Ethereum community and its ecosystem: Needs-Based Theories of Motivation approach
Ethereum community and its ecosystem: Needs-Based Theories of Motivation approach
The importance of an open and decentralised protocol.
With the approach of crowd psychology, we can see that Ethereum fulfills certain conditions for defining itself as a community. In this article, we will use another approach (influenced by the work of Abraham Maslow) that confirms that Ethereum has others necessary conditions to assert itself not only as a community, but as self-organisation. The approach will also attempt to analyze the reasons why some people decide to participate in the Ethereum community, as well as the influence of the effects produced by its protocol on their motivations and needs.
Spontaneous order or Self-organizing system of voluntary co-operations?
Spontaneous order is typically used to describe the emergence of various kinds of social orders from a combination of self-interested individuals who are not intentionally trying to create order through planning.
Spontaneous orders are to be distinguished from organizations which are hierarchical networks.
Organizations can be and often are a part of spontaneous social orders, but the reverse is not true. While organizations are created and controlled by humans, spontaneous orders are created, controlled, and controllable by no one. According to Friedrich Hayek, in economics and the social sciences, spontaneous order is defined as "the result of human actions, not of human design"
A Self-organisation is a process where some form of overall order arises from local interactions between parts of an initially disordered system.
The process is spontaneous, not needing control by any external agent. It is often triggered by random fluctuations, amplified by positive feedback. The resulting organization is wholly decentralized, distributed over all the components of the system. As such, the system is typically robust and able to survive or self-repair substantial perturbation.
For most of libertarian and anarchist thinker, self-organisation is a state of equilibrium behavior created by the voluntary cooperation of individuals.
What is the purpose of the protocol behind Ethereum?
Ethereum can be interpreted as a platform who attract various groups of participants coming from all over the world. The Ethereum platform use a protocol that enables developers to build powerful decentralized applications with built-in economics functions.
Because the foundation of this platform is powered by a protocol which is characterised by being “open, public, global, decentralised, neutral and censorship-resistant”, everything build on top of it, benefit from its intrinsic properties. Thousands of DAPPS (decentralised applications) have since being developed and used by groups of individuals around the world. These DAPPS provide tools for a large variety of use and use case (Social, Finance, Governance, Gambling, Insurance, Storage, energy, Identity, and so on….). https://www.stateofthedapps.com/rankings/platform/ethereum
The Maslow approach in the context of a possible blockchain governance
We will rely on the approach of the psychologist Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of need theory as a basis. Maslow's hierarchy of needs proposed that during their entire life, Humans being must satisfy 5 level of needs: Biological and Physiological needs, Safety needs, Love and belongingness needs, Esteem needs and Self-Actualization needs. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a good approach to find out what are the different motivation at one point in time for a human action happen.
I find the Maslow approach is very interesting because it may be used in order to produce tools to send signal and insight to the community especially if the community need to be illuminated before taken decision on the protocol.
Accordind to Madeleine Akrich (the construction of a socio-technical system 1989) : any innovation is a sociotechnical construction,“a technical object is always a social object” It combines several different types of arrangements (including social norms, formal and informal rules and procedures, market practices and technical solutions) which together constitute both its governance and its power structures. The choice of the tools, the material, the hardware used to build a car, will affect how the car looks, its performances and the type of people who is going to buy it. Each modification, each tweak will immediately have an affect on the design and the performance of a car and therefore is apt to attract different type of customers.
In the context of the Ethereum Governance, each time that an EIP is merged, or a consensual fork happen, the modification of some elements of the protocol which will have an impact on people needs and satisfactions, therefore on the intensity of peoples participations and involvments. Some members of the community will realize that this is now meeting some of their practical needs, others will think that it will diminish the improvement in the level of prosperity that the old version of the protocol allowed them.
Establishing common motivations by the Needs-Based Theory
If we accept the idea that the crowd around Ethereum, even if there is no leader, is sufficiently organized to be classified as a community, then we must be able to organize the deployment of tools that give us a representative overview of the needs and motivations that the protocol satisfies within the community.
So let’s put Maslow’s theory into our context: The open, borderless, public, global, decentralised, neutral and censorship-resistant proprieties of the Ethereum blockchain allow every human being on this planet to participate without permission (as simple users, a builder or a stakeholders). Because each human need to satisfy different sort of need through their life, the ethereum platform attract a wild varieties of participants with different set of needs: The need to create something, the need to solve problems, the need to gain some respect and reputation by helping others, the need of belonging to a group, the need to secure a future employment, the need to extract wealth….
The intrinsic properties of Ethereum open source platform (permissionless and borderless) almost guaranties that the DAPPS will be used by a wild range of people coming from all over the world. The protocol allows so the creation of a vibrant ecosystem by having a diverse groups of participants from all over the world sharing different degree of needs, while being governed by the same rules (the rules established by the Ethereum protocol). Based on my own opinion and my own experiences I have tried to categorised 3 set of needs that might have attracted participants in the Ethereum ecosystem.
Usability: Can Ethereum deliver satisfaction on practical use cases?
Individuals or group of individuals contribute to develop, maintain or simply use the platform. Because of the intrinsic properties of Ethereum open source platform, she can so deliver practical uses, on personal and professional level, can be customize by individual or organization for profit or non-profit activity. Tools build from the Ethereum platform can be customized at will by users that want to tailor their own products and services, build new type of business or non-profit model for others. These tools can be upgraded as the user base grow, feedback get integrated consensually to the platform, and it is possible to build sophisticated governance model.
Prosperity improvement: By participating in this ecosystem can I improve my own prosperity; can I improve the prosperity of others?
Individuals or group of individuals contribute in the hope to gain a reward who will improve different forms of capital:
- Financial improvement (opportunities to secure an employment, a stream of revenue or to build a business model on top of the platform).
- Knowledge & Skills improvements (opportunities to learn new things).
- Social improvements (opportunities to create a network of connections).
- Emotional satisfaction (opportunities to generate emotion like pleasure or Fear of missing out something…).
- To improve its own reputation and self-esteem (individuals or group of individuals participate because they want to demonstrate theirs own abilities to solve problem, to create value for everyone to see.).
These incentives often attract early adopter, where by getting involve in these open and public projects, they can demonstrate to the world their ability to build, solve problem, or just to be proud to have participated to something important, to something they share value with.
Values and Convictions: By participating in this ecosystem can I realize some aspiration, can I obtain spiritual gratification (in the intellectual sense of the word)?
e.g Individuals or group of individuals contribute to the platform to defend a noble cause, (ex: fighting climate change, reducing social inequality), or to justify a set of beliefs (privacy, freedom). The designers of Ethereum had and still have a very strong missions, visions, and value to contribute to the world and aim to provide solutions to address problems in the society. They have attracted and will continue to attract users who believe in these values. They are encouraged to participate because they are motivated by beliefs and the tools they use reflects their values and allows them to achieve a high level of satisfaction.
Customized radar map of Ethereum protocol requirements.
A decentralised self-organised community is a complex system that, when exposed to severe shock, has the ability to find a new equilibrium, it is often the result of volontary or self interested cooperation between humain. If the intrinsic properties of an open source decentralised socio-technical protocol like Ethereum guaranties allows a wild range of humain interaction then the Needs-Based Theories of Motivation might be an interested approach in order to find insight that might help other for their decision making.
Here you will find a speculative radar chart for the satisfaction needs of the Ethereum protocol who can be created by the community in order to get more insight about the protocol.
A personalised radar chart for the satisfaction needs of the Ethereum protocol can be easily tailored at will and can give us a relative insight from the entire community about what their needs satisfaction level of the current protocol are.
I believe that these signals can potentialy help to gain a better understanding of the community needs and be used to give the community additional discernment into future collective decisions.
Want to help? have a look at my github account
Feel free to fork it, add comment, data or even add new projects.
Thank you cards address: Kudos me @0x2e34cdb393c08086e759e3d186b3b4fb2ca5b1b2