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

Research seminar at the Centre of Digital Economy. Surrey Business School at University of Surrey (Guildford, 20/03/2019).

You are cordially invited to a research seminar on Wednesday 20th March 2019, 12.30-1.30pm in 75 MS 02 hosted by the Centre of Digital Economy (CoDE).
David Rozas from Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), will present “When Ostrom Meets Blockchain: Exploring the Potentials of Blockchain for Commons Governance”. Please find details below:
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.

Speaker Bio:
David is a social researcher (PhD in Sociology) and computer scientist (MsC and  BsC in Computer Science) interested in the intersection between the technical and social aspects of technology. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the P2P Models project, in which he is exploring how decentralised technologies, such as Blockchain, could provide mechanisms that facilitate more democratic and decentralised organisational processes, as well as new models of distribution of value in the context of Commons-Based Peer Production. His doctoral research, under the supervision of Professor Nigel Gilbert and Dr Paul Hodkinson at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK), concerned individual involvement and group dynamics of Commons-Based Peer Production communities, focussing on the development community for Free/Libre Open Source Software, Drupal, in the context of the  FP7 EU project P2Pvalue.
He previously participated in the FP7 EU project QLectives (Quality Collectives) at the University of Surrey, and the FP6 EU project ASTRA (Awareness Services and Systems - Towards Theory and Realization) at Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet (Trondheim, Norway). Additionally, he has participated in free software communities for over fifteen years.