The blockchain world is currently obsessed with defi. In the past few months, billionsin digital value have been staked, swapped and farmed in radical experiments using liquidity pools, automatic market makers and decentralised exchanges.
Defi is easily belittled as a collection of scam-riddled projects powered by magic internet money. Perhaps. But more optimistically defi is a spectacle of entrepreneurial discovery.
Abstract: The problem of regulatory accumulation has increasingly been recognised as a policy problem in its own right. Governments have then devised and implemented regulatory reform policies that directly seek to ameliorate the burdens of regulatory accumulation (e.g. red tape reduction targets). In this paper we examine regulatory reform approaches in Australia through the lens of policy innovation. Our contributions are twofold. We first examine the evolutionary discovery process of regulatory reform policies in Australia (at the federal, intergovernmental, and state levels). This demonstrates a process of policy innovation in regulatory mechanisms and measurements. We then analyse a new measurement of regulatory burden based on text analytics, RegData: Australia. RegData: Australia uses textual analysis to count ‘restrictiveness clauses’ in regulation – such as ‘must’, ‘cannot’ and ‘shall’ – thereby developing a new database (RDAU1.0). We place this ‘restrictiveness clauses’ measurement within the context of regulatory policy innovation, and examine the potential for further innovation in regulatory reform mechanisms.
Published in Cosmos + Taxis (together with Chris Berg, Mikayla Novak, Kiersten Jowett and Jason Potts).
Abstract: We explore the connection between new decentralised data infrastructure and the spatial organisation of cities. Recent advances in digital technologies for data generation, storage and coordination (e.g. blockchain-based supply chains and proof-of-location services) enables more granulated, decentralised and tradeable data about city life. We propose that this new digital infrastructure for information in cities shifts the organisation and planning of city life downwards and opens new opportunities for entrepreneurial discovery. Compared to centralised governance of smart cities, crypto-cities can be understood as more emergent orderings. This paper introduces this research agenda on the boundaries of spatial economics, the economics of cities, information economics, institutional economics and technological change.
Forthcoming paper in Frontiers in Blockchain (together with Marta Poblet, Oleksii Konashevych, Aaron M. Lane and Carlos A. Diaz Valdivia)
Abstract: Oracles were trusted sources of knowledge for public deliberation in classical Athens. Very much like expert and technical knowledge, divine advice was embedded in the deliberation and decision-making process of the democratic Assembly. While the idea of religious divination is completely out of place in our contemporary democracies, oracles made a technological comeback with modern computer science and cryptography and, more recently, the emergence of the blockchain as a “trust machine”. This paper reviews the role of oracles in Athenian democracy and, stemming from the renewed use of the term in computer sciences and cryptography, analyses the case of oracles in the nascent blockchain ecosystem. The paper also proposes a sociotechnical approach to the use of distributed oracles as informational devices to assist deliberative processes in digital democracy settings, and considers the limits that such an approach may face.
Originally a post at Cryptoeconomics with the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub team.
The financial sector exists solely to smooth economic activity and trade. It is the network of organisations, markets, rules, and services that move capital around the global economy so it can be deployed to the most profitable use.
It has evolved as modern capitalism has evolved, spreading with the development of property rights and open markets. It has grown as firms and trade networks became globalised, and supercharged as the global economy became digitised.
Decentralised finance (defi) is trying to do all that. But just since 2019, and entirely on the internet.
When Entrepreneurs Meet: The Collective Governance of New Ideas challenges our understanding of how entrepreneurs crystallize opportunities surrounding new technologies. While innovation is the fundamental driver of growth and prosperity, how the earliest stages of entrepreneurship are governed remains elusive. This book creates a new, institutional approach to understanding entrepreneurship before emphasizing how entrepreneurs create governance structures to coordinate new knowledge resources.
Rather than the conventional view that entrepreneurship happens inside firms, this unique transaction-cost economics analysis of entrepreneurship suggests it might begin earlier in hybrid, polycentric self-governance structures, including the innovation commons. Allen explores and analyses various examples of these structures, including hackerspaces and the institutions coalescing around the development of the blockchain economy, along with the dynamics of how those institutions might collapse into firms. This new understanding of the entrepreneurial governance problem is also connected to contemporary questions about the purpose, scope, and application of innovation policy.
We are on the cusp of a dramatic wave of technological change – from blockchain to automated smart contracts, artificial intelligence and machine learning to advances in cryptography and digitisation, from Internet of Things to advanced communications technologies.
These are the new technologies of freedom. These tools present a historical unprecedented opportunity to recapture individual freedoms in the digital age – to expand individual rights, to protect property, to defend our privacy and personal data, to exercise our freedom of speech, and to develop new voluntary communities.
This book presents a call to arms. The liberty movement has spent too much time begging the state for its liberties back. We can now use new technologies to build the free institutions that are needed for human flourishing without state permission
The New Technologies of Freedom is part of a joint project between the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub, an academic research centre based at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia, and the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation. Mannkal’s mission is developing future free market leaders. Mannkal promotes free enterprise, limited government and individual initiative for the benefit of all Australians.
Cryptocurrencies and the State
Blockchains and Smart Contracts
Artificial Intelligence and Adversarial Liberty
Freedom of Speech in the Digital Age
The Future of Privacy
Special Jurisdictions and Cryptodemocracies
Technology for Better Institutions in Poor Countries
Blockchain-enabled smart contracts can change how we exchange value over the internet. We now have the technology to code agreements into blockchain protocols, enabling those agreements to self-execute when particular conditions are met. This execution happens without relying on centralized intermediaries—such as banks or governments—but rather through decentralized blockchain networks.
Right now, economies around the world are frozen in an attempt to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments have pulled every policy lever to keep it that way, for the time being, to limit the spread of the virus. Many people think that the economy will be unfrozen just like we would turn a machine off and on again. But unfortunately economies don’t work like that—unfreezing won’t be nearly as easy as many assume.