Luke and I talked about how he got involved with Ethereum and Aragon as well as what he sees that the future holds for them
Our team has grown and gained a new member again! Today we're introducing Luke as a new addition. We discussed how he got into working on Ethereum and Aragon, what his vision of their future is and what he's most excited about getting to work on.
Past team interviews:
Hi Luke, a warm welcome to the team, could you start by telling us what piqued your interest and lead you to working on an Ethereum based project?
I'm relatively new to the blockchain space. Really only started getting up to speed on the technology earlier this year. It felt like an epiphany. Blockchains, and smart contracts especially give us the power to alter and align social incentives. All without introducing inevitably corrupt central authorities. Many of the frustration I had with our society seemed daunting, like they were incurable reflections of our flawed human nature. Ethereum abruptly reframed this as a challenging but ultimately solvable engineering problem.
Ethereum enables a large group of users to reach consensus on arbitrarily complex decisions. With it came a general purpose consensus mechanism. Something that is a total game changer for historically intractable collective action challenges. We see collective action problems at all levels of our society, from a two party prisoner's dilemma to global problems like climate change. If Ethereum can scale up and reach widespread adoption we will see humanity become far more successful at collaborative problem solving.
And out of all the Ethereum projects, what brought you to Aragon?
I've been following Aragon since before the crowdsale. I'm extremely excited and passionate about the social impacts of decentralized governance. I found myself spending most of my nights and weekends doing research on the subject. As well as being an outspoken member of several communities, including Aragon and district0x.
I also started working on a project called Hive Commons. A grassroots movement to create a decentralized publicly governed digital commons. As I worked on that project, I kept running into challenges that needed resolving before I could continue. Problems which were not specific to Hive Commons, but to decentralized organizations in general. I started to approach other projects to see if there was interest in collaborating on solutions. But most projects focused on delivering their application first. They saw decentralized governance as something that was "nice to have". A feature they could explore somewhere down the road.
Aragon was different. Their core vision was enabling decentralized organizations and having decentralized governance. As we continued our discussion, the team decided to bring me on board. I'm extremely excited to join the team and have the opportunity to work on something that I believe will have a truly positive impact on humanity.
Which facet of Ethereum do you find the most interesting and are looking forward to?
If I need to narrow it down, it would have to be scaling solutions. Specifically Proof of Stake, Sharding, and Plasma. These three together will create a solution that allows us to realize the full potential of decentralization on a global scale.
Right now we can see glimpses of Ethereum's potential. But the fact remains that events like the Status crowdsale can disrupt normal operation of the network. Such events make it apparent that the network is not yet ready for mainstream adoption. It's a bit like we are watching the early stages of the Internet development. Early on it had basic functionality. But by scaling the bandwidth and nodes, you end up with orders of magnitude more utility. And things that may have been hard to even imagine before, like Netflix and Youtube.
What do you see in the future for Ethereum?
I may be a bit optimistic with this prediction, but I think Ethereum will push society towards a more cooperative value production model. This follows from the realization that Ethereum makes it easier than ever before to align the incentives of individuals and groups and efficiently reach a consensus.
Right now we see market competition as the most efficient way of allocating resources. But we also recognize that unregulated markets often result in resource allocations that are socially suboptimal (pollution for example). In these situations we turn to the government to step in and advocate for public interest. But governments are slow, bureaucratic, and often corrupt.
I see the Web3.0 as an evolution of Web2.0 rather than a separate trend. Web3.0 will give users more power over their identities and data, which will change the dynamic between users and service providers. If we can use Ethereum to provide a more efficient, transparent, and secure mechanism to represent collective interests we should see society place a higher value on cooperation.
Instead of being locked into a single provider, Web3.0 will put the users in control. This will force the service providers to compete rather than locking the user into closed ecosystems and monopolizing access to their data.
And how does Aragon fit into your vision of the future?
Technology can be incredibly disruptive. Prior to Bitcoin it would have been difficult to imagine moving away from fiat currencies. However, emerging decentralized ledger technology makes it possible to rethink what we expect and accept from centralized institutions.
Right now it is difficult to run a decentralized organization, but in five years time it will be quite simple. You go and create a new decentralized entity with a few clicks and a pay bit of gas, install the applications that make sense for your specific use case. And you're ready to focus on building value.
I expect we will see a wide range of different organizational structures. Some that are familiar and others which are completely novel and only feasible on a blockchain environment. Many of these organizations will be completely disconnected from traditional jurisdictions. Others may opt to have both, a decentralized entity and a jurisdiction based entity to make it easier to interact with legacy institutions.
Both, the organizations that exist solely on the blockchain, as well as those represented by traditional organizational entities will find it more efficient and transparent to rely on Aragon Network services like the Decentralized Court, so arbitration agreements that leverage the Aragon jurisdiction will become common.
The kind of digital jurisdiction which Aragon is building allows organizations to form and transact more efficiently, securely, and transparently than in any existing legal institutions. Traditional jurisdictions have the option to adapt and benefit from these innovations. Innovations which we are already starting to see in places like Estonia or Zug. Or they will fall behind as organizations leave for greener pastures.
Which aspect of Aragon are you personally most excited to be working on?
I'm really excited about working on transitioning the authority from the Aragon Foundation to the ANT holders. Though this transition has to be gradual and thoughtful process.
Effective governance of the Aragon Network will ultimately be what determines if organizations choose to operate within the Aragon Network Jurisdiction. As a first step we will need to research and experiment with various mechanisms in a safe and controlled environment.
What would you like to say to those out there aspiring to work on either Ethereum or Aragon?
Just hop in and lend a hand. Pretty much every worthwhile project in this space is open source and appreciates community contributions.
Whether you're a coder, designer, or just interested in the space, you can get on Github or Rocket Chat and start participating. The beauty of decentralization is that progress is made from the ground up. Every individual contribution, no matter how small, combines into something truly unstoppable.
Thanks for the discussion Luke, looking forward to seeing the research on Aragon advancing by your work!
You can also follow Luke on Twitter!