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Decentralized network governance: Zwitter and Hazenberg’s Frontier publication

07 April 2020

Campus Fryslân Dean Andrej Zwitter and PhD researcher Jilles Hazenberg from the Data Research Center published their article on decentralized network governance on Frontiers; an open access publisher and science platform.

As technologies in the digital domain - such as big data and machine learning - become more and more advanced, there is an increasing need for effective governance to protect the basic needs, such as privacy, of individuals and groups. However, governance itself is also changing. Zwitter and Hazenberg propose a new way of governing the digital domain, as the current mode of governance turns out to be inadequate when applied to the digital domain.

Governance in its traditional sense relies on a top-down, vertical power structure. What we see in the digital domain is that this structure is becoming more horizontal; partly because of the emergence of digital communication and blockchain technology, and also because the power balance in this field is shifting from the government toward tech companies.

By analyzing literature on governance theories and looking at the DAO Hack case, Zwitter and Hazenberg propose a decentralized mode of network governance: a system where the power is maintained by all actors in the field, and does not predominantly lie with a few hierarchically ‘higher’ actors, as it would in a centralized system. The proposed decentralized mode appears to be more tailored towards the current state of power relations in the digital domain.

‘Decentralized Network Governance: Blockchain Technology and the Future of Regulation’ is published open access in Frontiers in Blockchain.

Last modified:07 April 2020 4.47 p.m.
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