Retroactive public goods funding uses tokens and incentives to encourage developers to work on projects that benefit the ecosystem. In this post, I look back at a similar approach from the field of welfare policy called ‘social impact bonds’. …


The following post was written prior to a session at the Smart Contract Research Forum on the topic of ‘DAO theory’. Questions we were asked to consider included ‘what is governance?’, ‘what is a DAO?’, ‘how do we design for resilience?’, and ‘are plutocracies ok?’ …


This is Part 2 of a two-part series on why bitcoin is almost certainly much greener than you think.

In Part 1 I outlined why I am sceptical of models that estimate the carbon footprint of Bitcoin to be the equivalent of a small country. Among other reasons, an unknown…


Recently, on two separate occasions, I was contacted by journalists asking me for comment on the environmental implications of Proof of Work blockchains. Both news outlets opted not to run the story after I pointed out flaws in the sources they were referring to.

In this article I outline why…


Blockchain is often referred to as a trust machine because it minimises uncertainty. People can perform various actions online using blockchain applications, knowing that those actions will not be undermined by others. The consequence is that we do not need to rely on external agents or processes to provide us…


You can read the first part in this series here or dive straight in.

When systems get too big and powerful, people have a tendency to group together and demand a stake, a say, in the decision-making of that system. Various attempts to develop ethical guidelines for automated decision-making systems…


Distributed blockchain platforms and applications can be designed in ways that make them accountable to their participants. Unlike blockchain systems that reserve some decision-making powers for executive-style committees or founders, these platforms and applications are governed by people who may be unknown to each other (often referred to as community…


An overview of how money is changing and why it matters.

[Note: The following article was my first dip into CBDCs. I did more research on this topic with Associate Professor Stacey Steel from University of Melbourne Law School. …


In 2019 the Copyright Agency conducted a pilot using blockchain technology for the administration of resale royalties for Indigenous artworks. The Copyright Agency is one of over a dozen collecting societies in Australia, each of which collects particular kinds of royalties on behalf of producers. When an artwork is resold…


For some years, one of Australia’s big four banks sent letters and push notifications to their customers warning them that their money might be at risk if they sign up to certain fintech companies. These financial services start-ups currently use digital data capture (otherwise known as screen scraping) to get…

Ellie Rennie

Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne. Australian Research Council Future Fellow 2020–2025: “Cooperation Through Code” (FT190100372) Twitter: @elinorrennie

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store