Bazaar Services | Ethereum Foundation Blog

I am a strong believer in judging the present based on knowledge of the past. Over the past 25 years or so, one of the biggest trends in business and technology has been what is loosely referred to as the open source revolution.the concept that there is good business While sharing source code may not yet be here to stay in the eyes of many traditionalists, the idea of ​​leveraging existing open source software is here to stay. We are rapidly reaching a point where nearly all non-niche, important software is open in some way. All Android phones, all Mac computers, virtually all mainstream web technologies (servers, databases, browsers, compilers). All bases are open.

This is in stark contrast to when I was writing my dissertation on “Open Source Software in Business Environments” right after ESR wrote “Cathedrals and Bazaars.” At the time, Microsoft and its huge closed source codebase were the undisputed leaders, although there are one or two serious examples of open source software being used commercially.

why? What has changed? Did people suddenly realize, as Raymond said, that the “bazaar” model was the right way to go? No, just introducing an idea rarely makes a difference. In any case, the concept of a dispersed workforce working together as a whole through individual interests is not necessarily groundbreaking.

In fact, software development as a process has always been ideal for decentralization. The only thing missing was a ubiquitous communication infrastructure for developers. It was some way for developers to seamlessly share code and collaborate easily. It’s no surprise that the rise of the Internet with CVS, IRC, Usenet, and mailing lists coincided with the rise of open source software.

So what else was offered by the previous “Cathedral” model?

Actually, it is. This has facilitated a series of business tasks that can loosely be thought of as “value piping.” First, it motivated practitioners and rewarded developers for spending their time and energy on projects. We then provided all the supporting assets (hardware, software, tools, educational materials, etc.) necessary to carry out the development. Third, it acted as a receptacle for funds, collecting payments from those who profited from the work being done. In short, they skimmed off significant profits in exchange for managing cash flow and enabling and encouraging the production of solutions.

At first it was considered important, but it turned out to be not so important. We’ve found that people often work on software just for fun. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that this ‘value piping’ still plays an important role in human activities and service delivery.

So what does this tell us about the future?

Business, particularly the service industry, has traditionally followed a very “cathedral” approach to the commissioning, provision, and management of services that fall under this “value plumbing.” We may recognize it through tight coordination, enforcement of consistency, explicit top-down control, centralization, and rigidity. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that we have a single legal entity with authority and responsibility for a wide range of output.

eBay was a pioneer in true global decentralization as an enabling platform. This served as an important enabler for small and medium-sized enterprises and cottage industries across the developed world (and for some less scrupulous operators in developing countries with high internet penetration, a lucrative source of financing). needless to say). Web 2.0 platforms and mobile, which are highly intertwined, are introducing a new class of decentralized applications. The so-called “sharing economy” is beginning to take shape with Uber, AirBnB, and TaskRabbit to name a few. Like eBay, these operators reduce the relevance of the entire class of “structural intermediaries” and replace their “value plumbing” with his one large, technically skilled matchmaker.

The high level of disassembly that accompanies these is usually accompanied by a degree of contingent publicity (Uber’s “Safe Driver Fee”, AirBnB’s “Cleaning Fee”; it is common to learn more about the service provider you are matched with ). So what do taxi companies, hostelries, and unskilled/semi-skilled labor organizations have in common that make them prime examples of “decentralized services”? Where do the benefits of such easily scalable automata come from? Will it come?

They manage their company’s reputation (through basic word-of-mouth, marketing, and advertising), their employees (through finances, hiring, and contracts), and their markets (adapting to changing levels of supply and demand). ) and manage risk (through scrutiny). , compensation, insurance and bonds).

They cannot seriously claim to have created a truly new or open market, but they are getting close. In the world of open source software, they are a type of shareware. It’s not completely commercial, but it’s also not completely free. If you go to nationalist and techno-socially backward Germany, the only kind of he who can request one is that behind the façade of decentralization there is still a singular There is a matchmaker.

Therefore, although these are not yet fully achieved, they are the beginning of a change in social expectations. As consumers, we expect greater transparency in a provider’s operations (from the driver’s name to the exact origin of the trainer’s rubber) and greater freedom in choosing services. As individuals, we expect more ability to sell our skills, time, possessions, or potential. As businesses, we expect to see lower barriers to entry in the markets we want to compete in. As with open source software, it won’t be long before a group of sufficiently good amateurs (or professionals trying it out on their own) will compete in a bazaar style on equal footing with the industry’s cathedrals. It won’t cost you anything. .

And the idea of ​​“bazaar services” is the final conclusion of this social change. The world of service delivery is likely to follow, as open source software has virtually zero barriers to entry and is fluid in terms of leadership and authority. The problem is the same as it was 20 years ago. The answer is similar.

Software creation was the first to be fundamentally decentralized, simply because of people’s natural technological savvy and its entirely information-based nature. With Ethereum, cryptography, Web 3.0 and the like, every aspect of the service will follow the same path. The idea of ​​rigid organizations and corporations will evaporate, leaving us with the essence of human interaction patterns controlled only by openness and the mathematics of information theory. In the past, “interaction pattern managers”, “value plumbers”, or “corporations” for short, were subject to the emergency laws that made it possible; legality will become stricter. It becomes less relevant because there are no institutions, legal or otherwise, to coordinate it or profit from it, making it dramatically less pluralistic and unpoliced.

We will begin to see a world without intermediaries, intermediaries, and trusted authorities. It not only provides services, but also advertising, search, matching, and insurance directly from provider to consumer. Interaction patterns arise and persist not through clumsy and inefficient legal systems or slow and rigid corporate regulations, but through the inherently adaptable emergent effects of flexible, nimble, and direct economic incentives. This is what we’re aiming for, and if it delivers results similar to open source software, it definitely won’t happen fast enough.

Can we profit from this new social model? My opinion is a resounding “yes”. As always, benefits come from responding to a (perceived) human need or from providing efficiency gains to those who are motivated to recognize and implement them. However, it is not yet clear what kind of model will be profitable. Don’t expect this commercial enterprise to be anything like it is now. Otherwise he’ll be stuck like the people who poured money into VMLinux and RedHat in 2000 looking for the next Microsoft. What we think of as big differentiators today will be a commodity in 20 years, just like operating systems and browsers were in 1995.

To understand where these differentiators lie, we first need to understand what constitutes a product. Some food for thought: What if “commodities” became fully vendor-neutral, open and trustless digital marketplaces? Ubiquitous “value piping”, business logic constantly evolving, We maintain a readiness for anyone to join our bazaar services.

2015/5/4 P.S.: Revisit cat B, I must apologize for overusing the Raymond metaphor. Rather than being strictly proprietary, the original research focused on traditional work practices (mostly commercial software, but also included OSS such as GNU) and distributed work practices (what is now considered open source software development). The emphasis was on the distinction between /Commercial vs FLOSS. The concept of decentralization in software development is pervasive and correlated with open source development, albeit cautiously. Interestingly, apart from OSS, some agile methodologies (we think SCRUM) are adding to this general trend towards self-organization, decentralization, and authorityless operation of bazaars. You might make a case.

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