Journal Title

New York University Journal of Law and Business





First Page


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Information



I am concerned with, "How is Bitcoin run? Who gets to make decisions about Bitcoin? How is Ethereum run? Who gets to make decisions about Ethereum?" I am concerned with the governance of these protocols at the base level. Why does this matter? It matters because these protocols at the base are supporting the whole DeFi structure. All the complexities and different complex financial products that are being built there, they sit on top of these infrastructural base level protocols. I think we need to be aware of how these things work and the systemic risks that they can pose if we're not really pressing on assumptions and practices in those areas.

I will talk about what the normal protocol governance looks like in some of these systems, keeping in mind that each is slightly different. I'll talk about how their governance might differ in emergencies in the systems, and then I will post some open questions that I think we need to come up with answers to so that the systems we're building atop of the base level are reliable if we're putting big financial systems on top of that.

Recommended Citation

Angela Walch, Blockchain Emergencies & Open-Source Software Governance: Is "Rough Consensus" a Suicide Pact?, 17 N.Y.U. J.L. & Bus. 699 (2021).