Emaline Friedman, PhD

Emaline Friedman, Ecosystem Development at Neighbourhoods. After finishing her PhD exploring the intersections of technology, psychoanalysis, and social theory, she shifted into practice, building distributed systems technologies that can support equitable, planetary-scale computation for the benefit of human societies during the era of climate emergency.

Eric Harris-Braun

Eric Harris-Braun Co-founder, Holo and Holochain. (Holo is one of the top 100 crypto projects.) Eric passionately builds software for collective intelligence and composability. He has been interested in enabling peer-to-peer networking since 1993, shortly after his B.S. in Computer Science from Yale University. He lives in a Quaker Intentional Community.

Emaline opened with a history of DAOs:

  • buidl products (yearn, Sushi)

  • invest (The LAO, MetaCartel Ventures),

  • collect NFTs (FlamingoDAO, PleasrDAO)

  • provide consultation and buidl services to others (RaidGuild, LexDAO)

Emaline claims that we generally assume that DAOs exist to give everyone freedom, bosslessness, pure vibes, and to solve coordination and collaboration problems fairly, in ways that hierarchical and majority rule systems don’t do well. Ethereum DAO wasn’t really a response to common internet/coordination/autonomy problems, but to the issue of trust in the financial system and in its central points of failure – “a proposal to send funds” / “voting will release funds” . DAOs will help you solve your problems if you are a low-level investment banker, derivatives trader, or someone who makes software for them.

  • They were NOT focused on “user autonomy” and were never poised to distribute power in situations of social coordination. Basically, decision-making power moved from platform moguls to coders with technical expertise (“mere users” never even in the running for any modicum of control)

  • DAO frameworks (Aragon, Colony, DAO Stack) come with built-in governance tools which keep voting and on-chain execution tightly coupled (e.g. share-based voting in Moloch, Snapshot).

SoftDAOs are our response both to DAOs that center on governing a pool of funds AND to the abuses of web2 and what it lacks in creating a re-sponsible social fabric.

Then Emaline handed off to Eric for some Hard/Soft distinctions:

  • Agency vs Determinism,

    • Power: Speech vs Token (agentic/creative power vs unitized/fungible power)

    • Security: observability vs enforcement (internal vs external, wright-bros human steering vs explicit structural steering)

    • Change: human-driven accountable state changes, vs Smart Contracts

    • Evolution: Alignment & Convergence through Discourse vs Governance through pre-ordained mechanism

  • Safety: Internal vs External  – does safety live inside our bodies and internal experiences or is safety being provided by the structure of the context we are in?

    • Bicycle/Tricyle – a tricycle uses three wheels so you don’t have to balance, where a bicycle requires internal balancing.

    • Road protocol vs barrier – is it a protocol, a line, a haptic feedback system, or a concrete barrier?

    • Gradient of Materialized/Memorialized/Fixed. Embodiment (form in the world that is objectively perceivable).

Next we broke out into small groups for 5 minutes discussing this sensing of internal/external and material or not.

Eric then took us into Holochain as a Technical Affordance:

We turn now to the technical affordances of Holochain. It’s a great pattern for Soft DAOs because it can address what both web2 platforms AND Hard DAOs lack. Let’s consider Sovereign Accountable Commons, something we wrote up before we built Holochain.

  • Sovereign (Local chain)

    • Unenclosable: As long as at least one person wants to run it, it can’t be shut down. Two or more nodes running it make it a collective.

    • Everybody in a group is an equal peer, subject to the same rules, processes, and procedures, because everybody is running a copy of the same instruction set.

    • The group cannot threaten to withhold value which was generated by a participant in order to coerce them to continue to participate. Individuals cannot coerce others or the group, by threatening to take (digital) assets that they’ve shared.

  • Accountable (DNA, and signing, Validated)

    • Membranes

    • Every contribution, communication, or action is signed. There is always a trail of evidence left by your actions.

  • Commons  (DHT)

    • All data and assets shared into the commons are structurally held in common. They are not (by default) held in a globally identical ledger, but rather in shards using a Distributed Hash Table (DHT) with algorithms to assure adequate redundancy and availability.

    • Authors (contributors, signors, or parties to a transaction) always keep a local copy of whatever they’ve put into the commons. The commons also keeps copies.

Then Eric spoke about an “Uncapturable Social Grammar: specifically the ability to forge (or form), to federate with others, to fork off, and to fuse together. To truly be able to walkaway, we need the ability to fork both the code and the data!

Eric then gave an overview of how these ideas show up in tools like Where, How, We.

Emaline was going to talk about what forking data might mean and why that matters, but we, as a group, shifted to Q and A instead, given time constraints. Perhaps Emaline will post here about her final piece in the session.

Together, they concluded with the technical (i.e. “hard”) should just be a grammar that creates room for expression.  Expressions of what?  Care: