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    The author doesn’t touch enough on just how much social damage can come from this feature. Permanent ostracism, shunning, blackmail, lower pay, and so on. People love judging and hating on other people when they can point fingers while hiding their own malfeasance. Certain things will show up while others won’t in a model where we try to blockchain everything. The idea that they’ll evolve some form of forgiveness instead runs contrary to how human nature has played out so far.

    Now, one might argue the benefits outweigh the harm. That would be a different discussion even though the article does list some of them. It gives a start on it.

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      I haven’t yet finished reading the post, but what strikes me is that the points of the book “Debt: The first 5000 years” are quite relevant. There has always been some form of forgiveness between closely knit social circles. But this breaks down at scale and we need systems that are resilient against free riders, while still allowing forgiveness.

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        One thing that has made me skeptical about block chains as a big source of change is how often hard forking comes up and/or happens. ETH has been hard forked to deal with a bug. Bugs aren’t going away any time soon. So is this decentralized blockchain actually valuable if you’re still going to have people doing hard forks when something happens they don’t like? I just don’t really see humans wanting to be in an artificial prison when it harms them.

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          Sounds a lot like democracy. When everyone votes the way I do, it’s obviously correct. When I’m in the minority, it’s time to change the rules.

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            I agree with this….for now.

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              Nice comparison but maybe not quite it. The democracy’s design usually does what it’s supposed to so long as it’s voters keep the politicians following the established rules. They’ll then do what they voted for. All the details of activities stay within the parameters of the system. The system itself can only be modified (Constitutional Amendment) with a movement or vote so huge that malicious subset will have a hard time achieving that [1]. The thing with these blockchain forks is they’re more like a majority casually Amending the Constitution or overthrowing it on a whim when their reps screwed up usually after a big investment into their reps’ scheme. It just seems more risky than existing democracies whose overall scheme stays largely intact as they fix problems. Blockchain forks in finance are more like eminent domain or civil forfeiture where they can just straight up take people’s shit.

              [1] Unless it’s a crooked, capitalist system where a tiny few can control all the money and media. That could amplify the few.

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              It’s worth pointing out that ETH wasn’t even forked because of a bug in the normal sense. AFAIK there was nothing wrong with the system itself, it was just a poorly-written contract. So it wasn’t forked because something was fundamentally wrong, it was forked because a bunch of people lost money on a bad speculation and got pissed.

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                it was just a poorly-written contract. So it wasn’t forked because something was fundamentally wrong

                Sort of. Most people participating didn’t realize something like that could happen. So, the system might be bad at least in terms of not meeting their intended requirements. Your summary still applies as the whole thing was bad speculation with that much money thrown at an untested, investment concept. Should’ve been much smaller. More like bug bounty size with significant pen testing before activated.

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                  Most people participating didn’t realize something like that could happen.

                  I certainly see your point. But at the same time, isn’t “no regulation, every person for themselves” an intended feature of the system? Maybe I’m way off base about who was participating in the DAO, but it seems to me that the crypto-currency set are pretty keen on the whole self-reliance bit.

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                    True, true. They acted on their beliefs about not needing regulation. They paid for it or almost did.

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                      It also defeats the entire purpose of a Smart Contract, or at least the selling point. Smart Contracts are truth right up until they aren’t in which case you aren’t any better than the authority driving system we have now. We’ve just shifted the authority to a company/community. Kind of makes me think “Authority is bad unless I’m the one (mostly) in charge”.

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                        Exactly. Those in control right now are at least decent number of people who mostly keep things stable. Replacing them with one of these cryptocurrencies or DAO’s ususlly means a few still have power over the many. They’re just less reliable and liable than what came before.

                        It’s why I prefer a non-profit, multinational scheme with reputable people over all this crypto or DAO bullshit. People working within systems that worked using methods that worked.

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                          There is an enjoyable PHK talk about electronic voting where he points out that having a system where opposing parties are guaranteed to be looking over each others shoulders is a lot more tractable than trying to solve it with electronically.

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                            It sounds like a funny thing to picture. It also sounds like it lacks voter confidentiality. That’s a requirement in US system to reduce coercion and retaliation. I learned this in Schneier’s Applied Cryptography. The requirements were tougher than I thought with some contradictory.

                            Personally, Im against electronic voting since verifying it is either way too complicated or impossible depending on system. Optical-scan, paper ballots like those used for tests in schools is best route. Easy to use, quick scan, and easy to check.

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            Brains, like blockchains, but unlike traditional institutions, aren’t designed to forget or rewrite history arbitrarily.

            I’m sorry, but this makes no sense.

            But the point is, though we distort memories in the process of forming them, and go through cognitive contortions to bring present actions in alignment with them, our brains don’t rewrite or forget wholesale.

            Uhm, what? So my brain remembers everything, but my memories get distorted? This would be a true breakthrough is cognitive science, as I understand it. (And it would be great! I’d love to know what happened to me when I was an infant since I’ve heard so many stories.)

            The author is stretching the metaphor of history and forgiveness well past credibility. Once you get to that point in the essay, it’s hard to take any of the rest of it seriously. It’s total blockchain fanboy-ism.

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              On top of that, our brain’s ability to recall information is strongly affected by our current mood and state!