Our societies have clearly changed faster than the structures in charge of our common well-being. As automation and environmental degradation challenge our economic and social models, institutions based on the nation-state fail to solve global challenges and address the needs of increasingly global citizens. Power today is defined by gridlocks.
In every difficult predicament that humanity has overcome in the past, collaboration and innovation were pivotal to finding a way forward. And seemingly, innovation has been abundant, particularly within software and cryptography that influence so many aspects of human life. So why is the software-governance nexus so notoriously absent?
There are likely regional variations and a multitude of answers. We, however, venture to propose three. First, cognitive paradigm shifts can take time: grasping the possibility of distributed rather than centralised governance structures is not necessarily intuitive. Neither is extending trust to math and strangers, which is what much of the new technologies are encouraging us to do. Second, user interfaces readily available today still require too much of a technical understanding to have broad appeal. Thirdly, many of the emergent technologies carry with them the potential to re-engineer the infrastructure of power - and currently, no institution has an agency dedicated to making its own structure obsolete.
This being the current landscape, Bitnation Future Governance Expedition (BFGE) works along three paths to catalyse adoption:
BFGE gathers, develops and shares new tools for governance, with an emphasis on pedagogical and interactive experiences.
BFGE develops and provides concrete solutions for communities looking to implement governance tools that fit their needs - regardless of whether that community operates within a nation-state, IGO, NGO, or business.
BFGE conducts research to measure the effects of implementing different versions of those emerging tools. Research particularly entails polling, focus groups and software pilots.
The way software inspires and enables new ways to organise society is not negated by the digital divide – just over half of the global population enjoy full access to the Internet – rather, efforts to solve this issue increase in urgency as the potency of emerging tools gains in definition.
The tools listed below are the focus of BFGE. The selection is continuously updated.
Bounties and how you can take part
BFGE’s first project is a book and touring exhibition, explaining the core functions of emerging tools for governance, set for launch in 2019. Up until then, we are gathering knowledge and building alliances. Another highly visible outcome of the project will be a library of use cases for each emerging governance tool, published here – and you can be part of it.
Reshaping institutions is too big a mission to attempt without close collaboration. We are keen to work together with other initiatives, and feature actors and thought leaders in the space of governance innovation. If you want your project to be featured – of course with full recognition – this is an open invitation to present it.
The showcase will be divided into two sections: current applications and possible applications. If you recommend a current application that is not yet on our list, which ends up being featured, there is a bounty of 50 USD in a cryptocurrency of your choice. An entirely new use case, elaborated upon, which we end up publishing in the showcase, will receive a bounty of 100 USD, of course along with links and due credit.
Who we are and how you can reach us
BFGE stands for Bitnation Future Governance Expedition, and consists of a network of individuals from the fields of technology and diplomacy, coordinated by Carin Ism.
We build on the insights gathered during Bitnation’s development and Global Challenges Foundation’s New Shape Prize as well as the environmental movements, crypto and open source communities.
If you are an ideator, academic or entrepreneur within governance services who is not yet in contact with us, we would love to initiate a conversation. The field of governance innovation is still far too small in light of how urgently its applications are needed. As such, we believe in creating alliances and furthering common agendas through coordinated strategies and joint efforts.
Until Q2 2019, we will only deliver tailored services. If you represent a community, institution or organisation and would like to learn more about ways that our knowledge might be helpful in your context, please do reach out below.
If you just want to follow what we do and get quarterly updates, you can also sign up below.
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