Decentralized Integration of Complex Systems

by Dan Robles on December 8, 2014

ApolloThe recent Panel at The Future of Money and Technology Summit on Fueling the Decentralization Movement ended on a very interesting point: The Integration of Complex Systems.

The last comments from Chris Peel suggested that the iPhone program was more complex than Apollo and that we are a far way off from the ability to decentralize production to the degree that a space program or revolutionary consumer product would require. From my years in aviation, I am keenly aware that the complexities associated with an aircraft program would be extremely difficult and risky to manage with a series of autonomous agents and smart contracts – as we know them today.

Wisdom of Crowds

However, the proposition made by Joel Dietz at Swarm is significant. Swarm proposes to crowd-select, crowd-vet, and crowd-fund start-ups. Several efficiencies are cited:

1. The crowd knows best what is needed in a specific time and domain,

2. The same crowd is also the first user/customer/advocates of the product, and

3. The same crowd is the first to iterate the project.

Such diverse and comprehensive “single source” domain expertise is unlikely to be available from any Venture Capital Firm.  Instead, far too many start-ups are designed specifically for the Venture Capital process effectively inbred with the centralized DNA.  The VC formula is fairly simple, well documented, and contains suitably developed infrastructure. The VC process efficiently removes promising innovations from a decentralized ecosystem, repackages them, and injects them into the 20th century finance model of banks, brokers, and IPOs.

Today, the decentralization movement is portrayed in the media by silos like AirBnB and Uber, who may eventually expand into other markets (such as Amazon did from books), but from a relative monopoly position of acquisitions, scale, and market dominance – which is the antithesis of decentralization.

Fueling The Decentralization Movement

This Panel at Future of Money was selected in a very different manner.  The idea that I was trying to get at is that an ecosystem is like scaffolding being populated with individual applications. At first they are sparse, but soon they expand to depend upon each other. At first, each of the panelists seemed very different and related only by ideology. As the session progressed, we could see the each of the panelists were filling in the gaps between themselves soon appearing like a full stack.

Paige Peterson suggested that Maidsafe’s ideas and technology would solve specific problems in the crypto-space that the blockchain could not. Christian Peel suggested that Swarm and Maidsafe may reduce scale risk with what Ethereum has to offer. Sam Yilmaz at DApps Fund is betting on cryptoequity and a broad spectrum of “work proofs” as a means of holding these DApps together rather than letting them become disassembled by a single minded Venture Capital process. Of course, our interest at The Ingenesist Project is precisely on decentralizing both supply AND demand as a means of articulating intangible assets to society (ref: Coengineers.com and Curiosumé).

What is Cryptoequity?

“Cryptoequity,” as defined by Swarm (from this Source) is an umbrella term that covers various applications of cryptographic ledger offerings.

These can include:

(1) Product presales in which the token serves as a coupon redeemable for a real world good (i.e. the Comic Book sale done via Swarm)

(2) Product sales in which the token is redeemable for some service in a decentralized network (i.e. Storj or Ethereum)

(3) Product sales which serve as a “subscription” or membership to some decentralized network (i.e. Swarm)

(4) Token which serves as a license to use some type of intellectual property, potentially with an attached legal contract (i.e. sales being conducted in the Swarm 5th of November launch)

(5) “Shares” serving as stock equivalent for organizations that have no legal entity (i.e. BitShares)

(6) Shares serving as stock for legal entities (i.e. Overstock/Medici)

Efficiency in Zero Marginal Cost

The relative benefit of many of these is that it solves an interesting problem related to the near zero marginal cost of software distribution; the fixed scarcity of a good or service allows the market to determine the appropriate price point for a product rather than centralized forced scarcity or management selection.

Decentralized Integration of Complex Systems

If we are to ever reach a point where complex systems (such as space travel or consumer products – or even equitable governance, environmental stewardship, and fair wealth distribution)  can ever be achieved in a decentralized manner, we must start with the integration of decentralized applications among themselves in a decentralized way.  We should not exclusively extract and seal critical components off from an ecosystem and run them through the VC gamut – the disruption goes both ways.


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