Putting edgeryders on blockchain (of course!)

I know some of the edgeryders are fed up with the blockchain talk already :). Then some of us find it an irrelevant hype. Yet as everything is being put on blockchains lately (especially in Berlin, where we also have Blockchain Yoga meetings and a conference on the topic every single month, not to mention dozens of meetups), I was thinking about starting a discussion that could possibly lead us to some interesting experiment.

Last night I have attended a meetup in Berlin, where a young couple from Brussels discussed their adventure with steemit and how they see the future of blockchain unfolding. Besides trying to earn cryptos, he works a developer and she runs a small NGO that trains young people to be entrepreneurial (understand money when they’re older, when they’re young - building their confidence). They’ve been also digging for quite a while in blockchain projects and now they also blog and teach about it.

The whole talk, which touched a lot of subjects as some of the participants came to showcase their own mastery of the blockchain world (gossips, dramas, new ICOs, breakups, billions of dollars in ether owned by the Steemit CEOs and potential tragic consequences of that for the ether market, and other very interesting things) made me think of a way in which edgeryders could potentially use the idea to solve a problem of community engagement. I’ve noticed we’re using rewards lately - for using emoticons and getting likes. Why, instead, wouldn’t we put the platform on a blockchain and design a system of rewards in an edge coin, that might actually work as real money?

It has commonalities with @Matthias, whose pay coupons have been polished and improved for years now. As he put the coupons on the blockchain lately, we will soon have a lot of interesting experience to discuss :wink:

There are many things that have to be figured out:

  • who gets to decide which posts are awarded and how much?
  • how decentralized/ centralized should it be?
  • which technology is suitable to the needs of an online community? There is STM in baking, which is designed for online communities and content creation, and it might be the right one for us to try out
  • how could the token operate within and outside of edgeryders? How would it be valued and traded, for which kinds of transactions?

I can imagine that it could, for example, simplify the process of verifying who earned the ticket to LOTE - we have a call for contribution in order to get the ticket, and we can award members with tokens for accomplishing certain tasks and see the balance at the end of the preparation. We could also use it to fund projects we’re dreaming of, instead of applying for grants. And support collaborations on the platform. Or earn a night in our tiny house :smiley:

For starters, we could distribute first 40.000 or 80.000 tokens to members for all their contributions so far. Decide how new tokens would be created, how many we’d like to release if we could have an ICO for that in the future (For example for buying a property for a bigger Reef?).

Also, an interesting fact, this year a company in Germany will open 2000 crypto ATMs - if we have an ICO, these contributions could even more easily become cash withdrawals soon.

I’m thinking out loud and I’m aware of the fact that I don’t understand blockchain yet - but I’d welcome some of your opinions and ideas about it.

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One more note, Roxane would be happy to meet us in Brussels and talk more about it

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Tilt! I’m not a Blockchain fan but I’m quite also interested about that and I’m interested about NON-currency uses (I’m fed up of all these medias about bitcoin & cie).

Just to let you know that there are a very nice Blockchain community in Brussels, with Hive Blockchain Society and also some events at DigitYser.
So if you have specific questions…
Some months ago I discovered Steemit and I was in, not about money but to see a community where I can contribute. I feel a bit less passionated about it now (also because I have to focus on my studies)

The main question will be "in what Blockchain could be useful, pratically, with EdgeRyders…

Indeed, I recommend Roxane for Steemit
And also Ludovic or Guillaume for Hive & Blockchain in general

Ha thats the Roxane I have met :slight_smile:

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I propose a “Blockchain Yoga for Refugees” initiative. It’s going to be a killer app, infinitely scalable, disruptive, ecosystem-generating. We are going to change the world – and make millions in the process.

:grinning:

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General points about community currencies on and off the blockchain

Ok, it took me a bit to wrap my head around Natalia’s ideas, but here comes some input :slight_smile: The first thing is, you can create money or money-like assets out of nothing (at least nothing that you own), and they will have value, but (1) you must not overdo it or you will destroy all the value again by inflation and (2) these schemes can be started only during boom / bubble times, even if they are not bubbles themselves, so you “need to go with the flow”.

The value of your own currency is derived from the need of investors to have a store of value (that ideally doubles as a source of profit by appreciating in value over time, or by speculation with a fluctuating price). So you take away value from all other investable assets, but it’s not theft. So far so good :slight_smile: Now this value is a one-time benefit for the issuer (“the first person getting that money”). So you can use it to jumpstart a system, but you can not rely on being able to create that kind of value again and again out of nothing. It works only because of trust (of investors trusting your currency), and if you do many of these schemes in a row, you dilute your value proposition similar to inflation and will lose investor trust.

The value of all community currencies is based on trust (“there will be people accepting this currency when I want to spend it”). This trust works on very small scales of a few hundred people at most (“I know these people personally, they are trustable”) or on very large scales, such as with state-issued currencies (“so many people are using this, there will be enough around who want it when I want to spend it again”). Note that currencies do not really work on medium scales (say 1,000 - 100,000 people). This leads to two cases how an Edgeryders-initiated community currency can work:

  1. At the current, small scale. All the pre-blockchain community currencies were of this type. They did not need any large-scale upfront funding (“ICO”) to start working, and could only work in small-scale communities of a few hundred people due to the trust limit issues. At this scale, there is no meaningful to do an ICO, as investors won’t expect a financial return (and if only by interest of other investors who come in later …). It is also not meaningful to put this currency on the blockchain, as only parties who trust each other will interact with the currency and the blockchain’s purpose is to facilitate a currency in cases where the users don’t trust one another. The currency would also not be convertible to state-issued money – without an ICO, convertibility makes no sense at all, we’d just use state currencies directly if we want people to use money. Rather, this currency would be limited to a reputation system (like the points on StackOverflow). It’s still a currency, as it is spendable: on StackOverflow for example, one can spend ones reputation points as bounties (additional points when people provide the right answer to a certain question). Still, this is not at all what Natalia has in mind … it would just facilitate exchange, nobody would become rich, so nobody would be really motivated to contribute much more than they do now. So let’s move on :slight_smile:

  2. At large scale. For this, we’d need to create enough publicity to reach the critical mass of people for the large-scale community currencies (100,000 people? not sure). From this arises the need for funding (to reward people before the critical mass and large scale is reached, and for all the publicity efforts). And from this arises the need for an ICO as a funding mechanism (or airdrops plus sales, or other ways of selling a self-created digital token). Of course the ICO will only be successful if crypto-investors buy into it, so the currency has to be “speculator friendly” (allow wild ups and downs in the exchange rate). So it’s not just a tool for exchange, but also a vehicle for investors. Both can be combined though: keep the currency usable in spite of its ups and downs by adapting all prices according to the exchange rate changes, so that prices are kept constant in Euro equivalents.

Now for the second case: to not be a scam currency, the whole system needs to be designed in a way so that it can work on its own, at the intended large scale, once we spent all the money derived from the inital tokensale. Which means it has to work as “just another mechanism for economic exchange”, but on a larger scale, and also being convertible to money. People would for example earn it from “likes” on the edgeryders.eu platform when producing valuable content, and can convert it to money at any time, or spend themselves on likes or bounties.

It is not clear to me (yet) if and how such a system can work as a reward mechanism, since it has not yet been done. So as a next step, we’ll have to do some currency design proposals and simulations to have any idea how to answer this question. (Note that Steem is not a successful example yet, as I suspect they somehow spend value from the initial coin sales on author rewards to keep authors motivated … that works for now, but they will eventually run out of that money).

Proposal: A crypto token to fund high-quality open source content creation

In addition to the general remarks above, here’s an outline of a first currency design. It is a system to produce open source non-fiction books (which is still way too rare and desperately needed) and built around the “collective action” idea. Like in pre-order type crowdfunding of innovative products, but specifically for content creation. In addition, it uses “crowd contributions” to actually produce the content.

Procedure:

  1. Users propose what non-fiction books should be written (title and table of contents).
  2. Users also offer to write certain parts of the books for a certain amount of crypto tokens (of the new kind created by Edgeryders).
  3. In typical crowdfunding style, users send crypto tokens to the proposals they want to become reality.
  4. If a certain amount of tokens has been reached within the campaign’s time, the proposal is automatically accepted. Otherwise, contributors are sent their tokens back, also automatically.
  5. A system that includes peer review makes sure authors deliver quality work and receive their tokens in return. They can then cash out on an exchange, or contribute their tokens to a different campaign.
  6. The whole book content is published under an open content licence.

At first, this procedure is funded with our own crypto currency that has been airdropped into the Edgeryders community. Then, it should be simple for anyone else to get this currency, for example on the Stellar Distributed Exchange. That, effectively, allows Edgeryders users to “cash out” their airdropped tokens if they do not want to use it to influence what content should be produced. Similarly, Edgeryders OÜ can also sell the tokens it did not airdrop on the open market this way (but slowly, over years, to not crash the exchange rate). Of course, with these tokens Edgeryders can also influence what content will be produced in a major way for the first several years.

Once all initial airdropped and retained tokens have been spent on content creation, the system should be running sustainably on its own, having achieved critical mass. At this stage, the system could also run with normal money, except that tokens will be less costly to send around and to manage with an automated software system. (However, the main reason to have tokens and not money stays the same: the proceeds from the initial sale allow to jumpstart the system and grow it to a scale that allows it to proceed on its own.)

Note that this is not a direct solution to the problem of motivating people to contribute to the edgeryders.eu platform as it is – people presenting their projects and initiatives, giving and receiving feedback about their ideas, and organizing various entrepreneurial projects together. However, if it indeed works as a model for rewarding non-fiction authors, it surely will attract readers for the finished works, people proposing new works to create, and the discussions around both would happen on the edgeryders.eu platform. Including questions to the authors of finished works, proposing improvements etc…

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Do you know how HoloChain works? They say it is different from blockchain, but I am not sure how exactly. Their slogan is “the cloud is the crowd.”

Also, when looking at a community that has both online and offline aspects, I wonder if a designated reward system could assign different values for different kinds of work. This is subjective of course, but would you value a well-crafted online comment as much as repairing something in a house or cleaning the group bathroom because nobody else wants to do it…?

I think I have enough of an overview. There are two things to differentiate:

  1. Holochain. The consensus mechanism of the Holo system. It’s different from the blockchain, but not that different … “just” one of the many variants and improvements that people experiment with, esp. to improve the performance and reduce the energy needs of crypto currencies. If I rememeber right, Holochain uses a DAG (directed acyclic graph). So instead of a chain, imagine a long piece of chain armour fabric … with irregular internal structure :slight_smile:

  2. Holo. The first currency running on the Holo system, using Holochain. It is built around the web hosting usecase, but using everyone’s computers instead of computers in datacenters. This is what “the cloud is the crowd” refers to: distributed hosting. But that’s just the application level. A currency with any usecase could run on Holochain.

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Thank you, @Matthias - as always super valuable input from your side

I’ll be thinking about this challenge while attending some more blockchain meetups these weeks - I think I need to see more how people develop use cases for blockchain in their projects and then try to imagine how an edgecoin could become a useful token for a wide range of transactions.

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There are Blockchain meetups at DigitYser (and we organize even a blockchain bootcamp, I need to check if still accurate what I say)

Feel free to explore! There is also some from Hive (Blockchain Society): http://hive.brussels/

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Hey Edgeryders! I saw this thread a while ago (I am new to your website), and I thought I would share this: If you’re curious about Holochain and The MetaCurrency Project, there is a hackathon coming up in Amsterdam in a few weeks, on the 21st to 23rd of September at Impact Hub. It would be fun to meet some of you there

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Hi @matthias,

I’m partially connected to the team developing Holochain and will be a facilitator at the Amsterdam Hackathon.

I would not say that Holochain is the consensus of the Holo system, because Holochain does not use or talk all that much about consensus, certainly not the same way that traditional blockchains do. Holochain is eventually consistent and coherent, but this is done through sharing of actors actions through using a Distributed Hash Table (or DHT) which is what bittorrent is also built around.

The chain part comes from having each actor in a distributed application store the information that the person has authored locally first in an immutable chain so that it cannot be tampered with subsequently. States of chains are shared as hashes and conflicting information on DHTs will indicate bad actors.

The Holo part comes from modelling the systems around the concept of a holographic view. Every actor has a view of the whole, the more user viewpoints that can be integrated the better the granularity and clarity of the whole.

Hope to see any of you in Amsterdam :slight_smile:

(Will be good to see you again @jeremyboom8 :wink: )

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