The Shift Towards Decentralisation
In addressing the shift towards “#decentralisation”, it is important to define nomenclature and context. For example, the question for clarification is: what is meant by “decentralisation” in comparison to “#distributed” and “peer-to-peer” constructs Distributed within the context of organisations has been the topic of a body of research specifically around the study of organisation computing. The underlying network and IT applications facilitate collaborative communications. The peer-to-peer or P2P architecture refers to the foundational network of nodes where the clients do not share any of their resources such as storage capacity, computing power, network connection, bandwidth and content. Decentralisation may assume the use of distributed and P2P capabilities. At a societal level, the shift towards decentralisation has various sources such as the financial crisis of 2008, the numerous breaches of citizen data in the form of hacks and the lack of privacy by design. The thesis is that the centralisation of citizen #data is subject to abuse. This #centralisation can take the form of government and commercial entities where the governance model is questionable due to these abuses. The exhortation that “data is the new oil” only amplifies the value of citizen data and
the interpretation that such data is indeed a #tokenised asset.
The Satoshi Nakamoto white paper describing Bitcoin as a “P2P Electronic Cash System” is a manifestation of decentralisation at a societal level that offers a frictionless exchange of value. This notion of decentralisation goes further to include the creation of “Decentralised Autonomous Organisations” or #DAOs where smart contracts create business and organisation logic as to provide governance in the absence of #centralisation. A smart contract is a computer program code that is capable of facilitating, executing and enforcing the negotiation or performance of an agreement using blockchain technology. The first experiments with DAOs and smart contracts clearly showed that these solutions function in an arena that is almost entirely unregulated. We explore the evolution of DAOs and their basic constructs at length in a recently launched course