Universität Wien FIND

180077 SE Blockchain-Governance (2022W)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung
Do 15.12. 13:15-17:15 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Mittwoch 19.10. 13:15 - 17:15 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Donnerstag 10.11. 13:15 - 17:15 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 24.11. 13:15 - 17:15 Hörsaal 2i NIG 2.Stock C0228
Donnerstag 12.01. 13:15 - 17:15 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Donnerstag 26.01. 13:15 - 17:15 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

This course explores the potential challenges and opportunities of blockchain governance. In the early days, key proponents of blockchain technology have proclaimed that it would redefine legal and political governance. Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin, argued that blockchain technology would make trust in government redundant, and perhaps even make government obsolete. Gavin Wood, a co-founder of Ethereum, claimed that blockchain-based systems are fundamentally alegal; they are akin to a force of nature that facilitates a radically new social contract, a new form of governance that subsists beyond the reach of the law. Are these realistic predictions or mere fantasies and speculations?

Over the years, the rapid development and proliferation of blockchain technologies has spurred debates in the humanities and social sciences concerning the legal, social, political, and ethical impacts of these technologies. How will blockchain technology reshape trust, legitimacy, legality, and politics? Can it provide an answer to some of the age-old problems in legal and political theory, or will it simply replicate and perpetuate politics as usual?

These questions are difficult to answer in a definite manner. Yet, what seems certain is that blockchain technologies and the communities surrounding them have caused a Cambrian explosion of governance experiments. Some have been spectacular failures, while others still hold interesting promises.

This course provides a detailed overview of existing blockchain governance practices to investigate the impact of blockchain-based systems on a variety of domains, including law and public policy, economics and politics, as well as ethical and environmental issues. With the recent deployment and growing adoption of blockchain-based systems, it has now become urgent to establish a constructive debate around what constitutes ‘sound’ governance of and by blockchain technology, before the current forms of blockchain governance become entrenched.

This course offers:

• A summary of the main governance issues related to blockchain technologies, offering new insights and expert knowledge on the governance of and by these technologies;
• An exposition of innovative governance solutions offered by blockchain technologies, such as Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and decentralized arbitration, and how they challenge traditional legal and political concepts and theories;
• An overview of the main policy initiatives intended to regulate and/or accommodate blockchain technology from across the globe;
• A broader contextualisation of blockchain governance anchored into historical examples, political and legal theory literature (e.g., Hobbes, Schmitt, Lessig), and practical case studies —such as the ‘Bitcoin block size controversy’ (2013), ‘TheDAO attack’ (2016), the ‘Parity bug’ (2017), and the ‘SushiSwap fork’ (2020).
• A series of ethical, legal, and socio-political questions that challenge established assumptions around blockchain governance.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

• 25% of the grade will reflect your attendance. If you attend all the sessions, you will get the full grade for this part.
• 25% of the grade will consist of a presentation of one of the readings, which you will have to prepare with a fellow student. You get the full grade for this part if you:
o Summarize the text in a structured and comprehensive manner.
o Raise at least three well-informed critical points for in-class discussion.
• 25% of the grade will consist of half-term essay on a topic of your choosing. This essay will be max. 2000 words in length, and you get the full grade for this part if you:
o Come up with an original and clear argument to defend.
o Structure the essay in the proper way (with an abstract, introduction, core, and conclusion).
o Use the readings in a convincing way to illustrate or strengthen your argument.
o Find 2-4 additional readings that illuminate parts of your argument.
o Apply proper referencing, with in-line citations and a correctly formatted bibliography.
• 25% of the grade will consist of an end of term essay on a topic of your choosing. This essay will be max. 2000 words, and the criteria for getting the full grade for this part are the same as for the first essay.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

• You will need to attend at least 4 out of the 6 sessions.
• You will need to do the presentation of one of the readings.
• You will need to hand in the two essays.


• The basics of blockchain technology
• The rule by code and rule of code
• Trust and confidence
• Sovereignty and states of exception
• Alegality and unregulability
• Polycentric and commons governance
• Legitimacy in code-based environments


The following list is a selection of the readings:
• Nakamoto, S. (2008). Bitcoin : A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System (White paper).
• Wright, A., & de Filippi, P. (2015). Decentralized Blockchain Technology and the Rise of Lex Cryptographia. Available at SSRN 2580664. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2580664
• de Filippi, P., Mannan, M., & Reijers, W. (2020). Blockchain as a confidence machine: The problem of trust & challenges of governance. Technology in Society, 62(June), 101284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2020.101284
• Hildebrandt, M. (2016). Law as Information in the Era of Data-Driven Agency. Modern Law Review, 79(1), 1–30. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2230.12165
• Yeung, K. (2019). Regulation by blockchain: The emerging battle for supremacy between the code of law and code as law. Modern Law Review, 82(2), 207–239. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2230.12399
• Werbach, K., & Cornell, N. (2017). Contracts Ex Machina. Duke Law Journal, 67, 243–258. https://doi.org/10.3366/ajicl.2011.0005
• Reijers, W., Brolcháin, F. O., & Haynes, P. (2016). Governance in Blockchain Technologies & Social Contract Theories. Ledger Journal, 1(1), 134–151. https://doi.org/10.5915/LEDGER.2016.62

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Letzte Änderung: Do 29.09.2022 18:28