How will Project Liberty ensure that the Frequency blockchain “can’t be evil”?
Thank you for your work on Project Liberty and DSNP. I have taken the time to read as much as I can here about your architecture and plans and appreciate your thoughtful approach and good intentions.
My question is about ownership and control of the “stack,” extending down to the level of the supporting Frequency blockchain:
- How are the interests of those owning and controlling the underlying infrastructure aligned or not with the interest of the DSNP users over time?
- Who will own and control the Frequency blockchain? What is the concentration of this ownership and how might the interests of the owners diverge from that of the users over time?
- What is the ownership and control structure of the underlying Polkadot chain, and how could the interest of the Polkadot owners diverge from those of Frequency and users of applications built on top of the DSNP protocol?
- Is there a chance for censorship or exploitation at the underlying chain level even if DSNP is perfectly designed?
- Is there a chance for cultural divergence of the owners from some categories of future users (e.g. developed world owners vs developing world users) that would likely lead to ignorance or neglect of these future users needs and desires, and therefore produce design choices that do not ensure liberty for them?
- Will it be possible for users to fork the underlying blockchain if they deem it necessary, without undermining the DSNP applications running on top (e.g. without fragmenting the user base or social graph)?
- Is it possibly necessary for the blockchain to be cooperatively owned and controlled by the users themselves in order to properly and permanently align the interests of the owners with the users?
For example, I know many people in Africa are concerned about Facebook’s plans to build a fiber internet ring around that continent. (Reference: Google and Meta’s underwater cables up the stakes on internet control - Rest of World) Is this a project that is safe and empowering for African citizens or not? The potential for good through increased connectivity is clear. But the potential to be evil, either intentionally or unintentionally seems high in a project not owned and controlled by the end users.
Would DSNP be able to proclaim that it “can’t be evil” when deployed over privately owned and controlled infrastructure like this?
Cybersecurity professionals talk about “threat vectors” that must be considered to protect critical infrastructure from hackers, etc.
Is there a conversation at Project Liberty about identifying and protecting against “threat vectors” targeting liberty itself? Where can the essential infrastructure be pinched, controlled or misdirected in such a way that it could be used for “evil” (e.g. censorship or propaganda)?
There is a concept coined by Hannah Arendt, “the banality of evil” that is worth considering. Designing a new human infrastructure for everyone that “can’t be evil” is a high bar, and one I support, but I believe it requires taking these types of questions seriously. It is probably most important during initial design, but it will need ongoing attention as well, in the same way that cybersecurity cannot be guaranteed during the design phase only.
I look forward to learning more about how you have investigated and addressed these concerns so far, and helping with that ongoing effort if desired.
Thank you again.