No matter what your perspective, it’s hard to deny that governance has been one of the most discussed cryptoasset topics in 2019.
Part of this interest has to do with the fact that, more than ever, governance experiments have moved from theoretical to real as new protocols go live.
But another important part of it is that, in many ways, governance represents what crypto projects are trying to do differently than traditional businesses.
One of the animating ideals of the entire cryptocurrency space is to remove the inevitable abuses of power when one entity or small group of entities controls an economic system. That’s easy to theorize, but harder to enact.
Governance is the mechanism for not only changing the power structure of the institutions around us, but to ensure those institutions don’t calcify back into centralized control.
This matters more than ever right now. We are living in a time where governments around the world are addicted to cheap, ever expanding money. In the corporate realm, meanwhile, businesses have more influence and control than ever before, even while showing they can’t be trusted with our data and personal information.
This has come to a head with the announcement of Libra, Facebook’s global cryptocurrency project. Facebook, a company that more than any other has made news for its poor management of its users data and privacy, is now poised to try to transform global banking and money. As you might expect, this is raising eyebrows and raising questions.
One of those is governance, which brings us back to our original point. Crypto governance is being looked to as a way to address the ills of the past, but remains very much a work in progress.
Anyone who has spent any time in the conversation can repeat the standard list of questions and worries about crypto governance models. For some, governance is a new attack vector. Others look at token-holdings based voting models and see a formalization of plutocracy
STORE has spent much of the last year exploring the questions that surround crypto governance. Through a public peer review process, we’ve shared and refined ideas including checks and balances and separation of powers; one-entity, one-vote; and many more.
The essays and public research group are available, and we’d love for you to check them out.
Still, the more we’ve seen governance experiments go live, and the more we’ve seen the stakes continue to raise, we believe strongly that we need to make the conversation about governance - both within STORE as well as across the broader ecosystem - even more inclusive and participatory.
We’re thrilled to announce the STORE Discourse. On the one hand, it is a channel for our community to discuss the project. But it is also more than that. We intend to actively cultivate the space as a forum for discussing the most interesting content and news surrounding crypto governance not only with regard to STORE but beyond. We’ve seeded it with some of the all time best content on the topic, and now we’re excited to turn it over to you, our community.
When there is some new vote over in Aragon or Tezos, Discourse is a place you can discuss it. When a crypto VC pens their newest screed on how governance systems should work, this is the place to dig in.
As part of this, we will of course be diving deep on the ideas we’re hoping to bring into our own governance model. If our public peer review was stage one of our Open Source Governance approach, STORE Discourse is step two - one that we believe will create even more room for discussion, debate and iteration from the very earliest days of our protocol.
We’re starting this now because governance can’t be an afterthought. It has to begin on Day 0 - even before launch. And these beginnings have to include the perspectives of the people who will ultimately breath life into the system - it can’t just be designed from above.
We want you to join us! If the way we govern cryptoasset networks matters to you, head on over to https://discourse.storelabs.org/ and join the conversation.
Not everything about how the founders created the American constitution is applicable today, but one thing they did get right was to recognize the need for an extensive and inclusive process.
We want to bring that same principle to open source governance planning. If you’re interested in building a crypto governance model that can ensure long-term decentralization and help the industry live up to its promise, we’d love to have you join us.