential comparable only to the Internet of Information.
- Policies must be consistent and transnationally coordinated. Blockchains are global institutions, whose effectiveness depends upon interoperability, accessibility, and decentralised participation worldwide. Distributed Ledger Technologies can thereby catalyse the coalescence of the global economy.
- Tailored regulations must be gradually rolled-out and frequently reviewed. Blockchain is a novel and accelerating phenomenon. Regulatory sandboxes are required for the development of the cryptoeconomy. Soft-laws and guidances shall foster certainty. Policies must consider future developments and be in sync with other technological developments, including but not limited to IoT and AI.
- Only applications should be regulated. Blockchain is a neutral technology. Its fundamental innovation rests upon the underlying protocol layer.
- Blockchain-based smart contracts must be reconciled with legal contracts. Through their disciplinary enforcement mechanisms and inherent trustless trust, smart contracts can mitigate risk , alleviate agency costs and capture property rights. This may strengthen legal certainty in cross-jurisdictional transactions. Code and law shall not compete, but rather seamlessly integrate.
- Consumers and investors must be protected. Information symmetry and transparency should be ensured and any fraudulent actions should be counteracted. For this purpose, authorities must develop technological capabilities and solutions to effectively fight fraud. They must consider statements on code quality and the degree of trustless trust. Prospectuses have to be readapted.
- Tokens represent a novel asset class. Blockchain regulations, as in securities law or AML, can have direct and unwanted consequences also for non-financial uses of the technology. The relationship between blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies must be well-understood. Established legal, regulatory and tax standards have to be revised to account for the different nature of tokens.
- All doubts relating to application of AML / KYC regulations to digital assets must be dispelled. Also, the issuance of a standardised global pass for transaction participants will enhance respective KYC processes in the blockchain-based economy.
- Public administrations should make use of blockchains. Distributed ledger technologies are not just a challenge, but also an opportunity for policymakers. The further development of blockchain should be in the own interest of states. Blockchain technologies will make their operations, such as regulatory and fiscal duties, more efficient and transparent.