A certain degree of centralization may be needed in any system.
A moment's reflection should disabuse you of that notion.
But it's a natural point at which to make the third post in the “joining the dots” series.
(Picking up at the end of the last post - for continuity ...)
1. The list of Teal characteristics is also a blueprint for any altcoin community that wishes to follow it.
2. Teal's “evolutionary purpose” breakthrough offers quite a different explanation of progress in the Bitcoin community. It too is pure Teal (albeit somewhat distorted/dysfunctional), so what's happening there can be seen as an anticipated natural evolution of purpose.
During my comparison of the matches between Teal characteristics and altcoin community characteristics, I found it quite instructive to mentally re-compose the mismatches
in a form more appropriate for a fully decentralised context and contemplate whether the practical consequences of being able to pursue a “pure” form of Teal bring any operational advantages to the organisation.
They do and the advantages are significant. I'll skip the working out but a pure Teal organisation meets the criteria for a true (i.e. self-directed) collective intelligence
(wikipedia entry) <- you can skim-read the intro to get an appreciation of the reality of the notion and its currency; the bibliography and external references offer a number of directions in which to explore.
So, joining up the dots: altcoin communities are nascent collective intelligences which can only develop from a set of starting conditions that we are only just beginning to be able to describe. The perspective raises some interesting questions. (Such as) If all alts are potential CIs, why are the Shibes the only functioning instance? Received wisdom holds that human society inevitably forms a hierarchy and that is “Just the way the world works, son”. Unfortunately, received wisdom persistently declines to be informed by social psychology, which is why “received wisdom” continues to be a code phrase for “simplistic bollocks”. Near-instantaneous person-to-person communication has rendered obsolete the main purpose of a hierarchy - a descending tree of proxies necessary for the remote projection of power.
While contemplating the potential advantages from my re-formulation of the mismatches into a form appropriate to a decentralised context, I also put in some thought about the effects of attempting to impose
mismatches, specifically the effects of attempts to impose externalities from the hierarchy, such as exchanges (expecting the community to make good their business losses), the centralising effect of foundations, management teams, references to “investors”, development roadmaps, ICOs of any sort.
All of them are profoundly deleterious to any emergent social group trying to operate in a decentralised context. It's a major source of pluralistic ignorance amongst the participants and in a decentralised context, pluralistic ignorance acts to reduce the pro-social benefit to pretty much zero. Name one altcoin community you'd recommend your Mom join for a socially rewarding experience.
Other than Dogecoin, that is ...
Dogecoin is unremarkable from a technical perspective and its appeal has little to do with the cryptocurrency aspects of a peer-to-peer networked cryptocurrency. The Shibes have a strong pro-social contributive ethic that delivers an immediate and positive social experience for the participants
--- which happens to be one of the key qualities exhibited by successful social groups.
Jackson Palmer was right on the nail when he coined the phrase “1 DOGE will always equal 1 DOGE”. The pro-social aspects of Dogecoin have proved themselves to be pretty much independent of the “performance” of the cryptocurrency on some externally-imposed KPIs that bear little relation to either the purpose or the functioning of the social group.
There's plenty of evidence that points in the same direction. Existing altcoin communities have weathered changes in: block time, rewards, algos, PoW to PoS, PoS to PoW, even changes in basic peer-to-peer protocol. It hardly demands a leap of faith to infer that the cryptocurrency component is not necessarily a defining feature of an altcoin community, ironic though that may be.
But, there's a kicker. There's always a kicker but this one's a bit different, it comes in two forms - to those with a simplex model, it's a vicious circle but to those with a complex model, it's a virtuous spiral.
One question which might reasonably be posed at this juncture is: what other
key qualities are characteristic of successful social groups?
Collective Intelligence in Groups
Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that a single statistical factor–often called ‘‘general intelligence’’ or ‘‘g’’– emerges from the correlations among how well different people do a wide variety of different cognitive tasks (e.g., [18, 19]). This single factor can then be used to differentiate the characteristic performance levels of different individuals and to predict which individuals are likely to perform well on other tasks in the future. In recent studies, Woolley et al  used the same statistical techniques used in individual intelligence research to see whether a similar collective intelligence factor exists for groups. In other words, they tried to determine the degree to which some groups are characteristically ‘‘smarter’’ than others across a wide range of tasks. To do this, they first gave different groups a variety of tasks that required qualitatively different collaboration processes [20, 21]. Then they used factor analysis to determine whether there was a single factor for a group–as there is for an individual–that predicts the group’s performance on all the different tasks.
They found that the first factor accounted for 43% of the variance in performance on all the different tasks. This is consistent with the 30–50% of variance typically explained by the first factor in a battery of individual cognitive tasks . In individuals, this factor is called ‘‘intelligence’’ or ‘‘g.’’ For groups, Woolley et al.  called it ‘‘collective intelligence’’ or ‘‘c,’’ and it is a measure of the general effectiveness of a group on a wide range of tasks. The c factor was also shown to predict how well the groups performed more complex tasks at a later time, above and beyond the predictive ability of the average individual intelligence of group members.
They also found several factors that were significant predictors of c. First, the average and maximum intelligence of individual group members were correlated with c, but only moderately so. In other words, having a lot of smart people in a group did not necessarily make a smart group. Second, there was a significant correlation between c and the average ToM scores of group members, as measured by the ‘‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’’ test . Third, c was negatively correlated with the variance in the number of speaking turns by group members. In other words, groups where a few people dominated the conversation were less collectively intelligent than those with a more equal distribution of conversational turn taking. Finally, c was significantly correlated with the proportion of females in the group, with groups having more females being more collectively intelligent. In addition, the researchers found that the effects of proportion of females were largely mediated by ToM scores since, consistent with previous research, women in the sample scored better on this measure than men. In a regression analysis including proportion of women, ToM scores, and conversational turn-taking, ToM scores remained the only significant predictor of collective intelligence.
Spot the kickers? The complex one is: “The c factor was also shown to predict how well the groups performed more complex tasks at a later time, above and beyond the predictive ability of the average individual intelligence of group members.” So “c” is empirically demonstrated and note the inference that overall, a group will outperform an average individual
The next logical step (for me) is to work out what might be involved in providing explicit support for the more effective functioning of a nascent collective intelligence. The role of the cryptocurrency can be reduced to that of providing a stable frame of reference for the emergence of the CI (exactly as DOGE does for the Shibes).
The simplex one, the vicious circle is: “groups having more females being more collectively intelligent”. One of the most apparent distinguishing characteristics of the overwhelming majority of altcoin groups is an almost total gender imbalance. In a decentralised context, this is a serious impairment.
For all but a handful of altcoins, having just one
female member is an unattainable goal. Just to give you some idea of the gap: the phrase “STEEM ladies” made Ngaio physically shudder and she admits to avoiding bitcointalk because she metaphorically gags on the locker-room stench.
(If anyone is interested in a reading list of peer-reviewed papers in the domain of social group behaviour and collective intelligence, drop me a PM. Alternatively, try Collective Intelligence 2014
as a starting point.)