Fundamental Ethereum White Paper PUBLISHED – Get It Here

By Bill Hergonson / Press Spokesperson for OSG

Chas Holloway’s white paper Open Source Government; The Foundational Concepts has just been posted. You can download it HERE or download it from

What is Open Source Government?

Crypto currencies, decentralized P2P platforms, smart contracts, and so on, are innovative and disruptive and libertarian and revolutionary. However, developers are not yet aware of the real Big Picture – of the global magnitude – of what they are building, and of the actual scope of coming social change and the immensity of the fortunes that will be made.

The integration of Open Source Government (OSG) technology with Ethereum (et al) makes blockchain-based decentralized platforms vastly more powerful than their creators and developers currently realize.

The purpose of this white paper is to explain Open Source Government (OSG), its architecture, its design parameters, and its staggering capacity to reshape digital civilization.

Download the white paper, Open Source Government; The Foundational Concepts HERE.

For more info, contact:

Bill Hergonson at [email protected]

Chas Holloway at [email protected]



  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    Forgot to mention I'm keeping the OSG white paper exclusive to the Ethereum community through the Ethereum Developers Conference in London, November 9 to 13. After that, I'll release it to the general public. -- Chas Holloway
  • ordoeordoe tehranMember Posts: 132 ✭✭
    Only a total idiot posts 2 threads promoting a white paper that is not public available and only available through a signup form grabbing your email address and... it's not working at all :-)

    Go away and don't come back with a real white paper. Thanks.
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    If you have trouble downloading the white paper please contact me at [email protected] and I'll make sure you get it. There should be no problem. But three people have had difficulty with Mail Chimp, the company I'm using to manage email addresses.
  • hangabershangabers Member Posts: 63
    Plus who says all crypto is libertarian?
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    Glad you brought that up. OSG white paper is NOT a libertarian document in the "political libertarian" sense. In fact it's NOT a political document, at all. It's a scientific paradigm, and politics and science are exact opposite ways of approaching a given problem.

    I think I used the word "libertarian" in one of the press releases -- but I meant it in the sense of "pertaining to liberty." Not political libertarianism. That's what decentralized and encrypted P2P platforms can do -- give people absolute liberty.

    The white paper uses terms like "freedom" and "coercion" and "justice" but not in a moralistic or political sense, at all. I simply chose to use those words because they vibrantly depict certain concepts. But each one of these concepts is scientifically defined.

    This is a work of hard science. Not a political thing, at all. The cool things about hard science is it can be technologized. Which is the part that Ethereum developers will play. And the people who get this early stand to make a fortune.
  • paulhaynespaulhaynes Cambridge Member Posts: 4
    Chasosg - I'm not sure I agree with your separation of science and politics nor the loose use of words nor the emphasis on money making opportunities mentioned in your last post, BUT I look forward to reading the white paper, as (for me) these are really interesting issues. Cheers.
    As for hangabers' post, I read the data from Lui Smyth's research on Bitcoin users in 2013, which, even then showed that only around half of the sample considered themselves libertarian. I'd be interested to know how that stands now, particularly in blockchain exponents as a whole.
  • ethereumnickethereumnick Member Posts: 49
    Yes the res'rush
    people who get this early stand to make a fortune.
    attitude does stick in the throat. And the Hard Science assertion is intriguing but I haven't had a reply to my PM request for a copy. Anyone read it yet? Should I bother?
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    Are you having trouble downloading pdf? If so, I'll email you a copy. The file size is 42 mb so it's too big for most people's email but I'll send it to you through "Hightail." If you want me to do so, please let me know at [email protected]
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    To Paul Haynes:

    The OSG white paper explains the difference between politics and science in detail. Interestingly, they are exact opposite ways of trying to solve a given problem. The distinction is also put into historical context. For example, there are amazing similarities between what happened during the 1600s in Europe and what's happening, globally, today.

    You'll like the paper and I'm looking forward to your comments.
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    More to Paul Haynes:

    You mentioned "loose use" of words -- just wanted to point out the white paper uses extremely precise semantic precision. In fact, the key terms are all operational definitions. I'm glad to hear you're skeptical because that means you're thinking. And thinking through the arguments in the white paper is the only way anyone can really get it.

    I'm a scientific epistemology geek. So I'll ramble on a bit about operational definitions. In the philosophy of the physical sciences there was a long-standing dilemma: "what is the definition of 'definition?'" All the types of definition you study in classical logic -- categorical, ostensive, nominal, etc -- are ultimately circular. For an example of circularity, look up the word "freedom" in a dictionary. It'll define it a the condition of having liberty. Then look up "liberty." It'll define it as the condition of having freedom.

    (just ran out of space: continued in next post)
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    Continued to Paul Haynes:

    The question arose, how is thinking even possible when all the words in our heads are circular? The problem was solved by Percy Bridgman, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics, in the 1920s. He wrote a book called "The Logic of Modern Physics" in which he described (for the first time) the operational definition. He said in physics a definition is logically identical to the process of measuring a phenomenon.

    This was a great advance in scientific epistemology. I compare him to Descartes, who integrated geometry with algebra in the 1600s. Bridgman integrated the concept of definition with the scientific method. Very cool.

    Anyway, the semantics in the OSH white paper are extremely precise and they key terms are all operational definitions. Looking forward to you comments when you get into it.
  • segovrosegovro SpainMember Posts: 30 ✭✭
    I could read only till page 25.
    Then I browsed some 100 pages more.
    Then I closed it and deleted it from my eBook.
    The core assumtion of what the "core self" is, the core entity on which the external layers of "ownership" are analysed, is simply wrong.
    Its against all scientific findings at history, antropolgy, psychology about what the human species is.
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    Have to disagree with your analysis. I never used the term "core self." I think what you're referring to is the 4 kinds of property: biological life, IP, human actions and tangible results of human action.

    Can you give me a specific example of how the analysis is wrong?

    There's very little extant material on the nature of property. Historians never talk bout it. Neither do anthropologists. Psychology is a soft science. You find most stuff on property when you read the history of law. Not even the philosophical encyclopedias have much.

    I'm glad you commented but can you give me an example instead of just an assertion that the "analysis of the core self" (which is a term I don't use) is wrong?

    My field is scientific epistemology and was very careful in the construction of this material. Examples please!
  • ethereumnickethereumnick Member Posts: 49
    edited November 2015
    This “White Paper” [sic] has clearly been a labour of love for Chas Holloway and it is a very impressive chunk of text. So far I'm on page 250 but the Objectivist/Anarcho-Capitalist presuppositions shine through right from the off. At the risk of making a premature judgement and without denigrating the obvious effort and dedication writing this must have taken, I want to stick up for segovro (though I think its worth reading more than he seemed to.)

    Despite Chas' praise for, and sketchy description of, the scientific method (which he covers without once mentioning falsifiability? WTF?) his fondness of scientific epistemology seems to come with a strong aversion to the social sciences which he claims have made “near-zero progress”; and this despite the fact that the 'OSG White Paper' itself seems to be a work of social science? (ironic?)
    I found the early sections the most painful part to bear; and I really had to grit my teeth through the first two chapters. (It was a bit like reading Stephan Molinux, if you know what that's like.) The shallow interpretations of Evolution such as
    In nomadic times, humans were just one of the animals. If you’re strong, you win. If you’re weak, you lose. Evolution is a brutal kill-or-be-killed system.
    are such an ideologically blinkered caricature of the complexity and beauty of modern evolutionary theory, that they are painful to read. Given that the above quote was made in the context of evolutionary morality it seems amazing that there is no reference to any of the extensive works of evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, or ethology! (but then again they are amongst the social sciences that have made zero progress.)

    More failures to consult the evidence were apparent in the coverage of the history of money and banking. Here we find a reiteration of the same old "myth of barter" that has echoed in economics since its literary début in medieval Arabia [can't remember the original source please pretend I looked it up] via Adam Smith, via Henry Hazlitt via Murry Rothbard etc. etc.. The myth of barter as the cause of money is so persistent, (back to the scientific method again - in spite of the lack of observations for it to explain), precisely because it has been written down without recourse to evidence so often. (Please refer to the current literature, even if only popular works like David Graber's excellent book "Debt The First 5,000 Years.) Which covers the fact that neither Anthropology nor Archaeology [damn those soft sciences] have found evidence of barter economies developing coinage.

    Though Chas covers early written records he fails to note that archaeology had demonstrated that writing was preceded by numerical accounts and record keeping consistent with the first money being based on formalised systems of credit and debt rather than on bartered exchange of precious mettle.

    Despite the above, I found that I enjoyed some of the historical elements in section three and four and it seems like it might improve later on as it goes into the possible future of an AnarcoCap Utopia that seems to be shaping up as I read on; I'll let you know what I hake of that when I get there. ___ However, given that we know that I profoundly disagree with the axioms, don't expect me to agree with him.

    To finish on a point of praise - I'm really glad he wrote it!! And he did a bloody good job of putting his point across, even if an old Libaterian-Socialist curmudgeon like me doesn't like it.
    Post edited by ethereumnick on
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    Hey ethereum nick,

    Thanks for your in depth comment. I'm out of town so sorry for delay in responding. Also, it's hard to type on this phone so more later.

    Re: falsefiability. I didn't bring it up because the purpose of the paper is not to explain the Sci method in detail, but to explain the epistemology of osg. I made the assumption that most people reading this would be tech peoplet who appreciate the significance of hard Sci but aren't familiar with Karl popper or epistemology in general. That's also the reason for the lack of depth into social anthropology, etc.

    I don't think it's possible to get across the significance of osg concepts without putting them into historical context. But again the purpose of the paper is to explain how "freedom" (as defined in paper) can be attained for the first time in history on block chain based platforms like ethereum.

    You seem to know something about philosophy of physical Sci. You don't like the fundamental constants. Is that because of the rationalism vs empiricism argument? If so, I can answer that.

    I never did get the idea of libertarian socialism thing. The system you want is pure mutualism? Like proudhon described? I don't see how that's possible.

    I'd like to continue dialogue but I'm currently limited all I've got to type with us this phone. Thanks for reading paper. I think osg can be technologized on ethereum and eventually in the brick and mortar world. I also think theres,a fortune to be made doing so.
  • ethereumnickethereumnick Member Posts: 49
    I have read the entire OSG document [NOT A WHITE PAPER!!!] and the closing page of chasosg's document states that :-

    The data that was originally on this page will be explained in an upcoming white paper:
    The Nature and Management of Intellectual Property
    Chas Holloway
    Coming in 2016

    [strike through added by me :( ]
    chasosg said:

    The truth is, anybody who seriously thinks there’s no such thing as IP (or IP should always be shared without cost) is an dilettante. This is a person who will never accomplish anything significant. People who actually build important things know that IP is essential to civilization’s progress. Any consequential person knows you can’t have a technological world in which there’s no IP.

    Which is a straw man I take personally and to which I respond thusly.

    The truth is, anybody who seriously thinks there’s no such thing as IP in Free Software (or IP should always be exchanged for profit) is an abecedarian of economics. This is a person who has yet to accomplish anything significant. People who actually build free software know that IP is essential to the progress of free civilization. Any consequential person knows you can’t have a technological world in which there is IP for enclosures but no IP for the commons.

  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    First, this paper is not about IP. It's about the foundational concepts of open source govt. The section on IP nick quotes here is just a side comment.

    The pursue of this paper is not to develop the concept of IP (which I can do). It's to explain osg architecture. So nicks concern here is really not germain.

    Whether he thinks this is a "white paper" or not is also irrelevant. It's a detailed explanation of concepts that completely redefines what the ethereum platform can do. It explains previously unknown potential of block chain based platforms.

    Readers should focus on the content if the paper, not this irrelevant stuff.
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    Sorry nick if you have personal feelings about IP but that's not what the paper is about. I'll publish a paper on IP at a later time.

    If you want to discuss how IP should be developed, we can discuss it somewhere else.
  • ethereumnickethereumnick Member Posts: 49
    First things first :-
    This is a very quiet forum and perhaps the conversation is not as interesting to everyone else as it is to me and Chas. If no one else posts to this thread I will take it as a dead topic and leave Chas the final word. I do hope that anyone else who is lurking and interested or even better has read the OSGwp will at least post a tweet size review or other bump to this page so Chas gets more than 2 responses. The sample size so far is too small to draw any conclusions from, but his subjective experience will not reflect this. He has done a lot of work on this and I'm not making him feel good about it.

    Now to the meet of the matter:-

    Talking of not feeling good. I've had a sudden spike in SPAM (pollution) since I signed up for this "OSG" document. I have constructed a personally satisfying story in which the sign up for the download caused the up tick in spam. By jail breaking the link here I bypass the download 'contract' as a tit for tat retaliation. Note that my payoff is happening outside the system of governance and transgresses the bounds of the game. This is a snarky way of demonstrating that the nature of interactions in complex systems is intractable to the reductionist method of which Chas is so fond. Society is fundamentally Chaotic (in the Mathematical sense) but is rendered merely complex by the observation of boundary conditions [i.e. Government] by those affirming social conventions.

    As Gödel proved, incompleteness prevents the deduction of limited axioms for all but the most trivial axiomatic systems. This is why falsification is such a corner stone of the scientific method and why I challenged it's omission from the OSGwp with the papers pretensions to “scientific epistemology”. As Chas pointed out in his response, Popper was the philosopher who encapsulated this and I find Chas' post hock rationalisation of its omission unconvincing. I think it more likely that he is blind to these arguments by his hypothesis and I invite him to look down my telescope (see embedded links Criminino). Objectivist and Logical positivist approaches like the one used by Chas in his OSGwp are analogous to Hilbert's program in that they seek to create and formalise a system of consistent and complete definitions that prevent the chaos from leaking out of Pandora's box and tainting their Utopia. [And in Chas' defence Ronald Coase received a Nobel Prise for this sort of reasoning]

    It is the optimistic blindness to the Totalitarian Dystopia that “Island One” and “Happy Place” collectively represents that I find most bizarre in this work; as if Nature had nought but violence with which to coerce and adapt human nature.
    If in deed it is a White paper then what OSG sets out is how to use Ethereum to institute an automated Fascist Totality Just as coercive and restricting as Orwell’s 1984 and quite in keeping with Huxley's Brave New World.

    My Final word (unless this thread lights up from many other contributors) is that the notion that IP is a side issue is disingenuous given the name of the paper which is “Open Source Government”. To have such a scant understanding of what Open Source means for freedom and simultaneously make it the foundation of your argument is ironic in several ways. On the one hand :- Chas (and readers who believe that Island One is a road to freedom) fall into exactly the trap that the term Open Source was created to exploit. (A bate and switch Focus on Open rather than Free – i.e. Just because you know how it works doesn't mean you have the freedom to change it.) And on the other hand it is ironic because of the repeated definition of terms and laying out of fundamentals without ever examining the OSG premiss.

    Chas makes the accusations that :-
    The IP anarchist movement appears to have started on college campuses in the U.S. by people who wanted all knowledge to be “free.” The problem is, they had no clue
    what “being free” means. Most of these people want a free market for tangible property but when it comes to ideas, they want pure communism (Proudhon-style mutualism). They believe all ideas should belong to everybody, equally.
    But the whole argument between Free Software and Open Source is one of user freedom. The Patent wars are parallel and complementary elements in this but lets just stick to the simple stuff.
    Let me try to put the free software argument in a way that Chas might if he were to write about it from his Ideological perspective.

    If I own some software then I MUST control it. If it were a chair I would have the right to paint it blue, or sell it, or use it as a table because it's my property. If its MY software then I must be able to make it blue modify it, sell it, or use it for what ever purpose I choose.
    Anyone who restricts my freedom to use MY property are aggressors against my rights. In Proprietary Software whether Open or Closed Source people other than me OWN the Intellectual Property in the software and THEY have the right to do with it as THEY wish so using it does not give me these rights. Therefore People who use Apple IOS or Microsoft Win etc. do not OWN the Property but only RENT the use of it. They can not change it or sell it because they do not own the Intellectual Property Rights within it. They are bound by contract to respect the Freedom of the Proprietor even if they dislike the products in which case they are free to use something else. When they change they might say...
    “To remain Free I will not use Proprietary Software but will use (and sometimes create) Free Software that preserves my freedom and the freedom of others who may do with the Intellectual Property as they wish; so long as they do not use the Intellectual Property within it to restrict the freedom of others who use it or it's derivatives as they wish.”

    I very much hope that I have been able to remain respectful in my review of the OSGwp and that others will read it too. Thanks!
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    Ethereum Nick,

    Have to reply in pieces because I'm still out of town at a family wedding and only have my phone to type on.

    I'm not happy to hear you're getting spam as,a result of downloading the paper. Are you sure that's the reason? I'm using mail chimp which I've never used before. But it seemed to be a service most people are familiar with and comfortable with. But if they're sending junk mail I'd be happy to dump them and find another way.
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51

    You know why I didn't go into falsification and goedel, etc? Because this paper us long enough already. 250 pages! Fully developing every fine point of epistemology would have made it completely unreadable.

    I'm not blind to this stuff. I have to put this stuff in a form people will read. You are an unusual case in that you even know what epistemology is. Most people have barely heard the word.

    The paper us already long because because if the massive historical context. And the reason for it is there's no other way to break down people's dogma concerning social systems. Most people believe in political democracy like it's a religion. You have to show the historical context so people can see the broad sweeps of how Sci and tech are what really changes society, not politics. And how politics and Sci are two opposed ways to approach social problems.

    I don't think anybody cares about poppers falsifiability. Academics get hung up on it. I take the pragmatic view of Sci. The purpose of Sci is not to create a perfect intellectual representation of nature, it's to develop a series of models you can use to create tech and accomplish goals. A perfect rep of reality is impossible.

    Look, this whole osg paradigm is a big hypothisis. The way to show if it works (notice I didn't say prove it) is to use it to build a technology. Ethereum is the place to do that.

    Will continue in next post.
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    When you say "objectivistc approach" are you referring to ayn Rands objectivism?

    The purpose of island one is to show one way the concepts described in the paper can work together as a system. How would yo do that? You have a more effecient way? Obviousky, island one is not a description of intended reality. It's a starting point. It's intended to show how one can use the concepts to build social systems. And hopefully there will be thousands of people building little pieces of island one in a competitive marketplace which will a) weed the bad ideas out and b) reveal if there is some missing scientific principle that's undermining the whole system (which I don't think will be the case)

    Isand one dies one more thing, too. It points out that once osg principles are working on a platform like ethereum, they can also be applied to the brick and mortar world. And that has the potential to create freedom for the first time in human history.

    Do you know anybody else who us trying to create freedom and eliminate war? Saul alibskk, the writer that the Republicans hate, points out there has always been two kinds of social philosopher. One that tries to create a perfect utopia like Plato. The other who realizes societies and power are constantly rising and falling and changing and deal with it realistically. Osg is not an ideal utopia. It's a step if rules that show how to attenuate conflict and war and amplify peace and freedom.

    Continued in next post.
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51

    Also you bring up the 1984 thing. Getting trapped in some dystopiaN system. You don't get trapped in osg systems. If you don't like it, you go to some other one. It's the free market.

    About your IP concerns. Once again, this paper is long enough. I was going to say more about IP because it's the network that ties all the other networks together. But the subject requires a lit of development. The paper I'm in middle if now is same length as this one on osg!

    Let me just say IP doesn't work the way you're assuming. There's actually a very elegant solution to all the problems were having with IP today.

    I'm wrestling with the idea of publishing a paper on IP like this one on osg or whether I should do it as a book for sale. It takes a lot of time to come up with this stuff and I need to monetize it.

    Believe me, I'm extremely sensitive to the nature and limits of IP because it's my business.

    I'd be happy to talk with you sometime about it but not here. When i publish, I have to do a complete exposition. Im hoping to get some traction on osg paper then use it to get a book deal on both osg and a follow up book on IP.

    You're right that IP is an integral part of the whole osg thing. In fact, I think it's the key to the effective implementation of osg. But I want to let this paper circulate for a while. The fundamental problem with how people think about IP is nobody knows how to define what IP is. (I do.)

    My wife says I need to go. Please advise on what I can do about mail chimp creating spam.

  • paulhaynespaulhaynes Cambridge Member Posts: 4
    Some interesting points in this thread.
    I have had a quick read through the paper and it raised a number of interesting questions.
    I have my worries about the narrative as a whole and your scope, but I feel I need to read it properly before offering any comments - just to say I enjoyed the passion and it stimulates ideas, which is helpful.
    I am curious about where you stand on a few issues.
    You oppose the anarchist approach and the libertarian approach, but offer an implicit critique of the state.
    I was wondering where you stand on some of the "social contract" philosophies (Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke etc) as these offer an interesting grounding to some of the (political) arguments you make.
    I would like to hear more about these political issues, as they form the basis of much of the blockchain ethos, and the radical opportunities afforded by its technology.
    Thanks again for your response - sorry for my own delay.
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    Paul haynes,

    Good to hear from you. Re the "social contract": osg is a scientific approach to understanding social phenomena. Rousseau's social contract is a political (central, hierarchical) one.

    A contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more individuals. The social contract isn't really a contract, at all. It's a set of political laws imposed on people by force.

    My only criticism of libertarians is most of them want a limited political state. But it's not possible to limit the size or scope if any political state. Because of the first law of osg (see paper) all political states expand.

    My criticism of the anarchy capitalists is they're like the hippies of the 1960s. The hippies said, all you need is love, love is the answer, forget hate and war, embrace love. A good message but they had no practical way to get there or sustain the kind of society they want. The an caps say, go for freedom, forget the state, just be free. But no way to get there. No concept of what "be free" means. I'm sympathetic to their cause but they could never achieve freedom.

    There's a opportunity to actually build a free society on block chain based distributed platforms like ethereum. But to do so you have to scientifically understand what you're doing.

    Glad you looked through paper. When you read it critically you'll see science and politics are actually opposite ways of trying to solve problems. Humankind's progress is due to Sci and technology, not the political state. The state is not only incapable of solving social problems, it's the source of them.

  • dlehenkydlehenky Member Posts: 2,249 ✭✭✭✭
    @chasosg I have only read through part of the "early release" OSG WP, so I'm not in a position to comment fully on it, but I would like to say thank you for your effort! I enjoyed the historical material presented early on, and I felt it conveyed an interesting perspective that I hadn't considered before.

    I decided not to continue reading the "early release", since I understood that you would be issuing a "final" version of the paper after DevCon1. Is that still the case?

    Thanks again! I look forward to finishing the read when you have it finalized to your satisfaction (and perhaps you have already achieved that goal).

    -Best Care
  • chasosgchasosg Member Posts: 51
    The early release you have has typos and is missing a little material.

    The new version is available for free at:

    Looking forward to your comments!

  • ciskocisko HollandMember Posts: 35
    The last couple of month my brain is frying. Havin info-overload, BSOD is in my head bzzzzzzzzz. No seriously as soon as I find the time I will look in this deeper for OSG is something I believ in. Thanks all for contributing.
  • ethereumnickethereumnick Member Posts: 49
    edited November 2015
    cisko said:

    The last couple of month my brain is frying. Havin info-overload, BSOD is in my head bzzzzzzzzz. No seriously as soon as I find the time I will look in this deeper for OSG is something I believ in. Thanks all for contributing.

    Doctor Nick says "Uninstall windows from inside your head" :smiley: Then it's not just "Free Software = Free society" but "Free wetware - Free Humanity"

    P.S. Don't say Open say Free. It shows that freedom matters! o:) After all we have Open Government and look how that's worked out for us >:)
  • ZUIJftyihuYTZUIJftyihuYT Member Posts: 3
    edited November 2015
    I'm not sure I agree with your separation of science and politics
    Post edited by ZUIJftyihuYT on
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