Governance in distributed organizations, part 1


@giacomozucco in his “The ICO Trilemma” presentation pointed to the incapability of current management frameworks to successfully grow organizations that would be distributed censorship resistant organizations that would be able to enforce complex behaviors.

In particular, he made an assumption that the organization has to be completely centralized and, thus, easy to censor.

I’m going to challenge this assumption.

Why distributed?

So far most of management techniques haven’t used much of the Internet capabilities. They still deeply relied on the presupposition that information distribution is slow and unreliable, thus most of peoples within an organization should be collocated in “an office”. Internet is there for 25+ years, but most orgs still deeply rooted in this belief.

This centralization of control makes them very brittle, especially with regards to the regulatory action.


The idea of “regulation” seems quite attractive, but it’s broken by design, since “regulation” could be done only by prohibiting, censoring out some possible actions of an agent. And if this agent has to obey, then it loses it’s free will and becomes subordinate to the regulator. A positive feedback loop is created: the regulation grows indefinitely until the whole system halts and dies.

If you’re still in doubt — check what ShapeShift had to announce recently.

So, to build effective organizations, we have to build them in a censorship resistant fashion.

Yet, despite the progress in censorship resistant technologies, they still have difficult time in enforcing complex behaviours that could not be specified at the design time.

This brings up governance problem: how organization stakeholders can coordinate their actions for their common benefit, in a censorship resistant fashion, which I will explore in forthcoming parts.

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