Governance and Democracy within Safe Society

I’ve been thinking about all these areas since the start really, trying to take on board all the more substantial arguments from both the Left and Right, Liberal and Libertarian points of view etc. I’ve been trying to figure out the best way forward on future Governance and also how to give the Community more responsibility for what gets built, what decisions are made etc. I came across @TylerAbeoJordan 's recent post and received an invite but thought I’d better put my advice as a post in itself as I’ve quite a few thoughts/ideas which relate but I don’t want to disrupt the other thread.
I think the basic idea could be enlarged to create a functioning Safe Society. (I may need some technical assistance here though…lol).
Ok…what I think the “holy grail” for myself personally and what I also think a lot of projects are aiming for is a whole functioning online Society – in the most equitable way possible. This commonly involves “ICO’s” for “DAO” type entities, but these all have common problems, which different projects try to address in various (non-optimum) ways.
(I believe we could optimise things and potentially form a Community collaboration with Maidsafe which could hopefully create quite a symbiotic relationship essentially.)
I could go on a bit here, as quite a few thoughts and not sure how best to start/structure to lessen my words…maybe I’ll just do a Q and A with myself I think…

  1. What would the ultimate DAO on SafeNet look like?

To my mind, it would involve the most people being the most involved, invested and directing of the project – and not skewed towards the wealthiest.
The ultimate DAO would in effect be a direct Democracy of sorts, with all voters/users/citizens having an equal share I believe.
The ultimate “DAO” is the citizens’ investment in the Society it creates, as I see it.

  1. So what’s the problem with ICO’s in relation to DAO’s?

Well, primarily it tends to lead to the “Whale” problem where power/wealth/votes etc gets concentrated among the few. This type of coin issuance would not be suitable for use in any future form of voting/Governance/Democracy.

  1. What would the optimum method be instead of ICO?

The optimum method would involve distributing coins/votes/power as equitably as possible among contributing users/citizens/voters. The optimum would be 1 person 1 vote, the vote backed by Safecoin. As votes are cast, Safecoin are collected, creating a “DAO” fund in effect. This would be small to start with, but could be the acorn from which to grow the Oak.

  1. How do we ensure voters are real people – won’t we have to use some web of trust or similar solution and maybe have to compromise anonymity?

I don’t think so. For the purposes of the SafeNet, we can substitute 1 vault - 1 vote for 1 person - 1 vote. This is due to the properties of the farming mechanism which mitigate the risk of concentration of power. We don’t need to know who the voters are, just that they maintain a vault.

  1. How do we achieve optimum distribution and ensure that only those contributing to Safe Society have a fair say? How do we prevent the whale problem and stop all the wealth/power concentrating to the top 1%?

The only way I see to do this is to involve a slight change to vault/wallet code or create a secondary wallet. There are many other methods I’m sure and the problem would seem to just be one of which solution to implement.
The key thing to my mind is that any vote/Dao coin has to be tied to the vault/farming mechanism in some way. This would ensure only contributors get the vote and power/democracy is as de-centralised/direct as possible, whilst preventing power concentration.

  1. Can you think of any feasible mechanism that you think might work, however sketchy, just as an example of how/what you are thinking?

OK, this is the bit where I need technical help…Let’s say that the 2nd farmed Safecoin (as an example) to hit each vault (or secondary wallet) can be sent to a smart contract (or coloured some other way) until used as a vote.
We could restrict in code to only 1 coin permitted to be held at any one time until a further amount of Safecoin is farmed. This would create a time delay between votes being able to be cast and ensure we are still dealing with a contributing member of Society before a further Dao/vote coin (its still a Safecoin actually remember) may be farmed.
This would seem to sort the whale problem out and de-centralise everything as far as possible.

  1. So we’d need a voting app for the vault/wallet to interact with – how would that work?

I would envisage a basic platform with choices such as A, B, C, D for which to send the
Safecoin. Only Safecoin farmed from the vault and nowhere else can be sent to the app. This method would also negate the need to create a specific “Dao” coin, so simplifies things.
Whichever letter receives the most votes has the others added to it and a smart contract carries out the instructions for colllected funds.
In the beginning, at Genesis, the options may be something like:

A) Save funds to build Community DAO forum on Decorum.
B) Repay the guy who built the voting app.
C) Donate to Al Kafir
D) Invest in 3rd World micro project.

In essence, what we would have created is a voluntary “community pot” in the form of a Dao without all the problems of ICO’s… This would seem to address the more legitimate complaints coming from those complaining about tax systems, such as the involuntary nature of it and having no say in what it is spent on. As votes are cast, Safecoin are accumulated to be spent however the Community decides.

  1. So what about governance – isn’t that something of a contentious issue with everyone wanting different ideological models?

Well, yes it is…so we have to take our cue from nature I think and let the SafeNet organism evolve however it is going to evolve. I’d say we have to have a starting point and that the best starting point would be the direct democracy model – if only to democratically decide whatever governance system we will eventually adopt.
I would suggest a sort of “People’s Parliament” or debating chamber on Decorum perhaps, from which the basic A,B,C,D questions can be established. The community could hear all the best arguments without fear of censorship, then decide.

  1. What are some of the main benefits from adopting this or a similar scheme in your view?

It would create a community pot/fighting fund and there is an obvious demand for this type of thing – see Bitshares, Steem etc. This also addresses common problems found, does things fairer and so would be more attractive to users and help attract a strong community spirited user base.
I think a mutually beneficial relationship between Maidsafe and the larger community can be grown over time and certain roles/responsibilities could be de-centralised from Maidsafe/Foundation (as appropriate) over time. It could be mutually supportive.
It would also appear to be better than anything else out there in most respects as far as I can see.

Anyway, just my thoughts if anyone wishes to discuss? :smile:


Absolutely love the post.
Need to read it through when not working so that I can come with some input. Great initiative.


Very good post @Al_Kafir. I’ll jump right in to say I think the 1 vault SafeCoin = 1 vote won’t work as things stand, and the problem (anyone can run multiple vaults - eg in the cloud - if they can pay for them) will be hard to fix in this model. So I think a proof of unique human is what’s really needed, or something that gets us as close to that as possible.

I do like the principle of tying together uniqueness and contributing: 1 unique human farmer = 1 vote and your scheme of linking this to SafeCoin creates a minimum threshold which is good too. There’s an issue though when it becomes very expensive to farm a SafeCoin (ie as SafeCoin itself becomes more valuable), because again it means wealthy farmers get votes more easily.

So I think those are the key issues to be solved here, along with making it hard to trade votes.

I don’t have any solutions at this point, but maybe there are other schemes and theories that can be borrowed or adapted. I don’t know and haven’t thought much about it but there must be lots of research and theory on this kind of thing, as well as the other efforts in the crypto sphere. It’s a hard problem though.


Yes, I took this aspect on board tbh. Each vote would cost 1 Safecoin and only 1 vote per vault, so it would be costly and difficult to game. Anyone trying would also be contributing relative computing resources, so its the same reason the farming mechanism works.

Remember that the farming mechanism algorithm is optimised towards the smaller farmer and intended to minimise the profitability of creating large farms. The reasoning here is exactly the same, if we can create wealthy farmers from running large farms, then the system isn’t working as intended. In essence, it’s not so much the “wealth” of the farmer, it’s the relative amount of resources they are contributing to the Society that is important.
Again, if it becomes too expensive to farm a Safecoin, then again the system isn’t working as intended in my view. However, in this unlikely scenario, a smaller denomination of Safecoin will become necessary for the functioning of SafeNet and we could maybe use that instead.

Votes can’t be traded. The “Dao” coin is a Safecoin that can only interact with the voting app.

Proof of Human or some form of ID would only be necessary for anybody handling funds or acting on behalf of the Community - not at the voter level. :smile:


The dynamics are different between the mechanism that makes big farms less viable, and what you are trying to do here, which is to ensure each individual farmer has the same voting rights.

I was thinking more in terns of a wealthy person being able to overcome the 1 vote per person aim. Making large scale farming less profitable does not address this problem in the way you suggest.

As it stands, a millionaire will be able to come along and have way more influence than anyone else. The faults I’ve highlighted will be to be addressed to prevent this.


What’s to stop people from having a huge computer farm and having a whole lot of little vaults? Also one can have multiple devices, thus multiple votes. 1 vault != ! person.

How is this different than plutocracy? You seem to be objecting to people sitting on their own wealth but SAFE already deals with this problem as the value of safecoin adjusts regardless of whether you spend coin or not. And if its person a gets more votes than person b then tying the vaults to votes doesn’t solve this as one can host multiple vaults, ESPECIALLY if one has the money to pay for the tech.

Furthermore I don’t think all of SAFE “society” will want the same “governance” model or even a governance model.

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I recently listened to a podcast that discussed the role of machine learning with respect to epistocracy (The role of knowledge in political decision-making…). It seems clear that a voter educated on the issue being voted on should have a vote weighted by that knowledge. Instead of a liquid democracy (which might be vulnerable to mob mentality) I hope that we work towards a liquid epistocracy where those best suited to solve a problem have a weighted vote.
What are your thoughts?

No, I’m not trying to do this as it’s infeasible. Look at it as each individual is rewarded by voting rights relative to how much computer resources they have contributed to the Network. It’s the same mechanism as the farming mechanism and actually tied to it via the vault. Either both mechanisms are viable and mitigate potential abuses as intended or both do not - it’s all the same basic argument.

Yes, and currently a millionaire could buy all the MaidSafecoins or farm all the Safecoins and gain more wealth/influence that way to a much larger degree. I’m saying that this method, along with the 1 vote per vault and other restrictions would seem to mitigate things as far as I can see possible without impinging on anonymity etc.
You can’t always completely stop all potential gaming of the system - sometimes you can only mitigate things as far as possible. I think this is one of those situations.
At the end of the day, it will still mean those contributing the most resources will have the most say - not necessarily the most wealthy.
This would seem to be as equitable a mechanism as I can think of.

I maintain that it is exactly the same dynamics…exactly… :smile:

Sorry, which “faults” did I not address - because I believe I responded. I would say that whatever these are must equally apply to the farming mechanism…coz it’s the same dynamics at work…lol :smile:

Nothing…except the farming algorithm is designed to make this unlikely to be profitable. The same reason applies with what I suggest - otherwise the farming algorithm does not work as intended.

A Plutocracy would necessarily be run by the wealthy, this would be run by those doing the work.

Sorry, why do you say this?

Neither do I, that’s why I suggested all I did in my opening post.

Yes, I see this as a relevant point of view that could be argued for in a “People’s Forum” prior to being something for the community to vote on. I would agree with you but others won’t.

It costs money to buy tech. It costs money to run tech. It costs money to pay for an internet connection.

Because you don’t seem to be objecting to people having wealth but rather not spending it back into society in some form or another.

Also this is a false dichotomy on SAFE. Simply having wealth on SAFE contributes to SAFE “society” since it affects the value of safecoin. SAFE is not based on debt. SAFE is based on resources. Less valued coin = less farmers. Less farmers = less resources. Cost for uploads go up, perhaps WAY up. Whales start spending more to upload pics of their ferrarris and what farmers are left start making oodles of money. It all balances out at some point.

But your main objection still seems to be against those with wealth that are not contributing it back into circulation.

Keep in mind there will be those who cannot run a vault for technical reasons. People may be on a borrowed computer, or at an internet cafe. Or any number of other reasons.

This means linking votes to vaults means excluding those who don’t have the minimum tech capital. Again how is this different than a plutocracy?

So you pay to play? In a plutocracy you pay to vote. In your plutocracy you pay using tech resources. What’s the difference? Tech or cash it’s still a plutocracy.

This is the subtlety that’s getting lost. You are correct that the farming algorithm, by being designed to keep farming rewards democratised will help mitigate the issues I raised. I don’t dispute the mitigation but it’s adequacy given this is no longer about farming rewards, but influencing important decisions.

My point is that farming rewards are one thing, but controlling the outcome of voting is another, and I thought you were trying to keep this democratic, whereas your responses seem to say your are mainly concerned that voting rights are tied to contribution of resources. Two different things.

If my motive is to profit from farming, the farming algorithm and related measures should work as intended, and keep both rewards and resource contribution relatively decentralised, and far more democratic than blockchain mining for example.

But if voting is on things which have value, you risk two things. One, you give those with wealth a motive to buy influence because they can benefit from it, which is essentially corruption. Two, you risk undermining the decentralisation of the network itself, by providing a motive for running large numbers of centralised vaults, to gain influence that could be much more valuable than the farming rewards for those vaults.

So to assess what is needed here we should also think about what would be voted on. If we’re taking about things that affect the SAFEnetwork as a whole there’s the possibility that somebody would be willing to spend a lot of money to determine votes in their favour, making this a flawed scheme IMO, which is what my criticism was addressing. If we’re voting on things of little significance, there’s little motive for spending money to corrupt the vote, but I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here.

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Yes, and thanks for pointing out the main reason the mechanism I propose will be costly to game.
Essentially any potential bad actor would have to provide 2 Safecoin’s worth of resources to gain each single vote – this alone doubles the cost of each vote.

Sorry, where do I express this objection? This would be entirely voluntary and nobody will be forced to take part. It’s basically a community pot to do as the community as a whole decides. This would be a group community endeavour, rather than an individual one and whatever affects the group as a whole has to be decided as a group - democratically, as no other feasible way.
This would not affect any individual in any way and people are free to join or not. I envisage some sort of welcome screen asking user if would like to participate and have voting rights for community DAO and an explanation of how it works.

Again, where are you getting this from? I think you may be trying to say that wealthy people contribute too, so should be given the vote without farming…is that it? If so, can you think of any possible technical way to achieve this and still avoid/mitigate things in the same way I have suggested?
If a person is wealthy they can afford to run a vault. They only need 1 unless they are trying to game the system - so why and how on Earth would you want to even try?

Yes, not everyone can get to the polling station in effect - yes I’m sure we can think of many edge cases for any potential solutions. All the above scenarios would mean no resources are being provided, hence no reward…simple.
Could you think of any mechanism whatsoever yourself that would address the edge cases you mention btw? :smile:

What system wouldn’t?

I’ve already told you…lol

You pay if you want to be part of a Community Dao and wish to vote on what direction that takes. Why is this different to anything else? It does not restrict anybody’s use of the SafeNet in any way.

I don’t think you do, it’s just a society run by the rich. In a Plutocracy the money/wealth/power concentrates, whereas in what I suggest I specifically aim to mitigate all this - that’s how it’s different, it’s the complete opposite.

I don’t have a Plutocracy and using spare computing resources does not constitute Plutocracy…lol
Yes, ideally everyone’s vote should be free, just like ideally uploading content to SafeNet should be free, but we don’t live in an ideal world. We can only mitigate these things as far as possible.

Great, because that’s all I’m aiming for as I think it’s all we can do. I think it’s a case of doing whatever mitigates things the most. Maybe someone can suggest a better solution taking all things into consideration. For example is it worth doing the unique human thing for all voters and how are things progressing in this direction?

Yes, so we have to think of the best, most mitigating implementation, weighing up all considerations.

Yes, I am

Well No, I just think it is much less faff than using unique human identification and the mitigating factors make it a possibility. If you even had unique human identification how would the voting system work - what would the mechanism be and how would it also be a quite equitable DAO at the same time, without involving the vault?

I know…

Yes, but this is mitigated in all the ways I suggested. Are you suggesting that farming to gain 1 time limited vote at a rate of 2 Safecoin each that can’t be trraded or accumulated would be more enticing than farming for cash?
If it is not worth while doing it for Safecoin due to the farming algorithm, then it is unlikely to be worth doing at twice the cost. Yes, without mitigating factors it would be feasible to game but much less so with them - and certainly in lieu of any other suggestions. :smile:

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I think we’re mostly in agreement, except that I don’t think what’s proposed here is likely to be adequate, and I’m not convinced we can make it so yet.

I’m suggesting that if the reward for influencing votes is sufficiently high (extreme case: compromising the network) then it could be worthwhile for some capable actors to spend a lot of money doing so. Either for profit or political ends for example.

First of all what a great post @Al_Kafir, but i have a few comments on some of the points that you raise.

IMHO there is no problem, read here:

Especially the part: “What if one person owned every single bitcoin in existence, or at least every bitcoin that is currently being traded? What would they be able to do? As far as I can tell, absolutely nothing”.

To my knowledge tokens don’t give you voting rights, even worse voting was a total joke, when I participated in the DAO crowdsale. This is how we did:

Everybody had brilliant ideas, but free posts, IMHO is all noise. (I’m sorry profanity ahead, when you click the link) So I made the suggestion, to pay to post proposals. It’s pretty simple the DAO would make money, when people post proposals and now that I think about it would also be nice to make people pay to vote, that way only the interested party their money would go towards a proposal (this would also directly finance a project with Ether + DAO tokens proportionally to the DAO shareholders). Unfortunately nothing happened and people kept posting for free thinking that we had all the time and money in the world, boy did we find out very quick.

Whales are not the problem, they bring in money real quick. The problem is the hardcaps, they limit everybody to participate in a crowdsale. When everybody can throw whatever money they want at a project, I think it’s the market deciding which value they give the project, 3 days or a week is enough time to give everybody a chance to participate. Let the market decide the value and all an ICO creator has to do is decide the time, end of discussion everybody got what they wanted.

This is the best that I could find, but you basically link your web presence. Eventually everything begin to crumble on the clearnet, that’s where friends, family and maybe even colleagues can help you create your web of trust.

I think that we should completely abandon the idea of voting and real people. In the digital space there is no “real people” and we’ll find out quicker when AI’s start acting more realistic than “real people” (Alpha go, Poker, computer games etc). Face2Face: Real-time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos (CVPR 2016 Oral) - YouTube

Voting is govern by whoever got the best AI’s and examples like “Can Facebook influence an election result?” are just small hints where this is heading.

In our universe the 1% has a totally different meaning from the 1% in the fiat dimension. Our 1% bring life to projects in the cryptospace and even if they accumulate/muliply wealth they reinvest it in new crypto projects. This might be fun.

Poloniex with their over 100M Maidsafecoin don’t have any power over a user with 1 Maidsafecoin. That one user can still register safe://poloniex with one SAFEcoin or buy computing resources on the SAFE Network.

Luckily the SAFE Network will govern itself and ignore code that doesn’t improve it. Although voting with your money is a good way to get things done, value is not what it use to be anymore. I’ll stop here.

P.s. One idea I did like from a crypto project, I can’t remember which, but everybody could vote with their money and the value would get equally distributed among the voters. I’m done :stuck_out_tongue:

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The ultimate DAO would in effect be a direct Democracy of sorts, with all voters/users/citizens having an equal share I believe.
The ultimate “DAO” is the citizens’ investment in the Society it creates, as I see it.

And you just invented exactly replicate of America with degenerated politics. Voting invites stupid people, and stupid people gets in the office, and rule over people for stupidity ideas. No thanks.

Democracy and the republic is a degenerated politics. All it does is incentive people to go lowest common dominator.

The society is better off by abolishing voting system, and degenerate politics.

The actual political spectrum.

Degenerate politics → Monarchism → Anarchy

Safenet will create monarchism / anarcho-monarchism due to inherent nature of ownership of data.


Great, so you just think my proposal is inadequate and we can’t make it adequate…yet? Not quite grasping why, but I accept that this is your opinion.

I agree, but I would also say the same applies to Safecoin and the farming mechanism. There is going to be a “sweet spot” to aim for in the same way. I suggested 2 Safecoins have to be farmed before farming a “votecoin” becomes available. This could be adjusted to 1 or 3 or 5…think of it as a sliding adjuster between restricting voting access too much or too little - like the farming algorithm.
If we instead had some form of unique human identifier instead, how would this improve the situation? I mean you would only be basing voting rights on “unique humanness” rather than actual resources provided. Anybody could register accounts still and then stop providing resources and yet still have voting rights - how is this any better?

Great…then luckily nobody is forcing you to participate or you can vote against Democracy…whatever…lol.
Just out of interest though - How do you make decisions about things that impact a group as a whole with anything other than a Democratic process? :smile:

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There hasn’t been…or any such suggestion.

Could you point me to the violent and involuntary part of anything I have suggested?

So do I…this is something built on it. :smile:

My sense of this, yes my intuition, is that it doesn’t work. The basis of that belief is that if you increase the cost to discourage gaming by the rich, you exclude more at the other end of the spectrum, so it is not clear whether this improves things or if it does by how much. Increasing the cost of gaining a vote could just as easily be anti democratising as it is anti corruption.

So the central point remains to be tested, will it be sufficiently effective as you propose? We obviously differ in our expectation. By all means provide some analysis to strengthen your argument. I’ve explained my reasons for doubting this several times now so I won’t repeat them.

The reason proof of unique human would help, if it could be achieved, is because it makes it harder to game. No doubt there - to game this, the rich person has to control other people’s votes which I suggest is harder than simply running more vaults, because to work it has to go undetected, and that’s hard as well as costly (you have to pay enough to persuade a lot of people to do something they are quite likely to disagree with).