Leadership

Blockchain Stakeholders Gather to Forge Governance Strategy

By / Aug 31, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

An array of figures in the digital-currency space—led by a prominent Canadian technologist—recently met to talk governance of the blockchain, a topic stakeholders have famously struggled with when searching for common ground.

Governance isn’t closely associated with the technology behind the blockchain—which drives bitcoin and other digital currencies—but that isn’t stopping one technologist from trying.

Don Tapscott, CEO of the Tapscott Group and coauthor (with son Alex) of Blockchain Revolution, hosted more than a dozen industry leaders at his family’s compound off Lake of Bays in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, last week. The industry leaders collaborated with Tapscott, coming up with a 10-point list of strategies to further blockchain technology.

“Technology is not a panacea,” Tapscott said to CryptoCoinsNews before the meeting, hinting that the blockchain systems cannot evolve on their own.

Who’s Who

The collaborators named themselves the Muskoka Group, after the location in Ontario where they met.

“The Muskoka Group is an open platform for collaboration, education, and innovation to help accelerate and drive the progress of blockchain technology for industry, government, and society,” the group’s website states.

Summit attendees went as individuals, without representing the blockchain-connected organizations they currently work for, Tapscott said.

Among the participants were a number of executives tied to associations and foundations that work closely with the blockchain, such as Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin, Hyperledger Project Executive Director Brian Behlendorf, Chamber of Digital Commerce Founder and President Perianne Boring, and World Wide Web Foundation board member Ana Lopes.

Ready for Action

Will the blockchain industry accept the Muskoka Group’s drafted rules of governance? Early adopters of the technology, which allows for secure transactions without using a third party, love the decentralization of the systems that can connect and move data securely—and they are skeptical of efforts to organize how the technology is used.

But the approach has precedent. The internet, for example, was encouraged and supported by groups like the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Governance Forum, and the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers—and such a nonprofit-driven strategy would inform the blockchain approach.

“The purpose of the gathering was to discuss how the blockchain ecosystem could more effectively move forward to ensure that this technology fulfills its potential,” the website declares.

The group’s resulting report, including a 10-point call-to action, strongly encourages future growth in the ecosystem, calling for global action, communication, and collaboration.

They hope for a roadmap to be laid out in the near future, involving members of the community and government leaders. Members want strategy to be strengthened in order to improve trust and boost opportunity.

Among specific points were recommendations to take advantage of a Blockchain Hub launched by Tapscott’s Global Solutions Network. Additionally, the report suggested leveraging existing groups, including the Linux Foundation and the Chamber of Digital Commerce, to help mature the space.

“Perhaps this is the beginning of some new collaborations that are specifically intended to advance the health of the blockchain ecosystem and, in doing so, to ensure that this technology fulfills its far-reaching potential,” Tapscott said to Bloomberg after the meeting.

Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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