World Economic Forum Publishes White Paper on Blockchain Governance

The World Economic Forum has published a new white paper on blockchain governance, arguing for a greater spirit of collaboration between diverse blockchain stakeholders.

The report, entitled ‘Realizing the Potential of the Blockchain’, argued that a broader collaborative approach would maximise the potential of the blockchain ecosystem, thought to hold many future benefits for industry and governance globally.

Echoing the collaborative spirit of development consortia like R3 and Hyperledger, the report suggests that stakeholders could go further, developing distributed networks of development expertise to advance the technology and its potential use cases.

With stakeholders worldwide pulling together, the research paper argues that the impact could be significant, massively outscaling any collaborative efforts yet to be seen in blockchain development.

According to the report, collaboration allows for expertise from a broad range of stakeholder sources to be pooled and focused on advanced distributed ledger technology.

Noting the impact existing consortia have had on shaping the technology to date, it suggests a broader network of stakeholders could help accelerate the growth and development of the technology across three main areas: blockchain platforms, blockchain applications, and the blockchain ecosystem more broadly.

Writing in the introduction to the paper, Richard Samans of the World Economic Forum said that in aspiring to reach its potential, blockchain necessitates greater cooperation and joint-development worldwide.

“The extent to which this new technology realizes its potential will depend in substantial part upon how well stakeholders steward its development. There remain important open governance questions regarding both the functioning of the technology and its current and potential applications.”

In addition to proposing the need for greater collaboration, the report also outlines an envisaged structure, or taxonomy, for how these efforts could be organised.

While ambitious in its scope and recommendations, the report has been welcomed by influential industry stakeholders, including the heads of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and Hyperledger, two projects already dedicated to advancing cooperation in blockchain development.

Jeremy Millar from the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance described the move as ‘welcomed’, in supporting the existing aims of blockchain consortia and development partnerships.

“Governance is critical to accelerate mainstream adoption of blockchain technology, and the work of the World Economic Forum, along with Don and Alex, is most welcomed.”

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