Babbitt column | Some thoughts about governance: always a few people have the final say

I. Introduction

I recently saw an article on Babbitt titled "The governance on the chain is the tyranny of a few people?" 》 , although the title is very shocking, but the content still has a lot of dry goods. His conclusion is that governance on the chain is not a democracy, but a tyranny of a few people. This conclusion is somewhat counterintuitive and requires in-depth study.

The governance problem is a problem that everyone in the entire blockchain industry is very concerned about, and it is also a problem that many decentralized projects will encounter in the development process, such as the bitcoin fork problem, such as whether to choose Ethereum or choose Ethereum classic issues, such as EOS voting issues, are all within the scope of governance.

To find out whether the governance on the chain is a tyranny of a few people, we must first understand what is going on in the end?

Second, governance issues will always exist

I used to have a definition of governance: the so-called governance is the question of how to make decisions without a clear power center, that is, where power is decentralized.

In many people's minds, when it comes to governance issues, the first words that may come to mind are quarrels, mouth guns, struggles, bribery, and forks. The words behind these words are generally turbulent, and the price of coins falls. It seems to sound bad effects.

So we have a simple idea in our minds: we want a system that, once created, can be used all the time to ensure the smooth development of the project, but also applies to any situation. For example, after we want to create bitcoin, the consensus and governance mechanism behind it can be effective for a long time. Whenever we encounter differences and development problems, we can get an orderly solution, so that Bitcoin can maintain its core competitiveness for a long time. Always maintain the leading position of digital currency.

I think there is one point that needs to be clear. The essence of the governance problem is not the problem of proof of workload, not the problem of some kind of consensus mechanism, not the problem of group disunity, not the problem of centralization and decentralization. The essence of governance is the problem of people. As long as there is a place where people exist, the problem of governance will always exist . The problem of governance can not be solved by a different governance mechanism. It can not be solved by a better model, nor can it be solved by sub-chain governance instead of chain governance.

As long as the project is still developing, it will always be in a changing environment. There will always be contradictions that need to be solved. No commercial organization can win and become the world's number one. No mechanism can be applied to any scene forever. No governance. The mechanism can solve all problems once and for all.

Third, governance issues, eventually a few people have the final say

Now we have made it clear that governance issues will always exist, as long as someone will exist. Then can we all take a step back, at least let everyone have the opportunity to express their opinions in governance, so that everyone has the same right to speak? Although the article used the phrase "a tyranny of a few people", tyranny is a negative term. We replace it with a more neutral statement. For example, is there a minority of people who have the final say?

Let's just say that it is achievable for everyone to participate fairly, but it is impossible for everyone to have a voice. ** Formal fairness is the limit that can be achieved. Substantial fairness does not exist in real life. As long as someone is involved, the final situation must be that a few people with great influence have the final say. **

For example, one person, one vote in American politics is very democratic in form, but in the actual implementation process, it is still a game of a few rich people. Like the Bush family, the father can be the president and the son is the president. Like the Clinton family, the husband can be the president, and the wife almost became the president, while the ordinary people have no chance at all.

For example, in the EOS system, it is also a voting model. It is fair in form, but like those big exchanges, if you participate in the election, you will naturally have a competitive advantage, and you can basically stabilize the voting.

Similarly, in the bitcoin computing system, "one CPU and one ticket" is already very fair in form, but even such a fair mechanism will inevitably be occupied by large mining machine manufacturers with a large amount of voice, ordinary computers. The computing power is basically negligible.

Regardless of the model, no matter which kind of consensus mechanism, we can guarantee the fairness and democracy in form at the most, but in the end, the people who have the right to speak will always be the influential minority. Of course, you can also write a little bit of literature. Just like the previous article, it is "a tyranny of a few people." Although most people have the opportunity to participate, it is just a matter of participation. In the current popular words, it only expands the “denominator”.

Fourth, there is no part of the governance problem, called automation

I have seen a saying before, saying that a decentralized system, the weakest place is people. The more links that need human factors to participate, the weaker the blockchain system is . I strongly agree with this view.

What everyone is imagining, there is no part of human factors participation, there is no part of the governance problem, and there is no contradiction and the existence of the struggle does not exist? In fact, it also exists! This part is described in a simple word called Automation.

I forgot which one was awkward. In order to figure out what the blockchain is, I bought all the books related to the blockchain on the market. There are about 30 books. After reading all 30 books, I read them. , came to a conclusion – the so-called blockchain, is the financial ATM machine, also known as financial automation .

The traditional ATM machine is a machine there. You just need to put the card in, and then enter the password, you can take the money out. Although it is only a machine, there is a bank's credit guarantee behind it, and there are bank professionals working in the service, which is supported by massive back-end data.

Similarly, the blockchain is the same. Currently, the so-called “public chain”, “union chain”, “workload proof”, “UTXO”, “zero knowledge proof”, etc. can be packaged and provide interfaces for external use. Just like an ATM machine. Ordinary people do not need to understand the structure and principle inside, they can use it directly, and they can "take money out" inside.

He makes the blockchain a financial ATM machine. The blockchain provides a trusted system, a system packaged by a large number of smart contracts. As long as you perform the corresponding operations, you can always go from the block. Get services in the chain system. For example, if you want to send coins, you can pay the coins immediately by following the corresponding steps and paying a small fee. The whole process does not require any third-party human resources to participate, and it is fully automated, thus improving safety and reliability. highest.

If a system can provide a large number of smart contracts, provide a variety of services, and do not require human involvement, fully automated execution, then this blockchain system is a near-perfect system. However, this is only an ideal situation. In real life, the operational mechanism behind the blockchain always needs to be adjusted. The adjustment of this mechanism always requires the participation of manpower, which will involve complex governance issues.

Five, a good decentralized system, you can not realize its existence

As we said above, a good blockchain system minimizes human factors, and you only feel the silkiness of automated services, without feeling the "political" complexity behind it .

As I often say, a good decentralized system will naturally blend into our lives, we can't even feel its existence; and a bad blockchain system will be like a trumpet, from time to time. A little noise in our ears.

I used to use language to describe decentralization. I think it is very appropriate. Language is a very decentralized thing. It is a collection of language used by various nationalities, regions, and peoples for thousands of years. Until today, you can still freely use and freely create. If you create a new vocabulary, indeed, many people are willing to use it, then the language system will include this concept, because the language itself is also non-stop. The iteration of the update, it is a truly decentralized system.

In the same way, the air can be regarded as a decentralized thing, and everyone can use it freely. If you are willing to process it, you can collect the processing yourself, and it is inexhaustible. The two decentralized systems of language and air are so successful that they are perfectly integrated with our lives, so that we are not aware of their existence at all.

A perfect blockchain system is just like language and air. Although you use it every day, you can't live without it every day, but you don't realize its existence. You only realize the service it provides us. The requirement it solves for us is simply the part of its automated implementation, which is similar to this part of an ATM machine. As for the manager behind your ATM machine is not quarreling, fighting, does not need to let the user know, it is best not to exist at all. The more successful the "quiet" blockchain system, the more "noisy" blockchain system will fail.


Sum up my views above: First, governance issues will always exist; second governance will always be the tyranny of a few people; third, the part that is not troubled by governance problems is called automation; fourth, a good decentralized system, will Integrate into our lives like the air.

In addition, for the opinions in his article, I basically agree with it: the governance on the chain can be very democratic, but the essence is still the game, and ultimately it will still be a small number of people with great influence.