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Current blockchains can be classified as either 1) un-permissioned (free-entry, limited rules governing complex behaviour, e.g. Bitcoin, Ethereum) or 2) permissioned (walled garden with central authority controlling access, strict rule-set, e.g. Ripple). With EOS we are building a Governed Blockchain that is a hybrid of the two, allowing free entry to a rules-based environment (for more on the Governed Blockchain see Ian Grigg’s video on YouTube, https://youtube.com/watch?v=qS5a_yS5NXo).
EOS Governance can be thought of as having three fundamental pillars:
There has been a lot of material shared, and subsequent debate, around how the Legislative and Executive function within EOS; leaving the Community understandably curious about the structure of the 3rd leg.
Following from the format for the Draft Constitution, this article presents the design goals behind the EOS Core Arbitration Forum. This will be the first of several articles discussing the Governance team’s suggested dispute-resolution structures and processes.
Agreement is not required. They are here so the reader can see the reasons for certain design choices. If you have different standards, goals, or principles, please state yours explicitly. That makes it clearer why we may disagree on any aspect.
An arbitration forum is an independent, impartial group of trained professionals who specialise in helping mutually-agreeing parties to resolve disputes outside of courts. In the off-chain world there are multiple examples of Arbitration Forums, such as the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR: www.icdr.org) or the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA: www.lcia.org).
This begs the question, why create a dedicated EOS Arbitration Forum? Why not use an existing Arbitration Forum? We create a new forum, because blockchain adds a new context for arbitration. We do it because this new decentralized global platform for contractual agreement and value transfer bridges hundreds of jurisdictions. Having a single context -- one whose boundaries all participants can examine and agree upon before entry -- facilitates faster, cheaper, and fairer dispute resolution. In addition, existing off-chain Arbitration rule sets are not well adapted to handle some of the issues that will occur on a blockchain.
The EOS Core Arbitration Forum is a body that is composed of several parts:
To have an Arbitration Forum at launch we therefore need to have 1) Rules written, 2) Arbitrators appointed and, 3) Administrators in place.
Available at launch and authorised as part of Article III of the initial EOS Constitution
This means it can be voted out, other arbitration forums and rules added etc
Traditional arbitration systems normally focus on disputes that arise from an individual contract between two parties. In setting up an arbitration forum for EOS, we will need to broaden the scope of entities that are party to an arbitration. By doing this, the forum can cover a wider range of disputes - such as disputes between two parties that do not have a contract between them. In addition, EOS arbitration will need to consider activities such as Fraud, Theft, Defamation and violation of community norms (e.g. BP behaviour, prohibition on vote buying).
Arbitration will therefore need to consider disputes between:
The stated goal of Arbitration shall be to balance the power between the parties and result in a resolution that is as fair as possible, in the manner in which fairness is understood and expressed by the Constitution, laws, rules and customs of the community.
When a claim is made, it puts both the claimant and the respondent before the arbitrator. Therefore the arbitrator can find damages against the claimant if the claim is shown to be wrongful.
Similar to the EOS Constitution, the Core Arbitration Forum’s rules and procedures will be written in English. This does not mean, however, that Arbitrations should be conducted exclusively in English. Arbitrations may take place in the language that is most appropriate for the claimants and the case in question, as decided by the Arbitrator.
The goal is for a terse Arbitration rule-set that takes a common-sense approach and is easily understood by the community.
The next posts will dig further into the BIOS process for the Core Arbitration Forum, how Arbitrators are selected to the Forum, remedies Arbitrators may apply and, last but not least, the Arbitration principles.
(The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of any other entity.)
EDIT: Changed name to Core Arbitration Forum