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A small talk given at the Coinscrum meetup on Monday 8th December in London. Explores the notion of a decentralised software-as-a-service, and points that the lack of a legal service-provider leaves only the users and the software. Software is necessarily allegal (i.e. not pertaining to the concept of legal) and thus users themselves must be policed.

Published in: Technology


  1. 1. Allegality SYSTEMS THAT CAN’T CARE Gavin Wood ETHEREUM
  2. 2. Decentralised SaaS (ÐSaaS) Software specifies abstract rules of interaction between parties for a service Abstract can become Concrete Value transfer Actuators Oracles &c.
  3. 3. So what’s new? eBay, PayPal, Amazon all do this, right?
  4. 4. SaaS vs ÐSaaS SaaS has an operator: Operator is human or human-owned Operator exists in “real” legal environment ÐSaaS has no operator: Each ÐSaaS is truly a force of nature
  5. 5. Decentralised SaaS Accordingly implemented, service cannot be, en masse, shut down. Early examples: Bitcoin, Bittorrent Forces of nature
  6. 6. Decentralised SaaS Needs not care about the “human context” of transactions. Force of nature
  7. 7. The State of the Game CRYPTO-FINANCE CRYPTO-CURRENCY APP-COINS CRYPTO-LAW Boolean Structured Language Rules Trivial Ammendable General Numeric Discrete (Less Relevant) (More Relevant)
  8. 8. Real Soon Now Crypto-law, or platforms for arbitrary ÐSaaS
  9. 9. Changes Can’t police ÐSaaS, must police users - but - Limited resources for security Two options: Security-by-saturation; Rethink what is illegal
  10. 10. Changes Risks & Opportunities for Society
  11. 11. Changes Greater transparency, openness, efficiency: KYC and AML become trivial to implement Taxes become trivial to pay and audit Far harder to hide things “under the table”
  12. 12. Changes Liberalism, freedom and individual choice: Harder to police “trends” Harder to shut down mutually beneficial deals Harder to hide uncomfortable truths
  13. 13. Ultimately... (De-facto) Laws will alter according to reformed social norms Stage between could be volatile
  14. 14. Lawmakers: Must work with new system to avoid painful disruption: education, evidence-based decisions, always maximise health & well-being
  15. 15. Lawmakers: Avoid misuse of morality, prejudice, misunderstandings, myths
  16. 16. To all... Renewed need for responsibility, tolerance and honesty
  17. 17. Allegality Gavin Wood Questions?