The Evolution of Decentralized Governance


Andrew Hall

Date of Talk


Hall is a professor of political economy at Stanford Graduate School of Business, with a joint appointment in the Stanford University Political Science Department. He is a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and for the 2022–2023 academic year, he is a senior fellow by courtesy at the Hoover Institution. Along with his academic research, Hall works at the intersection of tech and society, advising tech companies, startups, blockchain protocols, and others on how to make better and more socially legitimate decisions, products, and policies. This includes work to design and build governance systems — systems of algorithms, rules, rule-making procedures, appeals processes, and other institutions that shape how people and communities use tech products and how they affect society.


Decentralized governance has the potential to transform how people coordinate their social, economic, cultural, and political lives in interesting ways, but in its nascent form today it faces standard, well-known challenges from the history of the governance of human societies. How do you get people to become informed and participate? How do you prevent vote buying and corruption? How do you align the incentives of decentralized workforces with the tokenholders at large? In this talk, I will explore these age-old challenges and their applicability to web3 and decentralized governance, discussing what political economy research has to say about these issues and presenting some very initial data on DAO governance from a joint project with Dan Boneh. Finally, I'll discuss how blockchain technology may facilitate new solutions to some of these governance problems, and I'll offer a first stab at how I think these improvements might enable better governance for tech platforms including social media and e-commerce platforms.

External Link

Read the Research Paper

First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

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