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Author Topic: Repcoin: a decentralized reputation currency  (Read 2188 times)
paybitcoin
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February 01, 2013, 08:57:45 AM
 #1

Here's my thoughts on how a decentralized reputation system might work. This is a response to casascius's lament (There needs to be a new bitcoin address format...) that there are no good trust systems for Bitcoin. Also a lot of thinking from retep's work on how to create fidelity bonds. I haven't seen any proposals like this yet but please feel free to point me to any that I missed.

I'll refer to this concept as 'Repcoin' because it sounds cool and because has not been used yet afaict (see below.)

The Repcoin System

1) Repcoins are managed on an alt-chain so they can be traded similar to Namecoins, and to have the value float with respect to BTC.
2) An individual generates a public/private keypair, known as the Reputation account. These would reuse the Bitcoin address format.
3) For example, say one acquires Repcoins by donating a special value (see 4) to BTC miners or possibly a charitable fund address using BTC (straight out of retep's work on fidelity bonds). A marker in the Repcoin blockchain would identify the creation of the Repcoin, it's destination Reputation account public key, and the source BTC transaction which satisfies the rules.
4) Other Repcoin users can verify that the creation of these coins matches the software rules and they can determine the value of each Reputation account by scanning the Bitcoin blockchain for creation and the Repcoin chain for accounting.

Some rules:
5) Donation amounts are based on a constant purchasing power. Work out an agreeable algorithm that pegs the repcoin cost with respect to a BTC:fiat ratio that floats. This might be an exchange basket. Maybe use fixed point instead of integer coin values.
6) A certain small amount of time-based deflation (easier when it is pegged to USD) is built-in so that older coins have more trust value? maybe not, idk. The early adopter effect would be a good jump start to the system.

Usage:
To use this, the sender would sign a transaction or their receiving address using their reputation keypair. It would turn into a sort of digital identity.
You could decide on the amount you are willing to trust them based on their purchasing power they used to acquire the reputation (retep's fidelity bond.)


Some problems:
7) Bad actors that have spent a while dumping money building up a reputation starting to scam people: This is a very difficult problem, I would think there would be a method for users to burn the reputation of other users by burning their own repcoins in a special SCAMMER transaction - say -2 repcoins for every 1 repcoin burned. Since this is also in the public and signed with the other person's account it becomes a reasonable way of seeing an overall picture of trust. Since real BTC is involved and the reputation is on the line hopefully it wouldn't be abused too much. There could possibly be another message that would nullify the hit to the other user in the case of resolution but the burned repcoin would still be gone.
8 ) Yet another chain to keep track of, though this one is mostly just an accounting table.

Future:
If using charitable organizations, they would need to get their addresses in the software without software patches. It could be bootstrapped with a few orgs at the beginning, then after a certain # of blocks a new election for the top n charitable organizations would be determined, by vote of people by share of their reputation. Users who are acquiring reputation could use any of those n. Organizations would hit up big repcoin owners to get votes for funding, kinda like how the world works today.

See also:
Whuffie, or read at least the prologue to see how this might turn out in practice.

Uses of Repcoin: nothing on this forum, searching google yields a very interesting paper (pdf) with this name that attempts to solve this problem but the implementation is still too centralized; and openassembly.org (site down) has decided on this name for a currency on some random page.

Quote from the end of the 'Reputation Systems for Anonymous Networks paper' (pdf), in the 'Future Directions' section talking about how to decentralize it:
Quote
Note that this would require two significant changes: using a digital cash scheme that does not require a central bank, and devising some other mechanism for inflation resistance.
This is what it was like in 2008 I guess!
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February 01, 2013, 03:44:40 PM
 #2

if I would find the time I would implement Nanotube's ideas for namecoin:
http://privwiki.dreamhosters.com/wiki/Distributed_Web_of_Trust_Proposal_2


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February 02, 2013, 04:49:30 AM
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if I would find the time I would implement Nanotube's ideas for namecoin:
http://privwiki.dreamhosters.com/wiki/Distributed_Web_of_Trust_Proposal_2
Thanks, I haven't seen that!!!

It seems like it is developing a rating system over the existing PGP Web-of-Trust model, and defines an example contract and some common data format schemas so the data can be kept in the existing PGP web of trust.

I would think that using Repcoin as a base layer instead of PGP would work better, as it offers some additional features beyond PGP:
- Transferal of reputation credits - allows for things like a path forward from a semi-compromised PGP key (i.e., it has been exposed but not used yet); however, if contracts and such are linked to a certain key identity, then maybe it would be better to have an explicit key transfer protocol.
- The central blockchain - instead of requiring a web crawler or http archive to maintain backups of reputation values, instead formalize the storage system into something that all interested parties implement. This (like Bitcoin itself) ensures the strength of the network is proportional to the amount of use it gets, instead of the amount of sysadmins thrown at it. Note that this will probably be unwieldy after a certain size, if you allow arbitrary contract data in there. So it might still be an issue.
- No existing web of trust requirement - how do you know how much to trust a new party? With this there is a way to bootstrap your way to a level of trust without needing cooperation from other users. It's the same issue I have with the PGP web of trust - there is no way to initiate a conversation without having a network in place already.

The other ideas in there, i.e. contracts, the rating system, and trust metrics, could be used on top with minor modifications.

Some really great ideas though!
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February 10, 2013, 09:53:56 PM
 #4

Are you sure this isn't a currency for reptiles?

BITCOINTALK STAFF SELECTIVELY ENFORCE THE RULES IN AN ATTEMPT TO CREATE A CHILL EFFECT AND PERMANENTLY REMOVE ME AND OTHERS FROM THIS FORUM AS RETALIATION FOR SPEAKING OUT ABOUT THEIR ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR, AND THAT OF THEIR PERSONAL CLIQUES.
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