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A Possible Use Of Societies For Scalable Governance.

Kusama’s motion #132 was put forward by Jam to enable refunds of lost deposits due to an involuntary treasury proposal.
It takes governance approval from the council and transactions from the treasure to mend this valid transaction. The described process is appropriate because reversals of valid transactions shouldn’t be easily approved, because by doing so, it would open the possibility of them being used by nefarious actors hence the need for the council to decide such delicate matters.


It calls for the question, could it be possible to scale up refunds of erroneous transactions or more importantly review or analyze any type of transactions specially if they are numerous?


Kusama is the perfect playground for such an experiment in real life but for now a thought experiment should suffice. Let’s imagine for a moment, that a batch of thousands of transactions are sent successfully to an exchange with a 0.1% percent of transactions sent to erroneous or unrecoverable addresses within a day. And it repeats for many days. The best way to approach this problem so far has been to polish the user interface. Wallet designers check the inputs before they are processed, just like with regular web applications, so they take preventive measures. But mistakes still happen and these transactions still find a way through. How can we create palliative measures at scale?


Giving a large number of transactions continuously to the council to check sounds overwhelming. The same would go for having all token holders decide on governance which of these proposed thousand transactions should be refunded. Usually, high profile transactions like hacked funds or scammed funds can be tracked and taken care of more easily but numerous low profile mistakes are usually not worth the considerable effort. However, by using the societies module, we could have a dedicated group of people that review any type of numerous transactions and at the same time, build trust by reviewing transactions accurately while being rewarded for their work via tipping or by funding their society. This imaginary society of invalid transaction reviewers, wouldn’t act alone. Their results will still be supervised and approved by token holders and the governance module itself which still are the ones to have the final word but the effort of all governance participants will be considerably lowered by the work of the society of invalid or numerous transaction reviewers.


This toy example has shown us what a powerful tool blockchain societies can become for blockchain governance and transaction analysis at a big scale. The use of specialized societies can bring back an old type of specialized societal structure, the guild, but with a positive twist. Unlike medieval guilds, two blockchain societies can specialize in the same subject thus bringing the benefits of the open market and reputation to on-chain blockchain governance and by doing so opening another option to scale up low importance - high volume tasks in governance, no matter what they are.


The most likely scenario is that blockchain societies, if adopted for governance, analysis or review would start to operate in the same way Amazon Mechanical Turk operators work, with lots of manual labor and patience but over time they will grow more and more sophisticated using more analytical tools and software and who knows, even using some on-chain tools and processing power too.


Blockchain societies can work on any front as well. They are not limited to governance screening like our example. Building blockchain societies and putting them to work on any front will bring the advantages of human organization and specialization to any decentralized application on any blockchain and more importantly, at any scale.

Published by: Saxemberg on Aug. 1, 2020