#dgov movement manifesto

Last updated 10 hours ago

Defining the movement

  • ultimate goal the group intends to achieve. When a movement achieves success—“Mission accomplished!”—everyone goes home.

  • Global

  • sweeping change (over incremental improvement)

  • Movements begin with values

  • Then + strategy, and direct action

  • on values: set priority e.g. cooperation over self interest

What is the connection with the technology, blockchain and scaling? How is it compared with other networks like https://www.responsive.org/ ? Is it specific for networks? Is it about governance automation? human network governance


From Anja

Dgov is short for distributed governance. It’s a movement created by a group of people concerned with the on-chain and off-chain governance of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) which can execute orders via smart contracts and help our broad society to improve with references to transactions, communication and social interactions. The systems build with DLT protocols can be captured by actors such as powerful individuals, influential groups, governments and states. In order to avoid capturing and empowering monopolies, DGov explores ways of distribution, governance systems, value prepositions and needs of contemporary society to build anti-fragile, human-centric and purpose driven designs.

We aim to do so with building a distributed autonomous organization (DAO) which will be agnostic to some extend and allow bridges with other DAOs and between various DLTs to build layers of applications (DApps) we can use in our daily lives without even acknowledging their existence, yet live much better as the utilization of digitally transmitted data allows us to become fulfilled and content bulbs of particles in this space and time.

From Max

What is Distributed Governance

Distributed governance is the specification of principles and methods which enable scalable coordination for forming consensus and to legitimate decisions. In such systems, all participants are treated equally without the presence of a central actor of hierarchy. They are scalable, so efficiency is not reduced but steady or increased by an increasing number of participants.

Challenge is how to maintain and implement changes in such an organization. As there’s no direct decision maker to manage and allocate resources, management in such structures is done through the process of signaling, proposing and distributed decision making.

Governance is the process of establishing and maintaining the legitimacy of decision making process – Vlad Zamfir

The governance itself consists of signaling, proposing, review and acceptance. Examples of things to be governed:

  • Community Values (Monetary Policy, Censorship Resistance, “Code is law” immutability)

  • Brand, Trademark

  • Protocol source code, access to software repositories

Benefits of distributing governance

I believe governance should be the primary focus of investors in the space – Fred Ehrsam, Co-founder Coinbase

More Adaptive & Resilient

The current world can be described with the acronym VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. So the rigid knowledge or established management practices don’t help to keep up with the fast-moving world. The distribution of governance support faster learning, experiments and while can be suboptimal at some intervals, helps to evolve in the long run. Also eliminating the single point of failure, so if the central node is taken out or corrupted, the organization finds ways to restore the direction.

More Efficient

This is mostly connected with the decreased cost of financial (and other) intermediation. E.g. Bitcoin that helped to eliminate costs and delays in the transfers, taking out the banks out of the system. But besides financial factors, the current management system can be too expensive. Usually a decision needs to pass many levels of the hierarchy, meanwhile, the opportunity window can be lost or the cost of that decision can exceed its value.

Another point is that people at the place usually have more info on the situation and make a better decision, as it will also directly involve them.

Driven by the Purpose

If the organization is clear in its goals and open to participation it can organically attract people and resources motivated by the end goal. It usually results in stakeholder communities, where people solve own problems. Motivation and stake here are much bigger than in the typical hiring places of work. Thus participation in the governance is requested, not avoided.

Tasks & Challenges

The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Most of the networks are initialized under some leadership of a person or a small group. After a while, the influence spreads, but still, the group of long-lasting or most connected members is informally directing important decisions. Which usually works fine, but rarely is transparent who those people are and how decisions are made. Thus newcomers or minorities have hard times in understanding their role and opportunities to make changes, that often result in participation churn. Here’s how the initial thesis was stated by Jo Freeman, regarding the power relations within radical feminist collectives in the 60s.

This apparent lack of structure too often disguised an informal, unacknowledged and unaccountable leadership that was all the more pernicious because its very existence was denied. – Jo Freeman

Thus finding the ways to discover and clarify existent structures, fetch out the existing policies and rules, especially when they are not aligned with the proclaimed values, is supporting the decentralization more than harming it.

Free-Rider Problems & Incentive design

In economics, the free-rider problem occurs when those who benefit from resources, public goods, or services do not pay for them, which results in an underprovision of those goods or services. – Cornes, Richard; Sandler, Todd (1986). The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods and Club Goods.

The free-rider problem is not only connected with the lack of financial gains for low-stake participants. Attention, care, support, and labor are usually even more important and can’t be easily incentivized. This results in low motivation toward things like voting. Moving power from regular users to the engaged groups, that can have misaligned interests. And so defeating the purpose of power distribution.

The difficulty of Setting Formalised Rules

It can be either the rules that lack enforcements (employees must wash hands). Or difficulty to legitimize without the central organ, especially against a powerful lobby. Ability to have caveats adds freedom, and taking this out maybe not supported even among the value keepers. Thus the efforts to resolve the structurelessness problem may be too hard to carry.

Criticism of the rules lies in the ability to game them. Even is most users would follow them, the knowledge that bad actors can legitimately violate their purpose feels sour. And thus such rules can be kept for long in discussion. This goes even harder with the smart contracts, where there’s no trusted facility to resolve disputes.

Regulatory & Public Accountability Concerns

Centralization emerged as the main motive and driver for the latest economy and social development. The benefits of the economy of scale and order are valued by the majority. Still, it’s potential is still not fully exhausted. So proponents of this dominating ideology go against the anti-pattern, seeing it as a way to chaos.

Building a system on the outlying principles will not only run into the misunderstanding. But also can face a real confrontation from the existing juridical system and public opinion. The challenges here is not in destroying the existing system, but in educating and integrating current state with the future vision.

Lack of Established Practices & Cases

As a summary, distributed governance is an evolution proposal and experiment. Forward-thinking parties start to try it out with some success. Though there’s not a lot of well-known and clear results that can be taken into comparison with many long-living centralized systems.

Only research and experiment in this sphere and only after some time can move the global perspective to adopt distributed governance. Clearly, this will produce mistakes and criticism, but it’s a natural way to learn.


The Why?

Below are all the values we identify:

  • Truth

  • Immunity

  • Sovereignty

  • Functionality

  • Highly-adaptable

  • Anti-fragility

  • Cohesion

  • Rapture

  • Coherence

  • Humility

  • Collaboration

  • Inclusion

  • Competence

  • Trust

We developed two basic types of values - some were human centric, the others were systematical.



Is anti-fragility similar to high adaptability?

Is humility similar to acknowledging uncertainty?

Do you think that DGov represents the hope to reflect the values of a world we want to live in?

What is the difference between distribution and decentralisation?

Why the values?

Are we challenging the current system?

Capitalism gives a frame, yet capitalism necessarily is not bed and can be upgraded? Or should we think about it in terms of it being eliminated?

These values are what our system is theoretically based on.

We are already thinking about distributed governance

Yes, we are building a new system for the commons, which will challenge what the existing system is.

It’s not about incentives fetishism.

Distribution and decentralisation - you can see these systems in nature as well, hierarchies can be seen everywhere and should not be rejected per se.

Chris: the end system will look like a hierarchy. We’re talking about distribution but these systems are nested in each other, overlapping constantly. The governance as distribution of power is all about how the overlapping functions, what are the patterns we can identify to achieve the values.

Why distributed governance? Less captured then centred.

Value review and recaption

Eliminating the ones we don’t feel fit so a strong core remains.

There’s a lot of cohesion between the values and we might separate them a bit so we make a systematic pattern.

We need to find out the minimal structure, minimal viable systems and minimal viable structure is that we need for the system to evolve.

We already have some patterns - on one hand we have those that we all know and we need to find how we’re going to combine them, while on the other hand we have values that we don’t commonly recognise and need to start with the common understanding of them.

When we have different cultural backgrounds it is difficult to kick start as a DAO, we do need a cohesion around the values. In every human based system there is a value story and a structure for governing how we rule. If we speak about ‘’code as a law’’ there is a bias perception.

If we’re focusing on a structure there might be a danger lingering upon this that we forget why we’re doing it.

Last 5 minutes: reading the questions and reflecting upon.

We’re being capable of going from complexity while we can still open to some specific issues we need to address is something we need to take into consideration. It’s revealing for those who can contribute more with the knowledge they possess in other fields.


A young idea

Challenges ahead

Growth and strengthening

How to achieve maximum diversity?

Viral - educational curriculum

Mapping out the landscape (different organisation for legal applications, who we are working with, who are the stakeholders)

What is the DAO?

Jim - DAO Incubator

Who should participate

Setting the boundaries

Legal entity

Concerns to foresee

How do we make decisions

Formalisation of structures




Common economics