2023 Student Research Project | Decoding Social Sentiment: A Comprehensive Analysis of Blockchain Governance Communities

Supervisor: Luyao Zhang, Assistant Professor of Economics and Senior Research Scientist at the Data Science Research Center

Luyao (Sunshine) Zhang is Assistant Professor of Economics and Senior Research Scientist at the Data Science Research Center at Duke Kunshan University, specializing in computational and economic science interplay around groundbreaking technologies. Her publications appear in economic and computational science for general interest and beyond, including Review of Economics and Statistics, Nature Research Scientific Data, ACM CCS, AAAI/ACM AIES, and IEEE Blockchain Conference. She is the principal investigator for interdisciplinary blockchain research supported by National Science Foundation China. She was awarded the 60 Pioneers in Blockchain Innovation in 2022. More on her here: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/luyao.zhang

Student Researchers

Yutong Quan is a student in the class of 2024 at Duke Kunshan University, majoring in Political Economy with an Economics track. Interested research areas include blockchain, decentralized finance, and interdisciplinary fields of Artificial Intelligence and economics.

Xintong Wu is a student in the Class of 2025 at Duke Kunshan University, majoring in Computation and Design. Her interested research areas are digital design, digital market research, and metaverse. She hopes to delve into the dynamic interactions between technology and society in the future Web 3.0 era and explore the infinite possibilities that technology can bring.

Wanlin Deng is a junior student majoring in Political Economy at Duke Kunshan University. She possesses a profound passion for economics and computer science, with a solid academic background in both areas. Wanlin’s primary areas of interest revolve around blockchain technology and trust mechanisms. Under the mentorship of Professor Luyao Zhang, she is dedicated to conducting research that explores the repercussions of exchange bankruptcies on trust within the cryptocurrency domain. Her work seeks to shed light on the intricate dynamics of this evolving landscape.

About the Project

Blockchain technology is leading a revolutionary transformation across diverse industries, with effective governance standing as a critical determinant for the success and sustainability of blockchain projects. Community forums, pivotal in engaging decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), wield a substantial impact on blockchain governance decisions. Concurrently, Natural Language Processing (NLP), particularly sentiment analysis, provides powerful insights from textual data. While prior research has explored the potential of NLP tools in social media sentiment analysis, a gap persists in understanding the sentiment landscape of blockchain governance communities. The evolving discourse and sentiment dynamics on the forums of top DAOs remain largely unknown. This paper delves deep into the evolving discourse and sentiment dynamics on the public forums of leading DeFi projects—Aave, Uniswap, Curve Dao, and yearn.finance—placing a primary focus on discussions related to governance issues. Despite differing activity patterns, participants across these decentralized communities consistently express positive sentiments in their Discord discussions, indicating optimism towards governance decisions. Additionally, our research suggests a potential interplay between discussion intensity and sentiment dynamics, indicating that higher discussion volumes may contribute to more stable and positive emotions. The insights gained from this study are valuable for decision-makers in blockchain governance, underscoring the pivotal role of sentiment analysis in interpreting community emotions and its evolving impact on the landscape of blockchain governance. This research significantly contributes to the interdisciplinary exploration at the intersection of blockchain and society, with a specific emphasis on the decentralized blockchain governance ecosystem.