Decentralized Code Collaboration Using Radicle

Footnotes

[1] As I’ve argued before (see here, here, and here), decentralized networks and ’autonomous’ software are analogous to social and institutional structures that can outlive their initial creators and administrators, thereby acquiring an existence independent of any particular set of individuals. As a result, such systems can exhibit considerable resilience and inertia, not only enabling but also limiting human action. The important thing to realize is that digital infrastructure and software systems are not neutral means to universally shared ends but complex emergent structures that can help organize and steer societal development in a variety of directions depending on how they’re designed, used, and governed. On the one hand, similar to the institutions of free speech, contract, or enterprise, decentralized networks such as Radicle and Ethereum increase individual freedom to (inter)act. On the flip side, these systems also highlight personal responsibility for one’s actions and the importance of shared norms in regulating behavior that may be perceived as socially problematic or destructive but difficult to prevent by design. As with other social institutions, the governance of decentralized networks and applications is therefore not merely a matter of private interest.

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