Mapping the Human Layers of the Decentralized Ecosystem - Externalities of System Design

This workshop will investigate the question of identifying the stakeholders in decentralized ecosystem and power dynamics in decentralized decision-making. In a centralized system, the hierarchical structure is more transparent. In a decentralized system, power consolidates into implicit clusters of power, but because there is no formalized hierarchical structure, the underlying power dynamics are not apparent. Invisible powers may emerge in the system, making it difficult for people to understand in the hands of whom the power actually lies. A decentralized system does not remove the human elements, but it makes certain actions public and more visible. In such a system, the formerly “hard power” of centralized systems and identified actors may morph into new forms of “soft power” and unidentified and/or new forms of gatekeepers. A decentralized system therefore requires distribution of power and decision-­making mechanisms. What are the implicit structures of these “structureless” systems? What kind of normative steps do we need to foster to manage “soft power” in decentralized decision-­making and empower participation?