A response to Luis Cuende’s “EthDAO: Making Ethereum Great Again” post

I typed up a slightly lengthy response to Luis Cuende's latest post about "Making Ethereum Great Again" with Aragon's "EthDAO" proposal. The thread it was posted in seems unpopular (for good reason, as I'll try to show), so I've created a separate top-level thread to air out these thoughts for added visibility and also to encourage a bit more discussion.

Yes, my tone can be construed as hostile. I find this company deeply offensive to my sensibilities and I don't apologize.

"At Aragon One, we care a great deal about our users"

I have yet to see evidence of that. I think you mean you care about your "stakeholders".

"Even if we love Ethereum and it was the community that we originated from, we are also looking into Polkadot"

In other words, you think it makes sense to join forces with a private permissioned version of the Ethereum ecosystem to hedge your bets against the community that funded your project and made you all filthy rich. That's some fantastic loyalty and integrity right there. What could possibly go wrong by trying to get rich a second time by betraying your base?

Aragon's Polkadot play won't actually make "decentralized organizations widespread". That's just more inauthentic messaging. Parity's Web3 umbrella will be controlled by a very narrow group of stakeholders with DOT tokens (basically, Gavin Wood and his backers). That renders all inter-blockchain communication dependent on a plutocratic oligarchy. Public blockchains will become increasing centralized through this mechanism as more people use the underlying root chain for coordination. Organizations based on this kind of infrastructure will become vulnerable to all manner of meddling and disruption by the all-powerful DOT-holders. That's not the kind of infrastructure the public will have any legitimate reason to support. Thus, the organizations built atop this infrastructure will never become widespread.

"CEO at Aragon One"

Need I say more? This is literally an oxymoron.

"I am writing this because I deeply care about Ethereum. Also because Aragon holds ~0.25% of all ETH. I also hold ETH personally. So I’d love for Ethereum to work out #tribalism"

I have yet to see evidence of that. I think you mean you "deeply care" about the riches that were carelessly dropped into your coffers. Also, having a sense of community or loyalty to a cause isn't "tribalism". It would be great if you and others stopped abusing this derogatory term to rationalize your own infidelities.

"It’s clear that developers are the end user of Ethereum".

It's not "clear" at all. It's actually false. Developers take advantage of Ethereum in order to reach the end users. It's not complicated. If we expect Ethereum to amount to more than a shallow private club for coders then it needs to serve the interests of the wider public. If you expect any kind of adoption of this technology, then you must target the users first and foremost. The developers are the means to that end. So, you've got it entirely backwards.

"the users wouldn’t even notice they are using Ethereum"

That's the very same line of thought that led people to start using Facebook and other walled gardens. Fooling people with a friendly and convenient UX doesn't legitimize your underlying tech stack, end-user license agreement, and so on. Enough with these deceptive practices.

"The original plan (as heard from Ethereum cofounders) was to migrate the Ethereum Foundation funds into a DAO once the technology was ready. Now it is ready, so I propose that it’s time to do so."

The original plan never identified the governance structure of this DAO. The reason it hasn't happened to this point isn't because of a lack of desire, but because the technology, and the community itself (by which I mean everyone with an interest in Ethereum, not just devs!), are still too immature and inexperienced to produce a viable and legitimate system.

Claiming the Ethereum community is suddenly ready because Aragon has played around with a few corporate toy models is a joke of epic proportions, honestly. Aragon might know how to hack a few things together, but I highly doubt they understand good governance. Good governance in a "public organization" context isn't a product. It's a philosophy; or principle-based ideology for decision-making. The technology merely tries to embody this underlying logic. If you have a bad philosophy, you'll end up with bad governance and bad technology. Aragon has a terrible philosophy. In my opinion, it's selfish, corporate capitalism gone wild. Ergo, their approach to governance and technology will be similarly terrible. They admit as much when they say:

"we certainly don’t know what’s the best governance mechanism for something like Ethereum"

And yet, they go on to attack the current informal governance process, proposing a "committee system" in its place. What's this committee system, you ask? Good question! Supposedly, it'll just be "how it works today in a transparent manner". Bullshit, I'm sorry. What Aragon has in mind here is formalized coin voting and little else. They haven't developed any real software to account for people's legitimate reasoning and democratic concerns, which is the only thing saving the current governance process from complete failure and tyranny!

To be very clear, our ability to voice our concerns and to actually be heard by the community at large, regardless of our perceived "stake" and "status", is what makes Ethereum governance different from other networks. It's the one saving grace keeping us in a somewhat respectable state. Sacrificing that democratic hope so that the entrenched inner circle of early adopters (the "stakeholders") can rule us more effectively is one of the most horrifying mistakes I can imagine.

TLDR; Aragon is a deceptive untrustworthy corporate entity. They're merely using this EthDAO proposal to market their own broken philosophy and broken technology to the rest of us.

Submitted April 08, 2019 at 06:25PM }
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