When Ostrom Meets Blockchain: Exploring the Potentials of Blockchain for Commons Governance

28 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2018

See all articles by David Rozas

David Rozas

Universidad Complutense de Madrid; University of Surrey - Department of Sociology

Antonio Tenorio-Fornés

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM)

Silvia Díaz-Molina

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM)

Samer Hassan

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM); Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: July 30, 2018

Abstract

Blockchain technologies have generated excitement, yet their potential to enable new forms of governance remains largely unexplored. Two confronting standpoints dominate the emergent debate around blockchain-based governance: discourses characterised by the presence of techno-determinist and market-driven values, which tend to ignore the complexity of social organisation; and critical accounts of such discourses which, whilst contributing to identifying limitations, consider the role of traditional centralised institutions as inherently necessary to enable democratic forms of governance. Therefore the question arises, can we build perspectives of blockchain-based governance that go beyond markets and states? In this article we draw on the Nobel laureate economist Elinor Ostrom’s principles for self-governance of communities to explore the transformative potential of blockchain. We approach blockchain through the identification and conceptualisation of affordances that this technology may provide to communities. For each affordance, we carry out a detailed analysis situating each in the context of Ostrom’s principles, considering both the potentials of algorithmic governance and the importance of incorporating communities’ social practices. The relationships found between these affordances and Ostrom’s principles allow us to provide a perspective focussed on blockchain-based commons governance. By carrying out this analysis, we aim to expand the debate from one dominated by a culture of competition to one that promotes a culture of cooperation.

Keywords: Algorithmic Governance, Blockchain, Commons Governance, Decentralization, Peer Production, Social Innovation

JEL Classification: D700, O310, O330, O350, P400, Z130

Suggested Citation

Rozas, David and Tenorio-Fornés, Antonio and Díaz-Molina, Silvia and Hassan, Samer, When Ostrom Meets Blockchain: Exploring the Potentials of Blockchain for Commons Governance (July 30, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3272329

David Rozas (Contact Author)

Universidad Complutense de Madrid ( email )

Faculty of Computer Science
C/ Profesor José García Santesmases 9
Madrid, Madrid 28040
Spain

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology

University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey GU27XH
United Kingdom

Antonio Tenorio-Fornés

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) ( email )

Carretera de Humera s/n
Madrid, Madrid 28223
Spain

Silvia Díaz-Molina

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) ( email )

Carretera de Humera s/n
Madrid, Madrid 28223
Spain

Samer Hassan

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) ( email )

Facultad de Informática UCM
c/Profesor José García Santesmases, 9
Madrid, Madrid 28040
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://samer.hassan.name

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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