Distributed Republic - White Paper
Ensuring communities have access to resources, education and expertise to take their place in digital revolution.
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We live in a time of rapid technological progress. Advancing digital technologies are changing industries at an exponential rate today. Technology has advanced to the point where it can fulfill the promise that comes with advancement: the ability to underpin our infrastructure in order to provide people with greater freedom and autonomy over their labour and lives.
Unfortunately, at the precipice of the transition between an industrial economy and a digital economy, the reality is reversed. People are working harder, for longer, and for less than ever before.
A digital economy in which technology is designed to alleviate labour will inevitably be unable to provide jobs in a traditional sense, time in exchange for income for everyone. Therefore increasing automation will lead to mass under-employment or unemployment.
We are in the midst of a revolution that is shifting power away from centralised institutions to decentralised ones. This means that governments, companies, and organisations that want to thrive need to embrace decentralisation as part of their strategy for doing so.
In this age of uncertainty, we need to take radical action now to prepare for the future.
In recent years, organisations and institutions have developed progressively more sophisticated ways to decentralise their operations. This white paper explores how Decentralisation, Web3, The Metaverse & AI allows us to build systems that are more resilient than those run by one central entity or organisation. It further proposes the need to establish an entity that is able to support the development of relevant Decentralisation, Web3, The Metaverse & AI infrastructure to lay the foundation for the distributed revolution.
It's not just one advancement in isolation that is transforming the digital landscape, but a convergence of technological advancements that are all interconnected, underpin one another and are being developed in parallel to one another. This could be referred to as 'The Digital Convergence'.
These advancements include but are not limited to:
- Decentralisation is a way to distribute power, authority, and control across a network.
- Web3 reinvents how data moves through digital systems.
- The Metaverse is a re-platforming of digital experiences.
- Artificial Intelligence is a way to digitally perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence.
What has changed in recent years is the digital infrastructure and the growing capability for these technologies to be interoperable.
Alongside technological developments, global attitudes have been dramatically shifted by the pandemic lockdowns. These include the pervasiveness of remote work, globalisation, and online socialisation, which make the advancements of these technologies relevant and significant to the digital age we live in.
Centralisation is the process by which power is concentrated in an individual or organisation. This concentration can take many forms; it can be based on control over resources, knowledge, or other forms of power. Centralisation is often associated with a hierarchical structure, where authority flows down from the top to the bottom of a system.
Many of the foundations for our government institutions, which operate much of our day-to-day life, were incepted during the medieval era and have reached the limitations of their capability during the transition from an industrial to a digital society.
Inevitably, capitalistic centralisation has produced titanic-sized monopolies; the top 10 companies by market cap (Apple Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Exxon Mobil Corp., General Electric Co., Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and JPMorgan Chase & Co.) have a combined value of $4.4 trillion more than double the GDP of Germany or Japan, two of the world's largest economies.
With so much influence over the global economy, these firms have had a profound effect on the way we live our lives and work at our places of employment. They have reshaped industries from transportation to health care and entertainment.
The rise of these monopolies has been driven by two factors: technological innovation and government intervention in markets through regulation and subsidies which limit competition in many sectors like agriculture, energy, and transportation; these policies have allowed them to grow larger than ever before.
The massive concentration of wealth in the hands of a few companies is bad for society. It is bad for democracy because it gives those companies too much power over politics; it's bad for innovation and progress because it reduces competition; and it's bad for workers because monopolies do not pay employees well.
The concentration of power in the hands of a few companies and individuals has led to an unprecedented rise in inequality. The top 1% now own more than half the world's wealth, while 3.7 billion people survive on less than $5 a day.
It's only a matter of time until we're buried under the rubble of job losses, economic devastation, and social upheaval while global borders are erased and technology intensifies globalisation.
Currently, many people experience marginalisation at the hands of centralised structures, which impedes their full political, social, and economic participation in society. It is likely that our society will experience periods of economic instability over the next decades, which will further marginalise those who already face the greatest adversity. Decentralisation is therefore crucial to ensure that individuals are not at the mercy of centralised systems, unable to protect themselves against sudden changes in the market.
We must design and build new economic models, building upon existing models. In particular, we need to think about how existing governance institutions can be used as an inspiration for decentralised alternatives.
The modern age requires governance structures that leverage the capability of digital technological advancements so that the role of governance is not to rule, but rather to serve.
Ledgers have supported centralised structures and institutions since ancient times as a method to record commonly assets such as money and property. These records have been recorded on the database technology of the day, ranging from ancient clay tablets, to paper and in the modern world, bytes. This data has for the most been centralised, therefore regulated, secured, and verified by a central institution or institutions with oversight and authority. These centralised institutions and the ledgers they maintain have been the foundational tools to regulate society since prior to the agricultural revolution. Existing data management methods, particularly for personal data, sometimes involve sizable legacy IT systems housed in a single institution.
However, our technological capabilities have advanced to a point where algorithms make it possible to jointly create digitally distributed ledgers with features and functionality that go well beyond conventional databases. The distributed ledger is a revolutionary new peer-to-peer technology that encrypts all data and transforms it into a digital ledger that's distributed to all participants and updated instantaneously.
Distributed ledgers are a database of assets that may be shared among a network of different locations, organisations, or sites. Fundamentally, it is a shared and secure collection of information that may be used to store data and transactions. Distributed databases maintain a transparent and accurate record of data and digital assets without the oversight of a central authority. It's a way to store data in an encrypted digital format and make it public so that anyone with access can read the information, but no one can change or delete it.
For the purposes of this paper, a distributed ledger is primarily utilised instead of blockchain technology, although these terms are closely related and often used interchangeably. The main difference between a blockchain and a distributed ledger is that the former is a public record of data shared amongst users, while the latter can be shared among private parties. Both are essential for a wider distributed infrastructure.
The purpose and function of distributed ledgers, for the most part, is to supplant the requirement of a centralised institution with oversight and authority required to regulate, secure and verify data.
We have seen the disruption decentralised technology has had over the last ten years in providing functional monetary and legal services without the requirement of a centralised authority. Though these technologies are young, developing, and currently limited, their capability and potential far exceed that of the capability of our current centralised institutions, including our most pronounced regulatory body, government.
No one would deny the walls between our virtual and material worlds are becoming further eroded and the power of what we are able to do online and digitally is increasing exponentially. We are on the precipice of the next evolution of the internet and e-commerce.
The high-level concept of The Metaverse is a fusion of physically persistent virtual space and virtually augmented physical reality resulting in a shared virtual environment. This covers the total of all online communities, augmented realities, and virtual worlds. Users can interact with virtual environments, items, and each other in this virtual world.
Whereas the internet refers to websites linked together, The Metaverse can broadly be thought of as virtual environments, people, spaces & assets linked together that are interoperable.
There are many visions and definitions of The Metaverse, this paper utilises the following definition: The Metaverse is a virtual version of our material world with no predetermined physics. It is community-owned, community-governed, and freely interoperable, with privacy built-in. aka an 'open metaverse’.
The Metaverse is designed to be persistent, allowing it to continue to exist and evolve even when users are not logged in. It is a place where users can interact with each other and with virtual objects and environments, and is often designed to be a social experience with various forms of communication and group activities. The Metaverse will also have a virtual economy with virtual goods and currency that can be bought, sold, and traded, and it is often designed to be immersive, with a rich, detailed virtual world and a wide variety of activities and experiences for users to enjoy.
The Metaverse will provide a new platform for commerce and business, potentially leading to the creation of new markets and opportunities for economic growth. It will also provide a new platform for the creation and distribution of digital goods and services, leading to new forms of economic activity and disrupting traditional economic models.
In terms of social interaction and communication, The Metaverse will allow people to connect in ways that were not previously possible. This could lead to new forms of social organisation and relationships, as well as new forms of social interaction and communication. This will also impact democratic participation and decision-making, allowing for the creation of virtual town halls and other democratic forums. It will transform political organising and activism, potentially allowing for the creation of virtual political movements and campaigns.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way in recent years, and it's now being used in a wide variety of applications. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer or machine to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as understanding and responding to language, recognising patterns and objects, and making decisions. AI is achieved through the use of algorithms and data to enable machines to learn and adapt to new information and experiences.
There have been significant advancements in widely available AI tools that use natural language processing (NLP) interfaces that use machine learning algorithms to understand and respond to user input. This could be for anything, ranging from elevating loneliness to custom coding.
We are beginning to witness technological capabilities that until now have only existed in sci-fi. In the not-too-distant future, it is likely that we will be able to stream intelligence in a way similar to how we currently stream the internet.
AI has the potential to revolutionise many industries and has already been applied in a variety of fields, including healthcare, finance, and transportation.
The subject of how we cooperate by exchanging value in an environment of trust is at the heart of social organisations and all other types of institutions. Automated frictionless value exchange and automated trust are made possible by institutional technology, which increases interconnectivity while enabling the fundamental operation of social institutions.
A decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) is a new type of organisation, inspired by the principles of automation, individual empowerment, and self-organisation. This emerging form of organisational structure where entities deployed on the blockchain choose their own governing rules. These organisations, utilising decentralised technology have the potential to run themselves autonomously, whilst still being owned and controlled by their members.
Decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) are based on specific goals, not owned by any one person, company, or organisation. The goal of a DAO is to promote the sharing of value among members as opposed to the pursuit of profit or personal gain. It is operated for the people, by the people, and based on the principles of open collaboration, collective intelligence, and self-organization.
Unlike centralised institutions that require ‘middle-men’ to regulate the organisation, DAO’s utilise delegated decision-making that allows individuals to focus on what matters most, without having to spend time on the mundane tasks that go into managing an organisation.
DAO’s remove many of the barriers that make it hard to innovate and empower people to work together for their own betterment. They also remove a fundamental barrier to job creation: the ability to find employment.
Traditionally, citizenship is assigned based on the country of birth and citizenship of parental lineage. It normally refers to material world territories and geolocations that are regulated by centralised institutions. However, distributed republics are a form of governance that can be organised globally, simultaneously, and across geographic boundaries using distributed ledgers, blockchain technology, and smart contracts.
A distributed republic refers to a fluid republic made up of people and territory physically dispersed throughout the world. A distributed republic and its citizens are communities that agree, endorse, and adhere to an agreed-upon and amendable constitution that is underpinned by decentralised technology, distributing power more equitably among its citizens.
Each distributed republic is community-owned, and community-governed, and its ledger is freely interoperable. The structure of governance is not limited to application ‘only’ in our material or virtual worlds. However, in the first instance, it would be the choice infrastructure for the regulation of digital realities as there isn’t any legacy infrastructure that would require transitioning. This system of decentralised governance goes beyond the concepts of federalism, and more closely resembles a confederacy, a collection of individuals, nations, companies, etc. joined together for a common purpose or by a common interest.
In a distributed republic, citizens have greater autonomy and more say in the decisions that affect their lives. That's why it's so important to remind our community of the importance of creating a digital district that works for all.
A distributed revolution: The adoption of a new decentralised organisation model, underpinned with digital advancements, with the goal of empowering and mobilising participants in order to realise greater collective action.
There is often a prerogative when implementing new systems, processes, or technology that in doing so they should cause disruption. Disruption isn’t the goal, change is the goal, and disruption is just the bi-product of change.
Moving to a distributed society that encourages participation through decentralised structures must account for the psychological process of change and transition. Individuals must in the first instance be prepared and educated to take their place in the distributed revolution.
The populace requires information, guidance, and best practice surrounding distributed governance and applied understanding and insights around Decentralisation, Web3, The Metaverse & AI because it is not just a matter of technology: it is also about our psychology and culture. We must learn how to make this transition from being governed by an authority to living as citizens in an open society. Implementation of this new form of governance needs to be fair, recognise and celebrate differences, diverse, and decentralise and democratise power by putting the control in the hands of individual citizens. Building an infrastructure where trust and transparency are the norms, not the exception.
This white paper proposes the establishment of an organisation & community that is dedicated to laying the foundations required for distributed participation. This is the aim of Distributed Republic. The goal is to create a community that can bring together individuals who are working on similar problems, share ideas, and helps one another learn from each other’s experiences. The purpose of this learning collective aims to create a greater sense of community, collaboration & resource sharing surrounding these digital advancements.
The initial focus will be on creating tools and resources that support education around Decentralisation, Web3, The Metaverse & AI to support organisations. This includes providing education on current and future developments related to decentralised technologies, monitoring key indicators related to distributed institutions, and developing tools that will allow stakeholders to better understand these developments and their impact on society.
It would also involve developing an online community of practice (CoP) and creating resources that can be used by project teams to design and implement Web3, The Metaverse & AI solutions. The mission of this entity would be to dedicate time, energy, and resources to establishing four pillars that are required to underpin distributed participation.
● Community - An ecosystem of supporters who can collaborate and contribute to the growth of the distributed revolution and digital participation.
● Education – Providing services, training, and educational resources to support individuals, organisations, and communities to develop the skills, knowledge & behaviours required to form and participate in decentralised structures and with digital advancements.
● Research – Developing a greater understanding of the socio-economic impact relating to the formation of distributed communities and digital advancements.
● Resource – Implementing decentralised economic frameworks like tokenisation to facilitate frictionless value exchange.
The proposed organisation would have the intended purpose to provide essential services that underpin distributed services and social objectives. It is expected that this organisation will be supported by a wide range of stakeholders, including those who are directly affected by it. The organisation will also engage with international partners and other stakeholders who share a common interest in promoting better access to decentralised technologies for all.
This organisation would be separated into three intersecting areas…
● Social – A bottom-up approach to providing services, targeting communities and individuals that face the greatest adversity, cultivating the skills, knowledge, behaviours, and resources to participate in distributed institutions and leverage emerging digital advancements. Working in partnership with schools, charities, community organisations, and underserved communities.
● Professional – Supporting organisations to leverage decentralised technologies. Working with organisations and leaders in an advisory capacity to establish decentralised institutions. This could be in relation to, but not limited to skilling, structuring, and technological implementation.
● Research & advocacy – A think tank broadly researching, advising, and influencing global, regional, and national policy and regulation in regard to Decentralisation, Web3, The Metaverse & AI .
Services would include, but are not limited to…
· Procurement of hardware, software, and services from vendors/suppliers
· Provision of IT infrastructure
· Education, training, and capacity development
· Community outreach
· Awareness raising
· Monitoring and evaluation
· Research and development
In addition to these direct interventions, other activities may also include
· Networking/partnership building
· Advocacy/public education
· Technology transfer (ongoing)
There are many examples of groups working on developing technologies and protocols which support decentralised systems, but few organisations focus on supporting these efforts by building the necessary infrastructure for these systems to underpin real societal change.
It is essential that we start laying the foundations now for distributed institutions by fostering their development.
We need to build a new generation of distributed institutions: organisations that are open, transparent, and democratic but also scalable, secure, and resilient. We need an organisation that can support the development of these institutions, helping them to grow their membership, raise funds and build their technical infrastructure.
Our world will forever be changed by these advancements in digital technology, each with the potential to impact our day-to-day lives as dramatically as the inception of the internet or the use of smart devices. It is imperative that everyone is included and advantaged by these technologies as well as able to participate meaningfully in the digital revolution that will take place over the coming years.
Join us in shaping the future of technology by investing in, sponsoring, or partnering with our organisation, dedicated to empowering individuals to learn about Decentralisation, Web3, The Metaverse, and AI. Be a part of a community of forward-thinkers and innovators, and help us make a real impact in the world of technology.
Author: Jamie Bykov-Brett
Social Entrepreneur, Metaverse Advisor, Workshop Facilitator & Digital Economic Justice Campaigner
Founder of ‘MetaHub’ & ‘Distributed Republic’.
© 2022 Jamie Bykov-Brett - Distributed Republic White Paper DRAFT - All Rights Reserved