A First Step in the Co-Evolution of Blockchain and Ontologies: Towards Engineering an Ontology of Governance at the Blockchain Protocol Level
22 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 6, 2018
At the beginning of 2018, there is a growing belief that blockchain technologies constitute a revolutionary innovation in how we transfer value electronically. In that vein, blockchain may be a suitable complement to ontologies to achieve a big part of Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the semantic Web. We believe that if this complementarity is to be achieved blockchain and ontologies must co-evolve. In this paper, we focus on what and how to engineer models, methods, designs, and implementations for this co-evolution. As a first step in this co-evolution, we propose a conceptual design of a governance ontology represented as meta-data tags to be embedded and instantiated in a smart contract at the blockchain protocol level. We develop this design by examining and analyzing smart contracts from the infamous The DAO experiment on the Ethereum blockchain. We believe there are two contributions of this paper: it serves to inform and implore the blockchain and ontology communities to recognize and collaborate with each other; and it outlines a roadmap for engineering artifacts to bridge the gap between blockchain community’s focus on protocol-level blockchain interoperability and the ontology community’s focus on semantic-level interoperability.
Keywords: blockchain, ontologies, smart contracts, blockchain interoperability, governance, Ethereum
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