The Sovereign Accountable Commons

[ This is an abstract outlining some stuff we need to write up about the Sovereign Accountable Commons as a pattern enabled by Ceptr. I wrote this up to submit to for a book about Decentralizing the Commons via the P2P Foundation site. ]

The Sovereign Accountable Commons (SAC) is akin to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations on the blockchain but they leverage a different distributed architecture, Ceptr. Ceptr is a new technology platform for building Distributed Apps and for enhancing collective intelligence in the process of being released by the MetaCurrency project in early 2016.


An SAC runs as a collectively distributed application. As long as at least one person wants to run it, it can’t be shut down. Two or nodes running it make it a collective. It’s algorithms set availability and redundancy based on size and scale of the network.

Everybody in a group is an equal peer, subject to the same rules, processes, and procedures, because everybody is running a copy of the same instruction set. This “code as law” applies to holding of assets, management of assets, interactions, transactions, governance, releasing new versions of “code as law,” and every aspect of ongoing operation of the SAC.

Mutually Sovereign: Because each participant holds copies of their own assets, they can “take their toys and play elsewhere” (also known as forking), inviting others to bring theirs along as well. Yet since assets are typically stored in a DHT with redundancy, the group also maintains their copy. The group cannot threaten to withhold value which was generated by a participant in order to coerce them to continue to participate. Individuals cannot coerce others or the group, by threatening to take (digital) assets that they’ve shared.


SACs have membranes to membership. They can set whatever criteria they choose in allowing new members. This will often include validation of identity at whatever threshold the group requires.

Every contribution, communication, or action is signed. There is always a trail of evidence left by your actions.

You interact with the group, by interacting with your copy of the group’s receptor (processes) which synchronizes, shares data, and processes interactions/transactions with other group members. All interactions in the group context are constrained to the encoded shared agreements of the group.

Ceptr is designed to support multiple inter-operating distributed reputation and currencies via Intrinsic Data Integrity (data structures with cryptographic assurance to prevent alteration once stored). An SAC should be coded to measure the activities treasured by the group.


All data and assets shared into the commons are structurally held in common. They are not (by default) held in a globally identical ledger, but rather in shards Distributed Hash Table (DHT) with algorithms to assure adequate redundancy and availability.

Authors (contributors, signors, or parties to a transaction) always keep a local copy of whatever they’ve put into the commons. The commons also keeps copies.

Some Key Technical Differences from DAOs

Ceptr enables distribution of reliable shared process. Therefore consensus and data verification are byproducts which serve to validate that a nodes processing has not become corrupted. Corruption is tracked and compromised nodes are blacklisted from further access. Cells each carry instructions (in the form of DNA), not a record of the actions of every cell, which enables them to construct whatever future actions are needed. Language is carried by all language speakers as the processes to decode and encode the meaning of language, rather than a global ledger of every sentence everyone has spoken which needs some kind of crazy consensus to be committed into our brains. Ceptr is structures the same as the patterns of collective intelligence found in nature.

Usage is highly scalable because it is constructed via a fractal localized architecture instead of having the bottleneck of a global ledger which requires consensus about interactions and data which simply should not require any consensus to be validly committed. There’s no wasted processing power from Proof of Work or undesirable Pareto Effects from Proof of Stake. For information that actually needs wider spread validation or consensus, it is done by high agreement threshold of randomized peers (via hash) making it virtual impossible to corrupt data. Even if you control almost the whole network, the original contributors will have their signed and valid copies which will expose the corruption and enable network immune response.

For the needs of most communities and commons, we believe Ceptr’s approach will prove to be many orders of magnitude superior to blockchain consensus on global ledgers in terms of composability, adaptability, reliability, and storage and processing efficiency.