27 Nov 2021
Adam Jesionowski
About BeeDAO

I was asked what I thought about this idea in the Praxis Discord server:

decentralized rooftop apiary system in town where residents contribute to the public honey treasury and receive shares based on contributions

There is a lot to like in this suggestion, but also a lot to unpack. Let’s try and expand this more and wonder how this would work in The Eternal City.

What we want to have in the city is not only the right amount of honey produced, but the right type of honey being produced. On one hand there must be city-wide expectations: the bees will not encounter pesticides and other xenochemicals in Praxis Apiaries. On the other hand there is the desires of the citizens with respect to, say, how prominently orange blossoms feature in one apiary. I think we can safely assume there is some sort of market system for honey in the City for the latter, the specifics of which will have to be defined over time.

But: the question refers to a public honey treasury, and localized production. Say in a particular neighborhood a particular family decides they want to try making honey. They engage a more experienced journeyman beekeeper until they are capable of providing the needs of the neighborhood. However, we should also assume that as apprentice beekeepers this family does not have the prowess to produce honey that their neighbors would prefer to what they buy on the market. If they do not receive enough of return on the upkeep of running that size of apiary, our anti-fragile neighborhood production will fall to zero. Here the solution of financing efforts by rewarding contributions to a public honey treasury makes perfect sense.

Now, let us further consider the question as to whether such a public honey trust should be a decentralized autonomous organization or a state-run (aka centralized) organization. Currently in the crypto space there is an extreme desire for decentralization. I very much get where that desire comes from, but we have to imagine being not in our current regime but in the City itself. I would like to propose that we assume the government there acts in the interest only of vitality. If a program is necessary for vitality, this program should be run.

In my mind we must view the city as an inherently high-trust zone enabled by these shared values, which fundamentally changes the way crypto is used. At the heart of a DAO is a smart contract. This program is run using the world’s least efficient computer because the computer is operating in a zero-trust regime. In a high-trust regime cryptography and algorithmic contracts still becomes important and necessary, but they do not require Proof-of-X schemes. Consider the following alternative:

At the beginning of the Year, the State freezes a computer program and signs it. This program relates how much it will pay per ounce of honey, and how much it would accept per family.

At the public treasury, a human teller would weigh your honey. You then hold your hardware wallet to an NFC beacon and they sign off on you providing the treasury with so-and-so amounts of honey. The state program executes and cryptographically rewards you the correct amount of payment. You have trust that the state faithfully executed the transaction because you can verify that the output of the program matched your expectiations. The excess capacity of distributed amateur aviaries would then absorbed by the state in a treasury that serves as an anti-fragile backup. We have a massive win here: we continually buffer the entire City’s honey production and encourage local production at once.

We can’t do this in a decentralized fashion. This treasury must be funded by some mechanism in order to function, we can’t rely on hope and dreams to fuel crypto too much longer, and so we must assume the state is capable of doing this in some regard.

The role of an active crypto-state that works to establish vitality is criminally under-rated in these discussions, as we’re used to living in the Mirror Universe version of a state.

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