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Governance of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology Projects: A Common-Pool Resource View

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Howell, Bronwyn E.; Potgieter, Petrus H.
Conference: Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop 6
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 19-21, 2019
Date: 2019
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10527
Sector: New Commons
Subject(s): blockchain
Abstract: "In this paper, we utilise Elinor Ostrom's Institutional Analysis for Development framework to explore the economic, technological, political, social and psychological contexts in which distributed ledger systems operate in order to understand their broad governance arrangements as polycentric systems operating simultaneously at many different levels of interaction. Somewhat ironically given the purported motivations of decentralisation and revolutionary changes purported for the blockchain technology compared to established firms and governments, it appears that most DLS applications substitute centralised control by one set of stakeholders with centralised control by a different set of stakeholders. We describe the features of DLs that render them candidates as common-pool resources and use the IAD framework to explore their governance arrangements and discusses the implications of this analysis for the viability of some specific DLS applications. We provide a comprehensive overview of the use of distributed ledgers (referring mainly to Bitcoin and Ethereum) and examine the rights roles and incentives of stake-holders, including miners, ordinary coin holders as well as other application users. This includes the role of payments as incentives in proof-of-work and proof-of-style systems."

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