The Drawback of Procedural Perversity

It’s stated that in the middle of learning for his citizenship
take a look at, the mathematician, logician and thinker Kurt Gödel
found an “interior contradiction,” or loophole, within the
U.S. Structure, whose discovery threatened to derail his path to
citizenship. Although the official formalization of this
contradiction was by no means put down on paper, it’s instructed that its
substance issues the truth that Article V of the Structure,
which describes the method for amending the Structure, will be
utilized to itself.

Notably, Article V accommodates an express restriction on what can
be amended within the Structure:

“…offered that no modification which can be made previous to
the 12 months one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any method
have an effect on the primary and fourth clauses within the ninth part of the
first article; and that no state, with out its consent, shall be
disadvantaged of its equal suffrage within the Senate…”

As Article V doesn’t explicitly bar software to
itself, nonetheless, the procedural obstacles to modification of
the Structure can themselves be eviscerated, resulting in a
enormously elevated chance that the Structure will be amended.
Gödel, having escaped from Nazi Germany, was understandably
petrified of this chance and apprehensive that the weakening of
safeguards to modification by way of Article V may simply flip a
democratic mannequin for self-governance by way of elections into an

Placing the deserves of Gödel’s fears to the aspect,
Gödel’s loophole is an instance of what we would name the
drawback of procedural perversity, the place the
procedures for self-governance don’t adequately guard towards the
chance of dangerous actors. The issue of procedural perversity is,
nonetheless, not restricted to the U.S. Structure, and might pop up in
any system of self-governance, particularly the place the system of
self-governance is just not drafted by writers as illustrious as our
Founding Fathers.

Procedural Perversity and DAOs

Take into account Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), which
are a type of self-governance primarily based on a sensible contract through which
the facility of governance is distributed amongst contributors, as
against being held by a single separate centralized entity. One
distinguished instance of a DAO is the Decentraland DAO, which oversees
the governance of the Decentraland metaverse. Governance
determinations of the DAO are made by a collection of three votes,
the place a proposal should meet a minimal degree of Voter Energy, and in addition
obtain a easy majority of Voter Energy in every vote, in an effort to
be superior and finally adopted as a governing regulation. Decentraland
contributors every have a Voting Energy primarily based on their possession of
Mana (Decentraland’s cryptocurrency), Land and Names. When a
Governance proposal is put up for a vote, Decentraland contributors
have the chance to vote on the proposal inside a sure
time period. If a adequate quantity of Voting Energy is utilized,
and the Voting Energy in favor of the proposal reaches a easy
majority, then the proposal is superior to the subsequent vote within the
collection – or if a proposal reaches the ultimate vote within the
collection, it’s adopted because the regulation of Decentraland. If a proposal
both fails to achieve a adequate quantity of Voting Energy or the
Voting Energy in favor of the proposal doesn’t attain a easy
majority, for any vote within the collection, the proposal is rejected.

Notably, Decentraland’s use of Voting Energy is itself
supposed to take care of an issue of procedural perversity related
with account-based voting methods, through which every blockchain tackle
will get one vote. As famous in Decentraland’s DAO information, if voting
was distributed giving every blockchain tackle one vote, then dangerous
actors may attempt to subvert the DAO voting system by merely
creating 1000’s of addresses. By shifting to a voting system primarily based
on Voting Energy, that is prevented, for the reason that creation of 1000’s
of addresses won’t by itself enhance a person’s
leverage. After all, basing determinations on Voting Energy
nonetheless creates a system through which some people could have extra
leverage than others. People may merely purchase up a number of
million MANA, thereby giving themselves a larger quantity of Voting
Energy than a person who owned just one MANA. Nonetheless, a system
primarily based on Voting Energy arguably distributes leverage in a method that
appears plausibly truthful indirectly: The system offers people a
say in how the world is ruled in direct proportion to the extent to which they
have invested on the planet.

After all, this isn’t the one space through which there could be an
situation with procedural perversity in a DAO. Take into account, as an example,
that beneath Decentraland’s Phrases of Service, disputes over
mental property are decided by the Decentraland DAO by way of a
vote. Nonetheless, nothing within the Decentraland DAO or the Phrases of
Service seems to stop an celebration from buying an
inordinate quantity of Mana and utilizing it to acquire outcomes
favorable to itself when a dispute over mental property in
which it has an curiosity is introduced to the Decentraland DAO for

There are additionally doubtlessly issues just like the one which
Gödel feared. The sooner instance involving Gödel’s
loophole was an instance the place the process for modification might be
utilized to itself, thus permitting for the attainable evisceration of
the obstacles to modification of the Structure, resulting in a enormously
elevated chance of an autocratic authorities. Equally, the
Decentraland DAO doesn’t seem to include any bar limiting
software of its voting mechanism to the necessities for passage
of a Governance Proposal. So, a Governance Proposal may,
hypothetically, revise the minimal threshold for passage of a
Governance Proposal, as an example, which could arguably go towards
the intentions of the preliminary DAO creators.

Evaluating Loopholes

After all, whereas every of the above illustrations signifies a method
through which a DAO’s procedures could also be subverted by way of a loophole, it
is a associated, however completely different, situation as as to whether stated loophole
represents a considerable drawback to be fastened. For the needs of
this blogpost, we won’t delve too deeply into any loophole
utility evaluation. Nonetheless, an excellent evaluation would seemingly contain,
inter alia, an examination of 1) how doubtless the loophole is to be
utilized, 2) how disastrous the implications are of the loophole
being utilized, and three) the advantages of sustaining a system with
the loophole. Furthermore, whereas one could be tempted to research a DAO
by direct comparability to real-world democracies equivalent to espoused by
the U.S. Structure, it’s value noting that such evaluation has
its limits, as DAOs usually are not like typical real-world constitutions
in essential methods.

Wanting on the Decentraland DAO, as an example:




  • As famous earlier than, in contrast to with a real-world democracy,
    people can amass Voting Energy primarily based on one’s diploma of
    possession within the system. That is in distinction with most real-world
    elections, through which voting is restricted to recognized residents of
    the nation, and people are restricted to having one and solely
    one vote, no matter possession.
  • Not like with many real-world democracies, DAOs equivalent to a the
    Decentraland DAO contain direct voting, the place people can vote
    on particular person points in an effort to decide governance outcomes.
    That is in distinction with a consultant voting system, the place
    people primarily vote on representatives to make
    determinations about governance outcomes.
  • Not like with many real-world democracies, votes within the
    Decentraland DAO even have the potential to be both nameless or
    non-anonymous. For any entity whose blockchain tackle has been
    recognized, the train of Voting Energy isn’t nameless. This
    is as a result of, at the very least in Decentraland, voting is partially mediated
    by the Snapshot device, which publishes how each blockchain tackle
    votes for a specific Proposal and the quantity of Voting Energy
    expended. On the identical time, for any entity whose blockchain tackle
    has not been publicly recognized, the train of Voting Energy is
    nameless. Because of this, it’s attainable for unknown entities to
    train an inordinate affect on governance outcomes.

How these variations could have an effect on an evaluation of a DAO’s
procedures is unclear, however the truth that the Decentraland DAO could
permit for an nameless entity to purchase up inordinate Voting Energy,
and vote immediately on points through which it has an untoward curiosity,
could give one motive for some concern.

Consultant DAO Voting?

Notably, Decentraland seems to be addressing a few of these
points via the encouragement of one thing akin to consultant voting. Below the Delegation
program, residents of Decentraland can delegate their Voting Energy
to one in all numerous designated Delegates, the place Delegates are
chosen primarily based on an software that features particular info
concerning the Delegate. The intent of this system is to encourage
“a extra wholesome [Voter Power] distribution” by permitting
extra passive contributors in Decentraland to switch their Voting
Energy to Delegates who’re energetic within the Governance course of and who
have an curiosity within the success of
Decentraland. As Delegates are chosen by a Decentraland
participant primarily based on some analysis of the Delegate, the voting of
the Delegates arguably represents indirectly the views of the
Decentraland group as a complete. Furthermore, within the case that
Delegates with a bona fide and neutral curiosity within the governance
of Decentraland are chosen, this would appear to minimize the results
of attainable procedural perversity, particularly the place the Delegates
management a really great amount of Voter Energy.

The content material of this text is meant to supply a common
information to the subject material. Specialist recommendation must be sought
about your particular circumstances.