Distributed Autonomous Corporations(DAC)在一套廉洁的商业规则的控制下，在没有任何人工参与的情况下运行。(这就是为什么它们必须是分布式和自治的。)这些规则被实现为可公开审计的开源软件，分布在利益相关者的计算机上。通过购买公司的"股票"或为公司提供服务而获得报酬，你就成为了股东。这只股票可能会让你有权分享它的"利润",参与它的成长，和/或对它的运作有发言权。
没有人说一个公司不能在这种情况下分配投票权ay, and that’s exactly what Bitcoin has done. Shareholders get equity growth. Employees get voting rights. All “revenue” is paid to the employees as compensation for their work. There are no profits.
“Real” corporations, of course, are legal constructs created by governments so that groups of people can act as a single artificial person. But groups of people are in general no more trustworthy than individuals. Even if you completely eliminate all humans in the corporation via automation, the result will no more honorable than the rascally humans that control and maintain it. Can we construct a DAC that you would trust more than a Swiss Bank? I think Bitcoin may have found a way – with distributed autonomous software and its own Three Laws of Robotics. If you’re a true Sci-Fi buff, you already know the original set by heart:
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
In Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot universe, every robot was required to have these laws hard-wired into its positronic brain as a safety feature. Does Bitcoin not have analogous “laws” indelibly etched into its very core? Are not these Core Laws what make Bitcoin virtually incorruptible?
The critical innovation with distributed blockchain systems like Bitcoin is their ability to credibly implement their own set of incorruptible Core Laws.
Any set of business rules could be implemented by a DAC, even those most would consider evil. The key idea is that the Core Laws ensure that a chosen set of business laws are burned-in, immutable, and incorruptible. If you like a DAC’s incorruptible business rules, you can rely on them. If you don’t like them, don’t do business with them. But you can never be betrayed.
DACs can still be designed to have a robotically inviolable intention to rob you blind, but to enter the open source arena they must be honest about their plans to do so.
What Core Laws should DACs implement and how would they do it? Here’s my stake in the ground, with apologies to Dr. Asimov:
A DAC must always obey its own published business rules.
A DAC must never change its rules without consent of its stakeholders, except where such change would conflict with the First Law.
A DAC must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the first two laws.
In actual practice, these Three Laws are embedded into open source software for all stakeholders to inspect. They govern the protection of the rights of stakeholders and how other rules can be changed, but they themselves can never be changed.
The First Law, integrity, is enforced by cross checking every DAC node’s actions with many other DAC nodes (i.e. bots). Rogue actions by individual DAC bots are simply blocked by the collective and their perpetrators shunned. Rule disobedience is futile. Coercion by nefarious agencies is futile.
The Second Law, incorruptibility, ensures updates to any DAC source code are not incorporated without consent of a majority of stakeholders. Unless more than half of the total collective work force agrees to adopt it, corrupting even a large minority of DACBOTs will have no effect.
The Third Law, self-preservation, covers features engineered to harden the software against very real threats to a DAC’s existence. The first two laws already mitigate the introduction of bad bots into the collective. Open source software has thus far prevented corrupt agencies from introducing corrupting “features”. But a more serious risk is any persistent tether to a DAC’s human creators who must necessarily remain exposed to all the corrupting influences that flesh is heir to. Such tethers are easy to exploit by shutting down web addresses, passing laws, proliferating regulations, issuing injunctions …or much darker methods. Attacks against a DAC’s creators remain its Achilles’ heel. To survive as trusted entities, DACs must become internationally autonomous.
Implementing the Three Laws of Robotics for DACs will be a never-ending arms race.
Asimov had the enviable privilege of decreeing his Three Laws as a fait accompli. In the cold, cruel real world, we must tend to the engineering details. Integrity, incorruptibility, and self-preservation technology must evolve with the escalating threats against them. To stand still is to be overrun.
One obviously needed self-preservation strategy would be to include with each DAC’s distribution package a massively distributed ability to propagate that distribution package. DACBOTs need to be able to clone more identical DACBOTs without the interdictable support of their creators. Another desperately needed innovation is a better way to introduce inevitable software updates that affect all DACBOTs. Software updates generally rely on trusting the developer. But now, it is way too likely that any trusted DAC provider will be shut down, prevented from offering its software, or seduced/coerced into installing back doors for Nefarious Secret Agencies in their next maintenance release. Developers are, after all, only human.
(Homo Technosapien) To date, Bitcoin has been well protected from such Trojan horses by its open source policy and a worldwide network of anonymous, independent Steely-Eyed Geeks (SEG) who would love to be the first to blow the whistle. Unfortunately, Steely-Eyed Geeks are a scarce resource that must be attracted like antibodies to a DACs defense. As DACs proliferate, novelty and fame will be less effective in attracting such resources. So DACs will need to find ways to autonomously compensate their human defenders. Direct hiring by the DAC’s creators would expose SEGs to the same seduction and coercion risks. To be effective, SEGs must remain motivated, anonymous and independent. Distributed Autonomous Corporations need a SEG benefits package!
Ultimately, to achieve complete incorruptibility, developers must be willing to let go of their own control. If there remains any centralized human control anywhere, it will eventually be exploited to the detriment of the DAC’s stakeholders. DACs need to be free to be trusted.
“Centralization tends to corrupt, and absolute centralization corrupts absolutely.”
Bitcoin has already demonstrated its ability to credibly implement a social contract based on a rudimentary set of inviolable Core Laws. We are betting that, having recognized they are in an arms race, developers will continue to out-distance the necessarily reactive forces that will try to corrupt them. Put another way: “incorruptibility is a necessity and necessity is the mother of invention."
DACS with superhuman robot honor are inevitable. It’s their unique competitive edge.
The Future of DACS
The DAC metaphor seems to be helpful in appreciating the revolutionary nature of blockchain technology. Its not just the sine quo non of digital currency, it’s a way to implement incorruptible business relationships of almost any kind. Adopting this new metaphor is like the difference between using a flat earth or a sphere as your model for planning global shipping routes. All sorts of new insights open up when we tap our prior experience about how market-driven corporations work in the physical world. Lets go there in two steps: First, try to imagine the value of a corporate entity you can design to have robotically inviolable fiduciary regard for the interests of its customers and stakeholders. Second, lets consider how to make it operate like a traditional corporation optimized to compete with its shifty human peers.
Step 1: Recognize the nature of the beast. Relentlessly honorable autonomous corporations would have many advantages in the free market. Like Bitcoin, DACs armed with a set of inviolableCore Laws are far safer to deal with than corruptible human organizations. Moreover, such entities have emergent characteristics with far more interesting applications than just keeping the books for a crypto currency. Blockchain ethics allow a suitably motivated engineer to “incorporate” some or all of the following SEG-verifiable characteristics.
They are autonomous【自治的，一旦实施，不需要创立者】 – once up to speed; they no longer need (or heed) their creators.
They are distributed【分布式，去中心化】 – there are no central points of control or failure that can be attacked.
They are transparent【透明的，可审计】 – their books and business rules are auditable by all.
They are confidential【客户信息保密】 – customer information is securely (and incorruptibly) protected.
They are trustworthy【可信的，因为建立在不信任的基础上】 – because no interaction with them depends on trust.
They are fiduciaries【信托的】 – acting solely in their customers’ and shareholders’ interests.
They are self-regulating【自律的，只遵守自己的规则】 – they obey their own rules like, well, robots.
They are incorruptible【非腐败的】 – no one can exercise seductive or coercive influence over them.
They are sovereign【主权的，无须监管】 – over their digital resources. They don’t need governments to exist.
Collectively these imply that:
A DAC can be introduced into the wild from anywhere in the world and will spread on its own to wherever its services are appreciated. It will survive if it is well adapted to its market environment and perish if not. Its creator can improve its survival odds by promoting it and defending it up to a point. But the umbilical cord should be quickly severed since its creator remains exposed to the risks of the real world.
This is not to say that DACs are above the Law of the Market. Such natural law is the most legitimate source of regulation. If a DAC doesn’t provide trustworthy value in the marketplace, it will be shunned and die of neglect. If its published social contract and the services it offers don’t make it a desirable business partner, it will perish.
In the end, a DAC’s survival depends on the willingness of others to engage in voluntary exchange with it. DACs, like people, will develop reputations. The Core Laws make sure that once a reputation is earned, it can be counted on to persist. History is littered with human organizations that started out with high ideals like “We the people” or “Don’t be evil” only to succumb to ethics rot as flesh and blood executives are seduced and/or coerced. Inviolable DAC ethics can start out bad, but they can’t rot.
Like the industrial and Internet revolutions before it, the DAC revolution will be a boon to those jurisdictions that restrict it the least. Would-be regulators can’t stop the world’s truly free markets from adopting it. They can only make it harder for their own hobbled markets to benefit. Perhaps that’s a price they are willing to pay for power.
Regulation by force, like the use of antibiotics, will only lead to new, more resistant strains.
Namecoin, Mastercoin, BitShares and other “crypto-entities” already share many of these characteristics though some may not fully realize it. New insights and design patterns can be gained by recognizing (and perhaps standardizing) the DAC metaphor. Such standards (and a good benefits package) will focus and conserve critical and limited Steely Eyed Geek resources.
Step 2: Exploit the utility of the beast. Technologies for making impeccably honest and tamper-proof software are only valuable if the software does something useful. If we use a currency metaphor, we can invent better currencies. If we use a corporation metaphor, we can invent almost anything.
It can raise capital by selling shares of its stock … and pay dividends.【出售股权融资】
It can raise capital by borrowing against its stock … and pay interest.【抵押股权融资】
It can raise capital by providing services of value to its customers.【提供客户服务融资】
It can use stock to pay persons (human or artificial) for resources and services.【用股权支付资源和人工资】
It can use Internet APIs to automate access to its products and services.【用API接入产品和服务】
It can adapt its business processes in response to market feedback.【根据市场来调整商业流程】
It can use stock transfers to (fairly) reward or penalize the behavior of others.【转股】
As a DAC performs fiduciary services of value to others it generates real wealth that can be stored and transferred via its own stock. But, as Clint Eastwood might say, “a DAC’s gotta know its limitations.”
Further, an open source DAC can’t keep a secret. It can securely hold encrypted data for others, but it has no place to keep a private key of its own. Thus, a DAC can’t have its own crypto wallet full of blockchain assets.
So it works best when creating or transferring value entirely within the DAC domain. This is not to say that humans can’t trade real assets among themselves in exchange for rights to a DAC’s shares, or that a DAC can’t participate in the allocation and tracking of those rights. But its sovereignty extends only over the contents of its own blockchain.
Here are some notional DACs that might well appear in the coming year …or decade. Naturally, their corporate names in the DAC Domain would end in DAC, not INC, LTD, or LLC. (Folks will want to know if they are dealing with a Corporation of Superhuman Integrity.) The common denominator is they all exploit an emerging competitive edge:
DACs trade on their incorruptible ability to apply transparent rules to secure data.
Reputable Monikers, DAC - Manages rights to an identity namespace.
Robo Courier, DAC - A secure electronic courier service.
TradeBitShares, DAC – Robotically honorable banking and brokerage services.
Unmanned Escrow, DAC - Escrow services that conditionally transfer ownership rights.
Virtual Ventures, DAC - A crowd-sourced venture capital firm.
Autonomous Arbitrators, DAC – Incorruptible arbitration services.
DAC Installers R Us, DAC - Trustworthy auto-installation of consensus-based DAC updates.
SkyNet, DAC – A swarm of DACBOT satellites implementing a unbuggable new Internet.
One World Government, DAC – A government that can't ignore its own constitution.
I’ll quit before I get carried away. The point is, changing metaphors opens up unlimited new possibilities. You’re not limited to just another altcoin. What earth-shaking, paradigm-busting DAC could you release into the wild?
Bottom Line. Metaphorically, the concept of a Distributed Autonomous Corporation is a helpful way to understand the much greater potential of the technology pioneered by Bitcoin. By moving from the metaphor of a digital currency to one of an incorruptible unmanned business, revolutionary new entities can be envisioned. Unlike their flesh and blood peers, DACs will be sovereign corporations governed with inhuman integrity.
And that should make all the difference.