Is blockchain an important collaborative solution?

  • “Know yourself and the enemy, you will never be defeated in a hundred battles.”
  • When you don’t know the enemy but you know yourself, your chances of victory and defeat are equal.
  • “If you don’t understand the enemy and yourself, you will definitely be defeated in every battle.” Sun Tzu Art of War.

 When a group of people can achieve an ideal result through cooperation, but because they do not collaborate in their decision-making, failure will occur. Collaboration failures are often the reason why we achieve the desired results, because they are common in many systems around the world.

What is collaboration failure?

Some examples of collaboration failures in the modern world are. 

  • Nation states refuse to give up nuclear weapons because they want to protect themselves, even though they pose an existential threat to the world.
  • Consumers refuse to abandon fossil fuel-powered services because they want to travel conveniently, despite the damage to the world’s environment caused by burning fossil fuels.
  • Users of open source software consume open source software because they want to write new applications faster, even though the cumulative use creates obstacles for maintainers of open source software.
  • The cells of the human body live together in harmony and become the resource for the organism to pool them; but if one cell is defective in this balance, it will become cancer-eventually surpassing all other cells and taking over the body.
  • Collaboration failure may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if a company decides that a crisis and recession is imminent and therefore fires its workers, other companies may lose demand due to layoffs, and then respond by firing their own workers, leading to an economic crisis.

 Collaboration failure is a utopia without a dictator. It is a situation that every citizen, including the leadership, hates, but it still cannot be conquered. From God’s point of view, there is an obvious problem with collaboration failure; from the inside of the system, no one actor can create change, so the best option is to continue to ignore this problem.

Multipolar trap

Collaboration failure is also called a multi-pole trap. A multipolar trap is like this. 

  1. Individual humans want to breathe clean air.
  2. There are some things to be done so as not to have high ppm in the air we breathe.
  3. Since clean air is non-competitive (I consume it and cannot prevent you from consuming it) and non-exclusive (one cannot put clean air behind a rope and charge a fee), this means that every individual actor has a reasonable Incentives to use this system for free. If I have gotten clean air for free, why should I donate to the fund to keep the air clean? This is the first trap: the trap of fighting alone.
  4. If enough participants choose to participate for free, the entire system will begin to bear the burden. If the burden increases to the point where the system collapses, no one can get these public goods. This is the second trap: the multi-player trap.
  5. From God’s point of view, the obvious solution is for everyone to contribute a little, but if there is no collaborative mechanism to ensure that everyone contributes, they would not do it.

One way to reduce the impact of collaboration failure is to fully improve collaboration so that a single player in the game plays like a multiplayer game . 

When the participants in the game believe that they have a common identity or purpose, or if the negative externalities of their behavior are included in the market-based decisions they make, they will play the game together instead of separately, and Avoid the second trap. 

Prisoner’s dilemma

A famous example of collaboration failure is the prisoner’s dilemma. The prisoner’s dilemma is an example of a situation analyzed in game theory. It shows why two perfectly rational people may not cooperate. It seems to be in their best interest to do so. The following is an example of this. Two members of a criminal gang were arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is held in solitary confinement, and there is no way to communicate with another person. The prosecutor lacked sufficient evidence to convict the two men on their main charges, but they had enough evidence to convict the two on the lesser charges. At the same time, the prosecutor provided each prisoner with a trading condition. Each prisoner has the opportunity to betray each other by testifying that the other party committed a crime, or to cooperate with each other by remaining silent. The possible result is.

1.  If A and B betray each other, they each serve 2 years in prison.

2. If A betrays B, but B remains silent, A will be released and B will serve three years in prison.

3. If A remains silent, but B betrays A, A will serve three years in prison and B will be released.

4. If both A and B remain silent, they will both only serve one year’s imprisonment (with a lesser charge).


Because betraying a partner provides greater rewards than cooperating with them, all purely rational and self-interested prisoners will betray each other, which means that the only possible result of two purely rational prisoners is that they betray each other. 

In reality, despite what the simple model of “rational” self-interested action foreshadows, humans in this game and similar games show a systematic prejudice against cooperative behavior. The more participants trust each other, the more they cooperate for the best common result.


Bentoism is a theory that believes that self-interest is multifaceted. Today, we look at self-interest from the perspective of short-term individualism. I, as a person, want what now. 

Although this view is in our self-interest, it does not capture the whole picture. 

Bentoism (an acronym for Beyond Near Term Orientation) is a broader perspective to see what is valuable and in line with our self-interest. This includes what I want and need now as a person (I am now).

But it also leaves room for the consideration of our future self (future me), the people we depend on and the people who depend on us (us now), and the next generation (us in the future). All these spaces affect us and are also affected by us. They are in our own interests.


Moro: God of Collaboration Failure

In addition to the form of game theory, the failure of collaboration has even been attributed to a more intuitive form; the infamous “Morro God Meditation” in 2014 imagined that the failure of collaboration is like a powerful demon, ruling mankind and tempting individual humans to defect Rather than collaboration, it ultimately imposes suffering on humans.


The evolution of trust

Game designer Nicky Case has created an HTML5 game that allows end users to explore how trust – which is a high-level seat when you design for a collaborative community – evolves in the community. 

The game itself is worth playing (click here to play), but here is the TLDR of the game theory behind it.


How to solve this problem in the industrial age

It is worth noting that the funding of collaborative public products is a problem traditionally solved by the government (with varying degrees of success). By levying taxes on citizens, and by using force to stipulate that everyone must pay taxes, the government effectively solved the free-riding problem. Either pay taxes or go to jail.  

In some countries, this has led to substantial funding for some public goods. In other countries, the use of funds is not ideal, or in some cases, it is used in a corrupt manner and there is no accountability system.

 “Taxing is stealing” is the favorite talking point of liberals all over the world-government policy experts may disagree. To spend too much time discussing this issue is beyond the scope of this article; partly because it is a very complex topic, but also because the world is changing. With the emergence of new technologies and cultures, the non-compulsory funding of public goods becomes more and more important. The more likely it is. 

Blockchain collaboration is a solution

If there is a technology that allows human groups to choose to collaborate with each other easily, that would be great! This is the blockchain. At the bottom of a transparent trust game, everyone knows where they stand, and the rules cannot be changed for you. 

I believe this is the vision of Ethereum . We can now incorporate our values ​​into our economic system-the final form of the stateful Internet allows us to coordinate the actions of multiple economic actors, and therefore can solve the problem of failure of collaboration.


However, it would be foolish to deny the degree of greed in the current blockchain ecosystem. My belief is that although this greed is a necessary condition for blockchain technology to guide itself, it is not the final form of the blockchain ecosystem . Greed (the number rises) is only the guide.

 Cryptocurrency is not created to make you rich-it is to set you free. 

Another way of envisaging the use of cryptocurrency is like a multi-stage rocket. 

The first stage of the Rockets is financial incentives (richer). 

The second stage of the rocket is more sovereignty (more freedom). 

One is designed for the lower atmosphere, and the second is designed for the upper atmosphere. Unfortunately, without the first stage, we would not have the second stage . 

I believe in the second stage of cryptocurrency because I have seen it. I have seen a glimpse of the “four-dimensional space”-a place where collaboration failure has basically been resolved. 

Practice collaboration

Gitcoin’s mission is to use Ethereum technology to help solve the funding problem of Crypto infrastructure. Open source software creates $500 billion in economic value every year, but the maintainers of open source software are often underpaid, overworked, and undervalued. This is a failure of collaboration! 

Blockchain collaboration is a solution


Now, Gitcoin is making $6 million/quarter in financing for open source software, and has provided $20 million in funding for open source software developers. We use Ethereum to create economic games (and relationships) between funders and builders of open source software. In this process, we learned about public products and collaboration failures, and how to collaborate with them. 

Our goal is to start with open source software engineers because they have urgent needs (funds). They understand the need for patience when dealing with new technologies/UX.


The ultimate goal of Gitcoin is to fund our Crypto structure and the OSS that powers it, but there is a deeper level of help – to solve the funding problem of OSS . 

As the blockchain technology matures, the model prototype used to fund open source software can be forked and used to gather any type of community to deal with almost all failed collaborations. The most recent example is Downtown Stimulus. A Quadratic Funding project aimed at funding the economic recovery of Boulder, Colorado following the COVID attack in the second quarter of 2020. 

Our next move is to apply the model behind Gitcoin Grants (secondary financing) to traditional open source software-the project we will launch next month called FundOSS will be our pilot, which will feature a $75,000 QF round . 

If we could build a machine, let it unite, and finally defeat the failure of cooperation-defeating Moro, what would it be like?


In the past two years, the Ethereum community has united and donated more than 10 million U.S. dollars to OSS funds on Gitcoin Grants. With the collaboration of Quadratic Funding, we have proven that it is possible to use the stateful Internet powered by Ethereum to solve some of the failures of collaboration.

This is a beginning that cannot be ignored, but there are still many problems before us. Gitcoin needs to expand 100 times to have a great impact on the entire open source ecosystem , and there is still a lot of work to be done to make these collaboration mechanisms mainstream. Enemies, the status quo, indifference, indifference, and complexity are universal.

Of course, collaboration is a choice, and no result is predestined. However, the situation is very unfavorable for us. And, because we know your enemy, we know that we are all agents in a multiplayer trap, designed to prevent us from cooperating by default. 

The good news is that Ethereum and similar technologies are here . If we are to conquer the God of Moro and go to the four-dimensional continent, there is still much work to be done. But we have hope because of Ethereum. We have hope because we know our enemy. The solution to the failure of systematic collaboration is to build human communities and markets in a way that enables better collaboration .

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