Decentralized Future Requires Robust Governance Models: Project Liberty Institute and BlockchainGov release first outcome of joint initiative comparing 11 prominent blockchain network governance dynamics

11 January 2024

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As decentralized technologies such as blockchain rapidly evolve, establishing effective governance models is crucial to guide stakeholders towards a sustainable and equitable digital future. To enhance understanding and promote responsible practices in this landscape, Project Liberty Institute and BlockchainGov have embarked on a multi stakeholder governance initiative on good governance for a responsible decentralized technological ecosystem. The first intermediary report compares for the first time governance mechanisms and dynamics across 11 major blockchain networks.

Using an interdisciplinary and comparative approach, the report explores prominent blockchain systems including Avalanche, Bitcoin, Cardano, Cosmos, Ethereum, Filecoin, Optimism, Polygon, Polkadot, Tezos, and Zcash. It examines these networks through a multidimensional governance taxonomy, collecting data through desk research and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders.

The Multi Stakeholder Council set up by Project Liberty and BlockchainGov for this Initiative has been instrumental in guiding the development of this report.

The analysis has uncovered six key findings related to the legal entities created to support blockchain networks, power distribution across governance areas and stakeholder groups, decentralization objectives and challenges, the interplay of on-chain code and off-chain practices in governance formalization, predominant decision-making mechanisms, and processes for handling security breaches.

The intermediary report highlights that while blockchain networks are technically decentralized across nodes, their governance involves multiple layers. Hence determining influence requires scrutinizing the types of decisions being made, the stakeholders involved, and the specific mechanisms utilized. This understanding enables designing inclusive governance aligned with community values. The report also analyzes how governance comprises both on-chain protocol rules and off-chain social practices.

The key findings of this report will guide the formulation of good governance recommendations providing pragmatic guidance to stakeholders and the overall ecosystem of blockchain and decentralized technologies.

This pioneering comparison marks a milestone to advance the good governance of blockchain and decentralized technologies.

Project Liberty Institute and BlockchainGov, together with the members of the Initiative’s Governance Multi Stakeholder Council, will now, based on the findings of this comparative study, work on distilling recommendations for the forthcoming Manual on Best Practices for Blockchain and Decentralized Technologies, scheduled for release in April 2024.

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