What could a blockchain constitution look like?

Traditional platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have a terms of service that define acceptable behavior of users. These terms of service create a hub and spoke model where Facebook and Twitter are the hub and the users are the spokes. A decentralized platform needs to have a peer-to-peer terms of service.

Blockchains could bind users together in a peer-to-peer constitution with the aim of securing user rights and enabling dispute resolution. Any two users who sign the contract by virtue of their use of the blockchain are counter-parties to one contract.

We have put together an example constitution for the communities consideration. This example is intended as one potential template that could be customized for any blockchain.

For more information about the philosophy and legal theory behind this constitution we recommend reading Create a Meaningful Blockchain ConstitutionCreate a Meaningful Blockchain Constitution
A guide on how to create a blockchain constitution from first principles.
and Why Every Blockchain Needs a ConstitutionWhy Every Blockchain Needs a Constitution
Every blockchain needs a constitution because majority rules and computer code is not enough.

Example Constitution


We the Members of the Community, in order to grant and secure certain Rights amongst us, do ordain and establish this Constitution amongst the Members.

ARTICLE 1 - Principles and Values

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that by our mutual and explicit consent to this Constitution, we recognize certain mutual Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and Property. We agree to live by the principles of honesty, integrity, non-aggression, voluntary association and logical consistency. We recognize that violation of these principles may cause damages to the Rights of other Members. We agree in the principle that when one Member damages the Rights of another they shall be responsible to make the damaged Member whole to the fullest extent possible.

ARTICLE 2 - Approach

We recognize that it is impossible for all Members to directly determine the Rights of all other Members; therefore, we implement amongst ourselves Blockchain software to automate the evaluation and assignment of Rights according to the software contracts (aka smart contracts) created and entered into with mutual consent of various Members.

We further agree that software development is an imperfect art and will occasionally fail to faithfully mediate Rights among Members; therefore, it is necessary to establish processes for community governance.

ARTICLE 3 - Currency

The Community hereby creates a currency known as EXAMPLE, possession of which is evidence of a contribution to the community. The quantity of EXAMPLE shall increase no more than 5% per year after the first 1 billion EXAMPLE are distributed.

ARTICLE 4 - Voting Rights

Each Member may obtain voting rights by transferring EXAMPLE into a designated staking contract, which restricts liquid access for at least 3 days. We may delegate our voting rights to another Member. We also agree not to cast any vote that would support the breach of this Constitution. Voting for a permissible change to the Constitution is not considered a breach. Changes to this Constitution, Community Contract Specification, allocation of new EXAMPLE, and Block Producers shall be subject to approval voting. Votes are weighted by total EXAMPLE held in staking contract.

ARTICLE 5 - Property Rights

Property rights are defined by the intent of the smart contracts as inferred by developer comments, incorporated human readable contracts, this Constitution and inspection of the code. We recognize software bugs may cause contracts to operate in unpredictable or unexpected ways. Those who come into possession of Rights intended for another Member shall take reasonable actions to restore those Rights to the rightful owner.

We recognize that private keys can be stolen and used to sign unauthorized messages on behalf of that Member. We recognize these forged transactions lack the authority to exercise the property rights controlled by the stolen key. Furthermore, we recognize that it may not be possible to know if a key has been stolen until it has been used in an unauthorized manner.

We will take reasonable measures to secure our accounts. We shall give public notice within a reasonably short period of time after discovering our keys have been misused.

ARTICLE 6 - Arbitration and Enforcement

We agree to settle all disputes with any Member through community arbitration under the Rules of Dispute Resolution. The costs of arbitration shall be initially borne by the individual Members in dispute and later apportioned by the Arbitrator. We agree the Arbitrator’s ruling is final and binding. We also agree that precedent of prior rulings shall not be used as the basis of future rulings.

We agree that rulings of arbitrators shall have no authority over the right of the Producers to exercise discretion over which valid transactions are included in Blocks. The Producers, at their discretion, may use their ability to exclude transactions from new Blocks to enforce arbitration rulings.

ARTICLE 7 - The Blockchain

We agree the Producers may, but are not required to, update the Blockchain software as necessary to defend the rights of the Members under this Constitution; however, no Producer may update Blockchain software in such a way that violates this Constitution. We understand that updates without prior Community approval may be used for emergency situations and only to the extent necessary to mitigate additional damages while the community reviews and approves a solution. All updates will require 90% approval of elected Producers. Except for emergency updates, continuous approval by at least 90% of Producers must be maintained for 30 days before an update can take effect. The minority Producers shall either upgrade their software according to the approved update, or they shall cease producing blocks immediately.

We agree that once a valid Block has been ratified by 67% of elected Producers it shall be deemed immutable. We also agree that no Producer shall produce two different Blocks with the same timestamp and that no Producer shall interfere with the reasonable exercise of voting rights by the Members.

ARTICLE 8 - Amendments

We recognize that this Constitution and other Key Documents may only be amended or replaced with explicit approval voting under Article 4 Voting Rights for a continuous period of 30 days. All amendments that would increase EXAMPLE creation rate above 5% per year or deny EXAMPLE-weighted voting rights to the Members shall require consent of 95% all EXAMPLE voting rights.

ARTICLE 9 - Miscellaneous

Choice of Law The default choice of law for disputes among Members is the maxims of equity.

Counterparts This Constitution may be executed in any number of counterparts, each of which when executed and delivered shall constitute a duplicate original, but all counterparts together shall constitute a single agreement.

Consensus The Blockchain shall use Delegated Proof of Stake Consensus (DPoS) algorithm in combination with Transactions as Proof of Stake (TaPoS).

Consideration All rights and obligations under this Constitution are mutual and reciprocal and of equally significant value and cost to all parties.

Developer Liability We further agree to hold software developers harmless for unintentional mistakes made in the expression of contractual intent as software whether or not said mistakes were due to actual or perceived negligence.

Notice Any notice required may be served by posting message to a Member’s account that is incorporated into the Blockchain by Producers, or by broadcasting a valid message to the peer to peer network if it can be proven that the Producers refuse to incorporate a valid message.

Copyright We agree that any information published to the Blockchain is irrevocably placed into the Public Domain to the fullest extent possible. Any Member may use any information, ideas, patents, or other documents in the Blockchain without restriction, fee, attribution, or warranty. We agree that we will only publish information to the Blockchain that is within our Right to publish.

Key Documents. We incorporate into this Agreement the following Key Documents: Rules of Dispute Resolution, Consensus Practice, and Community Contract Specification.

Electronic Signatures All Members, whether natural human, legal person, or other entity, agree to this Constitution by signing a transaction incorporating the hash of this Constitution and having the transaction accepted by the Producers and incorporated into the Blockchain.

Termination of Agreement A Member is automatically released from all revocable obligations under this Constitution 3 years after the last transaction signed by that Member which incorporated a cryptographic hash of this Constitution. After 3 years of inactivity an account is put up for auction and the proceeds distributed to all Members by removing EXAMPLE from circulation.

Severability If any part of this Constitution is declared unenforceable or invalid, the remainder will continue to be valid and enforceable.

Once the person has agreed, they shall be deemed a Member, bound to the terms of this Constitution, and entitled reasonable access to the Blockchain according to their standing with the Community and any arbitration rulings.

My original post and community discussion can be found on steemit.com or hive.blog


© Daniel Larimer