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Crypto and blockchain technology have become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to new mainstream developments and technological advancements. Blockchains as efficient, transparent, and virtually un-hackable digital systems not only have the potential to disrupt the way we interact with financial systems, but will also revolutionize the way we share information across all industries — not just finance. There has been much debate about which political philosophy this technology is most aligned with. While blockchain technology has been seen by many as a right/libertarian-friendly development, this may be due to the government’s current inability to efficiently regulate or effectively protect unwary retail investors in the space. But recent innovations in the space indicate that crypto and blockchain could be more closely related to libertarian socialism than to right-leaning libertarianism — especially when it comes to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). At the very least, it seems that crypto has seen paradigm shifts to the left, on account of what blockchain technology makes possible, without the need for a federal or local government.

So what is a DAO? A DAO is a type of organization that is managed without human involvement, or without a single individual’s control. In a DAO, members of the community vote on decisions, instead of most organizations, with a single leader at the top. This type of organization enables decentralized decision-making, which allows for the development of applications and platforms that are democratically governed. This type of structure contrasts with right-libertarianism, which generally puts individual autonomy and private property ownership as its primary objectives.

However, when it comes to DAO structures, these governance models have far more in common with libertarian socialism (and sometimes even anarcho-communistic co-ops) than with traditional right-leaning libertarianism. Within a DAO, individual interests are put aside and members vote on what is best for the community as a whole. Everyone has an equal say, and unlike in proof of stake consensus mechanisms (a category of blockchain protocol), the poorest have the same vote as the rich.

The more traditional model can’t help but prioritize the rights of each individual; the voices of individual with fewer resources are less prioritized. As evidenced by recent events in the more ‘centralized’ crypto spaces, collectivist values are not always popular or desirable. A number of large web3 projects have failed on account of being over-leveraged by greedy, incompetent founders at the top, or simply because their founders brazenly committed fraud. Even in the decentralized space there are plenty of ponzi-esque projects that are doomed to failure. But much like their centralized counterparts, these schemes are similarly not in the best interest of their communities/users/investors.

In contrast, the democratic aspect of a DAO provides a much more equitable form of wealth distribution. Members of DAOs can be rewarded directly for their contributions, regardless of financial or social standing. Again, traditional libertarian systems typically focuses on rewarding singular individuals, often at the expense of the greater collective.

Finally, the DAO structure provides a platform for public experimentation. While public experimentation is limited in right-libertarian systems, which are ironically based on hierarchical power structures (yes, capital is a form of power), DAO models allow their communities to experiment by proposing and voting on new ideas that drive the community (and whatever it happens to be centered around) forward.

In conclusion, it seems that while crypto might not be an intrinsically socialist construct, blockchain technology does allow for socialist-libertarian practical applications, particularly in the form of decentralized autonomous organization structure (DAOs). These organizations offer a more equitable and democratic form of decision-making and wealth distribution, one that encourages thoughtful experimentation and innovation, and that promote the overall interests and aspirations of the community as a whole, as opposed to those of a small few.

For more on real world examples of leftism intersecting with crypto and blockchain, check out The Blockchain Socialist. If you’re a woman in web3 or crypto-curious, check out CryptoFemme, an aspiring DAO bringing crypto literacy education and mentorship to women and femme-identifying people.

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