Comments: The Great Bitcoin Fork - heartbleed or bleeding hearts?

Contrary to what we would like to believe, there is no such thing as a structureless group. Any group of people of whatever nature that comes together for any length of time for any purpose will inevitably structure itself in some fashion. The structure may be flexible; it may vary over time; it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. But it will be formed regardless of the abilities, personalities, or intentions of the people involved. The very fact that we are individuals, with different talents, predispositions, and backgrounds makes this inevitable. Only if we refused to relate or interact on any basis whatsoever could we approximate structurelessness -- and that is not the nature of a human group.

This means that to strive for a structureless group is as useful, and as deceptive, as to aim at an "objective" news story, "value-free" social science, or a "free" economy.

Posted by Joreen - THE TYRANNY of STRUCTURELESSNESS at August 24, 2015 07:14 PM

Ian, that is an interesting idea about applying the three branches, executive, legislative and judicial to other types of community than the U.S. government. The executive and legislative branches of a decentralized corporation could be done using market operations, leaseholds, insurance, options, task markets and auctions.

The position of executive could be treated as a leasehold, and auctioned to the highest bidder, with an insurance requirement. The insurance requirement would be against liability for any claims brought against the executive to be decided by the judicial branch. The insurance requirement could be filled in a P2P insurance auction market. If an executive gets claims agains him which the judicial dept upholds, the insurance investors will have pay. The executive will then either have higher insurance rates, or be unable to obtain coverage, and be forced to yield his executive leasehold position in auction to the next highest bidder who can get the required insurance coverage.

The legislative branch could be done using task, insurance and options markets. Community members could buy options (or insurance) against legislative changes which they oppose or which adversely affect them. Proposed changes could be handled as a task market, where people who want the change would pay into the task market, but the market would not clear until it had enough payments to overcome or pay off any options or insurance policies held by people who oppose the change.

Posted by Vincent Youngs at September 28, 2015 12:56 PM

Great, proven solution! The problem is - imposing this leadership structure retroactively would be next to impossible without spawning a fork.

Posted by Ken at October 24, 2015 06:36 PM

Upon further thought, all you need to achieve this is to persuade a supermajority of the present dev team to get on board. Once you have the devs committed to the new leadership structure, those who refuse to join can fork, but probably won't have the development skill and bandwidth to get very far.

Posted by Ken at October 24, 2015 06:40 PM

The elephant in the room, Ian, is that if an organization is formed with property rights over the system as a whole, that immediately creates a target for the regulators to attack.

Presently, Bitcoin cannot be shut down because no one owns it, and the cost of attacking every node is too high to be feasible.

However, if an organization is created that governs the protocol and the client, this legal entity and its leaders may be held to own and operate the network, and thus fall under regulatory law, reporting, and prosecution for failure to report, get licensed, etc.

Bitcoin's fundamental dialectic is, as Vinay Gupta said, an anarchist network following rules enables libertarian property rights. But if the rules must grow, the question becomes "who makes the rules?"

As you point out, anarchy cannot prevent forks. Attempts to replace anarchy with order produce bring the system back into the real world and under government control.

You could theoretically create a pseudonymous control system where each bitcoin gets one vote, and the directors, arbitrators and coders all use nom de plume with a public key. You could theoretically run an anonymous organization that way. But transactions and exchange create the connections that enable government to penetrate the veil of anonymity. Bitstamp, Coinbase and others maintain the id databases that a government can use to uncloak large segments if not the majority of the user base.

In the end, Bitcoin cannot escape government control.

Posted by Ken at October 24, 2015 06:58 PM
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