Proceedings of the 2022 European Conference on Computing in Construction


What if properties are owned by no one or everyone? foundation of blockchain enabled engineered ownership

Hongyang Wang, Jens Hunhevicz, Daniel Hall
ETH, Switzerland

DOI: 10.35490/EC3.2022.213
Abstract: Blockchain and smart contracts enable the network of hybrid autonomous human and machine agents. In this paper, we propose the concept of engineered ownership, a blockchain-based socio-technical governance system. A system of coded rules that defines the boundaries, shapes incentives and distributes rights among such autonomous agents. To lay a foundation for engineered ownership, we first study the nature of ownership by examining the concept of property. Shaped by history and ideologies, property rights are the most formalized and studied ownership system. We then untangle the layered structures and system design impacts of property by investigating three property rights theories. Finally, we derive from these learnings the system features of engineered ownership, identify related challenges, and present a roadmap towards a holistic theory of engineered ownership.
Keywords: Blockchain, DAO, Governance, Autonomous Agents, Property rights

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