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ETHNews Exclusive | Aragon’s Luis Cuende Talks Decentralizing Power Through Technology




Luis Cuende spoke with ETHNews about what inspired him to create Aragon and how he sees blockchain's potential to reshape the future of governance.

Luis Cuende is one of the fastest rising stars in the Ethereum community. Born in Oviedo, Spain, he created a Linux-based operating system when he was merely 12 years old, and was the youngest technologist to be featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2016.

His latest endeavor, Aragon, deployed the beta of its Aragon Core version 0.5  (codenamed "The Architect") to the Rinkeby Testnet on March 29, 2018. The Aragon platform was designed to allow ease of governance for a variety of projects, such as startups, nonprofits, corporations, and, especially, DAOs.

Cuende told ETHNews about how he prepared to step into the role of CEO of his own company: "At one point, I decided to read about Ron Coase and why companies exist. Basically, if I was the CEO of a company, I would have to understand why companies exist in the first place. And then I read another paper called 'Coase's Penguin' which was kind of like a follow up to 'The Nature of the Firm,' and that impacted [me very much] – to see why [companies] exist and how they would evolve using open source."

The author of "Coase's Penguin, or, Linux and the Nature of the Firm," Yochai Benkler, didn't write about blockchains specifically in the paper, as it was published in 2001, but Cuende was drawn to the idea of newer, better ways of governing made possible by the advancement of technology.

The young developer, driven by the idea of reshaping power structures, explained, "What it means is that millions of people can coordinate and work on a common thing without the need of a state, or a bank, or any huge intermediary … Having this technology that we have right now, and having the blockchain and smart contracts, you can really get rid of them – coordinate and incentivize [people] toward the same goal without needing a king or even a democratic [government]. It's peer to peer."

Cuende went on to detail the progression of the democratization of hardware and software, noting that "data is now being democratized by blockchains." He believes that it's only a matter of time before governance is also democratized with the help of blockchains and contracts that "track your human relationships in a readable, transparent way."

As he looks to the future, Cuende anticipates technology taking us even further into more decentralized and fair forms of governance. Whether it be Futarchy, by which prediction market metrics are used to determine policies; Liquid Democracy, which does away with representatives and relies instead on placing voting power for specific issues in the hands of specific delegates; or some other egalitarian ideology that doesn't rely on consolidated power structures.

As he puts it, "It's all just a matter of transaction costs. If you minimize transaction costs for people to vote and participate, and it produces great outputs, then it's done. Then there's no return. It's just more efficient to decentralize governments from that point on."

Though Ethereum was a natural fit for Aragon (which allows users to utilize contracts for trackable, transparent work allocation, among other applications), Cuende admits that the development of the blockchain needs to pick up the pace if its advocates hope for mass adoption. "The development tools for Ethereum are the best in the blockchain ecosystem, but they are pretty much behind where they should be. I think we still have to work on a lot of infrastructure frameworks and libraries and models for development."

Still, the programmer expects to see a lot of progress throughout the rest of 2018 and affirms that the Ethereum Foundation is doing an "amazing job."

Cuende even went so far as to say, "I've been developing software in the open source community since I was 12 and this amount of super talented people, super excited, super value-focused – I haven't seen that in my entire lifetime. It's just amazing. The Ethereum community is probably the best development community in the world."

Jen Luker

Jen Luker is a copy editor and occasional writer for ETHNews. She is inspired by decentralization, the arts, and social causes. She holds value in ETH.

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