In pretty much all crypto projects, the word ‘decentralization’ is a key word. And perhaps even more so in EOS. We don’t even call it apps anymore, and the first question most new EOS projects face is: is it open source, is it really a Dapp?

For me, for something to be decentralized it means that a large group of people, preferably everybody, can join. And the main ingredient for that is: language.

EOS seems like a very English-centered project.

And outside of Europe and Africa I think it’s hard to find non-native English speakers who are fluent.

And even in Europe it’s completely impossible to try and do business in English only in many bigger countries like Spain, Poland and Italy just to name a few.

Constitution language

So when the EOS constitution is only in English it excludes many participants from a deeper understanding and it also gives a feeling being an American project, whether that’s deserved or not. It’s a bit like when a lawyer is tasked with writing something for common people to understand.

It’s funny how many of us feels excluded when a page is only in Chinese (I personally don’t use any of the Chinese dapps until they’re translated) but we don’t think for a second about all the pages that are only in English. ”They should just use google translate” seems to be the underlying reasoning.

So I think many of the things we see as problems right now on EOS (vote buying, lack of geographical diversity etc.) is largely due to cultural misunderstanding. And how can we understand each other if everything has to be in English.

Geographic diversity

So going forward it would be important to put emphasis on language if we want geographic diversity. Having more than one official language for the constitution would be a good start and a great message to send to the global EOS community.

I would suggest Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic and Russian translations.

But Swahili might also be important to spread out the project to Africa although I think many Swahili speakers also speak English.

Looking at the top employees of Block.one and Strongblock, it seems like all of them are native English speakers. (Correct me if I’m wrong) And coming from that language they probably don’t have any problem with English being mainly used, they would probably even encourage it as Thomas Cox did when he wrote the first constitution.

I have a pretty high level of English and I can also feel left out when reading the constitution due to language barrier.

So it makes me wonder, how can something wanting to be global, not have language diversity at its heart?

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Responses

    1. Edgar Holla Post author

      Thanks, of course I was thinking of including Urdu and Hindi on the list of recommended languages, since they are well known for having many computer programmers. But then it seems that the majority of Indians and Pakistanis who are active online have a good knowledge of English. Is that fair to assume?

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  1. Conceptskip

    Good considerations! I agree, that EOS has a language bias to Englisch (which currently is also the language of international commerce an exchange), and that this tends to favour native speakers. But to be honest i believe such a spread of languages as you suggest, would be very difficult to maintain. It’s not about translating the constitution, which is easy, but how will you draft a new constitution between participants not speaking the same language? Or discussing a referendum? So it will be either English or Chinese, or maybe a mixture, but anything else might be difficult.
    Btw. its also important to be careful with trying to explain away real issues with cultural differences. Betraying other, and stealing others money, is seen as a crime worldwide, and the best prove for that is, that the accusations about vote buying originated in China, not somewhere in the west.

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