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Exploration: Political philosophy X Consensus Algorithms

In this post, I'm introducing a deCheem belief base which brings together two very related belief systems, which are somehow rarely examined together:


Political Philosophy & Consensus Algorithms


Consensus algorithms came into the public sphere in recent years with the rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, which utilises these algorithms to generate consensus across all participating machines in the network.

This phenomenon has great parallels with the governance of human societies, where different beliefs about the state of nature of mankind, the nature of rights, freedom and the right to rule can interact in different ways to give rise to the diversity of political systems we see in modern day society.


By making strategic links between core concepts of each belief system (e.g. miners and nodes with individuals in a society), we are able to arrive at a general prescription tool where you can derive the consensus algorithm that's compatible with the political beliefs you want to examine, and also the other way round.


As with all deCheem belief bases, this particular belief base can be explored from an infinite number of angles. You can definitely cycle through each consensus algorithm yourself and see what the implications are, but here are two obscure but perhaps interesting arguments that can be exposed through strategically exploring this belief base.


Proof-of-Stake needs price regulation, which is inconsistent with decentralisation.

  • If wealth on a Proof-of-Stake network is not equally distributed (which it never is), external price regulation (to prevent price collapse) is essential to guarantee the security and integrity of the cryptocurrency's operations.

'Meritocracy' among miners is impossible with most consensus algorithms if inequality in wealth or computing power is present in the network.

  • A few protocols (such those based on Byzantine Fault Tolerance and Directed Acyclic Graphs) might be compatible with solutions in which we want to allow miners to get ahead if they find better strategies to mining blocks (whatever our definition of 'better' is).


Note: This is a working article, and it will be updated with more interesting exploration angles as more beliefs get added to the belief base.

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