[DG-BSC] Agenda for BSC telecon Tuesday, August 30 (shortly -- sorry for the late note!)

j stollman stollman.j at gmail.com
Tue Aug 30 12:15:27 CDT 2016


Excellent survey.

I would like to further emphasize one of the corollary points you
raise:  *Perhaps
we shouldn't be looking for a distributed organizational "structure" at
all.  Instead, we might consider what organizational "processes" would
serve the interests involved, and then allow the organizational structure
to reveal itself based on the observation and reification of the patterns
that emerge from those processes.*

In my observations people move rapidly from trying to describe a new
solution to using their description to prescribe its use.  Over two years
of focus on blockchain technology, I have noticed that it is common for
people to recognize that a particular instance of blockchain solves a
particular problem and to then falsely conclude that the features of that
instantiation are necessary to achieve the same end in other contexts.  For
example, we give a lot of lip service to the fact that popular blockchain
instances use a distributed model in which the blockchain itself is
replicated in numerous locations and the block verification process is also
distributed among a large group of "miners."  This has been followed by the
conclusion that all blockchains are necessarily distributed for both data
integrity and verification integrity.  (In fact many people now refer to
blockchain technology as "Distributed Ledger Technology" (DLT)).   I
suggest that this causes an unnecessary narrowing of our thinking by
casting out other alternatives before they are even considered.

In the example, I would suggest that distributed data does provide higher
levels of information assurance by removing a single point of failure that
a nefarious hacker could modify.  And this is likely true for any
instantiation of a data structure -- whether or not it is a blockchain --
as long as the consensus mechanism for determining which data set is the
correct one when discrepancies are found is robust.  But, depending on the
risk of such hacks, it may not be cost-effective to use this information
assurance technique.  As long as the underlying data structure uses
blockchain encryption, I would still consider it a blockchain application.

I also agree that distributed miners afford some ability to reduce
collusion in systems where there is an incentive to collude.  But not all
transaction systems have such an incentive.  And I don't think that mining
whether using proof of work or proof of stake is either cost-effective or

We all agree that standardization can create great benefits.  But
standardizing too early can stifle innovation or raise the cost of better
solutions to the point of making them no longer viable.

In view of the many directions that our blockchain DG discussions continue
to splinter off, I hope that this comment offers some value.


Jeff Stollman
stollman.j at gmail.com
+1 202.683.8699
<stollman.j at gmail.com>

Truth never triumphs — its opponents just die out.
Science advances one funeral at a time.
                                    Max Planck

On Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 12:09 PM, Scott L. David <sldavid at uw.edu> wrote:

> Hi folks - This wiki page provides a pretty nice overview of cooperatives.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative
> I am NOT suggesting that we confine ourselves to these historical
> structures, since they are all institutions configured to address various
> prior governance/organizational challenges, none of which will perfectly
> match current challenges in character and scope.
> However, exploration of the co-op form (and similar structures developed
> under various legal and cultural regimes) can provide insight into at least
> prior forms of "organic" stakeholder-responsive governance that can
> potentially help to reveal governance techniques that might be borrowed for
> our current discussions and effort.
> I am guessing (projecting) that organizational surveys might suggest that
> we consider separating the analysis of stakeholder involvement into at
> least three sub-categories of governance activity, along the lines to
> which Jeff S. was alluding in the call.
> Specifically, we might benefit from separating out stakeholder involvement
> in the separate activities of 1.  rule making, 2. system operation, and 3.
> enforcement, as helpful in mitigating the conflict-of-interest/power
> accumulation/etc. issues that are inherent in the centralized models (and
> their too-often-tempting-abuses of gatekeeping function).  For example, in
> 2007 when NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) converted to
> FINRA  (FInancial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.) they formed separate
> subsidiaries to separate these three functions for the SRO (self-regulatory
> organization) responsible for broker dealer activities (at least for
> purposes of optics!).  For current purposes, the important point is that
> they chose to separate the rule making, operation and enforcement purposes
> to at least reduce the appearances of conflict among the decision making in
> those separate spheres.
> Of course, these 3 "system governance" elements are in addition to
> stakeholder role as system "users," which is not a "governance" role, per
> se.  However, in co-op and similar forms participation as a "user" is a
> form of quasi-governance since the use of the system by a
> stakeholder reveals problems and value propositions that helps the
> stakeholders to set the agenda for further refinement of the system in the
> "1. rule making" role of stakeholders alluded to above.
> The current global information network organizational structure that we
> are looking for does not yet have a name, but that novelty should not be
> discouraging.  ALL forms of human organization (governance, language,
> belief systems, etc.) are responses to shared challenges, and all of them
> permit stakeholders  (both institutional or individual) to do things
> (mitigate risks and enhance rewards) that they cannot do (or cannot do as
> well) unilaterally.  Many of the shared challenges that are currently faced
> by individuals are unprecedented, requiring groups such as ours to search
> the history of human organization for clues as to what might be effective
> in this context.
> One last thought (at least for now!).  Perhaps we shouldn't be looking for
> a distributed organizational "structure" at all.  Instead, we might
> consider what organizational "processes" would serve the interests
> involved, and then allow the organizational structure to reveal itself
> based on the observation and reification of the patterns that emerge from
> those processes (as "Lagrangian Coherent Structures" for you fluid
> mechanics geeks out there).  Our first question might be "What are the sets
> of processes that MUST be standardized, normalized in order for the value
> propositions of block chain and/or smart contracts to be effective in
> mitigating risk and/or leveraging value?"  After we catalog those
> processes, we might be in a position to assign that catalog a name.
> An article "Self Regulation as Policy Process" by Porter and Ronit
> (2006) suggests that among hundreds of "self-regulatory" organizations, a
> familiar 5 stage pattern emerges for a governance feed-back loop among
> stakeholders (agenda setting-problem identification-decision-implementation-review).
>  The emergence of this similar archetype pattern in myriad disparate
> settings may be suggesting that there is a natural feedback process through
> which separate elements of human organization can be joined together to
> create larger forms in "information" space, where decreased Shannon entropy
> (in whatever context or domain) is the ultimate test of fitness (based on
> the primacy of information risk and information leverage in current
> discussions).
> This latter suggestion may be confirmed by considering how many current
> human institutions and organizations can be accurately described by
> reference to their information flows and processes, variously constrained
> by their intended application.  Human organizations that demonstrate their
> usefulness "achieve" longevity (in fact human stakeholders have
> endowed governments, and corporations with "perpetual life," by mutual
> agreement, in an effort to project an external sovereignty toward these
> organizational forms that are relied upon to create a "solid" foundation of
> most (not all) human endeavor).  However, all governments and corporations
> are collective hallucinations of the stakeholders that recognize, and
> depend upon, their presence.
> But I digress. . .
> Kind regards,
> Scott
> *Scott L. David*
> Director of Policy
> Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity
> University of Washington - Applied Physics Laboratory
> Principal Consulting Analyst
> TechVision Research
> w- 206-897-1466
> m- 206-715-0859
> Tw - @ScottLDavid
> ------------------------------
> *From:* dg-bsc-bounces at kantarainitiative.org <dg-bsc-bounces@
> kantarainitiative.org> on behalf of Eve Maler <eve.maler at forgerock.com>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, August 30, 2016 6:50 AM
> *To:* dg-bsc at kantarainitiative.org
> *Subject:* [DG-BSC] Agenda for BSC telecon Tuesday, August 30 (shortly --
> sorry for the late note!)
> http://kantarainitiative.org/confluence/display/BSC/2016-
> 08+%28August+2016%29+Meetings#id-2016-08(August2016)
> Meetings-Tuesday,August30
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